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speakout4
06-14-2009, 09:07 PM
This may be obvious but to be competitive in the playoffs takes 3 really good players. Sure there are exceptions but the teams that got somewhere were

LA:Kobe, Gasol, Odom
SA: Duncan, parker, Manu
Boston: KG, Pierce, Allen
Cleveland: just LeBron and thus nowhere
Dallas: just Nowitski; Kidd and Howard not up to par
Denver; Billups, Carmello, Nene
Orlando: Howard, Lewis, Turkolu

LeBron has every right to expect more help next season because he had no one else.

PacerGuy
06-14-2009, 09:09 PM
ok

Natston
06-14-2009, 09:13 PM
Teams win championships!

Not offense, nor defense, but teams win championships...

Hicks
06-14-2009, 09:13 PM
That does appear to be the generic model to go for to build a contender.

Right now, we have one, with a second who could flirt with it if he recovers 100%, and then we'd have to hope Rush can become one. Even if, that'd be a log jam. We need either a PG or a big man to become one (or we have to get one).

Danny is the only apparrant sure thing right now. So we have one until further notice.

Once you have three guys like that, you need to just pursue the best role players you can find that fit your trio.

count55
06-14-2009, 09:16 PM
I don't know how you say making the ECF is "thus nowhere."

speakout4
06-14-2009, 09:19 PM
I don't know how you say making the ECF is "thus nowhere."
Perhaps nowhere was a poor choice of words but the apparent lack of anyone besides LeBron was all too obvious.

count55
06-14-2009, 09:22 PM
Perhaps nowhere was a poor choice of words but the apparent lack of anyone besides LeBron was all too obvious.

I agree...he had an atrocious supporting cast, and it showed when they got handled by a relatively pedestrian (for that level of playoffs) Magic team.

ChicagoJ
06-15-2009, 11:18 AM
And so the question is, will Rush-Granger-Hibbert be a strong enough trio?

Because if not, there is still a lot of work for Bird to do over the next two or three seasons.

Trophy
06-15-2009, 11:21 AM
For Orlando you can even say Nelson when he's healthy.

count55
06-15-2009, 11:24 AM
And so the question is, will Rush-Granger-Hibbert be a strong enough trio?

Because if not, there is still a lot of work for Bird to do over the next two or three seasons.

I doubt it.

Granger is good enough. Rush needs to be able to play like he did the last dozen games of the season, but I'm not 100% convinced that he can.

Roy will always be limited. I like him, but I don't see him ever being more than a 25-28 minute guy giving some decent post offense. Think James Edwards.

They still need to find someone else, or have someone unexpected make a leap.

Unclebuck
06-15-2009, 11:26 AM
And so the question is, will Rush-Granger-Hibbert be a strong enough trio?

Because if not, there is still a lot of work for Bird to do over the next two or three seasons.

There is no way to possibly know if Rush and Hibbert will be good enough. My wild is guess is no. If Hibbert is your best inside player you will never be an elite team. But I don't know for sure.

ChicagoJ
06-15-2009, 11:34 AM
Roy will always be limited. I like him, but I don't see him ever being more than a 25-28 minute guy giving some decent post offense.

Sounds like Smits to me.


= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

If Hibbert and Rush are NOT going to be those cornerstones, then we need to move them along at the trading deadline next season. In the past, we'd re-sign them when their rookie contracts expire. That is another item that Bird needs address - figure it out quickly and if it isn't working then move on - decisively - in a different direction.

ChicagoJ
06-15-2009, 11:36 AM
There is no way to possibly know if Rush and Hibbert will be good enough.

The guys that do this for a living (e.g., scouts, player personnel types) have an idea. They may not all agree, and some guys need to be in a certain "system".

There may not be a way for ordinary fans to know, but that is not what I'm asking.

cdash
06-15-2009, 11:45 AM
Sounds like Smits to me.


= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

If Hibbert and Rush are NOT going to be those cornerstones, then we need to move them along at the trading deadline next season. In the past, we'd re-sign them when their rookie contracts expire. That is another item that Bird needs address - figure it out quickly and if it isn't working then move on - decisively - in a different direction.

