MAVNALYSIS: To Star Or Not To Star
To prove the thesis for the Dallas Mavericks (or any other franchise with title aspirations), look at the eight teams who made the second round of the playoffs this season.
SA has three stars and has been a perennial power with four titles by building around them ... Duncan, Ginobili, Parker
Miami has been one of the top 2-3 teams in the NBA since joining 3 stars ...Lebron, Bosh, Wade
Boston won a title and has been a power since having 3 stars (or 4) ...Garnett, Allen, Pierce, (and arguably Rondo)
LA has been a powerhouse with 2 titles by adding Gasol ... Gasol, Bryant, Bynum
OKC is now one of the West powers with multi-stars ... Durant, Westbrook (and arguably Harden and maybe even a coming Ibaka)
LAC went from the lottery to a power by combining stars ....Paul, Griffin
Indy and Philly are the only two teams of the final eight that DON'T fit the model - and may fall way short of a title because they don't fit the model.
Looking further, we see there are one or two teams with multiple stars that didn't make it this far (I'm counting NY with Melo and Amare, and maybe we should include Atlanta with Smith and Johnson). While some use this as evidence that the model is broken, look further. Both made the playoffs but were eliminated, and notice who sent them home -- other teams with multiple stars! NY was bounced by Miami, and Atlanta by Boston.
Notice also that 20 teams with one star or less didn't get this far. So based on 2012 the odds of getting to the final eight look like this:
With two or more stars ...6 of 8 (75%) made it
With one or less stars ...2 of 22 (9%) made it
Based on those numbers, the path to the top is clear: you need to have two or more stars if you want the best shot at going very far in the playoffs. The problem with the star model isn't that it doesn't work ...but that:
a) it's hard to make it happen and get the multiple stars; The execution of the 3D Blueprint, or anything resembling it, doesn't just grow on trees
b) there will be several teams with multiple stars, and only one of them can win a title each year.
Our man Chuck Perry is right to wonder about the SuperTeam Era in terms of being concerned about whether you have the right people. And as DB.com demonstrates here, trying to fit the personalities as well as the money all in one neat package is a challenge, too.
But swinging for the personnel home run is the way of the future ... as well as the way of the past.
How about title teams? Didn't the Mavs win with only one star? Yes, Dirk was clearly the Mavs only star, and they won a title over a team with three - but over the last 20 years, that's not been the way to win a title.
In that span, 17 of the 20 titles were won by teams with two or more legit stars. The only three by teams with one star or less were won by:
Dallas - only Dirk (assuming you don't count Kidd)
Detroit - no stars (while the Pistons had 5 All-Stars in Wallace, Wallace, Prince, Hamilton, and Billups, none scored 18ppg or had a PER at 19 or more)
Houston 1994 - only Olajuwon (Houston's one-star model changed to a multiple star model the second title year, as they added Hall-of-Famer Drexler, who produced 21p, 7r, 4a, 22 PER)
If we go back further to the 80s, we see the decade dominated by the multi-star rosters in Boston (Bird, McHale, Parrish), LA (Kareem, Magic, Worthy), and Philly (Moses Malone, Dr J).
The evidence is clear - the Mavs need MORE superstars. Two at least. "Get younger''? Fine. ""Spend now vs. later''? Valid arguments. "Reload in the Dirk Era''? Sure. But let's be clear: The issue shouldn't be about whether they will help, but rather in figuring out how to get them. If you want to win titles, it typically takes stars - so it says here you better getcha some when you have the chance.
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