Find me an example of a small-market team winning anything in the first place! Unless you consider Orlando or Cleveland to be small-market, which they may or not be, I don't think so but I digress, then we've not seen a small-market team make the Finals in the last 35 years. I might give you Portland or OKC, but that's all.
Small Market. Multiple titles. How? Landed a superstar, and then drafted well and added others like Parker/Manu/already had David Robinson. This also lends to the BPA strategy in some threads surrounding Embiid I've seen, as the Spurs surely weren't going to pass up on Duncan because they already had Robinson down low and could've used some perimeter help. (Qualify this right quick, obviously I'm not saying Embiid is Duncan right now, or ever.) Also had one of the greatest coaches of all time however, which can't be overlooked in enabling their rise. They're the obvious gold standard for small market teams. OKC, arguably on their way until they blew it up by trading Harden, but still a contender. Indiana today has been a solid example in building a team and landing a superstar.
A clip from an ESPN article on small vs. large market from last year's playoffs, just for clarification on small market examples...
"This is a league that prides itself on Oklahoma City, Memphis, Salt Lake City, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento, Indianapolis, on and on and on."
San Antonio, obviously above.
OKC has been discussed.
Memphis acquired Gasol basically in a draft trade for his brother and also Conley.
Utah, Malone and Stockton
Portland, their run in the 90s with Drexler or even 79 I think it was with Walton (when healthy).Today, Aldridge and Lillard give a nice foundation.
Sacramento, meh, only good for a couple of years by throwing money at CWebb
Indiana, George/Hibbert/Reggie in the 90s
Cleveland, an obvious small market. Lebron made them a contender who never got over the hump. It was also his team's fault for never getting him help.
Orlando, probable small market as well. Dwight carried them to the Finals.
One thing this also proves though, is that you don't always need a Top 3 or so pick. You have to draft well, but in doing so, find superstars. The original comment that started this, about possibly losing a pick to CHI in this loaded draft, prohibits the chance of doing so. Nearly all of these teams were beaten by large markets, sure. But these are the blueprints to actually competing. Not being the Bucks or Hawks and competing just to make the playoffs and bow out in the first round.