A couple of months ago, I discussed how the NBA is devolving into MLB. Now that we have reached the NBA’s version of the “Final Four”, I thought it would be interesting to breakdown the star power of the team’s playing in the NBA Conference Finals. This data can be used to support or dispute my fear that competitive balance is slipping in the NBA.
Everybody compares the newly formed Miami Heat to the New York Yankees as basketball’s version of a traveling all-star team. Could there possibly be a team left in the playoffs with as much star power as a team with Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh?
On the flipside, are the small-market-underdog, Oklahoma City Thunder, really at as big of a disadvantage as it appears?
The results may surprise you.
I decided to compile individual accomplishments of each player on the 12-man rosters of each team playing in the NBA Conference Finals. “Total Star Power” was calculated by summing All-Star appearances, MVP awards, and Rookie of the Year awards….
While the Miami Heat’s star power is more evenly distributed, the Dallas Mavericks, with future Hall of Famers, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki, edge out the star-studded villains from South Beach. As expected, the smallest market team left in the playoffs contains the least amount of star power. Granted, this has a lot to do with their youth, but only Kevin Durant has a legitimate shot at matching some of the career accomplishments of players on the Mavericks and Heat. Most counterintuitive to me was actually the total star power of the Chicago Bulls. Coming from a huge market with a basketball-rich tradition, and having just earned the best record in the NBA regular season, I expected them to have more than six individual accolades.
What the data reveals is that the remaining matchups are a tale of two extremes on the star power spectrum. It will be interesting to see if the veterans prevail and we see a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals, or if one of the new kids will be able to rise to the occasion and make it through.