I agree with pretty much everything that Brian Anderson had to say about the Celtics — that as Rondo goes so goes the team, that the Perk-Robinson trade was a mistake — but my jaw dropped when he wrote that “basketball is the most team-oriented of sports.” Basketball, of all the major sports, may be the least team-oriented. Look no further than the Cleveland Cavaliers, who in one season went from playoff material (some said championship material) with King James to basement dwellers without him.
With only five players on the court at a time, and with most of the key starters playing 75 percent of the game, the impact that an individual player has on the outcome of an individual basketball game is huge — more than in any other sport.
Which sport is the most team-oriented? Football, by a long shot. An individual player, even the quarterback, is only on the field half the game (if both teams’ time of possession were the same), and even then he’s only one of eleven players. (Tom Brady, the Lebron James of football, was replaced by Matt Cassel for the majority of the 2008 season, and the Patriots didn’t skip a beat.)