NBA Super Teams: Luck or Strategy?
The term “super team” is a relatively new phrase in the NBA that describes the concept of adding superstar players to one roster in an attempt to dominate the league. Though this may be every team’s overall goal year after year, it is rarely achieved.
The phrase itself can be considered somewhat belittling due to the fact that many fans today consider it a cheap strategy in order to claim an NBA title as quickly as possible. However, there are countless behind-the-scenes factors that occur in order to build that team over time. General Managers and teams’ front offices work tirelessly to obtain the best players possible, and give their respective organizations the best chance of success.
One of the first instances of a super team breaking out into the league was the 2010 Miami Heat. With an enormous cap space of $48 million, the Heat were able to create the “Big Three.” It all began when Miami drafted Dwyane Wade in 2003. The team saw immediate success with the young player, eventually winning the franchise’s first ever championship in 2006. Following that success however, the Heat were plagued with consecutive losing seasons. Enter LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
In 2010, the first year with James and Bosh playing alongside Wade, the Heat finished with an impressive record of 58-24, clinching the number 2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Though they would go on to lose to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals that year, the trio eventually won the championship title the next year in 2012, and again in 2013. Their reign came to an end after losing to the Spurs in the Finals in 2014, though their legacy remained well intact.
The Big Three sparked a movement across the NBA. Front offices around the league have always understood the value of having such immense talent, but few were gifted it. The idea of developing a “super team” then became even more alluring. Combining star players on a single roster seems like the perfect way to immediately become a championship contender, but GM’s understand that this is much easier said than done.
The Golden State Warriors, for example, have been what many consider to be the greatest super team of all time for a few years now. The combined talents of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, to name a few, were enough to claim two NBA titles in 2015 and 2017. The addition of Durant however, sparked controversy around the league. Critics and fans accused him of joining the Warriors due to the almost guaranteed chance of winning a championship, leaving behind the Oklahoma City Thunder. But, General Manager Bob Myers would disagree, saying that this dynasty was created over time, which is true.
As if NBA teams understood the threat that Golden State posed, it seemed as though a few scrambled to compete. The new-era Cleveland Cavaliers (LeBron James’ homecoming) were able to defeat them in the 2016 Finals, but were stopped abruptly in 2017 after the addition of Durant.
Today, the concept of super teams is prominent throughout the league. Here are a few of those teams (excluding the Warriors) with star players and notable additions to their rosters in recent years:
Oklahoma City Thunder
- Russell Westbrook
- Paul George
- Carmelo Anthony
- Kyrie Irving
- Gordon Hayward
- Al Horford
- LeBron James
- Isaiah Thomas
- Derrick Rose
- Dwyane Wade
- Kevin Love
- James Harden
- Chris Paul
All of these teams have added another star player quite recently in the wake of the Warriors’ dominance, though to say they’ve done so because of that specifically would be unfair. Dynasties often come from years of building. While flashes of success do occur in super teams, the most successful seem to be from devotion on the front offices’ parts (see San Antonio Spurs).
It is exciting to imagine that a super team is currently in the works that has yet to manifest. Should one come about in the coming years, it would further prove the notion that these super teams are built through dedication, intelligence, and most importantly, patience.
2018 NBA Prospects Every Team Should Consider
It may seem too early to begin predicting who the most highly sought after draft picks will be in 2018, but general managers all over the NBA have been diligently studying next season’s upcoming prospects, and a few names clearly stand out in front of the rest.
Considering how much talent was packed into this past year’s draft class, following up with one of equal or even more talent seems impossible. But, that is not the case in the eyes of GMs and analysts all across the league. The following players are some of the many talented prospects that will all, more than likely, make an NBA roster in 2018.
Marvin Bagley III
Transitioning between a power forward and a center, Bagley is an athletic 6’11” player with a style similar to that of Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans. Aside from his size allowing him to be dominant in the paint, Bagley’s shooting and handling skills are unlike most other centers his age.
