With the NBA finals approaching, there has been great basketball played over this post season. The notable exceptions being the Phoenix Suns.
D'Antoni's new team the New York Knicks didn't make it either.
This article won't look to explain the problems with Knicks basketball, that would take too long.
However I want to try and prove that a run and gun team, would with the right roster be able to win a championship.
So I have theory on how to build a championship team. It's based on that the positional numbers of your best players should equal nine.
So a Point guard is a one Shooting guard two, center five ect. Combo's guards getting an extra half point from their lower position, eg Swingman is a two and a half.
So what numbers add to 9 from an NBA Standpoint? Is their evidence of any of these combinations occurring successfully?
Last and most importantly do different combinations effectiveness vary based on the style eg; is a combination more effective in a triangle or princeton offence?
Combinations Include the:
2,3,4 or SG,SF,PF
this combination as popularized by Jordan's Bulls is the current title holder with the boston celtics.
The 2,3,4 works best as part of a slow tempo halfcourt based offense. Based on the idea that any NBA point guard with talented finishers can run a break. A set offense is only needed for halfcourt situations.
PG, SF, C or 1,3,5
This is probably the most commonly successful formula. with recent examples examples being the San Antonio Spurs, and Detroit Pistons. it is also the most effective for a fast break team. because a Great PG can turn any NBA athlete into a good finisher.
See Chris Paul, Tyson Chandler. When the transition offence is slowed you can either drive and kick with your PG,or Wing, or Let your center do there thing, depending on who your best player is.
Read on to Find out My 1, 3, 5 base third option prototypes.
Less Common ones.
4, 4, 1
Currently occurring in toronto without much success. it involves having players who play the High and Low post. but more as power forwards as opposed to a true center. wit a point guard running whatever breaks they get.
5, 2, 2 or The Shaq exception
This says that if you have a Dominant Big and a Shooting Gaurd. For Example the 2006 Heat or Kobe/Shaq Lakers.
These teams don't really need a true small forward or point guard. but can play 2 shooting guards in the backcourt or wings. Depending on personnel.
Finally the 4,5 Also Known as "The Spurs Just won the 1997 Lotto Exception."
This is pretty self explanatory. A truly elite Center and Power Forward combo, like the Robinson, Duncan Spurs, will not loose to a team taking Jump shots.
When putting together a roster, most people look at top players and match their skills to the system.
Look At Pau in the triangle. New Jersey has started to run more of a Drive and Kick offense since the Devin Harris trade.
There is no question that player production varies based on system: look at Elton Brand in Philly, Shawn Marion in Miami and Toronto. Boozer and Millsap in Utah.
The results speak for themselves. The system you play in will improve or decrease your numbers.
What about Lebron, Kobe, Wade, Duncan, Howard, Bosh.
Does the system really make that much of a difference with a true No. 1 Player? What About No 2. options, like Gasol, Williams, Parker, Booser. Or Even third options?
Providing they have the fitness and athleticism to keep up with what the team is trying to achieve i believe that any true top 3 player will succeed regardless of the style.
This quality is what separates role players from people who you trust the franchise too.
Role players are lifted by the system. Franchise players will succeed in spite of it.
System is no Substitute for talent.
The saying defense wins championships may be overused to the point of cliché, but the principle holds true. So much so that all teams should be assembled with defensive personnel in mind.
Now you might think, hang on Mike D'Antoni teams don't play defense, and even if they do, they're built to run. Not defend.
D'Antoni's 2008 suns team was actually a better defensive team then Terry Porters 2009 team, one set to be focusing on defense.
The 2004-2007 suns teams also emphasize this with Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion, Raja Bell among the players who would guard the person playing opposite them with reasonable success.
The Achilles Heal to the D'Antoni Suns was that they couldn't stop ball penetration in half court sets. in short. Steve Nash cant guard anybody.
This list of "Prototypes" are not going to focus on the best players at the position, because its pretty obvious that any team with dwight howard, LeBron and Chris Paul would be almost invincible.
This system will show a No.2 or 3 option. Someone who is a quality piece, but wont take up a max contract.
In this writers opinion the main thing a D'Antoni PG needs is speed and Athleticism. and a commitment to defense. So Rajon Rondo is the Prototype.
when running a break the point guard will have ball in hand. and against an unset defense should be able to use his speed and athleticism to finish at the rim. though it is still important for him to be a pure point, looking to set up team mates.
this continues when this team would run half court sets. since you would have good shooters on the wings, you can run a drive and kick offense, where the main shots your PG will have to hit would be mid range jumpers, and Floaters from the lane.
thats right. this player doesn't need to be able to shoot a three pointer to a high level. they have good shooters lined up on the wings.
Maybe even a big with range. they just need to occasionally take the shot when given it. to keep the defense honest.
In this system the Center is also a primary defensive role. their purpose is to provide a big body in the lane, alter shots and Guard an opposition Center. since the true offensive center is virtually non existent at the moment, they can mainly stay as a shot blocker and rebounder.
In A system like D'Antoni's most their offensive short comings would be covered up. just look at tyson chandler, to see how a PG can make a C an offensive threat, when they have little skills in that area.
A center without much offense is also possible due to the number of scoring PF's in the league. with the way the offense will give opportunities for a PF, you don't need someone any better than wilson chandler to drop 20 points or so every second night.
With a D'Antoni SF they need to be able to defend, rebound and have the hops to finish on transition. so the prototype is. Trevor Ariza, or others in the same catagory. like Tayshawn Prince, Shane Battier.
these guys are all number 2 or 3 options. obviously when building a team in these three spots their would be at least one, leader, No 1 Guy.
In this system the perfect No1 Small forward is Melo. He has all the athletic tools. His defense has improved since playing with team USA. he shoots well from behind the arch, and is Proving himself to be a clutch player in the league.
Melo is also one of the few players who can take over a game in the half court if the offense breaks down. What about Lebron?
Lebron is an amazing player. and makes any team better. but playing in this system. Lebron Would play point guard, in a similar way to magic johnson did for the show time lakers. because of his excelent passing abillity, but suspect jumpshot.
There are Many teams rebuilding to run an uptempo offense. the best of these include.
The OKC Thunder. have the wings and point guard in place. They need a Big and to grow in experience.
The New Jersey Nets. have the Point Guard, and Center, but need to upgrade their wing talent and find a starting small forward.
The Chicago Bulls have their PG, SF, and a crew of talented bigs. they need to grow in experience, and some more shooters.
However there are two teams built this way left in the post season. the Orlando Magic and the Denver Nuggets.
The Magic Have an Elite Center surrounded by shooters and athletes, who could run at a moments notice. this team will be even better when they get back their All Star point guard Jameer Nelson
This Denver Nuggets Squad is also built to run. with athletic wings, great shooters, energetic bigs and Chauncy Billups as the straw that stirs the drink.
Both these teams are going places. will it be this year?