By Tom Sadler
Originally penned shortly after the Rockets moved for Chris Paul and Thunder acquired Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, Coach Sadler shares his thoughts on "superteams"...
'From the Celtics, to the Heat, the Cavaliers, and the Warriors. Super Teams have dominated the NBA in recent history. Those four teams alone have combined to win seven of the last ten championships.
Super Teams in today’s game are good for business. Ratings and interest in the NBA during the 2017 finals were highest it has been since the Jordan era, with the consistent power struggle of LeBron and co challenged by Golden State who seem to be at the heart of it.
So why are we seeing the leagues best players joining forces?? Well I think there are few factors that I want to talk about. The first and the most obvious is quite simply down to friendships.
Over the last several years we have seen through social media the relationships of these players. Particularly in the off season when they team up for National Team Duty or where they get together to work out and play pick up. And so its understandable and natural that during these times that respect and bonds are forged as friendships that then allows for communication and the idea of teaming up.
We saw it with Boston’s Big 3 with KG, Pierce and Allen, then we Saw it in Miami with Wade, LeBron and Bosh more recently in Golden State, now in Cleveland with LeBron and the players he is able to attract. To Oklahoma’s recent acquisitions of Melo and Paul George teaming up with the league's regular season MVP.
But hasn’t there always been Super Teams? Some could argue, and rightly so that there has. For example some might say there was the Lakers with Wilt, West, and Baylor. Or the Bucks with Kareem and Robertson, or even Dr J and Moses Malone with the Sixer’s.
Ok, but what if we look back to the Jordan era (arguably the greatest for basketball) there were no Super Teams like we see in today’s NBA. The reason being that the majority of players and teams hated each other. In fact during the 90’s there was some real bad blood between a lot of teams and players (the Bulls/Knicks rivalry immediately comes to mind).
Nearly every team in the NBA at this time had at least one or two Marquee players and a group of very good loyal supporting role players who all wanted to win, and that meant no type of association with anybody from any team. You only had to witness the amount of fights and brawls breaking out throughout the league that gave fans and the media a real sense of how passionate, competitive these players were.
To put it simply, this was a generation where being part of a team, and loyalty meant something.. (Note:that’s not to say todays players don’t show the above characteristics).
So why we will continue to see the growth of Super Teams?? There is no doubt that every generation has had some tremendous athletes and some great basketball players that have been able to transcend the game. I think its fair to say that the natural evolution of the players in terms of their physicality and athleticism continues to evolve with each generation. And I don’t think anyone can argue that modern day players are just better and I’m not just talking about the Lebron’s, Westbrook’s, Durant’s etc., I’m talking about every player in the NBA across the board filling each roster spot. This is because of the improvements of science and better training methods available which ultimately mean’s that players in today’s game are the most highly skilled that they’ve ever been. They’re bigger, stronger and faster than ever. And with the game exploding globally means more people are playing in a time where advancements in sports science and training methods are taking place.
Simply put we will continue to see Super Teams just based on the vast amount of talent that is constantly being developed globally.