Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Winning an NBA Championship, the contenders

As I pointed out yesterday, With the aid of my video game badassness, I have come up with a theory about the NBA, and what it takes to win a championship. Basically it takes 3 things, and they are, in order of importance.

1. A top 10 overall player
2. A top 25 overall player(s)
3. Role Players with specific and different roles.

Over the past 30 years this formula has produced all but one of the NBA Champs. So who has a chance this year?

First we have to understand that the list of top 10 and top 25 players is a fluid list, meaning there is no true set in stone way to determine who the top 25 are, no would you want to. For example. The San Antonio Spurs. They have 3 stars, Duncan, Manu, and Parker. On any given night ANY of those guys can become a top 10 or top 25 player.

Second we have to define the role players. "Role players" is term that is thrown around a lot these days. It seams "role players" have replaced the praise "average player" in most peoples minds. Not mine. Jaun Howard isn't a "role player" for his veteran leadership and 5 fouls at the end of a game, he just sucks.
For the purpose of this post let us define role players as a player who covers a spesfic need with great play in an area of their game, or a player that complements a star with a specific ability. Example of both of them are from Cleveland, Ben Wallace the first, and Boobie Gibson the second. Wallace has a specific talent of rebounding and interior D that nobody else has on that squad, while Gibbson's outside shooting is a complement to LBJ's drive and dish style.

So here is the list of Playoff teams that fill the criteria, and a few that come up just short.

New Orleans Hornets 50-22 1 in the West
Top 10 - Chirs Paul
Top 25 - David West, Peja Stojakovic
Role Players - Tyson Chandler (Rebs, Inside Def) Bonzi Wells (Bench Scoreing),
Skivvy - Still a year or two away in my mind. The play of West and Peja in the playoffs will be the deciding factor. Can those two continue to be top flight top 25 guys is the issue.

San Antino Spurs 51-23 2 in the West
Top 10 - Duncan/Manu
Top 25 - Parker/Manu/Duncan
Role Players - Finley(3pt), Bowen(def 3pt), Kurt Thomas(inside def)
Skivvy - With Duncan kind of slipping this year, either due to age, or just boredom, Manu has stepped up and been the most consistent scorer, but any of the three can be the big game guy when the need comes. The help players are what really make San An great. They have a great shut down defender in Bitch Ass, and lots of people that can hit open looks, Finley, Bowen, Stoudemire ext.

LA Lakers 50-24 3rd in west.
Top 10 - Kobe
Top 25 - Gasol/Bynum(if healthy)
Role Players - Odam(pts, def) Walton(passing, smarts), Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic(3pt)
Skivvy - If this squad would have been around all year, this might be the fav. If Bynum comes back and get back to his form from the start of the season, watch out. This team has the right combo of stardom, and role players. The only thing that's going to hurt the lake show is their interior defense. Gasol is alright, but he can be brought out of the paint by a decent shooter leaving just a rehabbing Bynum or (gulp) Ronny Turiaf to defend the post.

Utah Jazz 49-26 4th in west
Top 10 - Don't have one.
Top 25 - Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer
Role Players - Mehmet Okur(3pt big), Ronnie Brewer(pts energy), Kyle Korver(3pt), Andrei Kirilenko(hustle, lanky defender), Paul Millsap (reb)
Skivvy - One can argue that Deron Williams can become a top 10 player in the playoffs, but as of right now, he isn't playing like one. This is best example of a team that has all the parts in place, just waiting on a superstar to emerge.

Phoenix Suns 50-24 5th in west
Top 10 - Steve Nash
Top 25 - Amare Stoudemire
Role Players - Leandro Barbosa(speed), Grant Hill(smarts), Shaquille O'Neal(reb def), Raja Bell(def), Gordan Giricek(3pt)
Skivvy - I'm sure people will yell at me for putting Nash in the top 10 and Amare not. The fact is that without Steve Nash this Amera would be just a top 25 guy. The way he sets up the team from every aspect allows Stoudemire to flourish. When the Shaq trade went down, not many people could see how this would work out. The recent 7 game winning streak has proven this can work. They can now play a slower, half court game with Shaq and Stoudemire wrecking havoc in the middle.

