The DNA of a perrenial championship-contender is changing. Or at least it's come full circle to return to resemble what it once was. The "Big Three" method to team-building has long been existed, but nowadays, it seems like teams are trying to inject that apporach with a little bit more. Today's top-tier squads are built to acquire as many superstars as fiscally possible. Fortunately for other teams, most front offices take little consideration into whether or not these mini All Star teams will actually work well together. Instead, they shoot for the stars and assume Dwight Howard can succeed alongside Kobe, Nash, and Gasol. Usually, they're enormously successful (Heat), but other times they prove to be a bust (Lakers). Either way, the line dividing the league's best and worst teams has never been so clear.
I took time to think back to ten or fifteen years ago, and was able to see the blatant differences in team-building. During those years, the best NBA teams were built of powerful duos, with appropriate role players mixed in. Stockton and Malone, Jordan and Pippen, Kobe and Shaq -- to name a few. An obvious advantage to this method (from a league wide perspective), was a more evenly distributed wealth of talent. Less bottom feeders, and more competition for playoff spots. In today's NBA, each conference has five or six teams that are sure to make the playoffs, and we can usually predict the last few seeds early on. We all know that the Celtics were among the first teams to really renew the Big Three approach, but since then it has turned into more of a "Big Five" approach. The most current example here is the Nets, whom now start five players with a combined 35 All Star appearances. Additionally, the Knicks and Clippers have continued to load on the talent.
I guess the points I'm trying to make is that the NBA is separating itself into two sides. The small city/small market teams are going to struggle to recover from where the NBA stands today. Major powerhouses reside in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago, and Houston -- major cities. Indiana and Golden State have managed to stay afloat with smaller markets, but in years coming, many of the lesser teams in the league are going to fall even deeper. The draft can only help so much, and when today's stars are established younger than ever, we're in for a long stay of big market dominance.
Despite being a storied franchise, it seems like a lot of current stars don't want to play in Boston because it's not as big of a market. Building major contenders in major cities is just too convenient. Can the Celtics work around the current blueprint and build a contender?