Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
The “Big Three” team building concept is one that has definitely changed the face of the NBA landscape, ever since that fateful day when it was reported that Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett would be joining Paul Pierce in Beantown. It’s fairly obvious why this move had such a huge effect on the league. That team went on to win the title that year, beating Kobe Bryant’s Lakers, who had went out and stolen Pau Gasol to pair in the frontcourt with the young and rising Andrew Bynum, creating another “Big Three” in LA.
The Lakers proceed to crush the Magic in the Finals and win a title of their own. The following season, the Lakers and Celts meet in the Finals again, this time with LA just barely edging out Boston. The Celtics would rationalize the losses in the past two years as saying “no one ever beat us in a playoff series when all out starters were healthy,” which was, completely true, with the Magic making the Finals the year Kevin Garnett went down, and Kendrick Perkins taking a dive in Game 6 of the Finals the next year, and unable to play in what turned out to be a very close game.
The point being, that while the Lakers and Celtics were accruing all those Finals appearances, a lot of guys were sitting at home. Like, superstar guys. Guys with names like Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony, and Amare Stoudemire, just to name a few. And so began the rush to duplicate the “Big Three” effect all over the NBA.
Fast forward a year or two, and all of those guys have changed teams. Lebron and Bosh took their talents to South Beach. Stoudemire and Carmelo joined forces in New York. Chris Paul and Deron Williams both forced trades to other teams, Williams doing so with the possibility of getting Dwight to follow him to the Nyets. And Mr. Howard, by the way, is currently writing out lists of places he would be willing to sign an extension, and surprise of al surprises, all of those teams are places that already have a superstar (or two) in place.
These are guys that are all wanting to go to another team so they can win. I say win, as in like, win a championship. Which, last I checked, it what we want them to do. Ever cheered for a player and thought to yourself “Man I’m glad that guy doesn’t want to win. So nice of him to toil in complete mediocrity for my amusement”? God I hope you haven’t. That would be a douche mood on your part.
Yet here we are, in 2012, with our supposedly evolved brains that are able to understand rational thought, and we still lambast people for doing what we kinda wanted them to do. Lebron, Carmelo, Chris Paul, etc, all had a habit of running into more loaded teams in the playoffs and were always sent home, despite the fact that we all knew these guys were among the best players in the league. For whatever reason, they just couldn’t punch through. So naturally, when their times came, they wanted to put themselves in a better position to win rings.
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s piece…
It’s an easy gut reaction to label all of this player movement as players wanting to take a shortcut to winning a ring, and to say that today’s class of athlete lacks the grit or conviction to win “on their own.” The truth, I fear, may be somewhat different. These athletes want to win, and are willing to do anything that it may take to do it. When the Lakers and Celtics started accruing their talent, it created an arms race. Are we supposed to believe that Lebron could really beat the Celtics two years ago? Do you think that Chris Paul could have rally taken the Lakers last year? It’s fun to watch them try, but of course the answer is no. The NBA is a simple place. The most talented team with the most superstars wins. Right?
Oh, wait. That would mean that the Lakers would have beat Dallas last year. Or the Thunder. Or the Heat.
Who was the big three on the Mavericks again? Its Dirk, Jason Terry, and Tyson Chandler, right? No, that doesn’t seem right. What about Jason Kidd, Dirk, and Tyson Chandler? No? Marion, Terry, and Dirk? Still not right. Maybe it’s because I’m leaving Brian Cardinal out.
Or because they really didn’t have one. That team won because of great ball movement, better shooting, and an amazing commitment to defense. Nothing more, nothing less. No crazy roster planning, no blockbuster offseason moves, no frills. Just amazingly solid basketball and consistent production from just about anyone Rick Carlisle threw out there.
I know that all these sensational stories about the Heatles, the last hurrah for Boston, or the newest media darling, Chris Paul’s Lob City Clippers, are great fun, and wonderful to talk about, but what they overlook is that really, at the end of the day, a team wins the NBA title because they simply outcoached and outplayed the teams they faced. The Mavs played out of their mind to win last year. This year, the Heat are playing more to their strengths, getting out and running more, and letting Lebron facilitate halfcourt sets more often. The Knicks are faltering for the same reasons people though the Heat would, once upon a time, their pieces just don’t fit.
There is no conclusion to be drawn from these events, other than guys want to win. No one is the devil for leaving their old team. No one is weak for trying to get to a better spot when they were obviously somewhere where a title was unlikely, if not impossible.
After all, basketball is still a team sport. So if you dislike a player for leaving your team when that team’s management may not have been making the moves necessary to win, then maybe you should change your tactics a bit:
Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.
Jordan Akin often mistakes his nonsensical and hallucination driven rantings and ravings as an “enlightened viewpoint.” If this is one of those times, you can let him know on Twitter @jakin1013, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.