NBA Playoffs: Which Superstar-Less Team Has the Best Odds at a Championship?

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NBA Playoffs: Which Superstar-Less Team Has the Best Odds at a Championship?
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Basketball, it is said, is the true team sport. No other sport fully depends on the ability of all five individuals to, ironically, cease being five individuals, and become something more.

More than in football, where there are different teams for offense and defense, more than in baseball, where hitting involves the skill of one player, and some would say more than hockey, where individuals are more important.

Though this moniker is, to a certain extent, valid and should be implanted in the minds of anyone striving to be a good basketball player, it hasn't exactly held weight in the NBA

Examining the last 15 years, only teams with a player of top-10 talent have won the championship. The one exception to this rule is the Detroit Pistons who, it should be noted, still had three stars on the team (Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace). 

Looking at the past five NBA champions, we've had Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant (twice), Paul Pierce and Tim Duncan. All were unequivocally top-10 talent. 

Yes, they all had good supporting casts, but it somewhat runs away from the whole premise of "a good team will always trump a good player" that has surrounded any player since pee-wee ball.  

So, the question is, in a league that, evidently, is the most star-powered (and favored) league in North America, could a team without a true superstar win a championship?

How do you define "superstar" status? Well, the easiest way is simply to determine if the player is top-10 talent. 

First, let me state my top-10 talent, in no particular order: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki and Rajon Rondo. Let me also state, though, that these are the most talented players, not most valuable, because then someone like Kevin Love would take the place of Rondo.

All of these players have teams sitting somewhat comfortably in the playoffs, except for Carmelo Anthony and his New York Knicks.

That leaves us with six teams that have none of the players on the list. Heading into the postseason, could any of these teams win a championship?

Sure, we could see a feel-good run like the Grizzlies of last year, or another good but not great Hawks team make it to the second round.

One of these squads even making the championship would be an enormous feat in itself, and a huge step forward for the epitome of team basketball. But that isn't what we're talking about here. 

The championship would be the "be-all, end-all" for a team without a superstar.

Let's examine each team and see first, their actual chances, and second, what they would have to do to increase said chances.

Teams will be mentioned from least likely to win it all to most likely, and all predictions will be assuming that the playoff picture stays the way it is.

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