Are Super teams Ruining the NBA?
Every basketball fan at one time or another has said that the NBA was great in the 1990s and 2000s but many cannot say the same thing about basketball today. Why? One of the reasons that comes up are super teams; they are ruining the NBA, but how much truth is in this statement?
Well here is how we are defining a super team: A team with three or more elite players, at least one of whom were acquired after they were established as elite. We will be defining elite by a player who has been in at least one all star game and averaged over 23 points this season.
Let’s apply this to the biggest teams last season. The Los Angeles Lakers had LeBron James then acquired Anthony Davis. Is this a super team? Yes they are a very strong team with their roster, but not a super team in contrast to most opinions of them last season.
The Brooklyn Nets acquired all three of their stars after they each averaged 26 or more points. They then added LaMarcus Aldridge, who retired midseason after he went to the Nets, and Blake Griffin, who in 2018 averaged 24 points and 7 rebounds. Were they a super team, yes.
Now let’s look at the NBA finalists. The Phoenix Suns. They had two elite players in Devin Booker and Chris Paul, one of whom was acquired via trade. Devin Booker, who they drafted in 2015, scored 70 points at 20 years old. Were they a super team? No. Did they make it to the finals? Yes.
The Milwaukee Bucks. They have Giannis Antetokounmpo, a two time MVP and one time Defensive Player of the Year. They drafted him and Khris MIddleton, a two-time all star and elite scorer. They won the championship while beating the Nets, led by Kevin Durant, who lost Kyrie Irving to injury. But now, the Nets players have recovered from injury and have added two more all-stars to their roster in Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge who just came out of retirement after being cleared to play. This newfound Nets team is now the heavy favorite in the East.
Were the Nets the obvious favorites for the championship? Yes. Are they still for this upcoming season? No. Why? Because if power rises in one direction, it will rise to meet it in the other, hence I give you, the Los Angeles Lakers, whose roster has won a combined total of five MVPs. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russel Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard. A team of elite players and strong veterans who have a lot of playoff experience and award history as well. Russel Westbrook is a one time MVP, Carmelo won scoring title in 2013, and Dwight Howard won DPOY three times in a row from 2009 to 2011.
The Nets have a combined two MVPs. They both have a good chance, but the two heavily-favored teams are the Lakers and Nets. Is there any hope for other teams? Well it depends; the Lakers have won a championship without Westbrook, but if LeBron or AD get injured, it’s going to be a rough ride. If Kyrie or KD get injured, the Nets could lose as proved in last year’s playoffs.
Super teams can determine the championship before the season has even started, so is it really good for the NBA? No. They have been around as long as basketball has but it still isn’t fun to watch. Who wants to watch an outstandingly-stacked team destroy nearly every opponent they go against? Maybe fans of that team, but otherwise no one. Only Nets and Lakers fans have championship hopes for next season, it’s not good for the league, less people are going to watch the playoffs, less people will watch basketball because the games don’t mean anything if their team is going to get 4-0 swept by a superteam; therefore, super teams are ruining the NBA.