A wishful NBA manager…

As the dust of the NBA offseason settles, the question remains — who is going to win? Because does anything else actually matter?

Who cares if they were fiscally responsible and remained under the luxury tax limit, all that matters is if you win.

I have a theory and in a future article, I’ll assess each 2017 NBA team.

Theory — You need an MVP and a defensive talent to win. Period.

Rule 1: Champion teams have MVP talent

Over the last 25 years, only one has not featured the current or a former MVP. This of course was the Detroit Pistons 2004 win.

But even more specifically than that, if we narrow it to a recent MVP (within 4 years), still 21 of the 25 wins have featured an recent MVP talent.

Unless you are the Pistons 2004, Miami 2006 (Shaq, D-Wade, Mourning, Payton); or San Antonio 2007 & 2014 (Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich), you need MVP talent.

How do you get MVP talent?

Rule 1a: Champion teams draft MVP talent

If you want to build a champion team then you need to draft an MVP.

Over the last 25 years, 16 people have won the MVP and only LeBron James (twice with Miami) and Shaquille O’Neal (Los Angeles) were crowned MVP for the team that didn’t draft them.

Further, only four champion teams have featured MVP winners that they didn’t draft — LeBron James (Miami), Shaquille O’Neal (twice — Los Angeles and Miami) and Kevin Garnett (Boston).

So your options are to either be Miami and somehow be able to convince MVPs to come play for you or get LeBron or draft your MVP winner.

Rule 2: Complement MVP with a defensive player

This step is less obvious but equally important.

You may think you need a flashy scorer to win a championship, but here is a list of scoring champions that have one thing in common, no ring — Westbrook, Durant, Anthony, Iverson, McGrady (who combined have won 12 out of the last 25 years). Further, (thinking back to Rule 1) the rest of the scoring champions have been MVPs (except for Wade in 2009). So your MVP talent is probably your scorer…


You need a defender because ALL championship teams have contained at least one player that has made the Defensive First Team. Further, 13 champions have featured a current or former DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year). Also, in the last 25 years, only four MVPs have been crowned DPOY (Jordan, Robinson, Olajuwon, and Garnett). You need an MVP and you need a defensive player.

Defensive players win championships.

Ok, so the 2011 Mavs win is a bit of a stretch, with Kidd the only player meeting the criteria (and his last Def 1st in 2006) but they did have Chandler (who won the DPOY 2012 but never featured in a Defensive First Team).

Rule 3: Get your role players

You don’t need your third star (though it helps), just find your 3 point shooters and some additional stoppers to complement your big two.

So who wins the 2017 Championship?

Teams with active MVP players:
Cleveland — LeBron
Golden State — Curry and Durant
New York — Rose
Dallas — Nowitzki
Minnesota — Garnett

Teams with recent MVP players:
Cleveland — LeBron
Golden State — Curry and Durant

Do they have Defensive Players:
Cleveland — LeBron (Def 1st)
Golden State — Green (Def 1st) and Iguodala (Def 1st)

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