For those of us who follow basketball religiously, the recent push from star athletes to join forces and stack their teams has led many organizations to be seen as the villains of the NBA. These stacked teams have been referred to as “super teams” and have led NBA fans across the country to believe that winning a championship now requires following that formula. There have been numerous teams throughout NBA history that were intentionally stacked, however the debate over “super teams” has recently escalated due to the Warriors acquisition of star, Kevin Durant.
Since 2010 there has seemingly been a team that is projected to dominate the league due to intentional stacking. While these teams have had success in the past, interestingly enough, there has been no “super team” that has won more than two championships since 2010. Therefore, this begs the question: Are “super teams” really ruining the NBA?
Two examples of what some would consider modern day super teams would be the Warriors and the Cavaliers. While the Golden State Warriors (27-5) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (23-7) do hold first place in their respective conferences, both teams have proven beatable throughout the first quarter of the season. These two star-studded teams are clearly among the top five teams in the league, however the creation of these so-called “super teams” is not ruining the NBA just yet.
The Golden State Warriors received the most flak over the offseason as they signed premier small forward, Kevin Durant to their already stacked roster. This acquisition appeared to make this high caliber team practically unstoppable, yet the Warriors started off the 2015-16 season with a better record than they did this year.
This unexpected turnout is due to the fact that the Warriors were forced to give up their depth in order to acquire Kevin Durant and his hefty 54 million dollar contract. The Warriors lost a slew of players, each of whom stepped up in their own respects throughout their playoff and championship push the year before. While none of these players were truly big name stars, the loss of Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa, and Marreese Speights all had a pivotal effect on the team’s chemistry and overall success.
The question left to ask is would the Warriors have continued their record setting successes into the 2016-17 season had they chosen to keep their depth? The season is still young and the Warriors are still clearly a team to fear, winning by a margin of 12 points per game. However, calling Golden State a “super team” has no backing at this point in the season and only time will tell if the Warriors truly have created a dynasty.
LeBron James seems to create a “super team” wherever he goes. His run in Miami was the first time in more than 7 years that three superstar athletes had teamed up and formed what is now referred to as a “super team.” James’ dynasty in Miami resulted in four championship appearances and brought home the Larry O’Brien two of those years. James then moved on to Cleveland, whereupon another “super team” was born. The Cavaliers roster appeared to have created a formula for winning championships, but this Cleveland “super team” also sits at .500 in their Finals appearances.
While the Warriors and Cavaliers clearly have an edge through their star-studded prowess, teams with depth and young talent, like the Milwaukee Bucks, have proved this season that these two “super teams” have not taken over the NBA.
The league will always have teams that appear to be stacked, however there have been numerous teams in the past, like this year’s Warriors, who were viewed as shoo-ins for the championship. The 2003-04 Lakers had a roster filled with exceeding talent. The roster included future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton. On paper this team should have dominated, yet not a single ring was won with this roster.
The creation of super teams has grown as of late in the NBA, however no team has established itself as a true dynasty and won more than two championships in recent history. Both the Cavaliers and the Warriors have the potential to be remembered as some of the greatest teams in history, but only time will tell if these teams can truly pull off the hype they have created. Let us know what your thoughts on super teams are in the comments below!