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Thread: What is the best way to build a winner?

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Default What is the best way to build a winner?

    4 teams in the Finals each with similarities and differences in assembly.

    What Wiz can learn from NBA’s Final Four


    By Michael Huberman

    CSNwashington.com

    As the NBA’s Conference Finals draw closer to determining who will play for the title, Wizards fans should examine the blueprints for how the remaining teams were built. Each matchup features teams similarly assembled, and in both instances it’s not unrealistic to see the Wizards following similar strategies.



    The Western Conference Final, featuring the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs, is a matchup of two teams who built through the draft and after securing a superstar, surrounded him with the pieces necessary to compete for a championship. Now, both teams were fortunate to be bad in years when a can’t-miss prospect was available in the draft. In the case of the Spurs, they landed the #1 pick in the 1997 Draft, which they used to select Tim Duncan. The Thunder, then the Seattle Supersonics, secured the #2 pick in the 2007 Draft, which they used on Kevin Durant.



    Duncan has gone on to become arguably one of the ten greatest players in NBA history, and was the anchor for the Spurs teams that won four NBA championships from 1999-2007. Durant, only 23, is already a three-time NBA scoring champion, and has the Thunder a game away from their first finals appearance since the team moved to Oklahoma City.



    The Spurs, widely considered to have one of the shrewdest front-offices in the NBA, has added piece after piece through the draft, including finding steals with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and valuable role players like DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, and Kawhi Leonard.



    It shouldn’t come as a shock that Thunder GM Sam Presti worked his way up through the Spurs organization, and since becoming the Thunder GM has utilized a similar blueprint to build his team. In 2008 the team picked UCLA PG Russell Westbrook, now one of the NBA’s best young point guards, and also hit home runs with their selections of Serge Ibaka and James Harden.



    Looking at the Spurs and Thunder, Wizards fans should take solace in knowing that hitting on 3-4 draft picks can be huge steps in building a consistent contender. With a still-improving John Wall leading the way, and Kevin Seraphin and Jan Vesely still developing, the number three pick in this draft becomes that much more important. If the Wizards can find a Russell Westbrook to John Wall’s Kevin Durant, and the role players continue to grow, then they could be one crucial step closer to becoming a playoff contender.



    On the other hand, there’s the Eastern Conference Final between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, who both built their teams around respective “Big 3’s” and surrounded them with whatever talent they had and could find.



    Coming off the 2006-2007 season, in which Celtics reached the lowest of lows, at one point losing 18-straight games, the team hoped their 24-58 record would be bad enough to allow them to either select Greg Oden or Durant. However the Celtics received the 5th selection in the lottery, and traded that pick (Georgetown’s Jeff Green) and players to Seattle for Ray Allen. With both Allen and Paul Pierce in the fold, the Celtics then traded five players and two draft picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett, thus forming the “Big Three”.


    The Celtics also had some nice, but inexperienced, players in Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe and Glen Davis to go along with veterans James Posey and PJ Brown. The new-look Celtics went on to put up a 66-16 record in the regular season on the way to winning an NBA record 17th championship. Since then they have lost in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals and are currently tied 2-2 in an epic battle with the Heat.



    After Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal led the Heat to the 2006 NBA title, the team went thorough a rebuilding phase not unlike the one the Wizards have been going through after their run of playoff teams in the mid 2000’s. Despite having one of the league’s top players in Wade, the Heat were unable to surround him with the players needed to compete for a title, highlighted by selecting Michael Beasley at #2 in the 2008 NBA draft, ahead of Westbrook and Kevin Love.

    After a first round exit in 2010, the Heat headed into the offseason with almost $46 million in cap space, in a year where Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh were all free agents. The rest is history and while this trio has yet to win their first (or second, or third, or fourth, or fifth, or sixth, or seventh) title, and their surrounding cast is still very much suspect, they are still in contention to do so, with a pivotal Game 5 tonight in Miami.



