By DaVince “Dino” Wright
I present to you my thoughts as an NBA fanatic and a former athlete. The NBA has brainwashed talented players into believing that a team needs a “Big 3” to win a championship. Is this true? What’s your thoughts about guys jumping teams to chase a title? In this article, I’m going back into a little history and tracking the history of guys switching teams for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Let’s take a look at three things that I observed watching the NBA over the last 10 years. First, what is a super team and who plays a part of one. Next, which players and teams nurtured the talent they had and won. Finally, where does the NBA go from here?
The Super Team Concept
For the past 10-15 years guys have been signing 2 to 3 year contracts with teams joining friends and former teammates chasing the elusive NBA title. In 2005, the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA championship with Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. This team showcased one of the first “Big 3” teams. They had three of their own drafted players, while adding former Dallas Mavericks Micheal Finley. Robert Horry, Glenn Robinson and Bruce Bowen were added to beef up the roster. The following year, the Miami Heat with Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Morning beat the Dallas Mavericks to win the championship that year. I can list teams that had guys that signed to play on ready made teams just to win a title. LeBron James leaving Cleveland and signing with Miami. Kevin Durant leaving Oklahoma City and heading to Golden State to get a ring. You could say that it’s a business decision and the players made a good choice. On the other hand, there have been guys signing with teams under the radar and winning a title like Kawhi Leonard winning in Toronto after a title in San Antonio.
Players Who Decided to Stay… and Won!
The first name that comes to mind is Steph Curry. In 2015, Steph Curry was about to test the free agency market, but chose to stay. That year Golden State beat the Cavaliers 4-2 to win their first title. The next year, LeBron James and the Cavaliers recruited James Jones and Kevin Love to help them win the title. Giannis Antetokounmpo staying in Milwaukee and getting a title with the same team he was drafted by, that’s unheard of these days. I love how Antetokounmpo put his team on his shoulders and won the title. Teams will look at this Bucks team and use them as a blue print. The Bucks roster isn’t littered with over sized contracts and prima donnas looking for a quick win. I love how these hungry players got their chance to play and won against stacked teams.
What’s Next for the NBA
The Brooklyn Nets are the favorites to win the 2022 NBA Championship. Why? Because they have a “Big 3” with Durant, Harden and Irvin. Any one of these guys can score 50 points on a given night. It’s the way of the world now. You have talented players playing in small markets that can’t compete with “Big 3” teams like Trail Blazers PG Damian Lillard who hasn’t got past the first of the playoffs in six years. He’s on the fence about staying with his team because winning trumps friendships any day. Winning a championship is every player’s dream, but when you are in your 8th year and you’re no where close to winning, it’s time to jump ship!
By DaVince “Dino” Wright