NBA Team Layouts

In the modern era of the National Basketball Association. Their has been a distinct pattern among the way certain teams have chosen to create and build the way they attempt to compete for an NBA Championship. While many General Managers of NBA teams have drawn criticism over the years for the lack of success the team they have assembled or maybe the way draft picks may or may not panned out, the assumption has to be made that these team's correlating general managers had layed out some kind of game plan in terms of getting certain players to put themselves in a position to succeed.

Superstar and Role Players

Lebron James spend many years in Cleveland struggling with teams like this at times. A lot of GM's around the NBA are lucky enough whether through the draft or trade to land one of the top few players in the league and attempt to surround them with role players in order to compete.

What goes wrong

Certain teams are not able to surround the star with the proper talent in order to get their team to be consistently competitive. Teams like Lebron's Cleveland teams in 2008-2010 or Kobe's post-Shaq Lakers have struggled in not having a proper second option for the star. Many teams surround the star with borderline all stars, or at times will get a player in the offseason who was coming off of a great year or on the decline and give them a contract they don't play up to over the length of it. Vince Carter, Mo Williams, and Gilbert Arenas are good examples of stars playing alongside top notch talent in the NBA that were expected to help the team succeed, but didn't provide the necessary complimentary skillset.

How to be successful

One great way of being successful at type of team build is to make sure to add a consistent all star #2 option beside your best player that compliments his play style. Every NBA team that has been able to truly compete for a championship year in and year out have always had a second fiddle behind their top star. Having the second option does not allow advanced NBA defenses to focus on either phasing the superstar out be making the inconsistent group of role players win important games, or making sure the role players are unable to score and relying on the superstar being able to have high scoring games on a night to night basis to win playoff series.

Super Teams

The Miami Heat after the 2010 offseason were able to continue a trend that in the modern NBA that may have stemmed from the 2008 Boston Celtics. Teams have recently started a trend where they clear salary cap space prior to an offseason with many highly sought after free agents in an attempt they will all join the same team in order to create compete for a title.

What goes wrong

While many of these super teams look good on paper. Teams around the NBA have spent many years and cleared salary cap room at times rendering them uncompetitive for multiple seasons in order to create these new super teams. While the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat have both seen an NBA title along with finals appearances from doing so. Many teams were not able to acquire the superstars and have seen themselves fall into mediocrity since. In the offseason prior to Lebron James becoming a free agent, the Cleveland Cavaliers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat all had cleared salary room in anticipation of being able to add multiple high caliber players to their roster. Another foreseen issue in acquire many big name players is the inability to surround them with the correct talent. While having three possible top 10 players on you roster can allow you to compete on any given night, another problem lies within the lack of salary cap space to sign complimentary free agents. Many teams are forced to sign veteran players or low cost contracts, and as a result of it may end up with injury prone talent or players not able to produce consistently

How to be successful

Teams that already have a top notch player on the roster can relieve some of the stress in landing multiple free agents in an offseason, allowing them to have to recruit one less. Also teams that have a solid set of role players that may be able to accompany the targeting players are useful in not only attracting free agents but maintaining success during the season and competing for an NBA Championship.

Teams With no outright star

Many teams such as the 2004 Detroit Pistons have seen success in not building around or adding multiple top level players on their rosters. These teams focus on having talented players at every position that are capable of contributing in a top-notch manner and are able to play well together on both sides of the court using a more team oriented offense. These teams generally have solid reserve players also able to play in place of the starters without the play calling and overall style of play losing much effectiveness.

What Goes Wrong

Many NBA General Managers are able to build a solid team without having to have a clear cut superstar caliber player and advance in the playoffs. While GM's in today's league are able to put together solid teams, an often overlooked factor is the lack of a clutch shooter, or a player that can be given the ball with the game on the line. These players do not need to be superstars, but do need to be an efficient play maker and comfortable with the ball in their hands. Also at times the players do not ideally compliment each other, it is highly underrated in the modern NBA how much having a superstar can at times mask certain deficiencies on the team and bail them out in times of need.

How to be successful

It still is necessary for General Managers to understand that even with solid talent at each position, the team still needs to be able to play basketball in a manner to win a championship. Having a go to scorer in the closing minutes of a game is still just as need by a team if they have a superstar or not. Along with the need for a big man presence on both sides of the basketball court and a point guard that can be a calm floor general and give everyone on the team the right amount of touches in order to see success. These types of teams are more likely to see success with an unselfish point guard who understands he needs to keep the entire team involved while still being able to hold his own offensively.

Authors Notes and Overview

While the NBA has many other molds for teams, the above layouts seem to be the only ones to have seen success. The NBA is a copycat type league, after the Boston Celtics formed the “Big Three” of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett. The Los Angeles Lakers followed suit with teams like the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks failing at their own personal attempts at gaining three superstars. All of these molds are time tested over the course of NBA history and the team that is most able to properly construct under one of these types on molds more times than not is able to be a top notch and real contender for the NBA Championship.

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