This post continues my thoughts from yesterday on how to win in the NBA. I friend of mine wrote this in response to yesterday’s post. (I know that there are some of my regular readers who are aghast that I’m not talking about politics/world events, but don’t be. I’ll be on politics soon. I needed a little break.) (Running a little late this morning. Will add links later.)
While I agree with the thought that the NBA is better when certain signature franchises like the Knicks are relevant, the formula to win the title since the Magic/Bird era has been just as ET outlined with two interesting exceptions: the Bad Boy Pistons and the Pistons who ended the Lakers’ winning streak. I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how both of the exceptions to the formula came from Detroit, but I think it may have to do with the only thing ET left off the list: a smart coach who’s respected by the refs. For detroit, Chuck Daly and Larry Brown.
If we are to believe the formula, then these are the only teams as currently constructed that can win the title this season:
Pippen guy: Gasol
bomber: depends on the night but someone always hits big threes for them in the playoffs
enforcer: Odom (don’t laugh, look where he ranks in rebounds-per-minute)
megastar/closer: Pierce (don’t laugh, something happened to him three years ago, does everything the star does but will never get credit for it)
Pippen guy: Garnett
enforcer: should be interesting with Perkins gone, will combo of Kristic/Shaq work?
coach: Rivers, maybe not smartest guy and may struggle with his defensive guru now coaching the Bulls, but the refs love him
megastar/closer: I actually think it’s Parker now
Pippen guy: Ginobili
bomber: Matt Bonner
enforcer: DeJuan Blair
… and I didn’t even mention the best power forward ever, who on this team can fill any of those roles except bomber.
I think that’s the list. Now there’s several teams that only are missing one thing, but that one thing will be their fatal flaw:
Pippen guy: Bosh
bomber: Mike Miller
enforcer: no one
coach: Spoelstra not respected enough
why won’t win: if you got 2 megastars, it needs to be absolutely clear who’s the closer (and before you say it, there was no question Kobe was the closer when Shaq was there); no enforcer, coach smart but not respected
Pippen guy: lost great one when Caron Butler went down
bomber: shockingly, Jason Kidd
enforcer: Tyson Chandler
coach: Rick Carlisle
why won’t win: If only Dirk would take it to the hole in the last seconds of the game like he did against San Antonio in game 7 the year they went to the finals, too many guys who I had to use first and last name to identify
Pippen guy: Boozer
bomber: lots of guys try (Deng, et al) but none consistent
enforcer: Joachim Noah
coach: Tom Tibideaux
why won’t win: I like this team a lot but should have gotten a shooter at the trading deadline
Pippen guy: Westbrook
bomber: see Bulls above
enforcer: if they sign Kendrick Perkins long-term, they stay contenders for a while
coach: Scott Brooks
why won’t win: see Bulls above, only us aficionados will enjoy the Chicago/OK City finals we may start seeing soon.
So how many of the things on the list do the Knicks need? Melo will establish as closer. I have Suns season tix and watched Amare bristle at being Pippen guy for years. They traded away their bombers and future enforcer. Also watched D’Antoni in Phoenix and loved him but he rarely coached even basic fundamentals of switching on the pick-and-roll.