The resurgence of NBA teams accumulating three big stars in order to win championships started back in 2007. The Boston Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett from Minnesota and Ray Allen from Seattle in an attempt to revamp the Celtics franchise by pairing those two with current All-Star, Paul Pierce. The formula worked. The Celtics won an NBA title in 2008, in just their first full season after obtaining Garnett and Allen.
The success of the ’07-’08 Celtics spawned what we now refer to as the “big 3 blueprint.” This now implies that it takes three super-star caliber players on a given roster in order to secure an NBA Championship.
The Miami Heat followed suit in the offseason of 2010 by dumping almost their entire roster and then signing free agents, Chris Bosh and LeBron James to team-up with Dwyane Wade. Wade, like Pierce in Boston, was the focal point in which Miami chose to attract top free agents and build a championship squad around.
The Heat had built a “Super Team.” Unlike in Boston’s case, Miami brought in two of the best players in the game in the prime of their careers. A championship wasn’t won overnight though.
The Heat failed to achieve greatness in their opening campaign. They fell short in the 2011 NBA Finals to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks; thus proving that it takes a true team effort to win it all and not just an accumulation of high powered names on the backs of uniforms.
Nowitzki’s triumph in the 2011 Finals shook the “Big 3 Blueprint” to its core.
The Heat would re-tool and not panic. They continued to learn and grow under their head coach Erik Spoelstra and in time began to play better as a team. Winning a championship took patience and the Heat would go on to hoist the trophy last month.
The recent successes of the Celtics and Heat have led these teams to wanting more, but history should tell them to be content with what they have.
While many are salivating over Ray Allen’s departure from Boston to Miami, the ’03-’04 Lakers ring fresh in the minds of some NBA fans.
In the summer of 2003, the Lakers brought in forward Karl Malone and point guard Gary Payton to join forces with Shaq and Kobe, who had already won three titles together. The Lakers weren’t happy with falling short of winning a fourth straight championship in 2003 and decided to build the decades first “super team.” With Malone and Payton in the fold, the Lakers seemed poised to break the ’95-’96 Bulls winning mark of 72 games and had fans everywhere ready to witness true dominance.
It didn’t happen. The Lakers won 56 games in ’03-’04, a good season, but they looked dysfunctional night in and night out. Not even the great Phil Jackson could harness all of that talent.
The Lakers would go onto appear in the ’04 Finals, but got rocked in five games by the Detroit Pistons. The “super team” had fallen well short of expectations.
The Miami Heat have now added an aging All-Star to its already high octane roster and has teams like the Brooklyn Nets trying to keep up by putting super-star pieces together, that might not fit.
The ’03-’04 Lakers, proved that an overloaded roster doesn’t necessarily guarantee a title. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks showed that just having one super-star in his prime, could still win it all.
However, it is tempting to continue to load-up because teams like the Heat don’t want to risk ever giving up their championship swagger. Loading up though, could mean breaking down sooner rather than later.