NBA Commentary: How to Make a Champion Part 1: Balance (A Case Study)

In the recipe of championship winning NBA teams, there’s an ingredient that often goes unnoticed on the taste buds of sports analysts: balance. 

This does not refer to squaring up on the pull up, nor does it suggest that everyone must have the ballet-like poise of “the King”.

Balanced teams can come in one of two ways: the “Specialists” or the “Lamars” (I’ll get to the latter shortly). 

The “Specialist” team is comprised of one-dimensional players that are each superb at one or two things on the court. You may have an individual that has great speed and great passing ability, but can’t shoot a lick. You may have a hall-of-famer spot up shooter who can’t hit a jumper without three screens being set for him. You may have a defensive-minded center who can’t put a post-move to memory, but thrives on his ability to alter shots. 

You may in fact be the Boston Celtics. 

Simply put, the “Specialists” are pieced together to create a balanced team.

The “Lamars” on the other hand, are a balanced team because the players themselves are balanced (you will come to see that I believe Lamar Odom is one of the most complete players in the NBA).  This team does not have a single person that is exceptionally great at one thing (although this does not hurt), but has players that can do many things at a fairly high level. You can have a shooting guard that has a post-game as deadly as his face up game (same goes for its lanky, curly haired, power forward).  You can have a backup power forward who can dribble, drive, pass, rebound and shoot 3's.   

Simply put, the “Lamars” have balanced pieces that shape a well-rounded team.

Which type of team is better? It’s hard to say. 

Each of the last three NBA champions have been o...

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