By: Trey Walker
Stringing together 4 playoff series victories is tough. So tough that every year, only 1 out of 30 teams can accomplish such a feat. Recently, I sat down and talked hoops with one of my good friends Tyler Palmer(who happens to be a basketball expert), and he bequeathed upon me his 5 steps that each championship caliber team must possess in order to win the NBA Finals….
Teams that can get the first unit a breath always have the best shot. In recent seasons, the San Antonio Spurs have mastered how to effectively develop bench players. Their bench is able to contend with other teams first rotation. In 2014, experts were doubting the Spurs ability to win because many believed that their “old” team would grow fatigued and the bench could not hold their ground. Patty Mills and company proved them wrong. Check the rafters, guys.
2. Star Power
Enough said. 5 role players don’t win rings. Check out the last 5 champions and their superstar(s):
2015-Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry, Draymond Green
2014- San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker, Tim Duncan
2013- Miami Heat Lebron James
2012- Miami Heat Lebron James
2011- Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki
There is no “I” in “team”, but there is in “champion”.
3. Have a Good Coach
Good players need a good coach. This season the world saw how much having a good coach can affect a team’s destiny with the Sacramento Kings. Voted Coach of the Year in 2013, George Karl(UNC Alum) has been revered as one of the greatest coach of the decade, and truly turned the Kings around this year. Last year the Kings had a 29-53 record(11-19 record under Karl, he was brought in mid-season), and this year only 4 more games entered the win column; they finished 33-49. Karl got dealt a bad hand. He turned the team around, and at the end of the year had his squad in a position to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, his egocentric star Center, DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins didn’t warm up to coach Karl and they had high tension. Cousins disapproval of Karl led the team to falter late in games and essentially give up on this season. Karl was unable to mend the relationship between himself and the NBA’s Technical Foul leader. (Sorry Coach, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why the Kings let you go). Bottom Line: Be sure to have a good coach who can work out chemistry issues and lead a team effectively.
4. Win Close Games
Sacrificing games late due to inability to finish games is tough. This is a true test to show a teams mental toughness and capability to be called a world champion.
To some extent, you just need a little bit of luck. Injuries and other unpredictable circumstances pop up and there is nothing that can be done to prevent them. Go home, and wish upon a star that your team can bring home hardware.