I'm not sure that's the best course of action. How will we know between now and the trading deadline whether or not they are cornerstones? They still are learning the pro game, you can't make knee jerk decisions about players like that in their first year and a half in the league, unless they are just awful and show no signs of improving. Neither Rush nor Hibbert qualifies there.

They both don't necessarily need to be cornerstones either. Personally, I think Granger and probably Rush will end up qualifying there. Who knows where the other pieces will come from. Personally, I don't believe in the "three is key" team building concept. Orlando is really a balanced team. The Pistons teams that were making ECF runs for the better part of the decade were balanced 1-5. We just need to figure out what works for us, in our situation. If it is three stars, that's great. If it is a well balanced attack 1-5, that's great too.

Peck
06-15-2009, 12:03 PM
Sounds like Smits to me.


= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

If Hibbert and Rush are NOT going to be those cornerstones, then we need to move them along at the trading deadline next season. In the past, we'd re-sign them when their rookie contracts expire. That is another item that Bird needs address - figure it out quickly and if it isn't working then move on - decisively - in a different direction.

What?????

Because two players selected in the mid first round of a draft (one on the higher end) are not cornerstones to a championship team they need to be traded?

Sorry but I disagree with this. Our team is so poor for talent that we need good solid players at every position. would I love to have a star at the 2 or better yet at the 5? Of course. But just because neither of them would develop into that type of player does not mean that you dump them, IMO.

As to the original post I will say this.

There is no sure fire one true way to win it all, if there was then every team would be trying for that one way.

Shade
06-15-2009, 12:17 PM
That does appear to be the generic model to go for to build a contender.

Right now, we have one, with a second who could flirt with it if he recovers 100%, and then we'd have to hope Rush can become one. Even if, that'd be a log jam. We need either a PG or a big man to become one (or we have to get one).

Danny is the only apparrant sure thing right now. So we have one until further notice.

Once you have three guys like that, you need to just pursue the best role players you can find that fit your trio.

If Rush can build on the conclusion of last season, I could see him as #2.

We need at least one more, though. I'm not convinced it will be Dun, especially if he loses his job to Rush. And I don't think Roy will ever be more than an above-average NBA center (which isn't bad, but also isn't enough).

Speed
06-15-2009, 12:29 PM
Here's my concern, the book on BRush and Roy aren't out yet. Opposing teams didn't and didn't have to game plan for them. When it becomes widely known how to attack these two, it'll be key that both stay ahead of the curve. Hopefully they'll improve at a rate that surpasses the league ability to nullify them. If that makes sense. I'm just saying I could see a second half of next season slump from both based on this.

Otherwise, the Pacers have a group of guys who I think can be the 5th or 6th best guy on a championship contending team in the you need 3 players scenario.

Ford, Jack, Healthy Dunleavy, Murphy, and maybe the Rooks depending on their progression. That's 6 rotation guys who just may not be good enough to be that 2nd or 3rd player, if you truely believe that's what it take in today's NBA.

Does 4 guys who are semi close to being that player who's the 3rd best guy on a contending team count for anything?

Personally, I think it's circumstantial at best, I don't think it's a hard requirement to have 3 players like that to contend. Who was Detroits, in their hayday? Lebron got to the finals two years ago with nobody even resembling a 2nd and 3rd guy.

All I'm saying is this, this team will likely be improved next year with familiarity, the Rooks progression, and a more defensive mindset.

However they are so far away from being true contenders I'm not sure you can even see it this way, you just have to continue to improve, even very slightly, then see where you are, as you go. Baby steps.

ChicagoJ
06-15-2009, 01:37 PM
We can fill in the complementary players down the road. If Rush and Hibbert are going to peak at a level that doesn't make us a contender (I happen to think their ceilings are high enough, so I'm not worried about this), then we need to "sell high" - before the rest of the league figures it out and while they still have value.

In other words - there was a time that Ike Diogu was a red-hot property.

No need to hang on to Fred Jones so long that the entire world figures out his weaknesses and then you can't trade him and have to let his contract expire.

vnzla81
06-15-2009, 01:40 PM
We can fill in the complementary players down the road. If Rush and Hibbert are going to peak at a level that doesn't make us a contender (I happen to think their ceilings are high enough, so I'm not worried about this), then we need to "sell high" - before the rest of the league figures it out and while they still have value.