    Washington, DC isn’t South Beach and the Wizards don’t have the history of the Celtics, but they have the financial means to attract and secure marquee NBA talent. If John Wall becomes one of the premier point guards in the league, and the Wizards strike gold with the #3 pick, then you could justifiably envision a scenario where a third star, either by trade or as a free agent, can be convinced Washington is the place to be to win a championship.



    Either way, the teams still competing for the Larry O’Brien trophy have followed paths the Wizards may soon find themselves choosing.


    http://www.csnwashington.com/basketb...0&feedID=10480

    I don't think there is any one way to guarantee to build a winner. Each method above has been met with more failures than success.

    What do you think and how should the Raptors proceed?

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    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    Through the draft. Raps have too many holes to fill to be "hitting the ground running" right now.

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    Raptors Republic Starter IROR's Avatar
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    Agreed. Boston and Miami are also A-list destinations for superstar players, unlike San Antonio and OKC.
    The only way for teams like the Raptors to build a contender it thru the draft. Which is why I'm opposed to dumping prospects to pick up Iggy (Rudy Gay is a different story).
    Even though BC's contract is up next year, he shouldn't sell the farm for a bottom seed playoff team. I like the trajectories of Memphis and Indiana as models for the Raps. Draft well, accumulate talent, and if you can't get a superstar in the draft then go with depth and a key FA signing or trade (like D West to the Pacers or Z Bo and Tony Allen for the Grizz).
    With the amount of talent those teams have, they could now trade for that coveted superstar if desired. Raps should follow the same course to get to a championship level, because they won't be able to buy themselves a big 3 any time soon..

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Puffer's Avatar
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    Do what ever is necessary to steal away the scouts/talent evaluators from OKC or the Spurs. That's where you should put your money. It pays off.

    Spend the bucks to get the Bball equivalent of the Moneyball evaluators.

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    Raptors Republic Starter AJ360's Avatar
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    Quote ceez wrote: View Post
    Through the draft. Raps have too many holes to fill to be "hitting the ground running" right now.
    I agree that the raptors need to build through the draft, but this is now year 4 in the lottery. Its been mentioned in other threads that the cap space that the raptors have will simply not be available next summer or the summer after that because of signing Demar/Ed/JB to non-rookie contracts. Even though we've only technically finished year 2 of a true rebuild, I truly believe now is this time to take some chances.

    Say we get Nash and Gay/AI, we still have the full MLE at our disposal, bi-annual exception and JV coming over.

    At worst that is a tough out in round 1, likely a 2nd round team with JV continuing to improve.

    WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE PLAYOFFS HERE!

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    Raptors Republic Starter torch19's Avatar
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    You need to have a vision and the proper system in place.
    ... Hopefully DC is the solution, but management has to buy in as well.

    You need to have talent -- more 2 way players.
    ... We are in desperate need.

    You need a 1 who can handle his own (it's the toughest position in the new NBA, with all these PG's coming).
    ... I sincerely do not think Nash or Jose is the answer to this. We need an athletic 1.

    You need a defensive anchor.
    ... Hopefully, Jonas ?

    You need balance of shot creators and spot up shooters.
    ... As of now, we have 1 guy who can get his shot off against opposition; Andrea Bargnani. In terms of perimeter players, we have zero; not one guy can break their man off the dribble and get a bucket; maybe Jerryd Bayless is the closest one we have.

    Man, we need so much. The list doesn't even include a capable bench.
    “I don’t create controversies. They’re there long before I open my mouth. I just bring them to your attention.”

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    I agree you have to build through the draft. Even Boston had Pierce before bringing over KG and Ray, and Miami had Wade before bringing over LBJ and Bosh.

    You gotta have atleast one star to build around.

    Getting Rudy would be amazing, but it's a short term solution considering his contract would hold you back from any other significant moves. On the other hand if JV proves to be a stud then that move would make sense, however since he hasn't played an NBA minute you can't assume he will be. Hopefully this is just more BC chatter to sell the season ticket holders on an exciting season much like he tried to get fans excited about the Bosh TPE.

