FanPost

Building a Championship Team

WHAT THEY WANT

According to Net's Owner , his goal for this team is a "simple one"; to become a "dynasty".

According to Mr. Prokorov, that's the reason he did not break the bank trying to obtain 2nd tier free agents this summer;  although they are "very good players", they do not make the nets "a championship team"

He does not just want to become a playoff team, he's talking about winning championships, "multiple" championships, and being able to contend for a championship annually, sustained exellence - that's a "championship team", a "dynasty".

 

WHAT IT TAKES TO GET THERE

What's needed for a "championshop team", or a "dynsaty"?

There is an excellent article entitled "Reconsidering The Superstar Theory - Part 1 & Part 2".  The article is written by Elrod Enchilada, feature writer for "Real GM".

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to read this very insightful article:  

 "Reconsidering The Superstar Theory Part 1 & Part 2"

Highlights of the Article

The article lists the best regular season players in NBA History, then it puts these players in the following catagories;

Platinum Superstar - These players are the NBA's Mount Rushmore, the legends of the game.  They basically ranked as among the top three-five players in the game virtually their entire careers, or until injuries took their toll.  They were invariably MVP candidates every year.  They personify the term "franchise" player.

Gold Medal Superstar - These players are basically going first-team all-NBA and/or getting top 10 MVP votes a majority of the years when they are healthy.  They are among the seven or eight best players in the league throughout much of their career.  Many of these guys gave multi-year streches where they are arguably the best players in the league.

Silver Medal Superstar - These players are first or second team all-NBA much of their careers and received frequent recognition in MVP Voting.  During much of their careers, these are players who would be considered among the 10 best in the league.

Bronze Medal Superstar - These players all got recognition annually of being among the 15 best players in the game during a majority of their careers.

After catagorizing theses players, the article looks at the playoffs, specifically Championship teams, runner-ups and conference championship participants in the last 54 years. 

The findings: 

1.Without at least a Bronze Medal superstar (a player who is annually considered to be one of the top 15  players in the league for the majority of their career)  it is IMPOSSIBLE  to win a nba championship.

2. To be a serious championship contender (a "championship team" ) a team needs to have at lease 1 Gold Medal Superstar.

Elrod Enchilada notes the following key point;

"Just having the best superstar does not guarantee a title.  A team needs a supporting cast, role players, coaching and experience.  Without that, even the best superstar cannot win a title.  The point is rather different;  It is impossible to win a title without the foundation of a superstar.  That is the ante for admission.  All the chemistry and teamwork and experience and role players in the world do not amount to a hill of beans without superstars.  Not just any guys who make all-star teams, but guys who make the list of the glorious 101, guys who are a cut above the standard all-star.  NBA history is littered with impressive hard-working 50 win teams that never come close to winning an NBA title.  There reason is always the same; the best players on the team simply isn't good enough to carry the team when the competition stiffens in April, May and June.

 

WHAT THEY HAVE

Here's an objective look at the Potential of the Net's Roster

 

Point Guards

Devin Harris - good player with potential to be a very good supporting player/ key contributor on a championship caliber team.  ie Tony Parker - Spurs

Jordan Farmar - above average role player (distributor, spot-up shooter) with potential to be a good role player on a championship caliber team. ie himself - Lakers

Combo Guards

Terrence Williams - versitile role player (wing scorer/ defender) with potential to be a very good role player (defensive stopper) on championship caliber team.  ie more athletic version of Larry Hughes - Cavs

Shooting Guards

Courtney Lee -  above average role player (wing defender, spot-up shooter) with potential to be a good role player on a championship caliber team. ie himself - Magic

Anthony Morrow - good role player (outside shooter) with potential to be a very good role player (outside shot of  becoming a good supporting player/ key contributor)  on a championship caliber team.  ie Reggie Miller lite - Pacers, Richard Hamilton with better range - Pistons.

