NBA Super Teams: Luck or Strategy?

Ryan C Heffernan Super Teams NBA

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

Boston Celtics

  • Kyrie Irving
  • Gordon Hayward
  • Al Horford

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • LeBron James
  • Isaiah Thomas
  • Derrick Rose
  • Dwyane Wade
  • Kevin Love

Houston Rockets

  • James Harden
  • Chris Paul
  • Nenê

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.

Under Armour Snatches Draft Title Sponsorhip

Thanks to a new partnership deal, signed sealed and delivered, the new NBA

Steph Curry

draft Title sponsorship will be held by sports apparel brand: Under Armour. Under Armour has not only sponsored Steph Curry the NBA 2015 Most Valuable Player, but also PGA’s Jordan Spieth, and it seems that the brand is reaching to include larger brands and athletes as it moves forward with more sponsorship deals. What does this sponsorship deal mean for the NBA. To detail this partnership with Under Armour, the Baltimore based company will not only be the NBA draft title sponsor, but will also sponsor the league’s youth basketball program. This deal is one that represents an extended partnership between the two companies. With hopes of expanding its youth league to include five million boys and girls in the 6-11 age group in the next two years, the NBA is looking to move beyond the original “draft” narrative, and will be expanding to clinics which will train youth in the 6-11 age demographic. Business is booming!

According to IEG , brand sponsorships for bands will be worth $40B worldwide, There is, it seems a unique way to emotionally engage with fans, the NBA has most likely caught up with that. Under Armour, still a newcomer in the apparel market, now seats  beside Nike, Reebok and Adidas in the game of basketball sponsorship. Brand sponsorship has numerous benefits for both brand and partner . According to Brandwatch, sponsorship benefits brands because they can preempt and think ahead of consumers needs through research and analysis. In the sports world, leagues like the Barclays Premier League have been actively using brand analysis, social media campaigns and brand insight to under consumers needs. Brands can also measure their international impact, a factor I am sure will be helpful for the NBA as they increase their international branding efforts.


Steph Curry vs LeBron James

LeBron James may be the best player of all-time as much as it pains me to say it. Steph Curry may prove to be even better if at nothing else but shooting fade away three pointers with six hands in his face. This is LeBron James’ fifth trip to the finals in as many years.

Stephen Curry

If you told me when I was growing up that we’d see the Cavaliers and the Warriors in the NBA Finals I’d tell you you were crazy. But these historically terrible teams now have there time in the sun. The Cavaliers haven’t won a championship ever and the Warriors haven’t won since 1975.

But what a difference unbelievably great basketball players can have.

LeBron who was raised in Cleveland went back this season after a mildly successful few years in Miami. The team already had a worthy all-star in Kyrie Irving, but another team leader in Kevin Love decided to join the team.

The Steph Curry led Warriors have a had a more gradual run to the finals after a few years mastering their high-flying brand of team basketball and of course, three pointers. As a Lakers fan it’s difficult to root for the Warriors but one cannot be a fan of basketball without a sincere appreciation for the diminutive point guard who pulls off miraculous shot after miraculous shot with the ease of a fast-break layup.

This finals matchup is actually the best case scenario for agnostic basketball fans. Both teams like to play small ball. The Splash Brothers of the Warriors spread out the floor allowing for more effective offensive plays, and LeBron James requires a double team which opens up the lanes for other players.

Either of these two teams can get on a roll and sweep the other team, or maybe, just maybe we’ll see an epic game seven. Anything can happen but only one thing is for sure, a rookie coach will win a title this year.


Steph Curry For MVP

Steph Curry is an absolute beast. As a Laker fan it is normally difficult to rot for any one who even once played the Golden State Warriors. But Steph Curry is no normal player. He is by far the most entertaining player to watch with his lightning fast quickness, impeccable ball handling skills and ridiculously smooth and accurate jumper. He is remarkably effective as well and has been integral in his teams rise from nothing. He deserves the MVP this season.

James Harden of the Houston Rockets is in a close second, but not even a sustained effort to “get him the recognition he deserves” by Houston fans can lift him to MVP.

Curry is the best player on the best team and though this isn’t always a recipe for winning the MVP vote. The Warriors haven’t had a team this good since winning the 1975 NBA Championship. Between  the splash brothers Curry and Klay Thompson, defenders are completely spread out on the floor making it easier to get solid production from their front court.

He averages 23.8 points a game with just 33 minutes per game. Other players in the running like Harden and Russell Westbrook often play up to 45 minutes a game. So its a lot of the other players on the team that are responsible for the sudden success of the team. But that team is also 10 games ahead of the closest competitor in the Western league where both Wesbrook and Harden play.

Curry shoots a ludicrous 43.6% from three point and he’s not a designated shooter. In fact, a lot of those shots are off-balance fade aways. He has an efficient 2.43 assist to turnover ratio and often makes the other team double team and help off making his team much better.