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    Raptors Republic Starter c_bcm's Avatar
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    Default Balance is key.

    OKC is a special case and should not necessarily be used as the standard for "building through the draft". They got lucky. Many teams have tried building through the draft and failed: Washington and Sacramento immediately come to mind. As in every case in life, balance is key. Draft the best player available when you can/forced to. Sometimes this means you're adding depth to your team (Davis, Demar), and sometimes it means to hit big (Durant, Westbrook, ...hopefully JV). Then go out and acquire the best players you can with the money you have.

    You can't hope for anything better than this. If you do, then you're hoping to get lucky and that will just drive you nuts!

    I would be far more happy to watch a TEAM play than individual talent. This may come from my more purist tendencies, but I enjoy a great pass, or fluid ball movement to isolation after isolation. Build me a team in the model of Indiana or Memphis and I'll be excited about Raptors basketball again.

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    Super Moderator thead's Avatar
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    Quote c_bcm wrote: View Post
    OKC is a special case and should not necessarily be used as the standard for "building through the draft".

    If they only got one player that turned into a stud I would consider it luck...but they got

    Kevin Durant, Russel Westbrook, Jeff Green, James Harden and Serge Ibaka....at some point you just
    have to conceed that their front office knows what they are doing. OKC front office knows how to roll

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    Raptors Republic Superstar planetmars's Avatar
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    The ideal way to build a winner is OKC's model but they were Charlotte bad for a few years, and they would not be the same team if they got Oden instead of Durant so there was a lot of luck despite how good their front office is.

    Ultimately the 'best' way to build a winner is copying Miami's and Boston's. If you want a short turn around from being a toilet to being a contender you gamble big. The problem is Toronto doesn't have the pieces to pull off a Boston move (and are there any veterans in the league that are alpha's on their respective teams that would move in a trade right now)? And in the case of Miami they don't have the free agency lure that Miami or NY would have.

    Toronto could always try to get Garnett, Nash and Duncan (although Duncan ain't going anywhere). That team would be old as molasses but would probably be a contender in a year.

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    Raptors Republic Starter c_bcm's Avatar
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    Quote thead wrote: View Post
    If they only got one player that turned into a stud I would consider it luck...but they got

    Kevin Durant, Russel Westbrook, Jeff Green, James Harden and Serge Ibaka....at some point you just
    have to conceed that their front office knows what they are doing. OKC front office knows how to roll
    The luck is more so that they got Durant and Westbrook. Harden, Ibaka, and Green are good role players that complement the other two very well. the OKC model is to draft 2 studs and then draft their complementary players. You can't set this as the standard for every lottery team to follow as the best way to build a contender. Has there ever been another example of a team being constructed like this?
    Sure their front office knows what they are doing. But its easy to look like genius' when you have to find complementary players for KD and RW, who will come to dominate their respective positions for the next decade or so. You can't say that this is the best way because it will probably never happen again, and will probably never have an opportunity to happen again.

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    Raptors Republic Starter omgsomuchpotential's Avatar
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    Quote thead wrote: View Post
    If they only got one player that turned into a stud I would consider it luck...but they got

    Kevin Durant, Russel Westbrook, Jeff Green, James Harden and Serge Ibaka....at some point you just
    have to conceed that their front office knows what they are doing. OKC front office knows how to roll
    2007 - 2nd pick
    2008 - 4th pick
    2009 - 3rd pick / 24th (Ibaka seems like the only piece of a puzzle that could be a sign of good scouting work by their front office)

    Having two top 3 picks plus one 4th pick three years in a row does look like a string of good luck. They got Durant, Westbrook while maintaining poor performance to get a high pick in Harden plus picked Ibaka. You can't really tell me it could've ended up any better for OKC. To be able to build such a young, talented core through draft only is very lucky.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Miekenstien's Avatar
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    i think the best way is to keep an open mind and continuously improve by whatever means are available. whether or not it's trade/draft and i think that free agency should be the last way, used to improve on and finish your product.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar planetmars's Avatar
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    Quote omgsomuchpotential wrote: View Post
    2007 - 2nd pick
    2008 - 4th pick
    2009 - 3rd pick / 24th (Ibaka seems like the only piece of a puzzle that could be a sign of good scouting work by their front office)

