Justin Cruz, Senior
Multimedia Journalism Student
Over the years, there has been at least one super-team that makes the finals every year. Some of those teams include; the 1968-1969 Los Angeles Lakers (55-27), 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls (72-10), 1996-1997 Houston Rockets (57-25), 2007-2008 Boston Celtics (66-16), 2010-2011 Miami Heat (58-24), 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers (45-37), and the most recent team, the 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors (73-9).
Let’s start with the 2007-2008 Boston Celtics. They were a team that not many people hated, mainly because they had a few good years, and then they started to fall apart. The Celtics were good, as many people knew they were, as they went 66-16 in the regular season. The Celtics won the Finals in 2008 against the Lakers with a stacked starting five of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Kendrick Perkins. As years went by, the team started to fall apart. The entire starting five was gone within five years.
Next, we can talk about the 2010-2011 Miami Heat. During the 2009-2010 off-season,the Heat signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh to huge deals. LeBron had made his famous decision that summer (“taking my talents to South Beach”) and things were hectic in Cleveland. Jersey burners, death threats and loads of hate sent toward James. It was clear that LeBron was ring chasing. He had left his hometown team for the team that was building a super-team.
The past four NBA Finals have been – Warriors 2018, Warriors 2017, Cavaliers 2016, and Warriors 2015. Notice anything suspicious? The Golden State Warriors are building an NBA powerhouse and the league is completely accepting of it. In the 2015-2016 season, the Golden State Warriors (73-9) met the Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25) in the NBA Finals. The Warriors had a 3-1 lead going into Game 5. The Cavaliers returned by winning the next three games and winning the NBA Finals. They were the only team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. During the off-season, the Warriors decided to sign Kevin Durant to a 2-year, $54 million contract. At this point the Warriors were stacked, there was not a single team in the NBA that could beat them. The 2016-2017 Warriors looked like the dream team and every other team they played looked like a JV high school basketball team.
Lets talk about what would happen if the NBA made rules concerning super-teams. First off, no matter what the NBA says, there will always be one or two teams in the league that try to get around any rules they make concerning so-called “super-teams.” Second, if the NBA made a rule right now, what would happen to the Warriors? Would the NBA make them split up or would they wait until the team falls apart and then from that point on the rule stands? It is not a situation where the NBA could make a certain rule pertaining to what teams can and cannot do. They would have to make sure every team is following those rules. And what would the punishment be for not following them? A pity fine? To huge franchises they are swimming in money and it would just be like a slap on the wrist to them. Again, this is not an easy situation to handle.
Next, what do I think about super-teams? I think that the players on super-teams are simply ring chasing and looking for an easy way to be great. A few players who have followed this movement include, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Charles Barkley, and many others. Notice anything about this list? THEY ARE ALL NBA STARS. Recently, Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins joined the Golden State Warriors in hopes of chasing a ring. Kevin Durant was successful twice and Cousins will find out this year if he was successful. The Golden State Warriors have just become the greatest team in NBA history and the season isn’t even halfway over yet.
Michael Jordan said in an interview with Cigar Aficionado that, “I think it’s going to hurt the overall aspect of the league from a competitive standpoint”, he said, “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.” In some ways I feel like Jordan is right, but in others I disagree with him. I agree with him when he said it hurts the competition in the league because if you look at the last four NBA Finals, it has been Cavs vs. Warriors with the Warriors winning three and the Cavaliers winning one. The reason the Cavaliers made it four times in a row is because of how weak the Eastern Conference is. But the Warriors on the other hand are in the extremely tough Western Conference where they just annihilated teams. I disagree with Jordan when he said there will be one or two great teams and twenty-eight garbage teams. In past years, there were other good teams such as the Rockets, Celtics, Raptors, Spurs, and other pretty good teams. So I believe that Michael Jordan’s statement was somewhat true and somewhat false.
Another aspect that helps my case is viewership. Below is a chart showing the NBA Finals viewership in millions per year.
As you can see, the highest number of people watching the Finals was in 1998 where the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz. After that, the views plummeted and it hasn’t been anywhere near the same since. The views were the lowest in 2007 where the Spurs faced the Cavaliers in the Finals and swept them in four games. It would be a broad statement to say that the Warriors caused the ratings to drop but you can tell that there was a clear drop in views from 1998 to 1999. In 1999, The New York Knicks faced the San Antonio Spurs where the Spurs beat the Knicks in five games. That year the Knicks team was one of the weakest team in the finals where Patrick Ewing was the lone star on the team. But if the Spurs were not an amazing team, the series could have been a little more competitive. And how could i forget the San Antonio Spurs? They were good for over a decade, carrying one of the best teams in NBA history. What scares me, is that the Warriors have the potential to do that. NOBODY WANTS TO WATCH THE WARRIORS WIN THE FINALS EVERY YEAR!
In conclusion, I do not believe that super-teams should be allowed in the NBA. The league should sit down and seriously think about how these teams are hurting the league. The Warriors should be the last super-team in NBA history and this should never happen again. The should come up with specific rules regarding what teams can do, who they can sign, trade for, etc. In the future, the NBA should be more competitive and the viewers that were here a few decades ago should be back watching the league they used to love.