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Old 03-26-2012, 11:26 PM   #73 (permalink)
moremilk
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don't like that article for a number of reasons:

1. wallace might have been a good player in the past, and maybe he still is very good, but he's getting old. For somebody who relies on his athletic abilities, he'll see a major drop in performance. He may hold on like marion for a number of years and be a solid piece, but he's not going to dominate defensively like he did even two years ago.

2. let's not discount the salaries - a rookie will make 7 million less than wallace and with the difference you could acquire a really good second player.

3. good teams become great and so on - this is where I have a major issue with the article. First, the NBA is such a sport that once you become good, you're very likely to remain good for a long time. It's an elitist sport, where it's difficult to join the club, but once in, you're made. That's because there are only a few really good players in every generation (15-29 years) and they tend to stick with their first good team. So Dallas, SA, Lakers, Miami - they've all been very good for almost a decade or so. It's extremely difficult to do it, because often you need to get lucky multiple times (SAS getting #1 in Duncan, but also finding outstanding players really late in the draft in Parker and Manu).
So yes, good teams tend to stay good and even winning the lottery is not a ticket to success. Ultimately you need good management AND a lot of luck among other things.

But, if you want to be taken seriously (as a writer) and not just as somebody pushing his own theory to the front, you need to evaluate the opposite scenario as well. How many teams in the modern NBA history have made the jump from average to excellent without getting really lucky (finding a superstar late in the draft, being able to pull a wildly unbalanced trade etc). How often does a strategy like the one employed by Houston pays off, and how often it pays off for a team in an unattractive market etc.

I don't have the numbers, only my memory of recent seasons. And I only recall a single team being able to pull it off, Detroit, and there was quite a bit of luck involved there as well, not least the timing of it (very weak conference those years and towards the end of the Lakers dynasty). A lot more teams did it through the draft, especially in small markets (SAS, Atlanta, OKC, Memphis, even Minesotta is drafting their way to a really good team and there really are a lot of examples).

And the list of teams who got to a certain level and got stuck in .500 land for years and years is also very long (Houston, Indiana of a few years ago, 76ers in AI's time, NJ with Carter and Kidd, Dallas, Seattle, Chicago (before Rose), Boston (before KG), Minesotta (with KG), even VC's Toronto Raptors. Occasionally, a team like Dallas or 76ers will rise to the top or near it, but for the most part, these teams are condemned to a life of average/good regular seasons followed by a short playoff run and futile promises of a better future.
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