Superteams are emerging whether we like it or not, especially in the NBA, such as the championship Lakers this year. Are these teams a good idea for the future of sports?
by Pranav Arun
Millions of people around the globe watched as the LA Lakers crushed the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, winning the finals, and tieing the Boston Celtics for the most championship titles. Many of these people also knew that the LA franchise this season was loaded, with arguably the best power-forward in the game in Anthony Davis, the possible GOAT of the NBA in LeBron James, and countless other veterans and promising young players. Players such as Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, J.R. Smith, and even LeBron James had years of experience in the league and in previous finals. Once quiet players, like Kentavius Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma are also now experiencing the height of their career.
Combined, this team beat the young Miami Heat, who had many young, inexperienced players, such as Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn. Even Bam Adebayo, the co-star of the Heat alongside 31- year old Jimmy Butler, was only experiencing his first breakout season at age 24. Should competitions like this be a common reality, or should players in the NBA and other sports spread out to different teams in order to make a more competitive and less one-sided affair off a season?
The term super-team first came into use when describing the Golden State Warriors from
2014-2019. Starting out with stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the Warriors quickly rose to fame in a dynasty ruling the NBA world. With the addition of NBA star Kevin Durant in 2016, the Warriors quickly won two more championship titles without much competition from their opponents, like the Cleveland Cavaliers. After these great years and the departure of Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors are presently in a rebuilding phase, with new teams battling and winning championships. This is the most classic example of a super-team, and this may be what will happen to not just the NBA, but possibly even the NFL and soccer leagues. Teams such as FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have seen dynasties and super-teams come and go, with players signing and leaving. Although this is the case, leagues in other sports, such as IPL cricket, have seen highly competitive seasons, with each team auctioning to re-sign players, and only allowed to secure 4 players from their previous roster without having to auction for them.
Here’s where the Trilemma is presented: Should superteams be a frequent reality in many sports, should all sports teams be rebuilt to be greatly competitive for the final game, or is there a neutral side?
The Supporting Side: People Who Support Super-teams in the NBA and Other Sports
Super-teams arguably make the sports world a better place, and this is what this side argues. Games with these teams provide a lot of highlights and extreme plays, especially against inexperienced opponents. These types of games make a high profit for the NBA organization, which can further enhance the NBA experience through the NBA organization spending this money on improvements and increased salaries, which can lead to better performance. When 2 super-teams clash, it is often a great spectacle for the fans. This is another reason why super-teams are beneficial to the fans and the NBA organizations. Fans also like memorable dynasties and teams, like the Golden State Warriors Dynasty, the Michael Jordan Bulls, and the Detroit “Bad Boy” Pistons. If we continue having superteams, we can continue making memorable teams in franchises similar to Michael Jordan Bulls that so many people still remember vividly. Many people support this side, especially fans of super-teams.
The Negative Side: People for Highly Competitive Seasons
Many people also argue that super-teams undervalue the competitiveness of sports, and star players should be distributed among all of the teams. Star players have the final option of choosing which team to sign with, but this side argues that barriers involving salary caps and signing limits should be put in place so that a team cannot sign multiple star players. This side supports high competitiveness in sports, with the title being anyone’s to take every season. There is also a chance that this could draw in more money for the NBA organization because people like competitive, interesting games. Take, for example, the Western NBA finals versus the Eastern NBA finals. The Western one was a highly one-sided affair, with the Lakers easily beating out the Nuggets in a relatively straightforward game. On the other hand, the Eastern Finals between the Heat and Celtics was a highly competitive affair with the Eastern champion predicted to be anyone, until the Heat won in game 6. In conclusion, this side is for those who like relatively competitive games with a limited amount of star players.
The Possible Neutral Side: Salary and Draft Changes in the NBA System
In this Trilemma, is there a possible neutral side? Yes, there is. If the NBA organization supports higher minimum salaries as well as higher maximum salaries, the teams will have to pay their more basic players more. This will cause them to have to offer star players less, and it is possible that there will be super-teams as well as a competitive league. The NBA can also possibly put draft restrictions in place, such as possibilities of no draft picks in the first round into place if a team decides to sign multiple star players. A star player will be determined by the salary range and contract length. This will cause teams to choose between being contenders right now, or choosing future star players in the draft. This neutral side could be supported by both sides because it paves the road for more competitive seasons, as well as seasons with possible super-teams. In conclusion, you can support any side of this Trilemma, and have a lot of reasoning to support you. So, what do you think? Do you want super-teams in the NBA, or would you like competitive seasons?