Cavs had junk when they drafted James. Spurs got lucky. I don't think you can count drafting a player 1st overall as a situation where you built the team and then got the player.
I think better examples would be Pistons and then acquiring Rasheed.
Bucks acquiring Sprewell.
Knicks acquiring Sprewell.
Jazz acquiring Boozer, Okur.
Mavericks with all the guys they have brought in over the years.
I think the essence of the question is, or at least the way i interpreted it was, is it better to target a franchise player, acquire him, then build a team around him, OR, keep stockpiling assets, acquire players who could be cornerstones of your team, then either wait for a franchise player to come along or trade for or sign a franchise player once your team has been established.
And for all those who answer "The Draft" how long are you going to patiently wait around at the bottom of the league hoping to grab the number one or two draft pick? And how are you going to ensure your draft pick is, in fact, a franchise player? There is a long list of number one or number two picks who have not fulfilled that promise, either because it turned out they didn't have the tools, the work ethic, or else they were injured and it never worked out.
Not saying the draft doesn't work, but every year is a crap shoot. How often does the worst team get the #1 pick? How often does that pick lift a team from the bottom to the top? And how often does that pick stay with the team as opposed to going someplace else once their rookie contract obligations are over?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Last edited by Nilanka; Fri Aug 17th, 2012 at 12:00 PM.
"I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder
I maybe a minority here, actually, im sure i am, but im not really favorable on the draft. Like you said, its a crapshoot. So i'd rather build, then pin my hopes on acquiring an NBA proven talent rather than rely on potential.
Unless a franchise player is added via the draft, I think building the team first will almost always be the answer. The best teams are those that build solid rosters, even with constantly moving parts. That will set a team up for sustainable success, even if the 'franchise player' comes and goes.
The worst approach is what Cleveland tried with LBJ, where they build an inferior roster around a superstar, because of multiple bad reasons:
- add players the superstar likes (or extend and overpay them)
- add high priced veterans on the downside of their career, because fans/media push it as being the right thing to do, especially in a 'win now' mindset for fear of your star player leaving (the team lives on long afer the superstar leaves/retires)
- try to add players with very specific skillsets to compliment the stuperstar, rather than just building the best team possible
- losing cap flexibility (due to superstar's salary and other bad salaries), which limits what GM can do and who they can add, so it's always a stop-gap and/or high risk/reward type acquisitions
Toronto tried a similar approach with Bosh. The biggest problem for Toronto though, when compared to Cleveland, was that Bosh wasn't a true #1 option superstar who should ever be build around.
The bottom line is that the best possible team should always be the goal, one that is balanced (ie: complimentary skillsets, roles, mix of vets and young players) and highly skilled on both ends of the court, that maintains roster flexibility (ie: by staggering contract lengths to allow for potential cap space every offseason and/or limiting bad contracts). Taking this approach will lure better players, possibly even superstars, and by continually improving the overall roster it should be full of valuable trade chips.
Too many franchises (and their fanbases) expect teams to go from crap to contenders overnight, whether it's through drafting, free agency or trades. It's a long process, especially if you want it to be sustainable for the long-term, where the overall talent level in continuously improving. You add a savvy scouting department to help draft better and unearth 'diamond-in-the-rough' free agents and identify players on other teams who are good but just haven't gotten the playing time due to depth chart issues, as well as a coaching staff that can get the most from their players both individually and as a whole.
I would argue that getting the superstar first is more luck than anything else. It really isn't a model to be followed, as there are really only a handful of true superstars in the league who would be worthy of being built around. I definitely don't think there are 30 such players, so that's already not enough for every team, so it's a failed model right from the outset.
Option 1: a terrible team for years (or decades) that is the laughing stock of the league, burns through management and coaching staffs, alienates their fanbases, until the basketball gods determine that it's time to bestow luck on the franchise by gifting them a true superstar... then the team has to rush to assemble a decent, complimentary team to win within a very short window, or risk seeing the superstar saviour decide to leave town for greener pastures (or after his career has run its course)... then it's back to the waiting, hoping and praying.
