September 19, 2021

Top 125 players ranked in LeBron James to Ivica Zubac groups – The Athletic

Team building never stops. There is nothing quite like standing still, as either the forces of entropy destroy a team or the moves to attract new talent and internal growth drive them forward. To continue to improve, there has to be a constant self-assessment of where a roster is, both in terms of collective suitability but also the level of talent for each individual player. Talent does not exist in a vacuum; in a small competitive system like the NBA, capacity relative to the rest of the league is what matters. Focusing too much on all the great things that players on a team can accomplish could easily make one forget that those spectaculars unthinkable for 99.9% of the basketball player population are almost commonplace at the NBA level. Every year the playoffs are about the little things that make the difference.

The players must therefore be compared to each other. The importance of doing this is demonstrated every year. As I wrote during the presentation of the inaugural edition of Thirds last year:

The NBA playoffs can serve as a big divider. Each year we relearn how big the difference can be between being effective over a long season and being able to play against higher level opposition in the intense, detail-driven arena of a playoff series. . Twenty-nine teams were found to be failing. Even the champions of the Lakers, once the champagne is dry, know they have to improve if they are to do it again for as long as it takes until we do it again.


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