Are Super Teams Beneficial for the NBA?
May 24, 2017
The acquisition of Kevin Durant in the off-season to the Warriors was something nobody expected; pairing up with fellow All-Stars Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Stephen Curry. Making the Warriors, on paper, one of the greatest NBA teams in history. This, paired with the Cavaliers who also have Lebron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving own the Western and Eastern Conferences respectively. With these teams breezing through the playoffs a question is posed: Are super teams bad for the NBA?
I believe super teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are good for the league for many reasons. One reason in particular is that with the level of skill these two teams bring you see the greatness brought out from other opponents. All players need to play at 100% to even compete with these teams.
Not only that, but now superstars are more inclined to join top seeded teams in hopes of competing for a ring. An example can be found in Kyle Lowry who opted out of his player option to go into free agency this summer hoping to go to a team that can contend with the warriors and or Cavs, stating: “I just want a ring.”.
Another thing to note however is just because they are classified as super teams, they are still beatable. When a team is able to beat these teams they’re more exciting to watch because you know they’re underdogs. This is evident in the fact that the Cavaliers despite being the best team in the East, finished with the 2nd seed in the conference.
The “Big Three” in Miami that consisted of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh were considered by many as a super team. However, despite this they managed to lose in the finals twice to the Mavericks in 2011 and the Spurs in 2014, showing that they aren’t unbeatable. This can draw many parallels to the current Warriors & Cavs.
All in all, the Cavaliers and Warriors may rule their conferences but they bring more excitement into the game, providing titans that other teams are always trying to beat. Providing a new narrative in the NBA. So, until we see what they can do in the playoffs we won’t know if they truly are these gods amongst men that everyone assumes, all we know is that it’ll be interesting to watch.
As the NBA playoffs draw to an end and the finals approach the series what we all expected remains intact. With the Warriors and Cavs taking out each and every team without even breaking a sweat one has to start to question the state of the NBA: are super teams beneficial for the association? Think about it- if someone spoiled the ending of a movie for you, how would you feel? More than likely, you will still watch it, but at the same time all the excitement and tension is gone as you know how it ends; what you are left with is just a predictable and stale product that may have its upsides here and there, but ultimately lacks any buildup as you know what’s going to happen. In the past, sports were, for many, a way to escape the scripted melodrama seen on the big screen: nothing is certain, no one can spoil anything for you, and most importantly- anything can happen.
Just like with anything, there are always proverbial favorites: whether it was Michael Jordan’s Bulls of the 90s or the modern day New England Patriots of the NFL, yet always people felt that maybe there was a David to these Goliaths after all. Now, after Kevin Durant joining the most winningest basketball team in history, 73-9, all parody seemed to be lost. What is left is a stacked Lebron led team versus possibly the greatest lineup ever assembled in the form of the Golden State Warriors. Ever since then, no one has questioned the status-quo: it will be the Warriors and Cavs in the finals this year, probably next year, the year after that, and who knows how long if no major injuries occur of course. Many say the NBA finals now will be absolutely insane to watch and they are right, however, how about the other 82 games in the regular season plus the other three playoff series? Should the NBA bank solely on one seven-game series over the rest of the season? It is no wonder that the regular season viewership has dropped the last few years at roughly 8%, no one wants to watch blowout after blowout of a predictable year. Moreover, the NBA banking on two teams and two teams only to lead their association is setting themselves up for failure. By failing to create new stars and spread the competition all across the league you leave yourself with a very questionable future, and this exact scenario happened when Michael Jordan retired and they were lucky to see Kobe Bryant help lift the league out of mediocrity.
Overall, NBA super teams go fundamentally against what a major league sport should be. By creating a very stale and mundane product, you ultimately isolate a majority of viewers, anger many team owners, and make the NBA seem feeble, as the talent on the 28 other teams looks subpar compared to the two juggernauts. With no end in sight to this epidemic that is super teams, one can only hope the NBA does something to prevent future superstar team-ups to help bring back the spirit of competition.