In other words - there was a time that Ike Diogu was a red-hot property.

No need to hang on to Fred Jones so long that the entire world figures out his weaknesses and then you can't trade him and have to let his contract expire.

The same thing with Murphy and maybe Jack if resing, they should have traded Dunleavy when his value was high, now not even the Clippers would want to be part of that.

rexnom
06-15-2009, 01:44 PM
We can fill in the complementary players down the road. If Rush and Hibbert are going to peak at a level that doesn't make us a contender (I happen to think their ceilings are high enough, so I'm not worried about this), then we need to "sell high" - before the rest of the league figures it out and while they still have value.

In other words - there was a time that Ike Diogu was a red-hot property.

No need to hang on to Fred Jones so long that the entire world figures out his weaknesses and then you can't trade him and have to let his contract expire.
I feel like Rush is an exception. If his defense keeps improving with his jump shot, he's a valuable piece regardless. He keeps himself in games solely with his defense. If he knocks down the open shot as well, that's a piece you don't trade. You win championships with those types of guys. If he peaks at Raja Bell around 2005, that's still not terrible. I'd rather keep him and find other guys to build along Granger.

Trader Joe
06-15-2009, 01:47 PM
What about Phoenix who didn't even make the playoffs? Nash, Shaq, Amare...

Having three really good players doesn't guarantee anything. It might make it easier, but the system and team chemistry is just as important.

Putnam
06-15-2009, 02:01 PM
With respect to speakout4, this is a case of retro-fitting evidence. His proof of the "It Takes 3" theory is a list of teams that won and three good players from each team. But were more than 3 players essential to the success? And does the success of their teams enhance our impression of those players?

I imagine the coaches of those teams would agree that the rest of their players, apart from those three, had been essential to their victories.

I think Phil Jackson has said in the past that it takes three top-level players to win championship. And he oughta know. But Jackson's way is not the only way. A really well balanced five can do it, too.

Hicks
06-15-2009, 02:03 PM
What about Phoenix who didn't even make the playoffs? Nash, Shaq, Amare...

Having three really good players doesn't guarantee anything. It might make it easier, but the system and team chemistry is just as important.

If you're going to mention Phoenix it's only fair to point out that the West had 9 good teams and one of them was going to be forced to miss the playoffs. Also, Amare was done for the season since mid February.

Hicks
06-15-2009, 02:04 PM
I think Phil Jackson has said in the past that it takes three top-level players to win championship. And he oughta know. But Jackson's way is not the only way. A really well balanced five can do it, too.

How many times in the past 2 decades has that been the case? Once? I can only think of the 2004 Detroit Pistons.

Putnam
06-15-2009, 02:08 PM
How many times in the past 2 decades has that been the case? Once? I can only think of the 2004 Detroit Pistons.

Yes, the Pistons are the best example to my knowledge.

ChicagoPacer
06-15-2009, 02:18 PM
Yes, the Pistons are the best example to my knowledge.

They're the best example of a well-balanced 5, because they're the only example. At least since maybe the mid to late 70s. It's a pretty good general rule.

rexnom
06-15-2009, 02:20 PM
How many times in the past 2 decades has that been the case? Once? I can only think of the 2004 Detroit Pistons.
It's funny that Phil would say that because rarely has had three "top-level" talents - unless we're counting Glen Rice, Lamar Odom, Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman. If we are, Phil had two teams - the '01 and '02 Lakers - with only two top flight players.

To answer your "balanced five" question, I think the 90s Pacers were also a team like that.

Unclebuck
06-15-2009, 02:21 PM
I have said for 25 years that the best way to win a championship is to have the best player in the NBA.

d_c
06-15-2009, 02:27 PM
It's funny that Phil would say that because rarely has had three "top-level" talents - unless we're counting Glen Rice, Lamar Odom, Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman. If we are, Phil had two teams - the '01 and '02 Lakers - with only two top flight players.

To answer your "balanced five" question, I think the 90s Pacers were also a team like that.

Grant and Rice were both all-stars in their hey day, though they won with Rice when he was just starting to take his nose dive in production.

