McNair Brings History of Innovation and Success to Sacramento
A new chapter in Kings history has begun with Monte McNair taking the lead as the General Manager of Sacramento’s Basketball Operations.
In the announcement, Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé shared excitement for McNair’s vision, extensive experience and role for building winning teams in Houston.
“Monte is one of the NBA’s top basketball minds… it is my pleasure to welcome Monte and his family to Sacramento,” said Ranadivé.
After originally being hired as a developer and programmer for the Houston Rockets in 2007, McNair earned a promotion to become the Director of Basketball Operations in 2013 and then took another leap to Vice President of Basketball Operations just two years later.
“I was a computer science major, so I come more from the programming side; that's how I got my start,” said McNair to The Dream Shake in 2016. “ [Now], a lot focuses on the traditional front office side: draft, free agency. We also work on the coaching staff and the salary cap.”
Although this will be McNair’s first chance at leading a franchise, according to Kings Insider for NBC Sports James Ham, he is a “a well-respected executive who has worked at every level,” and “his ability to translate analytics into real-world solutions with the coaching staff makes him an intriguing add.”
Now stepping into his new role for the Kings, McNair will likely look to bring many of the philosophies and learnings that made his tenure in Houston so successful.
While with the Rockets, McNair worked closely with “one of the more progressive managers in the NBA” in Daryl Morey to help integrate analytics into the organization’s thought process and decision making.
McNair shared some of those insights while speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in 2016. Specifically, on the challenge of integrating analytics into traditional coaching tactics and techniques.
The most notable example of this forward thinking was seen in the Rockets lineup this season. Houston took a radical approach by employing a small-ball lineup that completely eliminated the traditional center position.
“Organizationally, it helps to have that philosophy where it’s like ‘Hey, we’re going to try stuff until it works’ and you can look across other sports to see what they’ve done to innovate,” McNair stated at the most recent 2020 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
McNair saw his efforts pay off quite a bit during his time in Houston. This included eight straight trips to the postseason and seven seasons of at least 50 wins.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey also spoke highly of McNair when the latter was promoted in 2018.
“Monte has been absolutely critical to the success of the Rockets over his long tenure,” Morey said. “His unique combination of analytical skills and ability to work with our coaching staff was a key driver in our record breaking season [in 2017-18]."
With important offseason landmarks such as free agency and the 2020 NBA Draft rapidly approaching, the Kings will now have a permanent fixture in place to lead the charge.