He is set to enter his first season with Duke at just 18 years old, and is expected to have a profound impact almost immediately. This comes just after his announcement that he will forego his senior year at high school to join the Blue Devils for the 2017-18 season. While considering Bagley such an enormous progress seems like jumping the gun, his size and skills are already near NBA-level. If he performs as expected at Duke and declares for the draft following an impressive first season, he very well could be 2018’s first overall pick depending on what team holds that position.
With a style of play similar to Russell Westbrook, Bridges possesses the athleticism to play either small forward or power forward at a height of 6’6”. His freshman year at Michigan State showed that his three-point shooting abilities are on par with most NBA players today, but team scouts and his combine performance will judge whether or not it is just a flash.
A problem for Bridges in his college career has been turning the ball over. He averages a decent number of turnovers per game, but that should not be a defining factor in his play. The recently drafted Jayson Tatum struggled with the same issue and was still taken no. 3 overall by the Boston Celtics in last year’s draft. Bridges should prove to be an asset for any team looking to add both speed and size.
A recent commit to Arizona, 19-year-old DeAndre Ayton has been turning heads throughout the basketball world as a center with the athletic abilities of a strong forward (reminiscent of one Joel Embiid). At 7’0”, he is primed to dominate in the paint, but actually prefers to stay on the perimeter.
His shooting skills are well defined, and he has impressive speed for his size. Team scouts will want to see just how well he plays in his first year at Arizona. Should he have a season as successful as many people expect him to have however, he could easily be the first overall pick in the 2018 draft for a team yearning for a center.
Michael Porter Jr.
Another player entering his first year in the NCAA, Porter has committed to Missouri, and will undoubtedly make an impact almost immediately. Standing at 6’10”, he has the size and skills that may remind one of Kevin Durant. The question is, can he be as dominant in the NBA?
If Porter is able to prove that his passing is on par with his shooting, teams looking for another big man should not hesitate in drafting him, so long as he is still on the board. It will be worth watching how he handles defenders at a college level as well. This may provide insight as to how he deals with much more aggressive NBA defenders. Regardless, Porter is poised to be a standout player in his 1 year at the collegiate level.
What’s Up with the NBA? You’re Not the Only One Asking These Questions
There’s more to basketball than the March madness brackets and NBA junkies. Basketball is a high-competitive sport that provides opportunities, engagement, scholarships, sponsorships and more to any players out there on the court. The NBA is a professional league that makes news and ESPN headlines frequently. Maybe you’re all about the sport or maybe you just want to know more. Whether you’re a fan of basketball or not, here are some frequently asked questions answered just for you.
What is the NBA?
The NBA stands for the “National Basketball Association” and serves as America’s professional basketball league with 30 teams spread out over North America. There are two conferences; the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference.
Together, they have 6 divisions: North West, Pacific, Southwest, Atlantic, Central, and Southeast.
What are the names of all 30 teams in the NBA?
To keep this list organized, let’s split this up by regions.
North West Teams: Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz
Pacific Teams: Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings
Southwest Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs
Atlantic Teams: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors
Central Teams: Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks
South East Teams: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards
In recent basketball news, the NBA has launched a global apparel partnership with Nike, and just released the new uniforms for numerous teams in the league.
When is basketball season?
The NBA season begins in late October and finished mid April. The 2016-17 season began on October 25th and wrapped up on April 12th. This doesn’t include pre-season or any other leagues in basketball.
How many players are on each team?
In the NBA, each team can have 15 total players, which 13 of can be active during a game.
How big is the basketball court?
The NBA regulation basketball court measures 50 ft. wide and 94 ft. long. The rims on the basketball court hang 10 ft above the ground and the basketball measures 9 inches in diameter.
What team is the most recent season’s champion?
The winner of the 2016-17 NBA season are the Golden State Warriors as they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 4-1 win.
An Overview of Basketball History
Did you know that the very first type of basketball hoop was repurposed peach baskets? In 1892, that’s how basketball got its named. In Springfield, Massachusetts, a Canadian Doctor by the name of James Naismith instructed the first official game of basketball. Naismith wrote the original rules of Basketball, with 9 of them still implemented today with slight moderation. The final score of the very first basketball game was 1-0, and only played for 30 minutes as the players didn’t quite grasp the concept. The first person to ever score in Basketball was William R. Chase. Because Naismith didn’t have money to invent a new ball, the teams played with a soccer ball and Chase managed to shoot in the peach basket and score. By 1983, new basketball hoops were created out of iron basket and chain.
