I've read several places on here, that the Pacers should try to build a team more like the Pistons if they want to win a championship.
The Pistons are an extremely rare case.
If you look at ANY modern championship team in the NBA, each of them had that one special player. That one player that was taken extremely early in the draft. That one player you can easily build an entire franchise on.
The Pistons are the ONLY team that didn't have that one player. The Pistons are the exception to the rule. They won a championship with several very good players, but let's be honest, the Pistons don't have a top 5 player in the NBA, like any other modern championship team. We could argue all day about who Detroit's best player is. You can't count on building a championship squad like that. Did it work for the Pistons? Obviously, but like I said, they're an exception to the rule. Let's look at the past champions besides the 2004 Pistons.
1999, 2003: Spurs(Duncan)
1991-1993, 1996-1998: Bulls(Jordan)
1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988: Lakers (Magic)
1981, 1984, 1986: Celtics
1983: Sixers: (Dr. J)
Isn't it fascinating that since 1980, only 7 franchises have won NBA championships? The Sixers were the only single time winner.
That's every NBA champion since 1980. What do they all have in common? They had that one superstar, that one player you could count on to lead you to the promise land, that special guy who you knew would take over when the game was on the line. That's how you build a championship team. Outside of 2004, a team of "several good players", but no superior superstar never wins the championship.
Let me clearly state that I am not knocking the Pistons at all. Their formula worked for THEM, but no other franchise can count on putting several very good players together like that and taking home the big prize.
The Pacers have never had that special player. Reggie was an exciting player to watch. But let me clearly state, while he is a first ballot hall of famer, he was never one of THE BEST players in the NBA. The BEST meaning top 5 or so. Reggie found a niche, and road it for 18 years. That brought alot of excitement to Indiana, and it was a great ride. But Reggie was never a player that was on par with Jordan, Shaq, Duncan, whomever.
Do the Pacers have that special player in Jermaine O'Neal? The answer to that question will determine the future of the Pacers for the next several years. JO has the talent, that's obvious. But if JO can turn into the perfect leader, the guy you can count on to take you all the way, then we may see a banner hanging from Conseco a couple of years down the road.