When LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined forces with Dwyane Wade in Miami last summer, it quickly became conventional wisdom that winning in the NBA would require as many superstars as you could possibly find.
It took all of 10 months to drive a stake into the heart of that argument, which is pretty bad news for the Knicks. They followed that blueprint when they acquired Carmelo Anthony, and the way the four stars of the Celtics handled them seemed to back up that notion.
Then came the rest of the NBA playoffs.
Everywhere you look, the stars are falling to teams built with the same kind of depth and cohesiveness that have won basketball titles for years. Atlanta, Memphis and, most significantly, Dallas are turning the league on its ear because they refuse to be cowed by the bigger names on the marquee across from them.
Now, you're probably saying that Dirk Nowitzki is every inch a superstar and you're absolutely right. But the Lakers had the best player in that series and then the next three after Dirk in Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.
All that individual talent didn't make a whit of difference because the Mavericks had the better plan, the better execution and a team that was able to produce all the way down the bench instead of relying solely on the first few guys.
That's just as true of the Hawks, who beat Dwight Howard and are hanging with Derrick Rose because neither guy has anyone who can help him do the dirty work.
The Grizzlies are the unlikeliest story of all because they look like a hodgepodge of castoffs and role players but are playing with the precision of a unit that's been around for years.
They've been blessed with a draw that's given them a Spurs team with nothing left and a Thunder team that seems to be having some growing pains that their coach can't solve, but they still aren't built around megastars like the Knicks, Celtics or Heat.
So it would seem to be a very bad sign for the Knicks, as currently constructed, to watch as teams built under a totally different blueprint ran away with a title.
Obviously these things can change quickly -- just look at last year's Lakers against this year's version -- but with changes coming to the way the league does business, it certainly feels like other models of team building could bear more fruit.
Unless, of course, the Heat or Celtics can hold off the buzzing gnats and win themselves a title. Then it would reaffirm the current path, even with all the holes that still pockmark the Knicks roster.