The NBA is back, bringing a new season of dunks, blocks and stardom. In fact, this looks like more talented basketball than I have seen in a while (see Giannis Antetokounmpo). It is nearly impossible to talk about the NBA, however, without talking about its most hated topic: superteams.
Superteams are formed, not built. Stars go to teams that they think are contending for the elusive O’Brien Trophy. Contrary to popular belief, superteams are not something new. Yet, there is one difference now: Teams and players feel like they cannot win without a superteam.
When LeBron James helped form a superteam, starting the trend in the modern era, it was because he had tried to win with his Cavs team and, despite his best efforts (his ’07 playoff performance was a spectacle), he could not get a ring. Rings are often cited when debating the greats, so it was reasonable of LeBron to think that he needed one. Though even after moving to Miami, he only won two rings. Other teams stuck by competing, and winning, without having to build superteams of their own. Now, the attitude is that regular teams compete, while superteams win.
Last year, in the East, it was LeBron’s Cavaliers who were going to win (yes, they lost the one seed, but we knew who the better team was). In the West, the Spurs and Rockets put up fights against the Warriors, but the Warriors’ victory was clear from the start.
Side note: The Warriors were not a superteam until 2016. They drafted guys like Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green, picked up vets like Shaun Livingston and made an unbelievable roster. The team clicked, centering on shooters Steph and Klay. The Warriors were super, but they were built. It was only this past year that they became a superteam with the addition of Kevin Durant.
Durant to the Warriors made tidal waves, and rightfully so. The move basically rigged the NBA. Say what you will about other teams or LeBron, but putting one of the best NBA players on the best team was a recipe for another title (and more to come). Oh, and boringness. KD started that too.
This past offseason, the Rockets landed superstar Chris Paul. Another West team, the Thunder, found Carmelo Anthony and Paul George to team up with Russell Westbrook in an attempt to beat the Warriors and win a title (which they won’t and won’t come close to). Teams are signing stars instead of building teams, which can still work (see Spurs: have made the playoffs for 19 straight years and won five titles in that time).
It seems simple: Sports are boring if the same teams win every year. From day one last season, most people said that once again it would be Cavs-Warriors in the finals. And it was. And it will be this year. That is not fun. And like it or not, superteams are not the answer. They are just another way to make the league less competitive, giving better teams more firepower with which to crush the worse teams, causing star players to become annoyed when they lose to the Warriors or Cavs.