For us to build an NBA championship team, let's consider how NBA championship teams are made up.
Testing the Superstar Theory
The theory that many GSOMers have subscribed to lately is that the Warriors need to acquire a superstar. To test this theory, I will go through the last 20 champions and find out if the championship team had an All-NBA First Team player on their team. The MVP definition is too subjective and lends itself to a considerable amount of bias, while the All-Star definition is too loose and involves too many players. An All-First Team player is considered the top player at their position that year. Let's go with this and see what results turn up...
All-NBA First Team Superstars on Title Teams, 1991-2010:
2009: Kobe Bryant (Lakers)
2006: Shaquille O'Neal (Heat)
2005: Tim Duncan (Spurs)
2004: None (Pistons)
2003: Tim Duncan (Spurs)
2002: Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant (Lakers)
2001: Shaquille O'Neal (Lakers)
2000: Shaquille O'Neal (Lakers)
1999: Tim Duncan (Spurs)
1998: Michael Jordan (Bulls)
1997: Michael Jordan (Bulls)
1996: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen (Bulls)
1995: None (Rockets)
1994: Hakeem Olajuwon (Rockets)
1993: Michael Jordan (Bulls)
1992: Michael Jordan (Bulls)
1991: Michael Jordan (Bulls)
Well, this hypothesis looks accurate. Only the 2004 Pistons and 1995 Rockets appear exempt out of 20 teams of having a First-Team All-American.
Is A Superstar All We Need?
Let's take a look at role players. To do this, let's consider the following: A superstar (First-Team All-NBA) is worth 3 points, an All-Star (any team all-NBA) is worth 2 points, and a star (All-Star appearance that year) is worth 1 point.
2010: Kobe Bryant (Superstar) + Pau Gasol (All-Star) = 5 points
2009: Kobe Bryant (Superstar) + Pau Gasol (Star) = 4 points
2007: Tim Duncan (Superstar) + Tony Parker (Star) = 4 points
2006: Shaquille O'Neal (Superstar) + Dwayne Wade (All-Star) = 5 points
2005: Tim Duncan (Superstar) + Manu Ginobili (Star) = 4 points
2004: Ben Wallace (All-Star) = 2 points*
2003: Tim Duncan (Superstar) = 3 points
2002: Shaquille O'Neal (Superstar) + Kobe Bryant (Superstar) = 6 points
2001: Shaquille O'Neal (Superstar) + Kobe Bryant (All-Star) = 5 points
2000: Shaquille O'Neal (Superstar) + Kobe Bryant (All-Star) = 5 points
1999: Tim Duncan (Superstar) + David Robinson (Star)* = 4 points
1998: Michael Jordan (Superstar) + Scottie Pippen (All-Star) = 5 points
1997: Michael Jordan (Superstar) + Scottie Pippen (All-Star) = 5 points
1996: Michael Jordan (Superstar) + Scottie Pippen (All-Star) = 5 points
1995: Hakeem Olajuwon (All-Star) = 2 points
1994: Hakeem Olajuwon (Superstar) = 3 points
1993: Michael Jordan (Superstar) + Scottie Pippen (All-Star) = 5 points
1992: Michael Jordan (Superstar) + Scottie Pippen (All-Star) = 5 points
1991: Michael Jordan (Superstar) + Scottie Pippen (Star) = 4 points
* There was no All-Star Game played in 1999, but it's safe to say David Robinson would have been in it.
In this case, we find that in 16 of the 20 cases, the champion had 4 or more points. Every single one of these sixteen cases involve a superstar and one other player who made an All-Star appearance that year. This indicates that in the vast majority of cases, you will need two well-established All-Stars to get the trophy.
How Does This Relate to the Warriors?
The Warriors were able to accumulate points during the first Don Nelson era, which was also the time they made the playoffs every other year:
1994: Latrell Sprewell (Superstar) = 3 points [Record: 50-32]
1993: Tim Hardaway (All-Star) = 2 points [Record: 34-48]
1992: Chris Mullin (Superstar), Tim Hardaway (All-Star) = 4 points [Record: 55-27]
1991: Chris Mullin (All-Star) + Tim Hardaway (Star) = 3 points [Record: 44-38]
In this stretch of All-Stars, the Warriors made the playoffs in 1991, 1992, and 1994. I did not take my analysis past 1990-1, but I suspect the trend holds.
Judging by past history, it is safe to say that we need to have All-Stars (with multiple All-Star appearances), with one of them being a superstar that can be the best player at that position that year, if we want to win it all. Obviously, as Warriors fans, we just want our team to make the playoffs more years than not. Judging by the Warriors' brief history, this also is true. Baron Davis played like an All-Star in 2007 and 2008, even though he was not ultimately picked at the end, which allowed us to contend for the playoffs both years (and beat Dallas one year!).
We likely have one star, if not All-Star (who can be All-NBA) in Stephen Curry. This is certainly exciting and indicative of how even the Warriors can make a good draft pick once in a while. History validates the fact that we need to get a superstar - and not just anyone who makes the All-Star Game every once in a while. We need one that will make it year in and year out and can win the All-NBA First-Team award some years.
Examples of Such Players (Last 3 years):
I have listed players that have fit the criteria over the last 3 years at some point. While there are occasional problems with this tiered arrangement (such as having Bosh as a star and Bogut as an All-Star), I believe that it is accurate for the most part. This should give us a general idea on who we should think about targeting in trades.
All-Stars: Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bogut, Tim Duncan, Joe Johnson, Brandon Roy, Paul Pierce, Yao Ming, Shaquille O'Neal, Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker, Carlos Boozer, Tracy McGrady, Manu Ginobili (17)
Stars: Chris Bosh, Allen Iverson, David West, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Caron Butler, Rip Hamilton, Antawn Jamison, Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson, Mo Williams, Danny Granger, Rashard Lewis, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Gerald Wallace, Al Horford, David Lee, Zach Randolph, Chris Kaman (20)
The superstars will be notoriously difficult to get, as these types of players are generally only available through drafts. All-Stars are a bit easier to acquire through trades and free agency. We need to get a true All-Star who can break into All-NBA teams if we want to ever be competitive, in addition to keeping Stephen Curry. We genuinely appear to be an All-Star away from being a consistent playoff team, as many have said here. Let's hope that the new ownership figures this out and we can believe again.