Option 2: build a solid franchise (ie: management, coaching and scouting), be honest with the fanbase about the building process being a slow, methodical one that will eventually leave a legacy of a winning culture and desirable environment for players. Build a roster that is well balanced and complimentary, continuously improving the overall talent level, full of good character guys on and off the court who know their role and fit the 'team first' culture, to the point that the team is always in the playoff picture, despite not having a true superstar, knowing that they are in an enviable position, slowly become a preferred destination for free agents, have loyal fans and are one superstar away from going from perennial playoff team to championship contender.
I voted for option 2... build the team first, rather than rely on acquiring (and keeping) a true superstar that's worthy of being built around, rather than built with!
Last edited by CalgaryRapsFan; Fri Aug 17th, 2012 at 01:32 PM.
The problem with option 2, aka going the Pacer's route, is that you have to spend so much on keeping a team of good players together that there won't be enough cap space to sign the big free agent whom you need to take you over the top. Unless I'm mistaken they don't have enough cap space do they?
Apart from Howard, who, craves the spotlight, franchise players nowadays seem like they want to come into an environment where there are enough good players that he can play with, rather than be the MAN and be the only superstar on the team.
Last edited by TheGloveinRapsUniform; Fri Aug 17th, 2012 at 02:18 PM.
Your comment speaks to the chicken and egg though:
- get the max contract/talent and lack flexibility to sign the support/role players, or
- build the team and possibly miss out on an opportunity to land the max talent/contract.
I think this is where management needs to have a plan and vision. It is not about knowing who will be available next summer but in 2014 and 2015 ie. 2 and 3 years down the road. The plan need not be specific but just knowing who is going to be available and the type of salary they are going to command (in this discussion it being max).
To further elaborate, a couple teams of one superstar, and building a team around it happened during 2007, with Kobe Bryant and his great point guard, Smush Parker...
- LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, financially bad with all the long-terms contracts such as Varejao, Jamison, Gibson.
- Dwayne Wade in Miami pre-LeBron/Bosh time.
- Dwight Howard and the Magic the last couple of years.
No championship success. Although, Orlando did have a nice run in 2009, overall, too much was relied of Dwight Howard, and not enough help. Cleveland and LeBron made the finals in 2007, ultimately though they were totally outmatched, and the team did not have the talent that could play along with the Spurs, thus resulting in a sweep. Over time, Cleveland constantly faced early exits to Boston and the Magic, and Cleveland did not have the players around good enough to carry a load of it's own, either they were rotational/role players, veterans, or players on the downside of their careers. Miami couldn't even get past the first round sorely relying on Dwayne Wade, not having the team that could also command defensive attention. Their 'players', became spectators.
Building a team and allowing a superstar to join, could create a good transition. Built system, established positions and depth, and consistency of knowledge that the players are going to be there from day 1.
A team like Denver, this past off-season, able to add the elite vet swingman, Andre Iguodala, on an already talented and established team.
One player can make a difference, and on paper, this team looks like a top 4 in the West IMO. Talented, effort ridden, and able to produce on both ends of the floor.
Teams in the past, that have done it are, again the Denver Nuggets, when received both Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups over the years. Although they already had a superstar player in Carmelo.
- Atlanta Hawks and acquiring Joe Johnson from Phoenix.
- Chris Paul on the Clippers. A team building for the future, able to acquire a young talented star, increases the development time and building shorter.
- Carlos Boozer on Chicago. Finding help for Derrick Rose and co. to rely on. Not knowing Derrick Rose would be the one relied on.
- Ray Allen signing with now NBA Champions, Miami Heat this past off-season. Not necessarily the big time player that he was back when, but still a very talented player and still playing near all-star level.
Going sorely based on history, results don't look good UNLESS you're a team that acquires 3 superstars i.e Boston, Miami. Where the help isn't as necessarily needed as much, when 3 players can lift heavy loads. Although, 3 superstars is very unlikely, on so many teams.
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