Small Forwards

Travis Outlaw - Role Player (Athletic Defender, Spot-up shooter)  with potential to be a great role player (defensive stopper on a championshop caliber team.  ie tayshaun prince

Damien James - rookie with potential to be a good role player according to scouting reports.  (It's hard to give an analysis due to unfamilarity with his game) 

Power Forwards

Derrick Favors - rookie with potential to be a bronze (possibly silver) medal superstar (20 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, ).  Think pre-injury version of Antonio McDyessAntoino McDyess before his knees died 

Kris Humphries role player with potential to be a above average Role player (rebounding, hustle, defense) on a championship caliber team.  ie Anderson Verajo

Centers

Brook Lopez - good player with potential to be a very good supporting player/ key contributor on a championship caliber team.  ie Pau Gasol - Lakers

Johan Petro - average role player with potential to be a good role player (rebounding, interior defense, shot blocking) on a championship caliber team.  ie Taller version of Theo Ratliff

WHAT THEY NEED 

A few weeks ago, Avery Johnson was asked whether he see's the net's becoming a eastern conference version of the OKC Thunder.  Here's his response:

"To become a OKC Thunder you gotta have a superstar.  Fortunately for them, they have a guy that's a superstar in Kevin Durant - and right now, we don't have that guy on our roster -  and we hope to get it. We hope Derrick Favors in a year and a half can be that type of a superstar and that's why we drafted him."  - Conference Call, Wed. July 14, 2010.

 

HOW TO GET A SUPERSTAR

There are various ways to obtain a superstar player, either by

Free Agency - Obtaining a superstar via this route is quite difficult.  Superstars usually only leave their original team if they think that the new team can really do something for their Legacy. ie Shaqulle Oneil - Lakers, Lebron James - Miami

Trade - Obtaining a superstar via this route usually only happens when (1) the superstar's current team's supporting cast is not championship caliber and they don't see the situation getting better without major overhauls or (2) when there are major internal team problems involving the superstar or  (3) contract issues involving the superstar .  ie Jason Kidd from Suns to Nets, Alonzo Mourning from the Hornets to the Heat.

Draft - Easiest way to obtain a superstar since teams usually do all that they can to hold on to their own superstar.  Drafting a superstar is often about (1) being in the right place at the right time, ie Spurs drafting Tim Duncan, Knicks drafting Patrick Ewing, Thunder drafting Kevin Durant or (2) Drafting a high risk/ high reward player, ie Lakers (trading for Hornet's draft pick - Kobe BryantTimberwolves drafting Kevin Garnett, Magic drafting Dwight Howard.

 

CONCLUSION

All NBA front offices say that their priority is having a team that can compete for a championship annually, yet the decisions they make reveal  that their ownership and/or front office either (1) have other priorities or (2) are incompetent.

In my opinion: if the Net's Ownership's priority truly is building a championship team and having a dynasty.......

 

(1)   They will

a.  Focus on developing Derrick Favors if they truly believe that he is a potential superstar.  Why?  As discussed it's impossible to win a championship without a superstar? 

b.  Focus on acquiring a established superstar who is either a gold medal superstar or on their way to becoming one.  Why?  Even though Derrick Favors has the potential to become a superstar, there's no guarantee he will become one.  Also, if he does become a superstar, he is more likely to become a bronze (possibly silver) medal superstar and as previously noted if a team want's to be a serious championship contender, they need a gold medal superstar.

c.  Focus on developing the rest of their young roster as supporting cast / role players or as valuable trade chips that can be used to acquire an established gold (sliver approaching gold) medal superstar. Why?  As discussed, having a superstar does not guarantee a title.  A team also need a supporting cast, role players, experience and coaching.  Why develop them with the view to using them as valuable trade chips?  As discussed, it doesn't matter how good your supporting cast and role players are.  Without a superstar, your not winning anything.  So if a superstar becomes available through a trade, the team with the best/most affordable supporting cast / role players available are usually the most attractive trade partners. 

(2)  They will not

a. Take on large contracts via trade or free agency for non superstar player that prevent them from acquiring an established Superstar. Why?  Although a team can make a dramatic improvement in the regular season, they are left in the worst place possible, not bad enough to qualify for the draft lottery  (an opportunity to acquire a superstar player)  and they are not good enough to be a real championship contender.  ie Atlanta's signing of Joe Johnson 

b.  show an unwillingness to trade valuable players  (even potential allstars potential - ie Brook Lopez)    / picks to acquire established Gold (or Silver approaching Gold) medal Superstars.  Don't overvalue your own players!!

You may not be able to build a team that's guaranteed to win a championship, much less multiple championships.  Winning championships often come down to a few key plays during the course of a game.  When a owner/ front office is focused on acquiring superstars as their foundation though, they can be successful in building a team that can be a "championship contender".   Let's see where the Net's focus lies.

 

c.  become one of those middle of the pack teams always trying to add a another non-superstar to their team to appease their fans.  ie  bobcats, grizzlies

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