Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
13 March 2018
State of the NBA brand: Super teams and tanking ones
I am a cynical old fart whenever I ponder the goings on with the NBA brand. It’s kind of comical, really. Look back over the course of my blogs on the league and notice the titles. “It’s official. The NBA finals are booooorrriiiing.” “Players made a mockery of NBA All Star voting.” And “The ego of Kyrie Irving needs a basketball team of its own.”
Today, the NBA brand sports a two-tier league. There’s the bevy of teams tanking in order to hold a higher draft pick. And it has the super teams, lead by the Golden State Warriors.
Consider the Warriors first. Or the “Dubs” as many coin them. I was all for them when they won their first championship a few years back because they play breathtaking offense and remain one of the best defensive teams in the league.
Then, it was a brilliant team led by sharpshooters, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and defensive specialist, Draymond Green. The unity of this team was uncanny; and the feats of Stephen, even more so. After beating the Cleveland Cavaliers for the championship, they lose the next year to the same LeBron-led Cavaliers. Last year, they add the second best player in the world in Kevin Durant and the super team was born. Another NBA championship went to the Dubs, but it just felt lesser than the first. No less because it was another Finals with the Cavs.
Granted, any team would gladly sign Kevin Durant would if they could. But the magic of an already brilliant team was lost when he joined. The unique awe I felt for the Warriors was overrun with an expectation that they should win. With Durant, they had no reason to ever lose; what with four NBA all-stars on their team.
“There’s also the race for the No. 1 pick in the draft among at least six teams who are purposefully tanking. I think I’d rather watch presumed top pick DeAndre Ayton of Arizona in this week’s NCAA Tournament.”
The NBA brand says you are a super team or no one
Everyone, it seems, is seeking the magic potion of All-Stars to secure an NBA championship year after year. The Oklahoma City Thunder has three players that were once the central figures on their respective teams, although the Thunder may not even make the playoffs. Cleveland is looking to make such an arrangement with their floundering team.
And the Rockets jump aboard with the addition of Chris Paul, and now have the NBA’s best record.
ESPN even has analysists making predictions on what super team will evolve next.
Is this even fun? Take March Madness, for an alternative. Each game, with the possible exception of the No. 1-16 seeded opener, espouses doubt in the outcome. The only doubt for this NBA season is who wins the Western Conference final between the Warriors and Rockets. That’s it.
Oh, right. There’s also the race for the No. 1 pick in the draft among at least six teams who are purposefully tanking. I think I’d rather watch presumed top pick DeAndre Ayton of Arizona in this week’s NCAA Tournament.
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