    Having two top 3 picks plus one 4th pick three years in a row does look like a string of good luck. They got Durant, Westbrook while maintaining poor performance to get a high pick in Harden plus picked Ibaka. You can't really tell me it could've ended up any better for OKC. To be able to build such a young, talented core through draft only is very lucky.
    Cleveland looks like the team currently trying to build like OKC.

    They had the 1st and 4th pick last year, and 4th pick again this year. They were right with Irving.. TT could end up being good (but I'm not sure he's all-star material). If they get a stud at 4 this year, they will be very good in a few years.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star slaw's Avatar
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    Let's stop with the luck nonsense for OKC and SA. Minnesota got "lucky" and got Kevin Garnett. How did that work out for them? Toronto had Vince Carter but couldn't take advantage. The Cavs got Lebron but they made a series of bad FA decisions that eventually put the team on a downward trajectory despite having the best player in the NBA.

    OKC and SA weren't lucky. They were smart. They surrounded their superstar with great players. Exceptionally good drafting by both teams, smart trades, good coaching hires, and a strong commitment from ownership to winning is what worked. Same thing in Boston and Miami. Very little luck was involved. It was all about planning, good trades, good coaching and a commitment from ownership and management to do whatever it took to win.

    Even now in Toronto the goal isn't to get to the ECF with a chance at the Finals. The goal is to get back in the playoffs, so that Colangelo and Company get their extensions. I don't have the magic formula for building a winner but I know how to get started: Watch what the Toronto Raptors do. Do the opposite.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote slaw wrote: View Post
    Let's stop with the luck nonsense for OKC and SA. Minnesota got "lucky" and got Kevin Garnett. How did that work out for them? Toronto had Vince Carter but couldn't take advantage. The Cavs got Lebron but they made a series of bad FA decisions that eventually put the team on a downward trajectory despite having the best player in the NBA.

    OKC and SA weren't lucky. They were smart. They surrounded their superstar with great players. Exceptionally good drafting by both teams, smart trades, good coaching hires, and a strong commitment from ownership to winning is what worked. Same thing in Boston and Miami. Very little luck was involved. It was all about planning, good trades, good coaching and a commitment from ownership and management to do whatever it took to win.

    Even now in Toronto the goal isn't to get to the ECF with a chance at the Finals. The goal is to get back in the playoffs, so that Colangelo and Company get their extensions. I don't have the magic formula for building a winner but I know how to get started: Watch what the Toronto Raptors do. Do the opposite.
    The luck was how they acquired the superstar (Duncan and Durant).

    Anyone who says the respective teams didn't do the rest with their own hard work and decision making is not giving the teams the credit they deserve.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Bendit's Avatar
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    There is no substitute for talent. Hence spotting it even in the lower reaches of the draft system or making trades for players other teams think of as being disposable. A good coach and discipline to stay the course with "the plan" and philosophy. I believe this is the Spurs way. Time tested. Utah was/is the same though not as successful but always in the mix.

    And then it helps being bad when the upcoming draft class is stocked.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    thing to remember with okc and sas though is both teams hit home runs EVERY SINGLE DRAFT. that said, BC is a excellent drafter.
    @jerboat

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote ceez wrote: View Post
    thing to remember with okc and sas though is both teams hit home runs EVERY SINGLE DRAFT. that said, BC is a excellent drafter.
    For every Manu, Parker, and Leonard, there are a million Spurs picks nobody has heard of. The idea that everything SA touches turns to gold, is inaccurate.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    dude look at their first round pick history, nevermind they drafted guys like scola, manu, dragic, and blair in the second. a couple of which got flipped for important role players.
    @jerboat

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