Are Super Teams a Problem?
Basketball remains a hugely popular sport and the NBA is still the spiritual home of the game.
The ongoing popularity of the NBA rests largely on the history and heritage it has. Of course, the millions of people who follow it regularly also love it for the world-class players it attracts and the thrilling action it delivers each game.
Lots of fans also love to get even closer to the action, now that sports betting has been made legal in many US states. With sports betting also legal in many other countries that have a strong NBA following, backing your favorite team is a great way to add more excitement to the season. Just remember to check the latest sports news before you do, so you always have the freshest information to bet with. One popular site for this is called The Game Day and they bring together all the updated sporting news and picks in one handy to read place.
One thing that you might see flagged up when checking sports news is the issue of NBA 'Super Teams.' But what exactly is this and how has it happened in a league with measures in place to prevent them?
What are 'Super Teams' in the NBA?
As we have already noted, one of the reasons that the NBA is so popular is the amount of world-class players it attracts. This draws fans in who naturally want to see the best players in action and catch the best games. So far, so good - but what happens if all the best players are signed up by the same handful of NBA sides?
This essentially is what a 'Super Team' is. It describes the situation when a few NBA sides (usually the historical 'big' names) bag all the best talent. The official definition usually rests on there being three All-Star players on any one team. It can also see their roster packed full of other top basketball pros, while other sides miss out. Ultimately, this translates into the same teams being successful each year and other teams not having a fair chance to play them on a level field. As a result, the NBA becomes less competitive, less sporting and more predictable.
Who are the 'Super Teams' currently in NBA?
The LA Lakers are a great example right now and have filled their squad with the best talent - at the expense of other NBA teams. Their current squad includes LeBron James, Marc Gasol, Anthony Davies, Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder to name a few. As the current NBA standings show, that is a serious amount of pro ball skills in one place! The same comment can be aimed at the Brooklyn Nets as well. They have a current squad filled with awesome players like Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, Kevin Durant and James Harden!
How have 'Super Teams' in the NBA risen once more?
The notion of 'Super Teams' in the NBA is nothing new. When LeBron James joined Chris Bosch and Dwayne Wade at Miami Heat in 2009/10, it was something that was mentioned. Even Bill Russell's Celtics side in the late 1950's/1960's have been described as a 'Super Team'! Although some claim that it can be good for the game, many see it as unfair to other teams and bad for the NBA as a sport. Many think that players also join a 'Super Team' as an easy route to championships.
The really puzzling thing for many fans is just how 'Super Teams' can form in the modern game. With measures to stop this, such as salary caps and the NBA draft each year, it should not really happen. While these are great ideas, teams have found ways to work them to their advantage. The salary cap, for example, can be gotten around by clever teams who can play the system.
The Larry Bird Exception is a case in point and gives sides scope to go over the cap to give their own players a maximum contract who would otherwise become free agents. Even with the cap, teams with money can still usually manage to sign a couple of world-class players to add to any already present. The annual draft should certainly help on the face of it - after all, it lets the worst teams in the league have the first pick of the best college talent to improve.
The problems with this come when said top college players do well as rookies. This sees the top teams swoop in and steal them when they are out of contract - often when they still do not take much room in terms of the cap. If you add these top college players to a team with two or three superstars in already, you easily see how 'Super Teams' form. The NBA draft also allows teams to trade picks between one another. While this is helpful in many ways, you can find big teams trading numerous lower picks to a team who needs a rebuild in order to bag a top pick.
What can the NBA do about this?
For many, the obvious answer would be to get rid of the Larry Bird clause and the flexibility around salary caps. If the cap was hard and fast, then teams would not be able to find ways around it to sign numerous top players. People have also suggested upping the maximum contract levels for players. The theory is that, if a player like LeBron James could get a max contract for $70m, then the side he played for would not have enough left to sign any more really top pros. The draft is a tricky question to address but many believe that stopping the flexibility around pick trading could help.
Basketball is a great game with the NBA at its heart
There is no doubt that the sport of basketball is exciting and the NBA really does have a lot to do with this. Anyone who saw the Dallas Mavericks 133-103 defeat of the Warriors recently knows that! The issue of 'Super Teams' is one that league officials could have to tackle soon though. Otherwise, it could easily see the league become less competitive and less exciting for many fans.