To suggest Scott Perry is entering his busy season would be an accurate and incomplete assumption. As Sonics assistant general manager...
ROCHESTER, Mich. — To suggest Scott Perry is entering his busy season would be an accurate and incomplete assumption.
As Sonics assistant general manager, his top priority is directing the team’s college scouting department and preparing for the draft. It’s a year-round job that kicks into overdrive in March and won’t let up this year until after the June 26 draft.
Still, the 44-year-old executive didn’t leave the Detroit Pistons last summer just to coordinate Seattle’s draft board.
“After consulting with my family and [Pistons president] Joe Dumars I saw there was an opportunity for me to grow and expand in the business,” Perry said. “Coming to be an assistant GM was a step up for me and my duties had grown from what they were in Detroit. That was a big reason, and the excitement of working to build something.”
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Perry, who traveled to Detroit for tonight’s Sonics game, was director of player personnel with the Pistons and third in the front office behind Dumars and vice president of basketball John Hammond. Last summer, Sonics general manager Sam Presti hired Perry and named him assistant GM, a title he shares with Sonics salary-cap guru Rich Cho.
In addition to coordinating the draft, Perry is involved in trade discussions, player development and basketball operations.
“He calls me from time to time and I’m sure he calls most of the guys to check in and see how things are going,” Sonics forward Damien Wilkins said. “In past years, there’s been no communication at all with the people upstairs. So to see him around so much, that’s a positive change.”
After Monday afternoon’s practice at Oakland University, Perry invited players and coaches to his house in West Bloomfield, Mich., for a home-cooked dinner of catfish, chicken, ribs, macaroni and cheese and coleslaw with his wife, Kim, and 13-year-old daughter, Chelsea.
“It’s important that guys know that it’s not just about the business of basketball,” Perry said. “It’s important to bond a little more and maybe it will help build our culture and chemistry as we build this thing.”
With 13 picks, including six first-round selections, in the next three years, Perry will have a major influence on the Sonics’ rebuilding efforts. Perry has been a head coach at Eastern Kentucky and an assistant at Michigan, California and Detroit Mercy.
“We’ve got to see what our luck is like when the lottery balls fall, but I think this will be a very important draft for us,” he said. “One thing I’m comfortable and confident about is we will be prepared. We will know the talent pool.
“The biggest thing for us, and one of the reasons why I’m around the team a lot, is to watch us play. It’s important to really get a feel to see what our identity is like and know what we want to do long range and then find those players in the draft that will fit that.”
Ultimately, the final decision on draft day rests with Presti, coach P.J. Carlesimo and chairman Clay Bennett. But they will receive most of their information from Perry.
He has built a solid reputation as someone who looks beyond the statistics. Perry urged the Pistons to draft former Kentwood High standout Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell and Amir Johnson.
“The things that are important to me is how competitive a guy is, how tough a guy he is and does a guy help influence winning where he’s playing at?” Perry said.
Perry credits Dumars and his late father, Lowell, as role models. Perry’s father was the first black assistant coach in the NFL, hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957.
“What I leaned from Joe was to trust your instincts and that you can’t be afraid to take a chance,” he said. “If you want to be a champion, you can’t be afraid to take a risk and step out there. Hearing him talk about that all the time, all that did was strengthen what my father used to say.”