NBA Super Teams: Past and Present
What is an NBA super team?
*Photo via PointPresser.com
The concept of a Super Team has become a hot topic again among industry insiders and fans alike recently. Teams have long jockeyed to lure the most impressive players to their franchises to construct powerhouses with the potential to become a dynasty. “In the NBA, one starter can significantly alter a team’s prospects, and more than that, individual talent is the biggest driver of success—over strategy, coaching and team style or play. It’s why teams that are well built with good talent lose in the playoffs if it lacks a star.” (CBSSports.com)
One of the more dramatic super team constructs occurred when LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chris Bosh left the Toronto Raptors in 2010 to join longtime team star Dwayne Wade in Miami. That trio catapulted the Miami Heat franchise into super team status, winning two consecutive NBA Championships together. Another example of a franchise piecing together a super team would be Danny Ainge orchestrating the blockbuster moved that brought Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to the Boston Celtics; that team won the 2008 NBA Championship against their longtime west coast rivals the Los Angeles Lakers. The addition of one or two star players to an otherwise strong roster gave each of these respected teams the edge they needed to win in the postseason.
Who are the super teams in the NBA for the 2016 – 2017 season?
*Photo via Bleacher Report
Well, unless you’re a hermit you’d have to absolutely put the Golden State Warriors at the top of the list of super teams for the upcoming season. The addition of Kevin Durant in free agency adds more depth to an already phenomenal club. The Warriors posted a record 72-9 regular season record last year with the Splash Brothers at the helm; back-to-back league MVP point guard Stephen Curry and three-point sniper Klay Thompson have another star to play hot potato with on the arc now in Durant, who is both an offensive and defensive asset. Add in the power and speed of Draymond Green and four of the starting five Warriors are legitimate superstars.
The new NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers are absolutely right there with the Warriors at super team status. With a healthy Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving contributing massive numbers last season, the trio went pound-for-pound with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in a nail biting seven-game series. Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert only furthered the effort with their robust offensive play and the Cavaliers won their first championship in franchise history. The Cavs are no longer hampered by injuries and look like they’re posed to hit the accelerator pedal once the 2016-2017 season starts. As long as everyone stays healthy it’s a safe bet that we’ll see a repeat final a third year in a row.
Then of course the newest joke around the league is that the New York Knicks are going to be the super team in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks acquired point guard Derrick Rose and center Joakim Noah in July in a move that Gotham basketball fans hope will right the ship at Madison Square Garden. Rose is an impressive point guard when he’s healthy but he’s prone to injury and the acquisition of Joakim Noah on paper is a good pick up. With big man Kristaps Porzingis having had a breakout rookie year last season and team star Carmelo Anthony content to remain in New York City the addition of Rose and Noah should add some depth to the starting rotation for head coach Jeff Hornacek.
I wouldn’t classify Joakim Noah as a star player though and while Derrick Rose is popular he hasn’t played consistently enough to be considered one of the greatest point guards. Apparently Rose disagrees and has high hopes for himself and his new teammates, “And the expectations I think of us, we just want to win,” Rose said via NBA.com “Talking to Melo and all the guys who’ve been around. You've got Brandon who just signed for one year, he's got to show why he's there. I've got to show why I'm there. Joakim has to show why he's there. Everybody's trying to prove themselves. When you've got a group like that, it's like, alright, I know everybody wants to do that, but we're going to break this down as simple as possible, and try to win every game.”
According to CBSSports.com writer Matt Moore jokes abounded around the basketball community following Rose’s high hopes. This time I do hope the detractors are wrong and the Knicks can remain above .500 for the season, finishing at least eight to make the playoffs but only time will tell. Right now basketball fans and insiders, myself included, can only watch and speculate. October can’t get here fast enough.