FanPost

NYMAG - The Race for Fourth Place

Here's an interesting article from writer Will Leitch from New York Magazine. There's some tidbits here for C's fans on KG, Pierce and the C's 08 Team. I'll put them in quotes below. I suggest reading the full article as it's always interesting seeing the prospective from the other side.

http://nymag.com/news/sports/games/knicks-nets-2013-11/

So this off-season, unsatisfied with their successful but ultimately disappointing first season, the Nets attacked. First they brought in franchise icon (and recent Knick) Jason Kidd to coach. Then they made the all-in move to end all all-in moves, bringing in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston for one last championship run, a brash move that left Knicks owner Jim Dolan sputtering—trading for the Raptors’ Andrea Bargnani and then suddenly demoting general manager Glen Grunwald.

But let’s not kid ourselves: Acquiring Garnett and Pierce was a crazy, potentially devastating move, and it’s going to start a competition that might very well destroy both franchises—one in which each seems more focused on besting the other (often in the papers) than on competing with the rest of the NBA. It’s a kind of mutually assured destruction.

More than in any other league, in the NBA teams tend to think that if you’re not building a championship contender, you’re not building anything at all. Because one player can make so much difference in basketball, the number of teams that can legitimately call themselves championship contenders is extremely small—no matter how good Barry Bonds or Dan Marino were, they needed a supporting cast much more than Michael Jordan did or LeBron James does. And the need to build around superstars means there are no dark-horse champions in the NBA. In Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NHL, if you just sneak into the playoffs, you could get hot at the right time and win the whole thing. (Ask the St. Louis Cardinals or, for that matter, the New York Giants.) But of all the NBA title winners of the past 30 years, only three (the ’03–’04 Pistons, the ’07–’08 Celtics, and the ’10–’11 Mavericks) didn’t win multiple championships.

Thus, the success of San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Those are two franchises, located in smallish towns with patient, loyal fan bases and generally sedate local media, that have taken the long view: Each found a superstar and built around him slowly, with no concern for headlines or tabloid shit-shows. They were careful with the salary cap, never traded away draft picks, and were happy to pick an international player who might not help them for a few years. They were … prudent. The next tier of teams is working on the same model, and while the ’07–’08 Boston Celtics (led by much younger versions of Pierce and Garnett) are the obvious outlier example, a team of superstars thrown together on the fly that managed to win a championship, theirs is the only real success story of that kind in the salary-cap era.

And their trade this off-season for Pierce and Garnett—two aging stars too old to win much for the last team they played for—is tragic confirmation that the Nets are on the same suicide track as the Knicks. They’ve now mortgaged even more of the future than the Knicks have. With the trade, the Nets not only have no space or money to add players, they now own only one draft pick—a piddly second-rounder—until 2018. That is so self-­destructive that NBA rules actually ban it: You’re not allowed to trade first-round draft picks in consecutive years, something the Nets of course found a way around.

Be respectful and keep it clean. Thanks.

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