NBAdraft.net has published a 4 part series on building a championship team. This part addresses Red Auerbach and Jerry West and how they built the championship teams of the past decades. It also addresses the 3 key rules that are important in building a team today and how Danny Ainge's approach stacks up to the key rules. It is a very good read and gives a realistic view of where the Celtics stand in the building process. Here are a couple of key quotes from the article to whet your appetite to read the entire piece.
Now to some extent the Red-West approach is more difficult today because teams put lottery-protections on traded first rounders to prevent their losing a superstar. But three key rules have emerged: First: accumulate marketable assets so you can trade the surplus talent for future no. 1 picks. It means you had better draft well and be a good judge of talent. Eventually, if you are lucky you might get a chance to draft a potential superstar. This also keeps the payroll lower in the meantime.
Second, try to get underneath the cap so you can strike for a quality free agent; i.e. do not waste long-term MLE-or-higher contracts on mediocre veterans unless you already have your Gold Medal Superstar or Silver Medal Superstar and are a serious contender, and the costly veteran player can be the difference to get you a flag. Do not blow cap space unless you are a contender or unless you are using your capspace on a superstar or a potential superstar, like Steve Nash, Ben Wallace or Gilbert Arenas. This second commandment means that teams that have no hope to contend should not be clogging the payroll with $30 million five year MLE deals on journeymen veterans every year. If a team has significant capspace it has to be willing to keep it for a season or two and wait for the right deal to come along. Don’t be pressured into blowing it.
Third, be patient. Very patient. Impatience dooms any hope for success.
I believe Ainge actually gets it – he has accumulated draft choices, he has stockpiled talented young players with real market value for trades, and he looks to be clearing cap space for two of three years down the road if need be -- but he is under considerable pressure to produce right now. The truly gutsy thing for Ainge to do goes entirely against the grain of the conventional wisdom: it would be to trade away one or two of his more marketable young players, those he thinks have inflated value, for future no. 1 picks. The idea is not to tank, but to try to win with Pierce and the remaining kids and hope to use someone else’s lottery picks to locate a superstar. (As General Patton told the troops just before D-Day: You don’t become a hero by dying for your country. You become a hero by making the enemy die for his country.) And if it takes another year for the Celtics to escape the lottery, that is not the worst thing on earth if the young players are playing and developing. Especially in 2007. [More] source:NBAdraft.net