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NBA lacks leadership

By Thomas Knisley
On April 4, 2012

Back when I was young, I remember playing NBA Live 2001. I always used to load up my favorite team, the Indiana Pacers, with all of the star players of the day: Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson, and so on.

The team would always be stacked every time I played and I would always end up playing a slew of toothless opponents, often winning games by 20 or 30. Of course, I never imagined that almost a decade later, teams like my video game Pacers would become the reality in the NBA.

But here we are, just one year after the ridiculous superstar alliance in Miami, other teams are looking to copy their method. The Knicks have tried to put together their own "Big Three", with under-achieving results thus far.

The NBA is gradually breaking apart into two different classes of teams. There are the eight to ten teams like the Heat, Bulls and Lakers that seem to be a superstar magnet, most of them paying no attention to chemistry.

The remaining 20 are the teams with little hope to ever re-build because they cannot ever attract veteran leaders due to the lack of talent on the roster. If a superstar player should end up at one of these teams through a trade, they immediately create a media buzz and laugh at the possibility re-signing with their team.

Not even Jay-Z's vibe is going to keep Deron Williams playing in a Nets uniform next season unless other superstars are brought in. Most high-caliber players typically leave for a star-studded team at the end of the season. Instead of seizing the opportunity to become a leader and stand out on a young team, they simply become another face in the crowd.

It is a futile existence for teams like the Bobcats, Kings, Warriors, Wizards, etc. The list goes on and on.

These teams' only hope to somehow join the ranks of the elite is to cross their fingers that they get a player in the draft that does not need other quality players around him to develop. Such players are extremely rare.

Are the Kings any better with DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans? Both were top ten picks. Are the Wizards any better with John Wall? You tell me.

When I saw that Derek Fisher had been traded to the Rockets, I was optimistic that Houston finally had a leader to pull them out of their slump, but of course, he was released and went straight to OKC, a team that was not really in need of a point guard. Fisher, like so many other NBA players today, saw a "get-rich-quick scheme" to be able to get a ring quickly by hitching a ride with the Thunder. Steve Nash announced earlier this week that he would consider the Heat if he decides to leave Phoenix.

What a shame.

The Suns are a young team with good pieces such as Shannon Brown and Robin Lopez, but if Nash leaves, the Suns will fall into the abyss of irrelevance as one of the teams with no-name players as well as having top ten picks every year for the foreseeable future. If Nash does end up at Miami, that would mean that four of Miami's starters will be players that used to be individual stars on different teams. James (Cleveland), Wade (Miami), Bosh (Toronto), and Nash (Phoenix) all used to be superstars, but will have joined forces all for the sake of a ring. Heck, if they want a ring that bad, give it to them. It's not worth destroying the league over a little piece of gold and a tarnished legacy.

A championship is something that should be worked for. It demands virtues such as chemistry, patience, and most of all, leadership.

A title should be earned through blood, sweat and tears, not by elite players coming together and beating up on far-less talented teams just to put their names in the record books.


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