How in the world was Duncan "way past his prime" then, when six years (!!!) later he is having a 1st Team All-NBA type of season? He was a 20/11/2/3 player when they won in 2007 and 22/12/3/3 in the playoffs. That is in no way past him prime.
Originally Posted by Cort
And I think Kidd qualifies far more as past his prime than Dirk. Dirk absolutely destroyed people in the playoffs two years ago when he averaged 28 points and 8 rebounds. Kidd on the other hand was a 9/7/4 player. Who do you think had a bigger impact on them winning that title? Seems like an easy answer to me.
I seem to remember Harden getting much more flack than any other player on that Thunder team last year and, besides, that was their first trip to the Finals. Can't really fault them for losing when the Heat lost their first trip as well and had two of the three best players in the world on that team.
It is well documented that Westbrook is the most controversial player, in terms of playing style, in the NBA. He was the target of vehement critics during the finals...and he is easily the most hated player, outside of the Europeans, by basketball purists. He is credited the most out of any of the Thunder players to be the reason they lost..his impact was actually worse than Harden's disappearance...just ask Magic Johnson who knows a thing or two about running the point.
Rondo wasn't anywhere near the guy he is now when they won the title. You're adding all sorts of revisionist history with that one. He only averaged 26 minutes in the finals and aside from one game where he went nuts for 16 assists, he had games of 7, 4, 2, 3, and 8 assists. Nowhere near the impact you're assuming. That team leaned on KG and Pierce heavily and it showed. KG was particularly dominant.
The Big 3 in Boston was not the Big 3 in LA or the Big 3 in Miami...it was a Big 4 that won the championship...three of them were past their prime and that 4th guy was a dime-dropper.. if Brandon Jennings were on that team against those Lakers, they would have failed miserably. They had no *super-star in LeBron, Kobe, Durant, or Melo to lean on when the offense was off...they needed a PG that would create synergy (a unit that is more valuable than the sum of it's parts).
Coincidentally, the year those three won titles, the average assists of the PGs were 5.5 (Tony Parker...... not a "dime-dropper" by any means anyway), 5.1 (Rondo... they haven't won anything SINCE he became a "dime dropper"), and 8.2 (for Kidd, funnily enough, that number dropped to 6.3 in the finals as he became more of a shooter while Dirk was dominating)
Here is a list of the league's most respected coaches: Thibadeau, Carl, Brooks, Carlisle, Rivers, Popavich. The last 3 won rings..coincidentally, they prefer dime-droppers of score first PG's