Saturday, December 26, 2009

Best of Decade part 4

Hey y'all.  I hope those of you that celebrate Christmas had a wonderful time.  I did.  The kids woke up and opened up their presents.  They were so excited it was out of control.  The opposite side of the disgusting consumerism that represents Christmas in our capitalist nation is that parents buy gifts for their kids because they love to see them smile.  My kids definitely smiled.  Until my four year old realized that he didn't get a wolverine claw and then he was upset.  That's the flip side. Afterwards we went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks.  It was the worst movie I've ever seen.  Seriously.  Don't see it.  It's aweful, the most aweful.  It's been a tradition in my family since I was a kid to see a movie on Christmas.  It will be much better when the kids are big enough to see something that doesn't include singing chipmunks.  It's going to be great.

And back to the best of...

So for this one post I will deviate from radical politics to offer a category that is not radical nor political.

Best Basketball Team of the Decade: The Los Angeles Lakers

If you have been reading this blog you know that I write about sports from time to time, offering a radical perspective.  There is nothing radical about the Los Angeles Lakers except that they play "the holy game".  If you don't know why basketball is "the holy game", I'll have to explain it to you another time.  I can say that the players play the game because it has been their destiny and it makes them lots of money and the owners just like to make lots of money.

The Lakers are like the New York Yankees of basketball.  They spend lots of money on the best players and they win lots of championships.  (For full disclosure, the Lakers have been my favorite basketball team since I was six years old.) I've chosen to write about them today because there has been some debate about who the best basketball team of the decade is...

The team of the decade is indisputably the Los Angeles Lakers.  ESPN analyst Marc Stein, mistakenly picked the San Antonio Spurs.  Sports Illustrated on the other hand, ranks the Los Angeles Lakers as the best sports franchise of the decade.  How could the Lakers go from being the second best basketball team to the best sports franchise of the decade?  They can't.  That's why Stein is wrong, but let's look at the facts.

The Lakers won four NBA titles and the Spurs won three.  That should settle the debate.  But the Spurs were more consistent this decade winning at least 50 games (out of 82) every season.  The Lakers had one terrible year (34 wins) and two mediocre years (42 and 45 wins).  And if the award was the most consistent team of the decade, I would begrudgingly give the award to the Spurs.  But it's not.  The Lakers started the decade by winning 67 games and the NBA championship and closed the decade winning 65 games and the championship.  The most games the Spurs ever won in the decade was 63. Additionally the Lakers played in the NBA finals 2 other times and lost.  That means the Lakers have 6 NBA finals appearances and four championships (rings) compared to San Antonio's 3 appearances and 3 rings. What that tells us is that the Lakers excelled at the highest level more often than the Spurs and that is the most important marker for selecting the best team.

And to Marc Stein: "I'm right and your wrong."

But don't worry I'm not quitting my day job.


  1. Clearly I agree the Lakers are the undisputed team of the decade having won four championships and bookending the beginning and end of the decade with titles.

    The Spurs are the clear #2. Then I'd vote for the Pistons to round out the top 3. They made two championship games, won one title, and played in a remarkable 6 straight Eastern Conference Finals from 2003 to 2008. Thats consistency!

  2. The Pistons were so good that they could almost be considered for second place but I will leave them at third. The real question is who is fourth?

  3. Good question! Fourth and beyond is where it starts to get tricky. My candidates for the four-spot are the Mavs, Heat, Celtics, Nets and Pacers.

    The Celtics and Heat are the only two teams not named the Lakers, Spurs or Pistons, to win a title this decade but both have lacked consistency throughout.

    The Mavs on the other hand have been a model of consistency making the playoffs each of the last nine years. However, they have also consistently choked in the post-season and only made the NBA Finals once and.....choked.

    The Nets have also been very consistent making the post-season 6 consecutive seasons from '02 to '07 and playing in two NBA Finals. Unfortunately, they have really fallen off the map the last few years and started this season by setting the NBA record for most consecutive losses. Ouch! Come on Jay-Z your better than that.

    Lastly the Pacers were consistent earlier in the decade and regularly made the playoffs and have a Finals appearance. However, like the Nets, they have petered out toward the end of the decade.

    Therefore, I'm going #4 Mavs, #5 Celtics, #6 Heat, #7 Nets, and #8 Pacers.

    Candidates to round out the top 10 include the Suns, 76'ers and Cavs.

  4. I will regrettably agree that the mavs are #4. I will have to put the nets #5. They were beasts for a good part of the decade. The heat are next they've had a few runs in addition to a championship. The Celtics have i ring and two runs. Pretty weak. The Cavs have to be next when you consider what Lebron did to the Pistons. After that noone cares.