Odom, underachiever he may be, is a very talented player who has caused opposing teams many a problem. He's a guy who opposing teams genuinely worry about matching up with.

Bottom line is Phil's championship teams have always had the 1st or 2nd best player in the league, and in most cases, 2 of the top 5. No surprise. It's a players' league where the teams with the best players are in the best position to win.

Sollozzo
06-15-2009, 02:29 PM
I have said for 25 years that the best way to win a championship is to have the best player in the NBA.


I bet you were up all night figuring that one out ;)

But seriously, you're right. You look at every NBA champion except one and they have a player that can be considered one of the 3 best players, if not THE best, in the NBA.

The ONE AND ONLY exception to this rule is the 2004 Pistons. Hate em or not, winning a championship with a team comprised of several "very good" players but no really great player is something that had not been in modern NBA times, and for that they deserve a lot of respect.

Speed
06-15-2009, 02:33 PM
I have said for 25 years that the best way to win a championship is to have the best player in the NBA.


Me too, I've always thought this and I think if you look back, minus the Pistons, both versions, it's exactly what you find. And I'd say Boston last year was the other anomaly, but Garnett had flirted with being the best on multiple occaisions.

Right now, I think most would agree that Lebron and Kobe are clearly the best players in the league, at least this year. Kobe has a way better supporting cast I think all would agree too. I'd guess Lebron will win multiple championships in the next 10 years, I'd actually bet on it and I don't really bet.

Quick recap,

Jordan 6 of the 10 in the 90s
Hakeem 2 of the 10 in the nineties.
Tim Duncan 3 of the 9 in the 00s (I think it's 3 right?)
Shaq with four during his runs with the Lakers and Miami.
Bird and Magic dominated the 80s, basically, with Championships

I mean there are so many other factors, but this one sure seems to have something to do with it.

d_c
06-15-2009, 02:34 PM
The ONE AND ONLY exception to this rule is the 2004 Pistons. Hate em or not, winning a championship with a team comprised of several "very good" players but no really great player is something that had not been in modern NBA times, and for that they deserve a lot of respect.

Even then, it wasn't like those guys weren't talented. Chauncey and Rasheed were #3 and #4 picks respectively and I think Rip was a #7 pick.

That's why it's unreasonable to expect Joe Dumars to rebuild on the fly right back to that level of a team with guys picked in the mid-first round or (Stuckey, Maxiell, Afflalo) first round and in the 2nd round (Amir). Those were all very solid draft picks, but you can't expect them to be at the same level of talent .

Jonathan
06-15-2009, 02:37 PM
The Pacers are 3 seasons away from even having the potential to have a big 3. I would be very happy if we can get a player or two that is quick and can play defense this offseason.

count55
06-15-2009, 02:38 PM
I have said for 25 years that the best way to win a championship is to have the best player in the NBA.

Well, that's an executable strategy.

(It's also why "trying to build a champion" is counterproductive, even destructive for most franchises.)

Sollozzo
06-15-2009, 02:39 PM
Even then, it wasn't like those guys weren't talented. Chauncey and Rasheed were #3 and #4 picks respectively and I think Rip was a #7 pick.

That's why it's unreasonable to expect Joe Dumars to rebuild on the fly right back to that level of a team with guys picked in the mid-first round or (Stuckey, Maxiell, Afflalo) first round and in the 2nd round (Amir). Those were all very solid draft picks, but you can't expect them to be at the same level of talent .


Not saying they weren't talented. But you can't look at any of them individually and say that they are a top 3 player in the NBA. Every other champ in modern times has a player you can say that about.

d_c
06-15-2009, 02:43 PM
Not saying they weren't talented. But you can't look at any of them individually and say that they are a top 3 player in the NBA. Every other champ in modern times has a player you can say that about.

Of course, though you can make an argument that individually, KG wasn't a top 3 player last season for Boston.

Bball
06-15-2009, 02:55 PM
I don't know about this theory. I think it takes players willing to accept their roles for a run at a championship. Obviously you need good players and you need at least a very good player in the mix. You can't be a defensive sieve so everyone has to haul some weight there. You need rebounding.

