Jan 13 2014 11:07AM

The 5,000 Minute Rule


Alexander Tamargo/NBAE/Getty Images

Perhaps the most underrated aspect of team sports is how much chemistry and continuity play a part in winning championships.

It may seem difficult to quantify at times, but I've done my best with this thing I call The 5,000 Minute Rule.

The rule basically states: NBA championship teams win titles after they've had at least five different players log at least 5,000 regular season and postseason minutes with the squad.

Since 1979-80, during the Three-Point Shot Era, 29 of 34 NBA championship teams (85 percent) meet the standard.

In fact, 29 of the past 32 NBA champs (91 percent) pass the 5K test.

However, when you scan NBA rosters, you see very few teams adhering to this model.

It's no surprise the teams that do--the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers--are teams we've seen play in the last two conference finals.

These four squads are the only NBA organizations who have SIX OR EVEN SEVEN PLAYERS who meet The 5,000 Minute Rule this season, if you include Lance Stephenson as a qualifier (he's 250 minutes away and will probably hit the 5,000 mark as a Pacer this month).

MIAMI HEAT: 5,000-Minute Club (7) Dwyane Wade 30,729; Udonis Haslem 22,583; Mario Chalmers 13,153; LeBron James 12,457; Chris Bosh 10,379; Joel Anthony 7,427; Shane Battier 5,066.

SAN ANTONIO SPURS: 5,000-Minute Club (7) Tim Duncan 50,563; Tony Parker 36,008; Manu Ginobili 25,609; Matt Bonner 9,425; Danny Green 5,601; Kawhi Leonard 5,500; Tiago Splitter 5,095.

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: 5,000-Minute Club (6) Kevin Durant 21,260; Nick Collison 17,145; Russell Westbrook 16,027; Serge Ibaka 10,546; Thabo Sefolosha 10,324; Kendrick Perkins 6,003.

INDIANA PACERS: 5,000-Minute Club (5) Danny Granger 18,050; Roy Hibbert 11,757; Paul George 8,791; David West 6,552; George Hill 5,965; Lance Stephenson 4,750.

New York, with five players logging 5,000-plus minutes as Knicks, is the only other NBA team who currently meets the criteria, although NY barely qualifies via loophole (Raymond Felton's 5,490 minutes as a Knick were broken up with stints in Denver and Portland).

That said, nobody in the league has a grasp on chemistry continuity like the Heat, Spurs, Thunder and Pacers--the poster teams of The 5,000 Minute Rule.

As a result, that is one of the reasons why these teams of chemistry still rule the NBA, as their championship forefathers before them.


Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

1980-THRU-2013 NBA CHAMPIONS & THEIR 5,000 MINUTE CLUBS

2013 MIAMI HEAT (6): Dwyane Wade 29,787; Udonis Haslem 22,278; Mario Chalmers 12,243; LeBron James 11,134; Chris Bosh 9,277; Joel Anthony 7,390.

2012 MIAMI HEAT (6): Dwyane Wade 26,616; Udonis Haslem 20,508; Mario Chalmers 9,526; LeBron James 7,295; Joel Anthony 6,752; Chris Bosh 6,072.

2011 DALLAS MAVERICKS (5): Dirk Nowitzki 34,700; Jason Terry 21,156; Jason Kidd 10,984; J.J. Barea 6,191; Shawn Marion 5,476.

2010 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (8): Kobe Bryant 45,177; Derek Fisher 24,893*; Lamar Odom 18,256; Luke Walton 9,241; Pau Gasol 9,000; Andrew Bynum 7,579; Sasha Vujacic 6,888; Jordan Farmar 6,481.

2009 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (7): Kobe Bryant 41,419; Derek Fisher 21,974*; Lamar Odom 15,003; Luke Walton 8,873; Sasha Vujacic 6,237; Pau Gasol 5,683; Andrew Bynum 5,042.

2008 BOSTON CELTICS (2): Paul Pierce 29,936; Kendrick Perkins 6,055.

2007 SAN ANTONIO SPURS (6): Tim Duncan 33,503; Tony Parker 19,201; Bruce Bowen 18,070; Manu Ginobili 12,508; Robert Horry 6,423; Brent Barry 5,701.

2006 MIAMI HEAT (4): Alonzo Mourning 17,740*; Dwyane Wade 10,052; Udonis Haslem 8,357; Shaquille O'Neal 5,490.

2005 SAN ANTONIO SPURS (5): Tim Duncan 26,764; Tony Parker 12,762; Bruce Bowen 11,722; Malik Rose 10,793; Manu Ginobili 7,607.

2004 DETROIT PISTONS (6): Lindsey Hunter 16,900; Ben Wallace 13,,658; Chucky Atkins 7,403; Richard Hamilton 7,015; Corliss Williamson 6,972; Chauncey Billups 6,472.

2003 SAN ANTONIO SPURS (5): David Robinson 38,492; Tim Duncan 20,760; Malik Rose 8,617; Tony Parker 6,205; Bruce Bowen 5,357.

