The key to the success of the 1980s Pistons, the 1990s Bulls and the current champion Spurs are all similar - it is having a core of players over coming adversity as a team. For these ball clubs, the championship trophy was not handed to them that easy. Their core players had to take it from the best which is baptism by fire. Their core players had to grind it out both physically and mentally with the best which in the process has made them better players skill wise and mentally. In fact, before they can be champions they had to understand what it takes to be champions. For every frustrations from a defeat or a tough loss, they had to come back stronger instead of folding up by improving on their skills and mental state until they can topple their tormentors.
The 1980s Pistons core players had to endure watching our very own Celtics triumph over them for many years. At some point they were on the verge of winning but a mistake by them combined with a great play by Larry Bird and Dennis Johnson had sent them packing with the promise of next year. When the Pistons finally won the Eastern Conference championship, with their core players intact, the Celtics just walked past them without any congratulatory handshake as to say "Ok young pups you deserve the win this time." I believe that the gesture from the Celtics players is not arrogance nor lack of sportsmanship. Perhaps, the Celtics players knew that the Pistons had deserved the win but they had to add to the fuel in the winners belly to prove to them that they are really the best by taking the NBA championship - which they did twice in a row.
The Bulls, before they became dominant, had also a young core who had experienced adversity at the hands of the Pistons. Michael Jordan, with all his skills, had to learn that he can not single handedly defeat the Pistons with all their antics. Jordan and the Bulls had to learn playing as a team and to become mentally composed before they were able to defeat the Pistons only to get the same treatment of no-hand shake after their victory.
The Spurs also had a core who experienced a lot of adversity together. They had proven once more that team play coupled with experience playing together wins championships even with the formation of "super teams" such as the Heat.
I just wonder what would have happened if Paul Pierce had better support during his early years aside from Walker. I believe the front office then failed to pair him with a winner whom he should have journeyed together to a championship. Regardless, Pierce and Walker did leave their legacy together as a Celtics with clutch playoff performances in the early 2000s but that alone was not enough to get them a ring.
Now that we are in the rebuild, I had high hopes that Ainge will do a nice job of assembling a good core and let them play and learn to win together. With our current players, I believe that if they can stick together for at least 3 years they can find ways to win while we keep on adding good pups every draft for our current players to pass the tradition moving forward.