I think this debate sometimes gets skewed because a team needs scoring punch but everybody can't be going after the high scorer of the game award. Some players need to sacrifice their own scoring to fill the other roles that are also important. So you might have 3 guys who will score, 1 or two of which will also still be able to defend at a high level while still filling their role on the other end of the court. And of those 3 there's usually one guy who has that extra 'something' that makes the players around him not only better but also makes the team better because they respect his intensity, competitiveness, work ethic, ability, etc. and it drives them all to reach even deeper and get on the same page.

I think in most cases the 3rd cog probably isn't as good as his role and teammates are making him look. Not individually anyway. But it's why a team is better than the individual parts might look on paper.

Sollozzo
06-15-2009, 03:05 PM
Of course, though you can make an argument that individually, KG wasn't a top 3 player last season for Boston.

Fair point. You could go either way on the KG argument I think.

It's bizarre to have a collection of 3 players that are as good as the big 3.

maragin
06-15-2009, 04:44 PM
Put me on the side that says it takes a lot more than just three really good players.

Also, the Pacers will never win a championship with Granger, Hibbert, and Rush as their best three players.

ChicagoJ
06-15-2009, 04:53 PM
Well, we never won a championship with Miller, Jackson and Smits as the three best players either. So we do need to raise the bar - we need our best player to be better than Reggie ever was.

rexnom
06-15-2009, 05:41 PM
Well, we never won a championship with Miller, Jackson and Smits as the three best players either. So we do need to raise the bar - we need our best player to be better than Reggie ever was.
I'd argue we had a "balanced" team ala Detroit.

Our starting five in '00 was all near all-star level. I thought Rose was better than all three guys you mentioned and DD was an all-star that year...

speakout4
06-15-2009, 06:22 PM
With respect to speakout4, this is a case of retro-fitting evidence. His proof of the "It Takes 3" theory is a list of teams that won and three good players from each team. But were more than 3 players essential to the success? And does the success of their teams enhance our impression of those players?

I imagine the coaches of those teams would agree that the rest of their players, apart from those three, had been essential to their victories.

I think Phil Jackson has said in the past that it takes three top-level players to win championship. And he oughta know. But Jackson's way is not the only way. A really well balanced five can do it, too.
I think retro-fitting the evidence is called emprical evidence and is the method by which science and other disciplines work. I also did not suggest that other ingredients for team success did not have to be in the mix.

Sollozzo
06-15-2009, 06:23 PM
Well, we never won a championship with Miller, Jackson and Smits as the three best players either. So we do need to raise the bar - we need our best player to be better than Reggie ever was.

Granger might be able to be better than him, but that's a lot to ask for.

Utah never won a title with Stockton or Malone, and it would have been near impossible to have a duo better than those 2.

speakout4
06-15-2009, 07:00 PM
Well, we never won a championship with Miller, Jackson and Smits as the three best players either. So we do need to raise the bar - we need our best player to be better than Reggie ever was.
Lose a few more games next season than we did this last season and that may not be hard to do.

Peck
06-15-2009, 07:17 PM
How many times in the past 2 decades has that been the case? Once? I can only think of the 2004 Detroit Pistons.

I would also contend that the Spurs also somewhat fit this description. Yes Duncan is outstanding however he is not the dominate beast that Shaq was or scoring machine that Koby is so while he is superb I think he is surrounded by a team of great players.

Any of which if taken off of that team would play quality, if not starter min. for most other teams.

d_c
06-15-2009, 07:28 PM
I would also contend that the Spurs also somewhat fit this description. Yes Duncan is outstanding however he is not the dominate beast that Shaq was or scoring machine that Koby is so while he is superb I think he is surrounded by a team of great players.

Any of which if taken off of that team would play quality, if not starter min. for most other teams.

Duncan is an 11 time all-star, 2 time MVP and 3 time Finals MVP. By the end of his rookie season, most analysts were already calling him a Top 5 player in the league. He controls the interior on both ends of the floor. He's a superstar in every sense and a far greater physical freak than most people realize.

If it was the Jazz or Suns who got their hands on Duncan, they would be the ones with the 4 rings and the Spurs would be in their place right now: a well run organization getting dismissed by Duncan in the playoffs year after year.