2002 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (5): Shaquille O'Neal 17,924; Kobe Bryant 16,477; Rick Fox 11,871; Robert Horry 11,605; Derek Fisher 10,395.

2001 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (5): Shaquille O'Neal 14,726; Kobe Bryant 12,581; Rick Fox 8,930; Robert Horry 8,762; Derek Fisher 7,772.

2000 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (6): A.C. Green 26,298*; Shaquille O'Neal 11,126; Kobe Bryant 9,104; Robert Horry 6,793; Derek Fisher 6,487; Rick Fox 6,066.

1999 SAN ANTONIO SPURS (5): David Robinson 28,401; Sean Elliott 22,951; Avery Johnson 18,458; Tim Duncan 6,674; Will Perdue 5,769.

1998 CHICAGO BULLS (8): Michael Jordan 43,361*; Scottie Pippen 36,885; Toni Kukoc 12,405; Steve Kerr 10,266; Ron Harper 9,058; Dennis Rodman 8,768; Luc Longley 8,031; Bill Wennington 5,110.

1997 CHICAGO BULLS (7): Michael Jordan 39,308*; Scottie Pippen 34,397; Toni Kukoc 9,533; Steve Kerr 8,732; Ron Harper 6,211; Luc Longley 5,872; Dennis Rodman 5,190.

1996 CHICAGO BULLS (4): Michael Jordan 35,398*; Scottie Pippen 30,549; Toni Kukoc 7,500; Steve Kerr 6,530.

1995 HOUSTON ROCKETS (5): Hakeem Olajuwon 35,576; Vernon Maxwell 14,775; Kenny Smith 13,947; Robert Horry 8,767; Carl Herrera 5,438.

1994 HOUSTON ROCKETS (5): Hakeem Olajuwon 31,794; Otis Thorpe 19,148; Vernon Maxwell 12,721; Kenny Smith 11,265; Robert Horry 5,852.

1993 CHICAGO BULLS (7): Michael Jordan 30,487; Scottie Pippen 20,429; Horace Grant 19,347; John Paxson 17,642; Bill Cartwright 12,102; B.J. Armstrong 8,956; Stacey King 6,009.

1992 CHICAGO BULLS (6): Michael Jordan 26,637; Scottie Pippen 16,517; John Paxson 16,281; Horace Grant 15,951; Bill Cartwright 10,405; B.J. Armstrong 5,821.

1991 CHICAGO BULLS (5): Michael Jordan 22,615; John Paxson 13,737; Scottie Pippen 12,454; Horace Grant 12,236; Bill Cartwright 8,322.

1990 DETROIT PISTONS (7): Isiah Thomas 29,849; Bill Laimbeer 26,663; Vinnie Johnson 19,980; Joe Dumars 14,912; Dennis Rodman 9,575; John Salley 8,711; James Edwards 5,026.

1989 DETROIT PISTONS (8): Isiah Thomas 26,098; Bill Laimbeer 23,321; Vinnie Johnson 17,545; John Long 13,897; Joe Dumars 11,580; Rick Mahorn 7,791; Dennis Rodman 6,638; John Salley 6,250.

1988 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (7): Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 41,741; Magic Johnson 29,217; Michael Cooper 23,998; James Worthy 18,459; Byron Scott 14,873; Kurt Rambis 11,356; A.C. Green 7,755.

1987 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (6): Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38,715; Magic Johnson 25,615; Michael Cooper 21,617; James Worthy 14,908; Byron Scott 10,928; Kurt Rambis 10,325.

1986 BOSTON CELTICS (5): Larry Bird 25,799; Robert Parish 19,005; Kevin McHale 17,020; Dennis Johnson 10,744; Danny Ainge 10,659.

1985 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (6): Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 32,597; Magic Johnson 18,926; Michael Cooper 16,152; James Worthy 8,415; Kurt Rambis 6,756; Bob McAdoo 5,874.

1984 BOSTON CELTICS (6): Cedric Maxwell 19,301; Larry Bird 17,940; Robert Parish 12,194; Kevin McHale 10,418; Gerald Henderson 9,594; M.L. Carr 6,282.

1983 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (5): Julius Erving 23,114; Maurice Cheeks 15,176; Bobby Jones 12,491; Andrew Toney 7,571; Clint Richardson 6,014.

1982 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (5): Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 22,826; Norm Nixon 16,885; Jamaal Wilkes 15,165; Magic Johnson 8,504; Michael Cooper 7,751.

1981 BOSTON CELTICS (4): Cedric Maxwell 10,574; Tiny Archibald 8,308; Chris Ford 8,253; Larry Bird 7,316.

1980 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (3): Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 16,546; Norm Nixon 10,217; Jamaal Wilkes 8,583.

Teams that meet The 5,000 Minute Rule criteria have been italicized and underlined; * denotes player did not play minutes in consecutive seasons with team.