I love MJ, but i respectfully disagree.
Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player who has ever lived. The pioneer of modern basketball, who we tend to recognize primarily for his “clutch gene” & the “Jumpman”, but his stifling defense & competitiveness should be immediately interjected into any conversation about his Airness. Michael, who was asked his thoughts on the current state of the “Superteam Era”, recently told Cigar Aficionado “I think it’s going to hurt the overall aspect of the league from a competitive standpoint… You’re going to have one or two teams that are going to be great, and another 28 teams that are going to be garbage. Or they’re going to have a tough time surviving in the business environment”.
When did the “Superteam Era” begin in the NBA? Well, I think we can look back to the 1990s to dig into that, or maybe even before. The idea of all professional sports teams is to acquire as much talent as possible in order to win championships. Whether it is to draft prospects, trade for established players, or acquire stars through free-agency, the goal remains; to gather the “pieces” that fit an organization’s puzzle to build a championship team.
When LeBron James left Cleveland during the well-documented “decision”, that sparked a new trend in the NBA. LeBron joined Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh to form a “Big 3”. But wasn’t the Miami “Big 3” designed to combat the Boston Celtics’ “Big 3”? Remember back to the 2007-08 season, when LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers fell short to the Celtics in game 7? Or the 2009-10 season when the C’s eliminated the Cavs in game 6?
Ok, now that we remember all of that, let us fast forward to the Golden State Warriors of present day. Stephen Curry was the 7th overall selection during the 2009 draft, Klay Thompson 11th overall in 2011, Harrison Barnes (7th) & Draymond Green (35th) in the 2012 draft. The Warriors hit the jackpot of draft picks without a #1 overall selection. Kevin Durant joined the Warriors in the 2016 off-season & here comes chaos.
The last 3 NBA Finals have included LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers & Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors. Many believe that this has been detrimental to the league because it has swung the competitive balance. I would disagree. Take a look back into the NBA’s history, the LA Lakers have 17 championships, the Boston Celtics have 16. That’s a total of 33 titles between two teams since the NBA’s first title 67 years ago, almost half.
What has the league’s response been to Cleveland & Golden State? Build more “Superteams”… or at least assemble more “BIG 3s” to compete. Boston, Philly, Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Washington, Houston, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, & Toronto are all teams who have improved on their roster (I’ll have another piece soon on this). All teams that are building to be competitive against the Cavs & the Warriors this season.
Will I sit here & lie to you that I expect anyone besides either Cleveland or Golden State in the Finals? No, I won’t do that. I also wouldn’t tell you that out of 130 college football teams, I don’t expect Alabama in the College Football Playoffs… But I do expect the 2017-18 NBA season to be very competitive in both the Eastern & Western Conferences from seeds 2-8.
Even though I love Michael Jordan, I’m sorry sir, the other 28 teams in the Association are not garbage…
-Anthony Bellino hosts “The Fox Sports Morning Blitz” weekday mornings from 7am-9am on Toledo’s Fox Sports Radio 1230.