Fans often wonder why NBA teams are always willing to gamble on players with ‘potential’, but shy away from players who seem like much safer bets. In the world of horse racing, they’d be betting on the shiniest stallion, not the racer who had come in second in ten races. Why?
For the answer, we can turn to the world of pop music. People either love or hate Simon Cowell, the mogul who rose to fame for his snide remarks on American Idol. But Simon was wealthy prior to being on the show, and he obtained his wealth not by discovering Michael Jackson level talent; he systematically found talent that looked remarkably similar to what was already selling. The reason is because Simon knows that star power like Michael Jackson is once-in-a-lifetime, but you can dress up a pretty girl with mediocre talent to make 20 Brittany Spears clones, and make more money.
NBA owners too often treat their personnel moves like horse betting, where they want to take a chance on a player who could be the next Michael Jordan, rather than just working toward building a solid team of really good players. It doesn’t work in horse racing betting, and it doesn’t bring in championships.