In the wake of all of this blame going around to Triano and Bosh
and whoever else I thought that it might be an effective exercise to take a look at how one of the league's best teams (ORL) was constructed, compared to what we have here in Toronto.
The Magic are a good team to look at since they were in our shoes not too long ago.... a fledgling team faltering with ONE superstar (T-Mac) and a suspect roster.
ORL's GM obviously had a plan as soon as D12 was drafted (and T-Mac was shipped out) and he's done an EXCELLENT job of assembling a cast that compliments his "crown jewel" perfectly. Howard, a defensive force with some offensive touch, has been surrounded with a slew of sharp, offensive players. All of them are capable of creating their own shots off the dribble and all of them have great range. All with the purpose of maximizing their star player's talent. People scoffed when they drafted Nelson... and guffawed when they overpaid for Lewis.... but they knew exactly what they were doing.
They had a PLAN in mind. And they adhered to that vision.
They also filled their bench with players who could come in and a) hit shots and b) defend. Guys like Barnes, Pietrus & Lee (before he was traded). Young players with great athleticism.
So they have....
Howard (beast down low, defender in the paint)
Lewis and VC (all-star wing players who can create their own shots and stretch the defense with their range)
Nelson, a quick, sweet shooting PG who can play off the ball as well as bring it up.
a slew of support players (Pietrus, Barnes, J-Will, Anderson, Reddick) who can all shoot the ball and/or play decent defense (with Howard as the anchor).
Now in contrast, look at the team that surrounds OUR star.
We have in Chris Bosh, one of the most versatile offensive weapons in the league. A rare 20/10 big who's still in his mid 20's and still getting better. Certainly not as strong as D12 defensively, but unquestionably better on the other end.
And what have we surrounded him with?
a PF (who plays C) and a SF who float around the arc looking to shoot 3s. OFFENSIVE players who rarely go the rim and can't be relied upon to grab rebounds when Bosh
shoots the ball. Very little defense to speak of from either of them as well. These 2 would likely be GOLD for ORL since they'd have Howard in the middle to clean up their messes and create open shots for them... but here... they're redundant.
a couple of PGs who are steady, but lacking at the defensive end.
a SG who shows potential, but is young and is still learning and being asked to do FAR too much too soon.
a slew of wing players who don't seem to be strong at all defensively and don't offer much in the way of offense either.
Is it any wonder that we struggle?
With a centerpiece like Bosh
we SHOULD have been looking for....
a solid defensive C to clog the middle and grab rebounds (in the mold of Noah or Haywood).
a strong defender at the SF position with the ability to chip in on offense and provide great energy on both ends (i.e. Marion or Ariza)
a solid veteran SG who can defend on the perimeter and hit the open jumper (i.e. Barnes or perhaps Wafer)
and some scoring off of the bench.
What we SHOULD have done is passed on Hedo and let go of Bargs
(or traded him) and went after some other players with the available cash. Players that are strong defensively. Perhaps a SG with some scoring punch. We should have ABANDONED "team euro".
You can't build a team LIKE Orlando's unless you have exactly the same centerpiece (D12). And we don't.
You can't build build a team LIKE Phoenix's unless you have exactly the same centerpiece (Nash)... and we don't.
What we DO have to do is take a look at OUR franchise player and what he does well and then surround him with talent that compliements his strengths and minimizes his weaknesses... because the reailty is that he's a hell of a player and we'll miss him if/when he's gone.
THAT's how you build a great team IMO.
The only question now is whether it's too late to even entertain this.