Minding My Business With Pistons GM Jeff Bower: NBA Draft, Travel Soccer


Name: Jeff Bower

Position: Pistons GM

Age: 55

Where I’m from: Hollidaysburg, Pa.

Where I call home: Oakland, Mich.

Focusing on right now: NBA Draft and free agency.

Best advice: Every job that you have, no matter what the role, is really important. There’s something to be learned in every job that can be used down the road in other jobs and other positions. When your intention is to learn and get better, it’s a better pathway to make progress and to grow. Also, it’s OK to say, ‘I don’t know,’ and even better to listen more than you talk.

A must for a new hire: We use a similar approach in putting our front office together and staffing needs together. You need to have different strengths within your group, different levels of experience, different outlooks and backgrounds, but they all have to have one thing in common, and that’s commitment to winning, and establishing a way that they can help you win.

Exec I admire mostBOB BASS hired me with the Charlotte Hornets and taught me the NBA game. His respect for the game of basketball was something that you also had to respect and learn from, and you could see the purity with which he operated. It was all about basketball, all about studying the game and studying players and looking for that one more player or one more move that could help you win one more game. Those are memories that stuck with me.

Best book I’ve read this year: Former Ford President & CEO ALAN MULALLY’s recent book went into a lot of the things that he followed in taking over Ford and trying to rebuild it. I read a lot of books, frankly, but that’s one I thought was great.

First thing in the morning: Normally I get up and go through the morning news stories -- different basketball news, stories and other notes of interest that may come up. I go through them all -- ESPN, Yahoo, HoopsHype, RealGM, the Detroit Free Press, you name it. After doing that, my 13-year-old daughter gets up and gets ready for school, and I drop her off. Then I come into the office from there and start the day meeting with STAN VAN GUNDY each morning. We review everything that’s going on and things that need to be done that day. 

Talking tech: When I started as an advanced scout, the first IBM ThinkPads were just being sent to teams to use, and it was a major shift. Now, it’s evolved from that to discussions about servers and content and the ability to store, manage and manipulate data and really turn it into powerful decision-making tools. We use analytics across the board in all our decisions, whether it’s pro scouting, college scouting, planning -- anything that could help us get a clear outlook on things. If you can’t measure it, you can’t monitor it, and we try to monitor everything possible to see changes and growth and improvements or declines.


Food for thought: The only cooking I do myself is on the grill, but as a family we probably lean more toward Italian cuisine, given the choice. We go to a lot of different places from time to time whenever we can.

How I unwind: Our daughter is a soccer player who is involved in travel soccer, so any free time that we do have is generally involved with that. I try to get to soccer practices and games. They mainly play in the Detroit area, but they also have games throughout the state during the travel season. It’s been fun for my wife and me.

Day in the life: Right now, it’s a combination of meeting with our scouts and putting together rankings and priorities, meeting with our analytics team to look at the comparisons of performance, physical features and what we see as possibilities down the road. It’s a composite approach that we try to take as an organization to marry the video with the analytics and with various technologies to help us with decision-making. We’re collecting observations and evaluations on both the college and the pro players year-round. It’s during this time frame that all the information gets magnified and the spotlight is put on it to be used in decision-making processes.