I found this article that tries to show how it is entirely plausible that a team (in this case, basketball) can actually improve without its best player on the court. For those of you familiar with the "Ewing Theory" made up by Bill Simmons on ESPN.com, it's basically a "proof" of that. Even though it's simplified down, it's still pretty interesting stuff.

The article's pretty long though, so don't say I didn't warn you

Braess’s Paradox and “The Ewing Theory” Gravity and Levity