The Return Of The ‘Superteam’ Era: How The Golden State Warriors’ Dominance Will Ultimately Benefit the NBA
The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers meeting in an NBA Finals is becoming a formality. In the last three seasons, the two rivals have continued to meet at the end of the Playoffs for the championship trophy, with other teams barely getting close.
Most recently, the Bay Area side led by Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, dismantled LeBron James and the reigning champions in a comfortable 4-1 series win in June.
It was almost effortless at times for both teams to reach the pinnacle of an NBA season, making it easy to concede that the league’s best probably consists of two franchises. However, after the showdown in June, the reality is that there is only one clear and undisputed leader: and that’s the Warriors, for now.
A vital factor to their control was Durant’s controversial switch to northern California last summer which presented as a negative to the league for some; a move that drastically shifted the balance in power between the Western Conference side and the Eastern Conference outfit respectively.
Nonetheless, it is now plausible that the former Oklahoma City Thunder player’s actions is leading to an exciting era: the return of the ‘Superteams.’
"It's just the way the league is going. The league is in a frenzy because of the Warriors," Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith told the Washington Post.
These comments arrived promptly amid the Houston Rockets’ inspiring acquisition of Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul - one of the game’s most experienced and lauded point-guards.
Teams are now beginning to construct elite lineups in an effort to counteract the colossal supremacy of the current NBA champions who eased past Cleveland.
Though, it could be argued that LeBron - who featured in his own superteam in Miami alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010 - could be the master of his own recent downfall.
Regardless, others are following suit and the Rockets have grouped CP3 with one of the league’s most formidable competitors on the court in the form of James Harden who challenged Russell Westbrook for the Most Valuable Player award this past campaign.
As for Westbrook, a talent deserving of an NBA ring after setting an NBA record for triple-doubles last season was thrilled to welcome his own superstar in four-time NBA All-Star Paul George, as he departed the Indiana Pacers for the Thunder despite being close to a move to Cleveland.
Change had been imminent, and so the frantic NBA offseason was in full flow, with teams relentlessly breaking-up and strengthening in sheer desperation or determination to chase Steve Kerr’s Warriors, who remain relaxed amongst the chaos.
Houston and Oklahoma were not the first teams to take the plunge at creating a force too. Instead, initiating the domino effect, it was the Minnesota Timberwolves who prized away Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler with a shock trade made during the NBA Draft.
The three-time All-Star switched to Minneapolis to form his own superteam alliance alongside young prodigies Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, under an experienced coach in Tom Thibodeau.
Bold and ambitious moves are now becoming the norm for NBA general managers who wish to progress in this current atmosphere; it has become a league where you choose to compete now or sign up for the unforgiving and bleak rebuilding stage.
Last season’s playoffs showcased exactly why this had to happen, as Cleveland steamrolled their way to the finals from the Eastern Conference, whilst Golden State triumphed to lift the trophy following a 16-1 playoff run.
A competitive edge was lost and other squads across the league had to make a stand. Much to the delight of the NBA fan, the league is in a commanding position to improve on its competitiveness once again.
With a few months still separating the beginning of the upcoming season, there is still a host of talented NBA superstars up for grabs this summer, including a ring-chasing Carmelo Anthony.
Yet, as fun as it will undoubtedly be, the desperation to assemble another powerhouse only further endorses how dominant the Golden State Warriors and even the LeBron led Cavaliers had become.
Nonetheless, it will be fascinating to see whether the most recent trend-setting ‘superteam’ residing at the Oracle Arena can be beaten in the near future.