Whatever Happened to Good Ol’ Rebuilding?
January 11, 2011 14 Comments
In this modern age of internet, smart phones and high definition TV the idea of immediate gratification is one that can be achieved on so many different levels. Up to the minute stats, highlights and scores all in the palm of our hand seem to be leaving people with shorter attention spans and a want for that instant satisfaction.
What we are seeing in professional sports is the thought of building your team through scouting, drafting, developing and shrewd moves now turning into thing of the past.
Of course in all sports, the New York Yankees over the past 30 years have been the leading proponent in this regard, but in light of the Carmelo Anthony trade rumours once again surfacing, we can see that the NBA may be the league that has made the greatest transition to the hope of instant success.
With the best teams around the league sporting star-studded roster through big free agent signings and blockbuster trades the proof is in the pudding that rebuilding is not the road to take if you want to compete in today’s NBA.
However, for team’s putting all their eggs in one superstar’s basket, there is no doubt in my mind that creating the recipe for success from scratch would also allow them to compete with the NBA’s best.
These days franchise front offices are not willing to be patient enough to execute a solid 5-7 year rebuilding process.
Too often we see team’s overpaying for talent that could be found through other means. Very rarely do we see trades occurring without the transfer of expensive expiring contracts that at one point were given prematurely to these players.
After failing to acquire Lebron James this off-season, the New Jersey Nets, with their new billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, are not willing to wait any extended period of time for their players to develop.
Currently, they are close to executing one of the biggest trades in NBA history where they would give up some of their best young talent in exchange for a fringe franchise player in Carmelo Anthony and a couple of aging, albeit, proven veterans in Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups.
If this trade does indeed go through, the Nets would sport a pretty decent roster, but it won’t be at quite the level that it needs to be in order to win, much less, contend for a championship. Although Brook Lopez is a very solid NBA center, for whatever reason his numbers have somewhat declined from last season, and by giving up Derrick Favors and Anthony Morrow they would be losing two potentially important role players down the road.
Even if the idea behind the deal is to a certain extent future focused, with the theory that getting Carmelo to sign an extension could possibly lead to acquiring one of Chris Paul or Dwight Howard in a couple of years, this school of thought is very wishful thinking and in my eyes is not the best method to go about in building a contending franchise.
The New York Knicks wasted/spent 2 full seasons clearing up cap space just at a chance to obtain the great Lebron James.
They had to settle for Amare Stoudemire. Granted, Amare has been a better acquisition that most people, including myself, had thought he would be. However, the Knicks do not have a roster that is going to contend for an NBA championship anytime soon. What’s even worse is that they do not have a first round pick until the year 2014.
If you don’t lay down a solid foundation then there is no way that you can build a great house.
It really is as straightforward as spending more energy on scouting, drafting and developing.
Just ask the Seattle Sonics/Oklahoma City Thunder who have built contending team primarily out of guys from within their system who they committed to developing. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, James Harden and Serge Ibaka are all players that have been with the franchise since day one.
Despite these prime examples, GM’s continually focus on spending ill-advised big bucks on certain players when it is clear that their team is not ready to compete.
With his failed Allen Iverson experiment, Joe Dumars decided that paying a lot of money for Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva was going to take his team’s aging roster, with the exception of Rodney Stuckey, to the next level. Good move Joe, good move.
The patience of the Chicago Bulls has paid off as they have built around emerging superstar Derrick Rose. They did sign a marquee free agent this past season in Carlos Boozer, but the signing was warranted because they had the necessary pieces in place. Boozer has only played a bit over half of the season for the Bulls because of injury. Nevertheless they still sit at 25-12, no doubt due to the play of Rose but also his fellow Chicago Bull developed teammates Joakim Noah and Luol Deng.
There is no need for every team to feel like they have to follow in the footsteps of the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat.
Obviously, there is no guarantee that patience, commitment and dedication will be rewarded in a rebuilding process, but then again when are there ever any guarantees in sports?
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