Hicks
06-15-2009, 10:12 PM
Duncan is an 11 time all-star, 2 time MVP and 3 time Finals MVP. By the end of his rookie season, most analysts were already calling him a Top 5 player in the league. He controls the interior on both ends of the floor. He's a superstar in every sense and a far greater physical freak than most people realize.

If it was the Jazz or Suns who got their hands on Duncan, they would be the ones with the 4 rings and the Spurs would be in their place right now: a well run organization getting dismissed by Duncan in the playoffs year after year.

True, but what I think Peck is saying is that Duncan doesn't have one thing where you think "he's unstoppable". He's a superstar because he's damn good at so many things. But does he have something he does where the word "unstoppable" comes to your mind?

ChicagoJ
06-15-2009, 10:22 PM
Not anymore. But from 1999-2004 he was unstoppable in the post because of the variety of moves he had.

Hicks
06-15-2009, 10:30 PM
Yeah, I was thinking if anything it'd probably be that post up game of his.

ChicagoJ
06-16-2009, 12:19 AM
Yeah, I was thinking if anything it'd probably be that post up game of his.

Never flashy, but always solid, fundamental, effecient, and nearly unstoppable.

He will always suffer from being the most boring and fundamental superstar of the past two decades. No flash and all substance just doesn't cut it in today's NBA.

Dr. Goldfoot
06-16-2009, 12:41 AM
While the eventual champion often has some of the better players in the league, just because you have those guys doesn't guarantee anything. There are plenty of examples like

The late 90's Pistons with Stackhouse and Hill.
The Vince Carter, Jason Kidd & Jefferson Nets.
McGrady, Ming & Artest
Run TMC
The 90's Knicks with Ewing & his revolving door of sidekicks.
The Jazz
The early 90's Sonics w/ the Glove, Kemp, Det et al...
Dominique, Willis & Doc Hawks
Daugherty, Price, Nance Cav's of the late 80's early 90's

Even the last few seasons can show us that. The Suns, Nuggets & Mavs all come to mind in addition to the aforementioned Nets & Rockets.

d_c
06-16-2009, 01:35 AM
True, but what I think Peck is saying is that Duncan doesn't have one thing where you think "he's unstoppable". He's a superstar because he's damn good at so many things. But does he have something he does where the word "unstoppable" comes to your mind?

Duncan's consistently every year been one of the top 2-3 bigmen in terms of low post scoring, passing, rebounding, low post defense and help defense. He commands a double team in the post. Opposing teams' game plans against the Spurs take Duncan into account first and foremost on both ends of the floor.

Bottom line is this guy has been an absolute game changer since day 1. If he had been on another team, it would have shifted the balance of power in the entire conference.

He's just been a dominant player any way you want to figure it.

rexnom
06-16-2009, 03:20 AM
While the eventual champion often has some of the better players in the league, just because you have those guys doesn't guarantee anything. There are plenty of examples like

The late 90's Pistons with Stackhouse and Hill.
The Vince Carter, Jason Kidd & Jefferson Nets.
McGrady, Ming & Artest
Run TMC
The 90's Knicks with Ewing & his revolving door of sidekicks.
The Jazz
The early 90's Sonics w/ the Glove, Kemp, Det et al...
Dominique, Willis & Doc Hawks
Daugherty, Price, Nance Cav's of the late 80's early 90's

Even the last few seasons can show us that. The Suns, Nuggets & Mavs all come to mind in addition to the aforementioned Nets & Rockets.
The Rockets don't really count since only one of those three guys was healthy for the Lakers series. Though I guess you can argue that injuries factor in since that's a risk.

I think that "three blue chippers" plan is the best one. The key is what you do with rest of the roster. It has to be guys that are willing to play their role and only that. And they should complement the big three nicely. Ideally, it's a nice mix of cheap veterans and guys on their rookie contracts.

