Well that's also because Ewing didn't miss games. You're basing their ability to win without Hakeem off a 26 game stretch, which is decent, but not complete. The 02-03 Raptors won and got to the playoffs for a small stretch without Vince Carter, but we know if you toss that team by itself over a whole season they won't win as much. It's just how it happens because game plans change, etc.
There was no good 2nd option until Drexler. Actually Otis wasn't "bad", but during the championship year, the "second option" was a super inconsistent and ineffective Vernon Maxwell. Both less consistent and less effective than Starks.
You keep missing that everything you are saying about New York was the same for Houston.
2nd in Drtg, 15th in Ortg (105.9), 58 wins
New York 93-94:
1st in Drtg, 16th in Ortg (105.7), 57 wins
Neither of these teams had a good offensive supporting cast. They were basically the same caliber offensive team (105.7 Ortg vs 105.9 Ortg) during the season and had very simile production from their main scorer. Hakeem (27.3 pts, 52.8% FG, .565 TS%, 109 Ortg), Ewing (24.5 pts, 49.6% FG, .551 TS%, 108 Ortg). This does not support the idea that Houston was the one boasting the more effective supporting cast outside of their main scorer.
New York shot better from 3PT range during the season and in the finals. In the finals Starks VASTLY outproduced Maxwell as a shooter and scorer in Games 1-6, and actually shot quite well from outside in the whole playoffs until game 7 of the finals. Those both again do not support the idea that Houston was boasting the better supporting cast and/or floor spacing around their main post scorer.
Yes, in the playoffs, Houston's offense was not better, and New York's inferior, but that's mainly because of this:
Hakeem 93-94 playoffs:
28.9 pts, 51.9% FG, .568 TS%, 109 Ortg
Ewing 94-94 playoffs:
21.9 pts, 43.7% FG, .495 TS%, 101 Ortg
26.9 pts (22.5 pts/36), 50% FG, .556 TS%, 105 Ortg
18.9 pts (15.5 pts/36), 36.3% FG, .390 TS%, 85 Ortg
Stats can't tell us everything, we need to analyze, put context into it, but there are just some situations where stats are extremely convincing and we would have to be in denial to try and push them aside. Ewing scored at a rate similar to Caron Butler last season, and took 22 FGA to score 18.9 PPG.
It's just hard to argue that 41% 3PT shooting from my PG in games 1-6. 7-11 3PT shooting from the team in game 2 where 5 other players were in double digits, all shooting over 50% FG, actually EVERYONE on the team except me shoots over 50% FG and I shoot 7/19 FG, scoring 16 pts and then say it's because there wasn't enough spacing or enough offensive help. New York won the game btw, because everyone else shot great. Harper had 18 pts, Starks had 19 pts.
The next game, Starks and Harper score 20 and 21 pts respectively on 16 and 15 FGA, the team shoots 6/17 3PT (35%) if you take away my two 3PA and then I shoot 9/29 FG and score 18 pts. How am I going to say it is because of lack of help of lack or spacing? Seriously?
Next game, Hakeem scores 32 pts on 70% FG, but his team overall ends up with 43.1% FG, which means they did not shoot well. I shoot 8/28 FG and score 16 pts (28.6% FG), but but my team goes 7/17 (41.2%) from three. Starks and Harper score 20 pts and 21 pts respectively on 11 and 15 FGA, Oakley matches my 16 on 8 FGA, all the starters are in double figures. I'm terrible again and we win with two guys outscoring me again with less FGA and I didn't have enough help?
After game 1, 10/26 FG, 23 pts, it was not until game 5 that Ewing actually lead the team in scoring and had a good game, and there were 4 other guys in double figures, Oakley (10, 3/8), Harper (14, 6/13), Starks (19, 7/14), Mason (17, 6/11) for that win.
Now we're up 3-2, we need one win in two games. Starks gives us 27 pts (9/18 FG), Oak 12 pts (5/11), Smith 11 pts (5/10), Harper 10 pts (2/10), and what do we get from Ewing in a two pt loss? 17 pts on 6/20 FG. On the opposite side, Hakeem drops 30 pts on 11/21 FG.
Harper and Starks carried that offense for a good amount of games that series and Ewing was just along to chuck for the ride. Was he important? Extremely, he was a great defensive anchor, but these guys were producing and they were getting little back from him for most of that series. He IS more of reason why they lost, not the difference in complimentary players. If you switched complimentary player production, Hakeem on the Knicks wins in 5 or 6 games.
Maybe those guys never won without him, but they certainly showed that they could win in spite of him basically hurting the offense. Taking pressure off guys is always a factor, but you counter all that if your own individual production, especially with a lot of possessions used is ATROCIOUS. 39% TS, 85 Ortg, that's abysmal, historically bad. Hakeem produced 20 more pts/100 possessions than Ewing, that's the difference between a scrub and a superstar. That doesn't happen because of a teammates or spacing difference. That's more like oh, he shot .560 TS% and had a 105 Ortg and the other guy with worse support had .510 TS% and a 101 Ortg. This is just being dominated offensively.
John Starks from game 2-6:
21.0 pts (14.0 FGA), 7.2 assists, 48.6% FG, 45.2% 3PT (6.2 3PA), .631 TS%, 125 Ortg
Derek Harper from game 2-6:
16.8 pts (12.8 FGA), 6.4 assists, 48.4% FG, 43.3% 3PT (6.0 3PA), .610 TS%, 124 Ortg
Ewing from game 2-6:
18.4 pts (23.4 FGA), 1.8 assists, 35.0% FG, 33.3% 3PT (0.6 3PA), .378 TS%, 85 Ortg
Starks and Harper carried the offense in that series. They were taking 12 3PA and shooting about 44% 3PT, how in the world is that not enough to ope the floor for you? Ewing carried the defense, but those guys offense is why they won the games they won. If Ewing was more than terrible, they should have won 4/5 games between game 2 and 6.
Ewing because he was a jumpshooter and poor post passer / playmaker was known to have his offensive effectiveness decline in the playoffs. That is the defining difference between the teams offensive production. Hakeem shut Ewing down. Hakeem had less production from his teammates, but he outproduced Ewing. Ewing was great defensively, that never faded, but his offense was not impressive when the playoffs rolled around.
I think you have a closer idea of what kind of team New York was, but didn't have an accurate perception of what kind of team 93-94 Houston was. This was a team winning on defense and mainly on the offensive capabilities of one player.
Ewing was great on defense, very great, but all he needed to do to get a championship was not suck for 6/7 games in a series. He had 89 Ortg or lower in 6/7 games that series. The games were so close that just one more game with even just something barely decent, like 101 Ortg would have meant a win. That's how close it actually was. His teammates played their part, he's the one that let them down on offense.
This is in contrast to a guy like Paul who dominates individually on offense and the rest of the team just sucks. And Paul unlike these elite bigs can't go an anchor an elite defense to make it up on the other end.