Originally Posted by improbus
And that is a real shame. But, I guess the NFL is that way with QB's (with the 2002 Bucs and 2000 Ravens filling the Pistons role). MLB is harder to pin down because no one player has the same impact that a QB and NBA star can have. The NHL is way too unpredictable.
It's been this way since the beginning of the NBA, though. Mikan, Russell, Kareem, Magic, Moses, Dr. J., Jordan, The Dream, The Admiral and Duncan-- if you don't have a superstar-- a top five, dominant type of bell weather Top Guy-- you don't have a chance.
For the life of me, I don't know why GMs don't continually cycle through on three to five-year plans of rebuild, compete, tear down, and repeat.
Were I Houston and I fail in my attempts to obtain Howard, for example, I'd then turn my attention to dealing my flotsam for picks and late-career expiring contracts. The more picks the better. Keep enough players to get into the lottery. Suck for a couple of years. Really, really suck.
If you can't suck enough--if you don't end up with a top five pick, overpay in talent and middling players to move up.
This past draft, for example, I'm fairly certain Sacramento would have given up the fifth pick for the number 12 pick, Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola. I'd have taken on John Salmons' onerous contract too. I'd have then gone with one of the young guys with the biggest ceiling. In this case, Andre Drummond.
With Drummond there, you build your team around him. Sign a veteran guy to mentor him who has a non-stop motor. Deal just about everyone else. In Houston, Martin would go for multiple picks. I'd probably sign Dragic as a PG because there are so many good point guards right now, it's less important to have a great one. Same thing with power forwards (aside from, again, the Top Guys). Since Houston already has 400 power forwards, I'd have picked one of the younger guys and stuck with him for a year. Patrick Patterson, welcome to the starting lineup.
So Houston now has three starters and a bunch of crap. Courtney Lee surprises as a starting guard, plays well, so you deal him at the trading deadline for Boston's number one. John Salmons plays adequately enough to earn looks from other teams. Deal him.
You're looking to suck again.
But while you suck, you're teaching Drummond everything. You run your offense through him. Deal with the turnovers. Deal with the growing pains. Make sure he's happy. Make him the face of your franchise.
A second year in the lottery, trading up again, you get the third pick. Shabazz Muhammed, you're my starting SG.
Now, you've got your Guy and your Second. Dragic is still there, solid as a PG. You've got cap space, so that's when you're looking for a good SF-- someone who can play. You can overpay there, too. And it doesn't matter if he's a little creaky, a little old.
Focus on SG, SF, and C. Hope and pray for lottery luck. Pick young talent. Grab PGs and PFs off the scrap heap unless you luck into a great one.
Rinse, lather, repeat.