OPINION: NBA ‘Super Teams’ The Only Way to Stop The Warriors
The 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors will always have a slight doubt cast upon them after winning it all earlier in June.
What if Kevin Durant did not join the team? Could the Warriors have won a ring without him? Was a ‘super team’ necessary?
Those questions will forever be unanswered because Durant was so vital to the Warriors in the five-game series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. His 35 points per game resulted in a Finals MVP Award and the team’s second championship in three years.
Other teams realize the potency of putting multiple all-stars together and forming ‘super teams,’ and it was apparent that even LeBron James and his cast, which boasts three all-stars including himself, was unable to match Golden State and its four.
Are super teams going to begin a new era in the NBA? Where talent and stardom trump money in a quest to become world champions? It might have to be if we want to see more variety in the NBA.
The Cavaliers and the Warriors will remain the two best teams in the NBA for at least the next few seasons, but the Warriors seemingly grab the edge as the league’s best team, shown by their 16-1 playoff run and impressive halt to James and his crew. Other teams in contention have a star player or even two, but it’s clear no one has enough to stop its conference powerhouses.
From that, there has already been a flurry of trades and rumors heading into free agency, which begins July 1. The biggest move of them all was Jimmy Butler heading to Minnesota from Chicago. The three-time all-star will join the rising young duo of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns and may have the most immediate impact on a Timberwolves team that has risen in the past few seasons but needed more to make a run for the playoffs.
Former All-Star Dwight Howard joins his fifth team in seven seasons, as he was traded by his hometown Altanta Hawks and sent to Charlotte, joining 2017 all-star Kemba Walker. Paired with Nic Batum, the Hornets have a viable chance to make a playoff push come the new season, but may still need a little more help.
First-time all-star Gordon Hayward may be the biggest asset available come Saturday morning, possibly joining his former college coach, Brad Stevens, in Boston. The Celtics may not be labeled as a super team by some, but would have the pieces necessary to challenge Cleveland for the Eastern Conference after taking the conference’s top playoff spot, but losing in five games to the Cavaliers in the conference finals.
Los Angeles Clippers stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin both opted out of their player options to become unrestricted free agents, and may sign with other teams. Paul has drawn substantial interest, including from the Spurs and Rockets. Paul joining either of these teams would form a dynamic duo with the team’s biggest star and become a potent threat to the Warriors. The Clippers never made it to even the Conference Finals since Paul joined the Clippers in 2011, and LA’s roster has boasted all-stars in Paul, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
It’s going to take some magic this offseason to see any formidable foe to Golden State or even Cleveland this upcoming season. But one thing is for certain, and that is that to have a chance, teams will need to be big buyers and possibly even form a super team in doing so.