So last week, in my random comments column, I briefly touched base on a subject about the NBA. I’m a basketball guy, it’s my favorite sport despite being slow and fat with a piece of paper vertical, and I enjoy watching the game. The NBA game, unlike high school and college, is broken. It is a broken mess and is it really enjoyable to watch anymore?
Nope, not unless you love the super team concept.
The super team concept, which I could argue as starting as in the late 1990s when Houston had the aging stars of Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen, but I credit it more to the 2008 Boston Celtics when they added Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to an already solid core that featured Paul Pierce.
That, my dear readers, is when the super team era began. Boston, with those two additions and the emergence of Rajon Rando, added 42 wins to the Celtics as they went on to win the NBA title that year. The Lakers responded with getting Pau Gasol the next season to join Kobe Bryant. LeBron James could not beat the Celtics in Cleveland, and as we all know, left the Cavs to go to Miami.
Although with LeBron there is another story floating around regarding a teammate and his mother which is why he was a no-show in those last two games in his first go-around in Cleveland, but again that was all heresy and conjecture.
The Miami superteam where everyone thought this concept began, as noted before, is incorrect. However, the stated reason wasn’t to beat Boston, but rather a group of friends coming together to play with one another. Plus, you know, I believe Miami has no tax laws or some deal like that so athletes get more money out of their contracts.
The Lakers tried to get the same concept going with Gasol, Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard before that blew up in their face, which was great, but it’s been over 10 years since this started. Since LeBron joined the Heat, we’ve seen an incredible streak of his teams going to the finals. Granted he hasn’t won all of them but it’s still an impressive feat in the salary cap era with players not really have a lot of loyalty.
As we’ve seen with Kevin Durant going to Golden State a year ago, a player leaving a long time team in order to find a ring is now a snake. While personally I didn’t like Durant going to get an easy ring, he was doing what he thought was best for him, as we’ve seen numerous times, two alpha dog personalities do not work on the same team.
See: Shaq and Kobe.
Of course one could argue that Durant is far from an alpha dog and that Westbrook was that guy on the OKC Thunder, but if that was the case, wouldn’t he have stayed and deferred to Westbrook in the clutch? Who doesn’t remember Durant in game three in the finals last year just putting the knife in Cleveland with that cold blooded three?
That’s an alpha dog shot unless you were Robert Horry anyways. Man, that guy was a boss.
Anyways, to just pull up on LeBron like that? That’s something he couldn’t do in OKC, not with Westbrook wanting to airball that shot.
But going to the problem now. The problem with the super team is that it’s killing the rest of the league. Outside of the Warriors, Cavs, Boston and Houston, who realistically has a shot this season at winning the NBA Finals? The Thunder tried making a superteam with three ball dominant players and it’s not working out like a lot of basketball minds thought it wouldn’t.
Seriously, why would you want Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Westbrook on the same team? I knew it was a bad idea from the start. It’s funny that the Pacers and Knicks are really almost better through the losses their teams had with PG13 and Melo leaving.
This is a big strike, to me, with this concept. Players of the same style might not always mesh. LeBron can work through this because, well, he’s LeBron James and the evolutionary Magic Johnson style of player. The Cavs are still sitting in third and Isaiah Thomas won’t really help matters because he’s not really much of a guy on the defensive end. If a team is looking to outscore the Warriors, good luck because that’s a losing battle most of the time.
But if the NBA passes a rule saying a team cannot have more than two all-stars, it would help the game. The NBA would be a lot more competitive and I’d have more teams to talk about than five or six. I like what teams like Milwaukee are doing, yeah they traded for a really good point guard in Eric Bledsoe but he’s not a top 20 player in the league. They’re looking to build pieces to make a good team, not plucking All-NBA performers to make a team you’d see in NBA 2K.
And that’s where we’re at now. NBA 2K teams with the super teams. Until this stops consider me a guy who will stick with college and high school ball. At least it’s a better game.