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Discussion Starter #1
Is it the superstars?

Chicago (Jordan, Pippen)
Houston (Olajuwon, Drexler)
Detroit (Isaiah, Big Ben & Co.)
Los Angeles (Magic, Kareem, Kobe, Shaq)
San Antonio (Duncan, Robinson)

Is it the organizations themsevles?
Is it the coaches?
Is it the mystique?
Is it the winning attitudes?

What factors do you think contribute to the fact that dynasties seem to be built easier in the NBA than in any other major sport?
 

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I think it's the fact that single players in the NBA can have a larger effect on a team's fortunes (for better or for worse) than in sports like football or baseball. So in some sense, yeah, its the superstars. It takes a lot of work to build the right team around a superstar, and not all organizations are competent enough to do that. But having a superstar (and we're talking top 15-20 players of all time here in MJ, Magic, Hakeem, Kareem, Duncan, Shaq) gets you a lot of the way there.
 

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As Diophantos mentioned, an individual player in the NBA makes a larger impact on his team than a player in any other sport. The basic reason is they perform during a larger percentage of their team's total minutes/plays/at-bats/etc. So, given a superstar, it is easier to build a championship team in the NBA than in other sports (ie, it is easier to mold an NBA team with Shaq into a winner than it is a baseball team with Alex Rodriguez). Here is how I would rank the impact of individual players in each sport:

1. NBA
2. NHL
3. NFL (this one really varies by position, as a QB/RB can have a huge impact)
4. MLB

Another factor to consider is the postseason format, and the likelihood that the best team wins the championship. Baseball is the most unpredictable game to game - a single play (RBI single) at any point can change the game to a much larger scale than a single NBA play (someone makes a jump shot) can. Therefore, baseball needs many more postseason games to ensure that the better team wins, but with only best-of-5/7 game series, this is not the case and you get a more sporadic distribution of champions. I would rank the likelihood of the sport's best team winning as:

1. NBA
2. NFL
3. MLB/NHL

Based on these 2 lists, the NBA certainly has the makeup to have a few franchises dominate the championships. Free agency plays a role as well: In the NFL, from the late 70s to mid 90s, there was a 15-20 year stretch where a similarly small number of teams won Super Bowls (49ers, Cowboys, Pittsburgh, Giants, etc.). But free agency has changed the NFL's dynamic.
 

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Hoopla said:
As Diophantos mentioned, an individual player in the NBA makes a larger impact on his team than a player in any other sport. The basic reason is they perform during a larger percentage of their team's total minutes/plays/at-bats/etc.
And also because only 5 players from a NBA team are on the court/field/rink/etc. at a time. Which I guess goes hand in hand with your point. The less people that are playing, the more impact a single player can have.
 

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Agree with the good observations made by Diophantos, Hoopla and GTA Addict. The other thing that fits in there somewhere is the (relative) lack of player momevent compared to the other major sports. Not only are there a fairly small number of really key players, but teams do/are able to hold on to them for a period of years. In gridirion football and baseball, even though the rosters are much larger, it seems to me, anyway, that it's much more common to have the entire roster of the team turn over in just a few years time. The stability of squads in the NBA is very different from the other sports.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I agree with the points that have been addressed so far, but kawika's roster turnover point is an interesting one. Although he's right about the relatively little player movement in basketball as compared to the other major sports, how does that explain that these particular franchises have won with vastly different teams?

The Magic, Worthy, Kareem Lakers had absolutely nothing in common with the Kobe and Shaq Lakers. The Big Ben Pistons don't look anything like Isaiah's Pistons. How is it that these franchises in particular have put together so many winning teams? I think it does have something to do with history and mystique. Much like the Yankees in baseball, teams like the Pistons, Lakers, and Celtics have so much history of winning that people expect them to win. Guys like Larry Brown and Phil Jackson pick those teams to coach for because of their respective histories just as much as for the ownership groups and assembled rosters.

What about market size? Why is it that free agency hasn't hurt these teams as much as it has hurt the Knicks, for example?
 

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All those teams are Big Market teams, maybe that has something to do with it.
 
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The rules of thumb that jump out here each has an exception:

Must have near MVP caliber player: Detroit is exception.

Must be in Major media market: San Antonio is exception.

Coaching: All had a coach in the very top tier of coaching ranks. No exceptions. I don't put much stock into this "rule" being predictive in any way. You can't flesh out the chicken/egg problem. Do these teams win because they have the better coach? Or, do the SuperStars having their best years make the coaches look good adding to their stature? Probably a little of both.
 
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