The landscape of the NBA has taken a dramatic turn over the last decade. Throughout the history of the league, there have been a handful of outstanding superstars, who would dominate their opponents on any given night.
That is no longer the case. Slowly but surely, NBA franchises began to assemble teams that had several stars, in an effort to overtake the competition. The first glimpse of this trend was already evident when back in 2007, when the Boston Celtics created the “Big Three,” consisting of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. Earlier this decade, LeBron James joined Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, where the trio won two championships together.
It became apparent that individual stars could achieve much more if they join forces. The Golden State Warriors are the most recent example of a team that is full of stars, and consequently find themselves atop the Western Conference almost every year. When Kevin Durant decided to leave Oklahoma City to play in the Bay Area, many fans voiced their disagreements. But Durant would not be deterred. He realized he wanted to win a championship, and that this type of move would give him the best chance to achieve his goals. He was right, as he claimed two consecutive NBA titles in 2017 and 2018.
Over the past five years, the Warriors have been a staple of excellence, as they seemingly glided into the NBA Finals every season, overpowering the rest of a loaded Western Conference.
The current offseason has proven that other teams have come to understand that they need to create a roster that can compete with anyone else. Durant opted out of his contract, and has joined Kyrie Irving is Brooklyn, where they will likely become a dominant roster out East.
The Los Angeles Lakers have added Anthony Davis to play alongside LeBron James. Meanwhile, the Clippers have made some bold moves as well, picking up the recent NBA Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard, as well as Paul George, a combination that will surely challenge James and Davis for the best team in that city alone.
But the madness didn’t stop there. The Houston Rockets traded Chris Paul to OKC, in exchange for Russell Westbrook. Houston has successfully reunited Harden and Westbrook, and these two are going to be nearly impossible to stop next season.
These moves offer substantial evidence that the NBA is in the midst of a major transition in its history. In the past, it seemed that good teams would each have one superstar, building the rest of the roster around that player. But as more superstars have continued to join their counterparts to create super teams, the rest of the league’s top teams have followed.
The NBA is now full of talent. The league has never had this many ultra-talented players. The abundance of stars, hungry to achieve their own championship aspirations has led to the demise of the old “spread the wealth” strategy, and has yielded a rush to create super teams that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago.
Like in any other field, growth and adaptation are the keys to success. And we are all witnessing a major transition in the way NBA teams are constructed. Various All-Star squads will be competing for a championship when the upcoming season arrives. As long as these super teams exist, we should all be in for a treat as the league moves into a more exciting future.