Pro sports executives often talk about strategies for success, offering their opinions on what it takes to build winning teams.

Tommy Sheppard, the Washington Wizards' new general manager, certainly knows that excellent players are needed to lead his team to victories. But his vision for the team's path to success also includes something that might best be described as an intangible element: relationships.

Sheppard repeated the word "relationships" numerous times during an exclusive interview with Hoop Scoop in late September. This provided an inside look at Sheppard's management style early on in his tenure, e.g. before presiding over the team's day-to-day operations during an actual season.