The 8 A.M. Lecture – The End of the Superteams
The term “Super Team” is too loosely tossed around, most iconically in the NBA. There have always been some variation of the Super Team , such as the Lakers in 2004 when Gary Peyton and Karl Malone both dawned purple and gold to see if they could will their careers to more NBA championships. This was a Super Team. When the Miami Heat brought in free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh so partner with Dwayne Wade and promised South Beach “Not one, not two, not three…”, that was a Super Team. The Boston Celtics, when they added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to help Paul Pierce to a championship and Celtics glory….that, was a Super Team.
An unpopular position that I have taken in the past, however, is that the Golden State Warriors are not a Super team. Super teams are constructed rosters that are made of free agents gathering on one team, not stellar drafting and the addition of one player. Yes, that one player is Kevin Durant, but the main structure of the Golden State Warriors team was drafted and not considered a Super Team when they won their first championship.
As a legal part of roster construction, I have no real objection to the game plan. These teams historically don’t last long together and provide great entertainment during their best years. I will say, with almost great certainty, that the end of the Super Team era is upon us. If you look at the top teams in the NBA there aren’t many that were created through free agency and not the draft. Philadelphia, New Orleans, Portland, Washington and Toronto are all excellent examples of retaining and developing talent.
Although a team like the Pelicans obviously added Demarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo, you wouldn’t call NOLA a Super Team because the teams standard. Philadelphia has been “The Process” for several seasons now, and the fan base has suffered and waited for success. This team is legit, and each player was brought in as a paid assassin or a drafted All Star. The only team in the playoffs with an argument of being close to what the stereotypical Super Team mantra represents is the Boston Celtics, and without Gordon Hayward on the court, it’s tough to see exactly how this team develops.
Although there will be a team in the near future that inevitably will pay a big free agent to join their core players, I don’t see a group of players gathering together to go to a team for a championship happening in the near future.
It’s a breath of fresh air to have players want to play for their cities again as well. The two huge names that will be at the top of everyones list for M.V.P. talent in the next five years are Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard, both of which were drafted by their respective teams and seem to have no ambition to leave anytime soon. The organic rise of traditional roaster building is a fresh and appreciated aspect in todays NBA, and I think that we can watch teams prosper through the draft and roster building for years to come.