Let me offer this take.
We need a template - model, prototype, paradigm. You know, if you’re in ‘build-from-scratch’ mode, you can more or less design the kind of team you want to get to. Ainge did it when he concocted the idea to have Allen join Pierce and Rondo, then got Garnett to join those three. He and Rivers envisioned that these parts would play in a certain way.
Philosophers say it’s an essence vs existence thing - the IDEA of a thing precedes the REALITY of it. Before you build a ‘chair’ there needs to be an idea of ‘chairness’ first.
I don’t know any philosophers who’ve put together an NBA team, but the same applies with a ‘team’ and ‘teamness.’ NBA teams have certain 'essences;' LAC - athletic MEM - grinder CHI - defense OKC - two guys shoot PHX - transition GSW - 3-ball CELTICS - ????
My own template begins with acquiring Embiid and then loading up with the smartest, best passing, moving, shooting players available and aiming for the San Antonio Spurs model of precision, IQ, and efficiency. Over the past 10 years, who’s been better?
Wouldn't need great athletes (if you throw out Kawhi Leonard, there isn’t a so-called true “athlete” on the entire Spurs team) and 80& of the roster is international.
After Duncan, the others have been cobbled together by great scouting and fitness for a system of play. Even Parker and Ginobili were low draft picks.
Embiid (if 100% healthy) looks as close to a Duncan-like player as there is on the horizon. Getting him by cleaning house, the idea for the kind of team would begin now and then proceed by putting the smartest, best passing, best shooting system players around him.
*** I admit that this is probably more addition by subtraction for me. I honestly don't think I can survive another season of watching Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley kicking, punching, fumbling, stumbling, bobbling basketballs all the while with that near-comatose deer-in-the-headlights look.