Unclebuck
06-16-2009, 09:01 AM
While the eventual champion often has some of the better players in the league, just because you have those guys doesn't guarantee anything. There are plenty of examples like

The late 90's Pistons with Stackhouse and Hill.
The Vince Carter, Jason Kidd & Jefferson Nets.
McGrady, Ming & Artest
Run TMC
The 90's Knicks with Ewing & his revolving door of sidekicks.
The Jazz
The early 90's Sonics w/ the Glove, Kemp, Det et al...
Dominique, Willis & Doc Hawks
Daugherty, Price, Nance Cav's of the late 80's early 90's

Even the last few seasons can show us that. The Suns, Nuggets & Mavs all come to mind in addition to the aforementioned Nets & Rockets.


You are talking about "some of the better players in the NBA" rather than the "best player" in the NBA. IMO there is a huge difference. None of those players you list were the best player. And the gap between some of the best player and the best player is huge.

Certainly the "best player" needs to get some experience on how to win in the NBA and how to get his teammates to win. So even though Jordan was the best player prior to 1991 he didn't win a championship because he didn't know how to win yet. But once he got that experience he won every year and the only two years when a team other than the Bulls won was when Michael was playing baseball and Hakeem became the best player in the NBA.

Putnam
06-16-2009, 11:36 AM
The team that wins the championship ought to be the best team. That is obvious. But I don't understand the desire to peg it to the top three players or any other number of players.

If having the three "best" or "dominant" players leads to winning and championships, there would be a strong correlation between those top three players and their team's season result. AND, that correlation would be stronger than the correlation between the best one player and wins, or the best four players and wins, etc.

That isn't the case. The correlation between teams' Top 3 players and regular season wins this past season was R-squared=.340. And the correlation is almost the same for teams' top 2 players and wins, or top 4 players and wins. The scatterplots look the same for all three comparisons. So there is nothing special about having the top three players, as opposed to having some other number of the best players. Teams with the best players win more games, but there's nothing special about three.


Of course, The Lakers this year were a very good team. Bryant was in the top 5 and Gasol in the top 10. But Odom ranked down around #69 and doesn't really deserve to be considered elite or dominating.

Boston had the best top 4 with Pierce, Rondo, Allen, Garnett.

As everyone knows, Cleveland had the #1 player, and then dropped down to Mo Williams (#48)


Yes, yes, yes, my methodology is arguable and basketball has a lot of intangible factors. I'm not saying that I've proven anything -- I'm only trying to dispute the claim that there's something special about the number three.


To be honest, I think we are subconsciously trained to be satisfied with three factors. What is the key to real estate value? "Location, location, location." What determines the value of a diamond? "Color, cut and clarity!" How many accolades lead to a "hat trick"? There are instances when more reasons or factors are included, but three is most common.

Sollozzo
06-16-2009, 01:07 PM
"unstoppable" is a subjective and hard to define term. All I know is, for 5 or 6 years Duncan was a top 3 player year in and year out. And he will go down as the best PF to ever play the game.

That has to be close to "unstoppable"

And it goes right with what UncleBuck was saying that in order to win a title you need the best player in the league. There's no doubt that in 1999 and 2003 that Duncan WAS the best player.

Hicks
06-16-2009, 01:40 PM
I don't remember the '99 Finals well at all, but wasn't that still Robinson's team then?

d_c
06-16-2009, 01:44 PM
I don't remember the '99 Finals well at all, but wasn't that still Robinson's team then?

You could say it was Robinson's team. Duncan just happened to be the team's best player, the leading scorer, leading rebounder, leading shotblocker and Finals MVP. All that in his second season in the league.

count55
06-16-2009, 01:48 PM
I don't remember the '99 Finals well at all, but wasn't that still Robinson's team then?

No, by that time, Robinson was starting to become the complementary player that he ended his career as. He still had great numbers (16 & 10, both playoffs & regular season), but Duncan had taken over.

Duncan averaged 22 & 11 in regular season, and 23 & 12 in the playoffs (including 27 & 14 in the finals).

Los Angeles
06-16-2009, 01:49 PM
I disagree with the premise lock, stock and barrel.

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. I rest my case.

ChicagoJ
06-16-2009, 01:55 PM
Duncan would have been a top-five NBA player his junior and senior years of college, but he elected to stay all four years. He was the most NBA-ready superstar since Magic and Bird took the world by storm. He would have gone #1 in the 1995 and 1996 drafts as well.

