The Wizards chose Tommy Sheppard as their new general manager.
Now, they’re filling the rest of the front office.
Sashi Brown will serve as chief planning and operations officer for Monumental Basketball and Daniel Medina will serve as chief of athlete care & performance for Monumental Basketball.
Brown will manage efforts relating to technology, finance, communications, security, research and player engagement and Medina will head up medical, training, mental health, strength and conditioning, nutrition and physical therapy/recovery.
Leonsis also announced a new athlete development & engagement department which will be led by former Georgetown and Princeton Head Coach John Thompson III. Thompson will use his vast experience to lead a team that will focus on maximizing player potential both on and off the court for all Monumental Basketball athletes. Employing a holistic development approach, the department will focus on financial literacy, post-playing career opportunities and the overall empowerment and development of the athletes.
In addition to Sheppard’s promotion and the addition of Brown, Medina and Thompson, Leonsis also announced two promotions of current staff. Sashia Jones, who previously served as vice president of community relations, was promoted to vice president of player engagement and will work with Thompson to provide services to players for all teams. Brett Greenberg, who previously served as vice president of basketball analytics/salary cap management, was promoted to assistant general manager for strategy and analytics.
When the Cleveland Browns hired Brown to run their front office in 2017, it was an unconventional choice. He’s a Harvard Law grad whose apparent football connection was serving as the Browns’ and previously Jaguars’ general counsel.
Now, he’s getting hired to work for an NBA team with even fewer obvious basketball ties.
That might be fine. Employers should more often consider untraditional candidates. Maybe Brown’s intelligence will translate.
It is a weird fit, though.
Under Brown’s watch, Cleveland essentially imitated imitated Sam Hinkie’s Process. The Browns went 1-32 in Brown’s two seasons in charge, accumulated assets, didn’t draft particularly well and still rose into a budding power under the next general manager.
Now, Brown will work for Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, who said his team would never tank.
To be fair to Brown, he might have more than one gear. Just because he thought that strategy was right for the Browns at that time doesn’t make it the only way he can contribute. It’s also possible Leonsis is more open to new ideas.
Thompson is part of basketball royalty in Washington. Both he and his father coached Georgetown. Though the younger Thompson had his ups and downs on the job, it’s still a prestigious position – especially in D.C.
It’s a little surprising Medina landed with with another NBA team so quickly. The 76ers had plenty of issues with Joel Embiid‘s, Zhaire Smith‘s and Markelle Fultz‘s health. But evaluating medical personnel is extremely difficult. Results say only so much. The counterfactual is hard to assess.