This new sport spread in popularity through YMCA’s in northeastern states as well as southern Canada. However, due to the roughness of this game, some YMCAs and other facilities banned the game. Originally, a similar game to basketball was played with a rubber ball in mesoamerica. However, much more gruesome, the game was played with the loose team being decapitated by their winning foes. Because of the popularity of the basketball game we know and love today, other facilities picked up the game and that’s how competitive basketball became a sport.
Local leagues started to form among large east coast cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Boston. Just four years after the very first basketball game was played, professional basketball as we know it came into the picture. In Trenton, New Jersey two teams formed at the Trenton Masonic temple. Chicken wire was used around the iron, creating cuts and scrapes during this game which embarked the hoop as we know made out of net and still used today.
In 1898, six teams formed the very first National Basketball League (NBL) between New Jersey and Philadelphia. During this time, players were paid $12 per game as they traveled around the country playing with local teams. Colleges joined in forming the collegiate sport of college basketball, with Yale winning the first ever national college league championship going 10-4.
The early 1900’s established a firm foundation of the sport. The first ever African American, Harry “Buck” Lew joined a professional team in 1902. The original formation of contracts came from the Celtics, then known as the New York Celtics who discontinued the allowance of players to switch teams depending on what team paid players more.
After the 1929 stock market crash, teams began to disintegrate due to low attendance and funding. As the economy grew, the game of Basketball did too. Towards the end of the 30s and early 40s, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) grew into two of America’s most followed Basketball competitions.
The first NBA game was played between Toronto and New York on November 1, 1947. Following the rapid growth from the NBA, Basketball made its way through the years to its current state. With salaries rising, rules and regulations adapting and the way of the game evolving into how it’s played today, basketball is now a professional competitive sport followed by Americans all over the nation.
Top NBA Stadiums You Need to Visit
Some of the greatest dates in the history of basketball have been made in these basketball stadiums. Each national stadium has its own community culture, history, and contribution that makes up who the NBA teams are today. Here’s a look at the must see NBA stadiums to visit in your lifetime.
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
The staples center is known for one of the best stadiums in the nation. Even if you’re not into basketball, this is a tourist must For one, you’re bound to see at least one famous celebrity on the sidelines at a Lakers home game. Second, the spontaneous atmosphere and cheering of fans, will remind you that you’re in the hollywood neighborhood.
United Center, Chicago, IL
The United Center is known for its basketball hype from back in the day. The 90’s basketball stadium is known for having some of the best seats in the battle of stadiums. The stadium is also known for holding a statue of Michael Jordan, as a retirement gift. It also offers great wine, beer, spirits and food for you can enjoy the game to the max.
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Madison Square Garden is known as one of the best stadiums in the country. Settled in the heart of New York, the stadium is only steps away from Pennsylvania Station. The stadium opened in the late 1960’s and is home to hundreds of events such as basketball games and concerts. The Garden is a must see for tourists and basketball lovers alike, as the stadium is known for its clean and newly renovated attractions.
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI
Known as the biggest NBA stadium in the nation, this is a must see to experience the history of the Midwest’s industrial city. The stadium is also known for the three titles won by the Detroit Pistons. And let’s not forget about the 2004 Pacers vs. Pistons fight, which resulted in the suspension of 9 players.
Bankers Life FieldHouse, Indianapolis, IN
Bankers LIfe Fieldhouse is only one of the two sporting Venues in the Windy City. Indianapolis is already known as one of the most sportiest cities in the Nation, and the Fieldhouse stadium is one of the reasons. It’s great for locals and tourists alike as almost everything in the City is of walking distance and there is not one bad seat in the house! Don’t forget to stock up on your food and beverage as the Windy City offers plenty of food and drinks within one of the cleanest stadiums in the midwest.
