Friday, May 20, 2016

NBA Fraternity - Tier One Achievement Checklist

As a Torontonian that has been following the Raptors since their inception in 1995, is safe to say the 2015/2016 NBA season will go down as the greatest year in Toronto Raptors history. Although this year’s journey has been amazing, one cannot help to reminisce the past 21 years of disappointment. Over the past two decades, I never felt that the Raptors were part of the NBA fraternity and being located in Canada definitely does not help. However, this feeling of exclusion does not stem from the geographic whereabouts of the Raptors, but it stems from the lack of on-court accomplishment as an organization. Similar to the NBA 2K video game series, I believe there are certain achievements an organization needs to accomplish to validate their membership within the NBA fraternity. Below are 5 achievements that I believe an organization needs to fulfill before that franchise can even be considered a novice member of the NBA fraternity (Tier One).
 As winning the NBA championship is such an exclusive accomplishment, this list does not apply to franchises that have won a championship. The organizations listed below are automatically part of the highest tier within the NBA fraternity:
76ers, Blazers, Bucks, Bulls, Celtics, Hawks, Heat, Kings (Royals), Knicks, Lakers, Mavericks, Pistons, Pistons, Rockets, Spurs, Thunder (Supersonics), Warriors and Wizards (Bullets).

Tier One Achievements:

#1: The 50+ Win Club
In the past 4 seasons, only 31 out of the 120 teams eclipsed the 50+ win mark. Although 50+ wins does not guarantee getting home court in the playoffs, it does mean your team is playoff-bound. With a total of 56 wins in the 2015/2016 season, the Toronto Raptors is officially the last organization to join the 50+ win club.
(Organizations Pending – None)

#2: A Streak of 10+ Wins
From a big picture perspective, a streak of 10+ wins does not actually mean anything. A team could win their first 10 games of the season and lose the other 72. Although this feat does not guarantee a playoff berth, it is very difficult to accomplish and it requires a team to play well on a consistent basis. As of today, the Memphis Grizzlies is the only organization in the NBA without a double digit winning streak.
(Organizations Pending – Grizzlies)

#3: The Final Four
The ultimate goal for every organization is to win a championship. However, just getting the opportunity to play for a championship is a rare feat on its own. Every year, only about 3 to 4 teams are actually contenders to win it all. For most organizations, just reaching the Conference Finals is considered a major accomplishment.  
(Organizations Pending – Clippers, Nuggets, Timberwolves, Hornets, Grizzlies and Pelicans)

#4: Multiple All-Stars on Roster
Over the course of 65 All Star Games, over 400 players had the honor to call themselves an All-Star. Roughly 70% out of the 406 players were All-Stars on multiple occasions. Although having one player to represent an organization is quite common, having multiple representatives is a tougher task. Unfortunately, the Memphis Grizzlies is the only organization in the NBA to not have multiple All-Stars on the same roster.   
(Organizations Pending – Grizzlies)

#5: Hosting the NBA All-Star Game
Although this feat is not an on-court accomplishment, having the opportunity to host the All-Star Game is a sign that the NBA is ready to welcome your organization and city into its fraternity. To be fair, there are many factors that play into accomplishing this feat, from funding to hotel accommodations. However, a NBA franchise just feels incomplete if its city never gets the opportunity to host the biggest party of the year.  
(Cities Pending – Memphis, OKC, Portland and Sacramento)

       Based on the checklist above, surprisingly quite a few organizations (Clippers, Nuggets, Timberwolves, Hornets, Grizzlies and Pelicans) are ineligible to be considered a Tier One member of the NBA fraternity. Although most organizations are only reaching the “Final Four” away from completing the list, the Memphis Grizzlies has a bit of work to do. Let me know what you think about my list and feel free to chime in on what achievements you would like to add or even take out.