A case for star-driven teams

During this year's playoffs, star-driven teams with higher usage rates like the Celtics have won. Greg M. Cooper/US Presswire

The Boston Celtics' Game 1 loss last night might signal the beginning of the end for the Big Three era in Boston. Such a potential demise inevitably reignites the debate about star-driven teams: Is it still better to be a superstar-driven team, or to field a balanced squad consisting of many good but not great players?

We've seen teams loaded with stars in the past, but the recent trend of teams made up of a few elite players with a mediocre supporting cast was started by Boston, but has continued with the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. Whether by free agency, clever drafting, or forced trades, several "Big Threes" recently have been assembled throughout the league.

Like any finite resource, though, there's a scarcity of superstars to go around. As the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams forced their way off of teams such as the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz, those franchises had to find creative ways to rebuild. And along with several other teams in similar situations, they have been successful. In fact, the Nuggets, Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers all have brought together high-performing squads that feature a large number of good players, but no huge stars.