3 Teams That Won the NBA Finals After Trailing 2-0
The Cleveland Cavaliers quest for their first NBA Championship in franchise history doesn’t look too promising after they were dismantled by the Golden State Warriors the other night. Cleveland is now in a 0-2 hole, a feat that only three teams in NBA history have overcome. The Cavaliers are looking at a daunting task ahead of them, especially since their opponent is defending NBA Champions and might have the best team ever assembled. However, when you have Lebron James on your team anything is possible. Now, let’s take a look at the three teams that have come back from 0-2 deficit and went on to win the series!
1969 NBA Finals – Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers
These two historic franchises have been labeled the best rivalry in the NBA. They have met a record 12 times in the NBA finals and have combined for 33 NBA Championships. The 1969 NBA Finals proved to be one of the best between these two teams. Boston had won 10 of the previous 12 NBA championships but still came into the NBA Finals as the clear underdog. The Lakers had won 55 games on the season and were the top seed in a talented Western Conference. They were led by a talented duo in Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain. They both had dominating performances in first two games to help give the Lakers a 2-0 series lead. At the time, no team had ever recovered from a 0-2 series hole in an NBA Finals. However, this talented Celtics team would make history. The Celtics won three of the next four games to force a game 7. They win game seven 108-106 behind a spectacular performance from Bill Russell. West, who averaged almost 38 points a game, became the first (and only) losing player to win Finals MVP.
1977 NBA Finals – Portland Trail Blazers defeat Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers jumped out to 2-0 series lead behind the performances from Julius Erving and Doug Collins. When the Trail Blazers returned back home they gained their home dominance back as they would blow out the 76ers in games three and four to tie the series. After the Trailblazers won on the road to take a 3-2 series lead they returned home with a chance to win franchise’s first NBA title. Let’s just say their star center, Bill Walton would not let them give this opportunity away. He was named Finals MVP after a dominant 20-point, 23-rebound performance in a Game 6 win.
2006 NBA Finals – Miami Heat vs Dallas Mavericks
The Miami Heat were lead by Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal and up in coming star named Dwayne Wade. This was the series that put Wade in the superstar discussion. The Dallas Mavericks took care of business in first two games at home. The series then shifted to Miami for a pivotal game three. Miami trailed most of the game and faced a double-digit fourth quarter deficit until Wade decided to take over the game. He scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and rallied the Heat to a 98-96 win. He finished with 42 points and 13 rebounds. This victory sparked the Miami Heat as they would go on to win the next three games and capture their first NBA title in franchise history. Wade averaged 34.7 points, 7.8 boards, 3.8 assists per game, which led him to being named Finals MVP.
Top 3 Playoff Moments in Lebron James Career So Far
At 6 foot 8, Lebron James is unlike most players in the NBA. He can dominate the game at multiple positions, something you don’t often see. The hype of Lebron James started when he was in high school and many believed he would be the next star in the NBA. Well, they were right. Everyone was immediately fascinated with LeBron James as soon as he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. Throughout his career, he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat. James led the Cavs to their first NBA Finals appearance in 2007 before bolting for Miami after the 2010 season. In four seasons with the Heat, James won two titles, but he is now back with Cleveland. Here now are the 3 greatest playoff moments of LeBron’s career so far.
Lebron’s First Title
Lebron’s first championship will always his memorable one. After reaching the Finals twice and walking away empty, James and the Miami Heat won the first of two NBA Championships during the Big Three Era. They defeated a talented Oklahoma City team that featured, Kevin Durant one of best players in the league. Lebron had an incredible series and won the Finals MVP.
Game 6 of 2012 Eastern Conference Finals
In game 6 of 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, Lebron James put together one of greatest playoff performances in NBA history. Yes, it was that amazing. With the Heat facing elimination, James was as locked in as I have ever seen him before. He scored 45 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out five assists to lead Miami to victory. The Heat would then defeat the Celtics in Game 7 a few nights later and move on to the NBA Finals.
