This is certainly looking ahead a bit more than we need to at this point, but there is a blog discussion going on about a topic that will be very near and dear to our hearts starting about a year and a half to two years from now.
Can you build a team around a point guard?
It would seem like the answer is an obvious yes. Zach Harper of TrueHoop points out why.
What’s odd is the league is currently set up to benefit point guards. Look around and you see so many floor generals putting up insane statistics and making highlight reels. You literally can’t (hand) check them on the floor because it’s against the rules. Giving small guys with otherworldly quickness and dexterity this kind of freedom allows them to get to the middle of the floor and do what they do best -- make plays for their teammates or themselves. And yet, the idea of building your franchise around a point guard scares me.
Why would it scare him? Largely because none of the Championship teams were built around superstar point guards (remember that Rondo was just a 4th option 2nd year player in '08).
Jesse Blanchard of 48 Min. of Hell theorizes that it isn't because it is too hard to build around point guards. Rather, it is too easy. To wit:
And therein lies the problem. Because a point guard presents so much smoke and mirrors, masking teammates deficiencies, controlling tempo, and inflating statistics, it's far too easy to get caught up in his success and prematurely go all in, overvalue your own free agents, and ignore the development of the rest of your team while still having success - just not the kind of success every team should aspire to.
He goes on to look at the way teams built around Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, and Steve Nash (not a ring among them). The gist: They make their teammates so good that they don't get good draft picks and when their middle-talent free agents get major talent contracts (see Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson, etc.) there's no cap room left to add more pieces. Definitely worth the read.
So what does this mean for our future team supposedly centered around Rajon Rondo?
For one thing Danny Ainge can't count on drafting stars around him. For the next couple of years (lockout allowing) we'll be drafting later in the first round and I wouldn't expect a Rondo lead team to miss the playoffs even after the geriatric crowd moves on.
For another thing, Ainge will have to be as shrewd as Belichick in terms of knowing just how valuable his players are and understand exactly when to reward them and when to let them go on to greener pastures.
And finally, he's going to need to become an expert at the new CBA - whatever that turns out to be. With all the expiring contracts coming off the books in 2 years, he'll have the flexibility to start virtually from scratch. So the key will be to add the right kinds of players that will feed off of Rondo and lead the team back to the heights that we are currently enjoying (read: becoming spoiled by).
Oh yeah, and it would help if Doc really does decide to become a lifer coach in Boston and Ainge can manage to keep the stress to a minimum and keep plugging away at his job. That consistency and front office teamwork is will be every bit as important as the work done between the lines.