RIP: Why the NBA you knew and loved is dead

If you just woke up in a panic and cold sweat, absolutely shocked about where you are or what you’ve been doing for the past six weeks, don’t worry. You just probably just fell into hibernation once you realized how the Warriors/Trail Blazers series was going to go, just like every other series featuring either Cleveland or Golden State. As it was the last two seasons, every game leading up to the NBA Finals was essentially a 94-game preseason, all thanks to the development of super teams. 

For the casual NBA fan or the bandwagoner who can’t decide if they’re going to be wearing a James or a Curry jersey for the next week or two, the idea of a super team is as simple as it sounds. You throw three or more superstars on a team together, and bury every JV squad in your way like they’ve insulted you by even shooting on the same court. At least that’s what it looks like when Curry, Durant and the boys shoot the lights out while the Cavs literally and figuratively act like the Monstars. It’s easy to hate, but the sad truth is, super teams are the present and the future.

Many people love parity. For some reason, everyone always brings up an equal playing field as if the NBA beforehand was a land where everyone got the same participation trophy  just for trying hard. Is that the “parity” where either the Lakers or the Spurs won nine championships in a 12 year span from 1999-2010? Or when the only thing that ever stopped the Bulls from winning titles was Michael Jordan deciding he wanted to bat .202 in the minors instead of gutting everyone in the Finals. Maybe parity lovers were referring to the decade where either the Showtime Lakers or Bird’s Celtics won eight titles that span. Parity isn’t a thing, it wasn’t a thing, and it will never be a thing.

Clearly the big difference is these teams weren’t brought together through free agency, for the most part. Nobody ever batted an eye when Shaq went to join Kobe for four rings, but that’s not the point. The point is, this is how teams are assembled. Ever since the Celtics traded for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett and promptly won a title that same year, that’s been the blueprint. People don’t realize they were the first super team because they only brought home one title, but the truth is, that starting five never lost a playoff series. Kevin Garnett was hurt the next year when they lost to the Magic, and Kendrick Perkins was out during their Finals lost in 2010 to the Lakers. Perkins was traded, and the Heattles were formed.

Since the Big Three formed in Beantown, it’s been superstar filled teams essentially every single year. It’s been ten years (including this one where either the Cavs or Warriors will win once again), and the only team that won without a slew of All-Stars was the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk and a band of role players took out LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. Some, including Charles Barkley, think Dirk’s ship is better than anything a super team could do.

“…that’s better on your resume than calling all your friends and saying , ‘Hey let’s get together and dominate the NBA.’ ”

Charles Barkley

SEE ALSO: Shaq threatens to punch Charles Barkley in the face

 

The only thing is, Chuck never won a championship. The man who has as many rings as you and I is sitting around throwing shade at those who join other teams. That’s fine. It’s easy to always laugh at the kid who tags along at a party and just flies off of someone else’s coattails. You know who doesn’t get to make those jokes? The kid sitting at home licking the Doritos off of his finger tips on his mom’s couch while everyone else is at the party. Everyone wants a ring. Who cares how you get it? The bottom line is, this is how teams are formed now. LeBron is with two former All-Stars. Durant is with three, including a former two-time MVP. You can sit around with your loyalty in tact while you wonder how much heavier your hand would be if you had a ring on it.

 

Just look at the other contenders over the years. On three separate occasions, LeBron and whomever he was using as his backup dancers at the time weren’t even the top seed in the East. Yet still, the Hawks, Bulls, and most recently Boston, didn’t even have a real chance. Durant and Westbrook couldn’t hack it and fell to the hands of the Splash Brothers and Draymond Green just over a year ago. There are a number of teams listed that have a star or two, and look where they ended up. Sitting on the couch watching LeBron head to his seventh straight Finals, while Golden State heads to their third. The only way you can guarantee to play a game in June is to pair yourselves with some of the other top stars in the game. Although, that doesn’t always work.

 

You could end up like the Nets, or the Lakers when Kobe and Dwight Howard spent on entire season using the media as a way to bitch about each other like a pair of high school girls at lunch. Still, you have to take the chance.

There’s still a chance you could build the draft. Philly fans have no choice but to trust the process, the Lakers are building through the draft to the point where they can hopefully lure a free agent, and Boston has a warchest of assets including Markelle Fultz. Even if some of these young studs found in the draft actually turn out to be the stars they’re supposed to be, the core four by the Bay is still all under 30, and LeBron may never stop playing basketball. It’s a long road that may never find an end. If you can’t beat them, join them. If you can’t join them, destroy them. Can’t destroy anybody without the help of a few other superheros.