There have been a few threads since the Spurs won this years championship regarding the best way (actually most of them have been about"The Only Way") to build a championship team, and I've yet to chime in on them so I decided to vomit out some of my feelings about this and a few other things.
1) I'll veer immediately off course and say my first thoughts on Lebron James declaring his opting out of his contract was "what a jerk". Feeling he was clearly trying to make himself the NBA story....it was 10 days after the Spurs won so maybe I was wrong...still "what a jerk"
2) With all the comments about how the Spurs weren't a bunch of superstars ala the Heat, maybe we need to redefine what a superstar is. ..or just put that term back up on the shelf.....who was the first "Superstar"? (Obviously Jesus) but in sports. Joe Namath?...Hey, let's travel over to that bastion of mis-information wikipedia for their cut at it.
Origin of term
Frederick Wellington "Cyclone" Taylor - the world's first designated "Superstar."
In the 1960s and 1970s Andy Warhol popularized the term "Superstar" to describe people like actress Mary Woronov, star of Chelsea Girls, who started out dancing with The Velvet Underground. See also Warhol Superstar.
The origin of the term in the context of celebrity is uncertain, but a similar expression is attested in The Cricketers of My Time, a famous cricket book by John Nyren about the Hambledon Club. Writing in 1832, Nyren described the outstanding 18th-century batsman John Small as "a star of the first magnitude".
The earliest use of the term "superstar" has been credited to Frank Patrick in reference to the great hockey players on his Vancouver Millionaires teams of the 1910s-1920s, specifically Cyclone Taylor.
The term was later used in the 1960s by Andy Warhol: "A friend of mine named Ingrid from New Jersey came up with a new last name, just right for her new, loosely defined show-business career. She called herself "Ingrid Superstar." I'm positive Ingrid invented that word. At least, I invite anyone with "superstar" clippings that predate Ingrid's to show them to me. The more parties we went to, the more they wrote her name in the papers, Ingrid Superstar, and "superstar" was starting its media run. Ingrid called me a few weeks ago. She's operating a sewing machine now. But her name is still going. It seems incredible, doesn't it?" (Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol)
Excellent, Cyclone Taylor...we need another guy nick-named Cyclone in sports even if just Ironically...
3) Drafting for success vs trading vs free agency.
The Boston Globe (they appear to be a newspaper of some kind) printed a graphic recently of how the last 10 championship teams were built
Here's a link to it. And 82Games did one a few years back which is right here. NBADraft.net has a nice article on this from a few years ago Right here. What these show is there's no clear cut way to build one of these teams and some kind of mix of the 3 is usually the reality. ....and luck...and having your GM be just a bit less stupid than the other GM's
One of the undeniable realities of the NBA is that all teams are built through the draft . Why? Because 99.9999% of players in the NBA were drafted...by somebody. The nature of the NBA beast is that even crappily run teams get lucky (Cleveland) yet still step in a bag of puppy-poo in building a championship caliber team because they're stupid. Wrong players or mix of players picked, wrong decisions made about who or how to keep them etc etc....(Let's imagine if a GM/Ownership that was even somewhat on the ball had the balls fall in their favor like the Cavs have over the last few years...WWMoreyD or WWPrestiD)...of course a semi competent front office would have made moves that would have excluded them from gathering that many assets, but it's fun to think about
I think that there are outliers to this mix (he Thunder who pretty much exclusively built through the draft and, if not for their weeping about the luxury tax and trading Hardin, could certainly have won a championship over the last couple years, The Heat formula of FA was a brilliant coup as much as I hate them of right time, right place, right circumstances. The Sixers even have a plan, and luck (so far) and what appears to be a measure of competence...maybe no one wants to be a Sixers fan this year or next but 3 years from now? Just with the assets they've gathered are probably going to be pretty amazing.
So what's the point? That there's always going to be some mix of how to build a team built to win the championship but the main unsaid variable....patience, buy low, sell high and don't get backed into a corner.
4) There's no way to compare eras in building a championship team. This years Spurs team harks back to the old Celtics teams built on Drafting, astute trades and there being 9 teams in the league and 10 rounds in the draft and no free agency. That's no epiphany on my part but it's a different playing field. File this under random thoughts but if there were only say 10 teams now a days and we whittled away 300 players that would never have seen an NBA court and redistributed the rest of the 150, there'd be a severe Wow factor and the best team would certainly be one with the savviest GM. That discounts the international influx but it's interesting to think about.
5) Nuff said.