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[Open for interpretation] Champions and its 3rd star's Win Share numbers

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by steddinotayto, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. steddinotayto

    steddinotayto Contributing Member

    Aug 10, 2001
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    Bored again at work.

    Taking the data from the past 30 years and looking at Win Shares alone, here's what we find out about the mythical "3rd star" and the Big 3:

    From 1984 to 1990 (where Boston, LA, and Detroit won all of the championships among the 3 teams), the average of the 3rd highest Win Share for each championship team was 8.35 (McHale in 1984 with 10.5 was the highest and Isaiah Thomas with the lowest in 1989 at 7.0).

    Starting with Chicago's first 3-Peat run and ending with their second 3-Peat run (which includes Houston's back-to-back), the average of the 3rd highest Win Share for each championship team was 8.575. This included two years of Kenny Smith having the 3rd best WS total. If excluded, the Bulls' 6-year reign would see an average of 9.4 Win Shares.

    After the Bulls' Dynasty, 1999 to 2004 (the last official year of the Shaq/Kobe era) we see a stark contrast as the "3rd star" eroded from an all-star to more of a solid contributor, with win shares averaging 6.1 for the 3rd "star" during this 6-year span.

    The next 10 years from 2005 to 2014 could be considered as the "Big 3 Era" with Duncan/Parker/Manu, KG/Pierce/Allen, Lebron/Wade/Bosh. For this time period the WS average for the 3rd best player was 7.65. If you take out the non-Big 3 years (Wade's first ring and Dallas' championship) it goes up to 7.9875

    So what (if any) conclusions can we draw from this? In MY opinion:

    1. We are definitely in an era where having 3 stars is needed. The past 10 years have had only 3 instances where the 3rd best player had a win share of less than 6.9. Sure that's 30% which is a high number but that also means the other 70% of champions have that requisite player offering significant production. On the other hand...

    2. You can win if your team is balanced enough. Last June's champions had a 10 man rotation that ranged from 4.2 WS (Danny Green) to 7.7 (Kawhi Leonard). Of course I consider this team a statistical anomaly as their previous two championships showed definite "Big 3" data.

    3. Houston needs heavy lifting. Harden has posted impressive WS numbers as a Rocket (12+ each year) and Howard had 8.0 WS this past season. Chandler Parsons had the 3rd highest at 7.6. Their collective WS added up to 28.4 Just looking back at only the past 10 seasons, there has only be 3 seasons where the top 3 players on a championship team was lower than 28.4

    2006 Wade's team 27.6
    2010 Kobe's 2nd championship 28.2
    2014 San Antonio 21

    The 2006 team had 4 players with WS of 4 or more. 2010 had 2 with 4 or more with Odom theoretically being the 4th Beatle with 7.7 WS. 2014 speaks for itself.

    The 2013-2014 Rockets? They had 3 players with 4 or more win shares (Terrance Jones with an eyepopping 7.2).

    Of course there are many other factors going to "how to build a championship" like defense, how the WS change once the playoffs hit...well..pretty much everything else.

    Fun things I found while looking up crazy stats:

    1. The highest single Win Share total on a championship team in the past 30 years belong to Jordan in 1996 at 20.4 and 20.3 in 1991. Next on the list? LeBron James at 19.3 in 2013.

    2. If you think WS correlates with the importance of a player then Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman were the most important players for the Bad Boys as those two had the highest WS during that 2 year span with Zeke coming in 3rd.

    4. The highest WS total for a Big 3 in the past 3 years belong to the 1992 Bulls with 44.5 (Jordan 17.7; Grant 14.1; Pippen 12.7).
    2 people like this.
  2. PhatPharaoh

    PhatPharaoh Member

    May 22, 2014
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    this is interesting, by that comparison we would have been championship contenders, but due to the rediculous strength of the West, I really don't think a Harden/Howard/Parsons core would be enough (it def would in the east though).

    If we can somehow add love or another max free agent next season we will be right there again... I don't think we could have beat SA/LAC/OKC last season, so we definitely had to make a move this offseason. It definitely backfired, but if we can fill out the bench with quality depth, we will be as good, if not better than last year.
  3. vneuro

    vneuro Member

    May 7, 2014
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    Yeah it seems like to win a championship you either need a phenomenal big 3 or you need phenomenal depth. Anything in between won't cut it.
  4. da_juice

    da_juice Member

    Dec 16, 2009
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    Yep- I think you can see that for awhile though, not just now.

    In the '80s, the Lakers had Magic, Kareem, and James Worthy. Bird had McHale and Parish. The bad boy Pistons had Isiah Thomas and a lot of depth (of course that was in a league with less teams, but still there was a lot of star power).

    The '90s were a bit different. But I think that's more of a testament to how incredible Hakeem and Jordan were that they didn't need a big 3 (Jordan had Pippen, Hakeem had Drexler)-although arguably both those teams were nearly if not just as deep as the current Spurs team.

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