Game 5 2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals
If there is one performance that can contend with the one above it is when Lebron and Cavaliers defeated the Detroit Pistons in game 5 of 2007 Eastern Conference Finals. With the series tied at 2 games a piece, James single-handedly carried the Cavaliers to victory over a great Detroit Pistons team. He scored the Cavs’ final 25 points to defeat Detroit 109-107 in double overtime. James finished with a remarkable 48 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
A Historic Night in the NBA
Last night, marked a historic night in the NBA. NBA legend, Kobe Bryant was playing the last game of his hall of fame career and the Golden State Warriors were going for win number 73 on the season. The 95-96’ Chicago Bulls held the record for most wins in a season with 72, so you knew Stephen Curry and the rest of the Warriors were eager to break the record.
In the black mamba’s last game he put on one last show for fans and players around the world. He scored 60 points, yes 60 points and carried the Los Angeles Lakers to an improbable victory. Bryant scored 23 of his 60 points in the fourth quarter and rallied the Lakers from a 15 point deficit to win the final game of his career.
He had the whole Staples Center crowd buzzing throughout the night and with the Lakers needing one last heroic performance to will them victory he answered the call. Bryant made a 3-pointer with 59 seconds left in the game to cut the Lakers deficit to two, and then he hit another with 31 seconds to play, putting the Lakers ahead for good. After the game Lakers head coach Byron Scott, said “It just didn’t surprise me, the way he would go out, sixty points wasn’t a surprise. I knew he had it in him.”
It was a special night for Bryant, as many of his former teammates, friends, and Laker legends played tribute to him during the game.
Now, in the Bay Area, the Warriors became the first 73-win team last night by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 125-104. Oh, and Steph Curry achieved yet another shooting milestone in this magical season of his. He became the first player to make 400 3-pointers in a season by knocking down 10 three pointers and finishing with 46 points on the night.
The Warriors are looking forward to the NBA playoffs starting Saturday and they have only one thing in mind and that is to bring another NBA title back to the Bay Area. The are the favorites to win it all again this year and how can anyone disagree, especially with the historical season they just had.
As a NBA fan, it was truly an amazing night and will definitely go down as one best nights in NBA history.
Kobe Bryant’s Top Moments
Kobe Bryant is one of the best players to ever play in the NBA. Throughout his career, the future hall of famer has won 5 NBA Championships and broken multiple NBA records. With the black mamba retiring at the end of the season, we look back at some of the top moments of his unbelievable NBA career.
Kobe scores 81 points
On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant scored a career high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. Kobe broke the Lakers franchise record of 71 points in a single game, held by the great Elgin Baylor and his 81 point display was the second-highest point total in NBA history. The only player in NBA history to score more points than Kobe in an individual game was Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 100 points back in 1962. His remarkable performance would help lead the Lakers to a come from behind victory. At the end of the game, Bryant’s stats were incredible. He made 28 of 46 shots (60.9%), seven of 13 from three-point range (53.8%) and 18 of 20 free throws (90.0%).
Game 4 of the NBA Finals vs Indiana
With the Lakers’ dominant big man, Shaquille O’Neal, fouling out during a crucial time in the game, the Lakers looked to no other than Kobe Bryant to carry them to victory. Let’s just say, Kobe answered the call. He scored 28 points, which would include three crucial overtime baskets that helped prevail the Lakers to a 120-118 victory.
Kobe Earns his first Gold Medal
Aside from winning 5 NBA titles throughout his career, the black mamba won two Olympic Gold Medals as well. In 2008, Bryant played alongside some of the game’s best, which included Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul. In the gold medal game, Kobe led Team USA to victory over a talented Spain team. He finished with 20 points and 13 of those came in the final period.
Kobe hits two free throws after tearing his Achilles’ tendon
In 2013, Kobe was at the top of his game, but that all changed after he tore his Achilles’ tendon in a game against the Golden State Warriors. This was a devastating injury, but somehow the future hall of famer was able to stay in the game and knock down his two free throws before leaving the game under his own power. This play showed how much heart and dedication he has to the game of basketball. It will be sad watching him walk away from the game at the end of the season.
For more of Kobe’s top moments, check out this article.