Houston Rockets 49-24 6th in west
Top 10 - nobody
Top 25 - T-Mac
Role players - Rafer Alston(skiping to the lou), Luis Scola(low post), Shane Battier(def), Carl Landry(reb), Bobby Jackson(pts, energy), Steve Francis(pts), Dikembe Mutombo(def)
Skivvy - Sorry boys at the Dream Shake, but unless 2 things happen in the playoffs, this is not the team to bring you another Championship. The 2 things that would need to happen is T-Mac playing like a true top 10 guy, (which despite his talent, he hasn't been in 3 years) and someone else stepping up to be his wing man. If Yao were still here, then it would be a different story. However as constructed, 2nd round at best.

Golden State Warriors 45-28 8th in West
Top 10 - maybe Barron Davis
Top 25 - Stephen Jackson/Monta Ellis
Role Players - Al Harrington(stretch def big), Andris Biedrins(reb, lowpost), Matt Barnes(energy)
Skivvy - This is a hard team to figger out, simply because this team plays Nelly Ball. Barron Davis might be a top 10 player, and Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis are both fringe top 25, but in this system all 3 can flourish and really hurt any team. The role players in Nelly Ball are less of a factor than in most other systems, but they have some good ones that can hurt you. Downside? If you can contain the big 3 up there, you can beat this team easily.

Denver Nuggets 45-28 8th in West
Top 10 - Allen Iverson/Carmelo Anthony
Top 25 - the Other one
Role Players - Kenyon Martin(low post offense), J.R. Smith(explosive scoreing), Linas Kleiza(3pt), Marcus Camby(def and shotblocking) Eduardo Najera(energy) Nene(lowpost)
Skivvy - Both Iverson and Anthony can be the top 10 if they want to, and the other knows to play second fiddle to the hot guy. Camby is this teams biggest strenth and will be the reason they can beat anybody in the playoffs, with his interior D. You throw in guys like Martin, Smith, and Kleiza and this team in damn deep. The roster is there, if only they had a coach who gave a damn.

Boston Celtics 58-15 1st in East
Top 10 - KG
Top 25 - Ray Allen, Paul Peirce
Role Players - Rajon Rondo(PG) James Posey(def) Kendrick Perkins(reb) Sam Cassell(pts, 3pt, ass)
Skivvy - Best team from the east by far. For most of his career, KG hasn't had a top 25 guy next to him, now he has 2. What was thought to be the Achilles heel of this team at the begging of the year, their bench, has molded into a fine complement to the big 3.

Detroit Pistons 52-21 2nd in East
Top 10 - none
Top 25 - Chauncey Billups
Role Players - Richard Hamilton(non stop moter, pts), Tayshaun Prince(def), Rasheed Wallace(def, pts, DANCING), Antonio McDyess(reb), Jason Maxiell(ath)
Skivvy - This is the only team in the last 30 years to win a championship with out a top 10 guy. There are nights that Chauncey can be that guy, but not nearly enough for a true top 10 status. What makes this team work is the fact that everybody complements everybody else. Rip hits the jumpshots when he's open, Tayshawn can d-up any back court guy, Billups hits the big shots, Sheed can do just about anything on the floor. All of these things were all it took to win a title against a imploding Lakers team, but the good teams have gotten better and better every year. No chance this spring.

Orlando Magic 47-27 3rd in the East
Top 10 - Dwight Howard
Top 25 - maybe Rashard Lewis, but really nobody
Role players - Hedo Turkoglu(3pt) Jameer Nelson(ass)
Skivvy - Rashard Lewis is paid like a top 25 guy, but rarely acts like one. He is a good player who if were playing beside LBJ, he would be great. But the star on his team is Superman Howard, who has a boat load of potential, but just isn't there yet. With a few more pieces and Howard improving, this team could win one in maybe 2 years.

Clevland Cav's 41-33 4th in East
Top 10 - Lebron
Top 25 - none
Role Players - Zydrunas Ilgauskas(def reb), Daniel Gibson(3pt), Wally Szczerbiak(3pt, jump shot), Anderson Varejao(hustle), Ben Wallace(lowpost d, reb)
Skivvy - They took baby steps with the big trade, but they still don't have a decent 2 behind the best player in the game. The Role players are there, the star is there. The roster only needs one more player to play second fiddle to LBJ.

Wow, that was long as shit. If you made it this far down, good for you. I'll buy you a cookie. Don't worry Mav's fans, I got a whole post on how the Mav's fair up with this theory. Right now, my heard hurts, from NBA overload. (sorry for no pics, it took me long enough to write this damn thing, i'm not going looking for pics)

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