So, does the Ping Pong Program make an instant fix? No, but can you win a championship without a high draft pick? Yes, but you need to luck out with a sleeper/highschooler turned superstar ala Dirk who got drafted at 9th and Kobe at 13th but never won a championship without a high pick by his side (Gasol @ 3 and Shaq at 1).
Aside from them and the 03/04 Pistons who always manage to ruin every theory I've ever had, even though they didn't have a "superstar", they did have a non home grown high pick in Billups (3rd), and a mid of Rip at 7th in his year, no others have won a championship without having a very high draft pick as their focal point (5th or better)
The recent Celts had Garnett and Allen who were both 5s, and Pierce was an asterisk 10th as that was the deepest draft in the NBA history.
Spurs had Duncan, and probably the most number of low round picks integral to their team for a championship team. And in their first run they had the Admiral who was also a #1 pick.
Heat had Wade (5th) and Shaq (1st)
Bulls had Jordan (3rd) and Pippen (5th)
Rockets had Hakeem (1st overall), Kenny Smith (6th)
The 80s Piston had Isiah (2nd)
80s Celtics had Bird (6th), McHale (3rd), Parish (8th).
And well that's 30 years of basketball.
Is the Ping Pong program a guarantee? Definitely not, but without getting a couple of high picks, you can forget a shot at a Championship. And most of the high picks were also home grown.
Moving towards success also means it doesn't happen over night. Let's take a look at recent picks:
07 Bulls 33-49 post Rose 41-41 then 41-41
06 Sonics 31-51 post Durant 20-62, then post Westerbrook 23-59, then Harden 50-32
04 Bucks 30-52 post Bogut 41-41, 42-40, 28-54
03 Magic 21-61 post Howard 36-46 then 36-46, 52-30
02 Cavs 17-65 post Lebron 35-47 then 42-40
None of these teams are Championship teams, and the Magics and Cavs have/had already peaked in their cycle, but a future championship going to the Clips, Bulls or Thunder not only wouldn't surprise me, it's almost expected.
So would I love for the Raps to win this year? Sure, but without some key game changing High Picked players on the roster, I'd rather see more Ping Pongs than not. A team with AB, JV, this years pick and maybe another high pick the year after? Well.. now maybe we'd be in the mix. Unfortunately there are no guarantees and hopefully we won't have peaked by then.
Are you in Ping Pong Nation?
Yes (22 votes)
No (3 votes)
25 total votes