In recent years the NBA has witnessed individual brilliance. Sports stars are mentioned more than the teams themselves, and the NBA in general is often associated with its big name players. However, the 2017-18 season has seen this ideology flip on its head. Teams are now being built on the basis of 3-4 superstars, rather than just the one, and it makes for great viewing.
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neil. All NBA superstars who played in teams where they were the focal point. Responsibility fell on their shoulders for the game winning point, and their performances would regularly reflect where they finished after the long season. Now, with the increase in wages and attraction of championship glory, players have decided to join the other big franchises to help improve their chance of winning the grand prize.
Last year, arguably the biggest shock of the summer transfer window saw Kevin Durant leave Oklahoma City to join the Golden State Warriors. A team that needed little improvement after being in the finals two seasons in a row and now they had just recruited one of the best players to ever play the game. The reason for his move? To win a Championship and he knew in order to do that, he had to join a super team.
“LeBron was now more of a figurehead than ever before, but LeBron being the humble man he is, knows just how important his teammates are to him.”
For LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, they too had great success in recent seasons, reaching the finals on a number of occasions. The loss of Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics meant they had to recruit, and recruit smartly. The experience and well known friendship saw Dwyane Wade join LeBron again following their recent successes at the Miami Heat. Derrick Rose also joined the Cavs in what would make a star-studded lineup. Again, another super team forming. If anything, LeBron was now more of a figurehead than ever before, but LeBron being the humble man he is, knows just how important his teammates are to him.
For the best player in the league last season, Russell Westbrook needed help. Following the loss of his co-star Kevin Durant, the Thunder had some work to do. Carmelo Anthony and Paul George saw the opportunity to join Westbrook in what would make a frightening lineup. Destined to reach the semi finals this year at least, Westbrook will be looking to continue his stunning, record-breaking form from last year, to lift the Championship trophy.
Unlike many sports, the NBA is played 3-4 times a week, so squads are incredibly important. Teams can now afford to rest some of their elite players, knowing there is back up around them, and it’s safe to say that the teams mentioned earlier will all be battling it out for the Championship. It’s often easy to agree with the idea that the team is more important than the individuals, but this was not the case for the NBA not too long ago. Now, we’re seeing a shift, and a positive one at that. Teams are not only becoming stronger and more competitive but are also allowing the NBA to be more competitive. The Warriors and Cavaliers will be looking over their shoulders a lot more than usual.