Sollozzo
06-16-2009, 02:00 PM
No, by that time, Robinson was starting to become the complementary player that he ended his career as. He still had great numbers (16 & 10, both playoffs & regular season), but Duncan had taken over.

Duncan averaged 22 & 11 in regular season, and 23 & 12 in the playoffs (including 27 & 14 in the finals).


Yep.

Duncan was the best player in the league in 1999.

Country Boy
06-16-2009, 02:02 PM
I have said for 25 years that the best way to win a championship is to have the best player in the NBA.

Yeah, you can count on getting the wink and nod from the zebras.

Sollozzo
06-16-2009, 02:05 PM
I disagree with the premise lock, stock and barrel.

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. I rest my case.


Not a practical model to follow. How often is it that you can have the best player ever along with another top 50 one?

Getting 3 really good players is much more realistic.

Besides, the Bulls teams didn't just end with Jordan and Pippen. Rodman won the rebounding title every year with Chicago and was a pretty damn good defender. So I think they fit the "3 really good players model" anyway. And before Dennis, you had Horace Grant who was a vital part to those first 3 championship teams.

Los Angeles
06-16-2009, 02:13 PM
Not a practical model to follow. How often is it that you can have the best player ever along with another top 50 one?

Getting 3 really good players is much more realistic.

Besides, the Bulls teams didn't just end with Jordan and Pippen. Rodman won the rebounding title every year with Chicago and was a pretty damn good defender. So I think they fit the "3 really good players model" anyway. And before Dennis, you had Horace Grant who was a vital part to those first 3 championship teams.

Then why must it be 3 players and not four? why 3 and not 2? Why not just say "Shaq and an amazingly gifted SG in his early 20's"?

The idea "it takes three really good players" should be immediately followed by the retort: "no it doesn't."

The idea is flawed, and the only way for it to make any sense at all is to warp your idea of what a "really good player" is so that nearly every championship team qualifies.

Of course you need great players to win games. But why is 3 a magic number? Once again, the easy and logical retort: it isn't.

rexnom
06-16-2009, 02:20 PM
I think 3 but not 4 makes sense because of cap/tax considerations.

3 guys on near max level contracts (Kobe, Odom, Gasol) leaves you with enough money to pay role players to fill the other positions. LA's problem is that once Bynum's extension kicks in, they can't really afford to keep Odom as well as their other key role players. Even this year, they barely made it - they had to trade Vlad just for financial reasons.

Why not 2? Because 3 near all-stars are better than 2 near all-stars. And not all teams are built like this, I think the Bulls years and the Kobe/Shaq era ushered in the belief that championship teams are best built with the Batman and Robin model. This model, in contrast, suggests that you can have three Robins (easier to get than a superstar Batman) and win a championship.

Sollozzo
06-16-2009, 02:25 PM
Then why must it be 3 players and not four? why 3 and not 2? Why not just say "Shaq and an amazingly gifted SG in his early 20's"?

The idea "it takes three really good players" should be immediately followed by the retort: "no it doesn't."

The idea is flawed, and the only way for it to make any sense at all is to warp your idea of what a "really good player" is so that nearly every championship team qualifies.

Of course you need great players to win games. But why is 3 a magic number? Once again, the easy and logical retort: it isn't.


Not really disagreeing with this. Just was saying it's much more practical to bank on getting 3 really good players than it is to get the best player of all time along with another top 50 all time player. And wanted to add that that example also wasn't the best because Dennis Rodman was a "really good player."

SoupIsGood
06-16-2009, 03:29 PM
Blegh. I tried to type up a response to some of this, but I think in the end you're only as good as your closing five. We should be looking to acquire players capable of closing out games on a contender. IMO, Rush stands a good chance of reaching that level, and should probably be kept around. OTOH, I'm not sure Hibbert ever will, and so I think we should probably shop him around while he's still young and has some value. (Then again I'm no Hibby-expert, so two cents.)

speakout4
06-16-2009, 06:57 PM
The original post stated that it seemed that it takes 3 very good players to make some headway in the playoffs currently;and not in the 90s, 80s which were different times. Also this did not negate other ingredients necessary to be very successful but the primary ingredient had to be 3 very good players.