Most teams around the Association have enacted the same process for going about building a team that has a great chance of winning games. They use the same basic outline and then add a few spices to the mix in order to attain the ultimate glory.
The Quick Point Guard- The point guard position has shifted gears since the last decade. In the 90’s point guards were not expected to carve the defense like a turkey on Thanksgiving. Players like Andre Miller, Eric Snow, and Ron Harper ran the show after they tailored their games to be like Magic Johnson. Now, guys like Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Chris Paul, and Daren Williams rule the roost. Teams are looking to draft these types of players, like Ricky Rubio, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and Aaron Brooks are all getting their shot to lead teams in the NBA.
The Defensive Stopper- An essential part to the success soup, the defensive stopper intimidates as well as frustrates the opponent’s main scoring threat. They play a little dirty and are usually hustle players that give all of their energy until the final horn sounds. Bruce Bowen utilized this role while with the Spurs and helped them win multiple titles, playing opposite the likes of Rip Hamilton, LeBron James, and Richard Jefferson. Ron Artest, Dahntey Jones, Shane Battier, Ben Wallace, Trevor Ariza, and Raja Bell have all heard their names mentioned when discussions of defense appear on the TV or Radio.
The Shooting Big Man- Partly due to a lack of the next Shaq, the Association is moving away from the dominant big man who does nothing but muscles his way into the lane for a shattering jam. Andrew Bogut, Andrea Barngani, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan, Mehmet Okur, Rasheed Wallace and Yao Ming will all step away from the basket and hit the 18-foot jump shot. There are exceptions to the rule, with Dwight Howard and Amar’e Stoudemire still dominating the low post.
The Foreign Guy- Most teams in today’s NBA will employ a foreign player who understands tidbits of English but is fluent in basketball. The strategy worked for the Lakers who had the services of Pau Gasol and Sasha Vujacic while they competed for their title. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker aided the Spurs on their numerous runs for an NBA title. Usually frustrating their fans by taking these largely unknown players with their first pick, they are hit or miss prospects. Guys like Nowitzki, Rudy Fernandez, Boris Diaw, Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian, and Peja Stojakavic have had their opportunity to bring their game into the NBA.
The 3-Point Sniper- These assassins beyond the arc are a necessity on most NBA teams. Not always just in the game for their ability to hit clutch or debilitating 3-point shots, these players do have the unique ability to find the net from anywhere on the court. Players like Jason Kapono, Rashard Lewis, Michael Redd, Hedo Turkoglu, Ray Allen, Daniel Gibson, Peja Stojakavic, Chauncey Billups, Ben Gordon, J.R. Smith, and Kyle Korver are players that coaches warn about giving too much space on the floor.
The Superstar- Every team in the Association tries to attain one of these mythical creatures that influence every single game they play in. These are the types of players that cannot be stopped even when double or triple teamed. Men like Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, and Kobe Bryant are the creams on the crop who help their team compete for championships.
The Supporting Actor- Every Batman needs a Robin in today’s Association. Every star player is said to need another player who can handle some of the scoring load and ease the strain that carrying a team causes for the star player. The most notable player in the last decade was Scottie Pippen, one of the 50 greatest players of all time. Pau Gasol played second fiddle to Kobe on this year’s Lakers championship team. Other notables include Tony Parker, David West, Shaq, Carlos Boozer, and Ron Artest.
The Presence in the Paint- Teams in the NBA are looking for either a dominant center or a bruising power forward to help with blocking shots and grabbing rebounds. The Magic and Lakers have their men (Howard and Bynum), and the rest of the league is copying their moves. The Cavaliers made a big splash this offseason with the acquisition of Shaq. The Grizzlies drafted Hasheem Thabeet to make opponents second-guess their decision to drive into the paint. Ben Wallace made millions of dollars perfecting the rebound with the Pistons. The inside presence not only presents defensive stops but leads to easy fast break opportunities on the other side of the ball.
The Sixth Man- No championship team plays only five quality players. The Lakers had Lamar Odom come off the bench to play quality minutes against Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard. James Posey earned some Finals MVP considerations with the Celtics. The Spurs continually bring Manu Ginobili off the bench for instant offense and energy. The best bench player is an integral part to any successful team and allows the coach to rest the team’s best players for an extended period of time.
The Scorer- If a team doesn’t have one of the few superstars in the league on their team they will try to employ the next best thing. The scorer dominates the ball offensively and is the first option at all times during the game. Players like Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Danny Granger, Gilbert Arenas, Kevin Martin, Dirk Nowitzki, and Andre Iguadala all score the greatest percentage of their team’s points.
The Hybrid- These fusion players are capable of playing more than one position and often cause matchup problems for opposing teams. They have the skill set of two or more positions and often cause severe migraines for the opposing coach. Dwyane Wade is one of the most successful players who embody the hybrid position. He can run the point or play his natural 2-guard position. Others, like Tayshaun Prince or Lamar Odom, can play many more roles. Players like Brandon Roy, OJ Mayo, Courtney Lee, Delonte West, Rodney Stuckey, and Tyreke Evans can all play the point or the 2-guard depending if the coach wants to play big or small ball.