Home > aud, Bob McAdoo, braves, buffalo, Buffalo Braves, Jack Marin, mcadoo, memorial auditorium, Paul Snyder, Ralph Wlison > Bills’ dysfunction mimics Braves’ demise

Bills’ dysfunction mimics Braves’ demise

Bills' owner Ralph Wilson

by Tim Wendel

A team a few bricks shy of a load. Small in stature at positions where that matters most. Week after week unable to finish close games.

That sounds an awful lot like the current Buffalo Bills football squad. But not so long ago that scouting report also summed up the Buffalo Braves basketball team. And, unfortunately, such organizational faults helped speed the team’s departure from Western New York.

In following the Bills’ ineptitude in recent seasons, I’m reminded of conversations I had with Bob McAdoo while writing Buffalo, Home of the Braves. The Hall of Famer, now in his 15th year as an assistant with the Miami Heat, talked at length about being patient. Having a plan and believing in it.

“Several times the pieces we had the pieces in our hands for a championship team,” McAdoo says, “and we let them go.”

Of course, one of the pieces that the Braves gave away was McAdoo himself – peddled to the New York Knicks in a Judas deal for John Gianelli and $3 million.

But there are plenty of other examples:

  • Trading away a young Moses Malone.
  • Firing Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay
  • Drafting Tom McMillen when Ricky Sobers, Lloyd Free, Gus Williams and Kevin Grevey were available.
  • Showing Jim McMillian, Gar Heard and Jack Marin the door.
  • Allowing John Y. Brown to turn the franchise into “ABA North.”

“Good teams know when to stand pat,” McAdoo told me. “With bad ones, things get too fast, too crazy. Before you know it, you look up and see you’ve lost what’s really important.”

With the Bills going through such uncertain times, here’s hoping they’ve learned a lesson from the old Braves. The fans in Buffalo are among the most knowledgeable I’ve ever come across. They know when team ownership has a real plan and when it is just another shell game.

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