Picture this: the year is 2012, and the NBA is thriving.
LeBron and his Miami Heat just avenged their Finals loss from previous year (shout-out Dirk Nowitzki) by defeating three future MVP’s in Kevin Durant (who will be named MVP in the following weeks), Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. Elsewhere around the league, the Golden State Warriors missed the playoffs for the fifth straight year, but have a solid backcourt duo to build around in two young guards named Dell Curry and Mychal Thompson – wait, no, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, excuse me. They also just took an interesting, versatile player in Draymond Green in the second round of the draft, so we’ll see how that pans out. In other NBA news, a young big-man named DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins, who was named NBA All-Rookie First Team the year before, just averaged an 18 and 10 in just his second season in the NBA and is poised to be the centerpiece the Sacramento Kings desperately need. Everyone involved with the NBA is happy and content with the direction of the league.
Fast-forward half a decade, and the NBA is currently in shambles. The super-team Warriors already added Kevin Durant in the wildest free-agency move in NBA history to become back-to-back NBA champs, just added the now All-NBA version of DeMarcus Cousins, further solidifying the fact the Warriors are going to be NBA champions for the rest of basketball eternity. This repulsive Warriors team, who apparently do not have any pride in winning by themselves, are ruining the NBA and looking like the Monstars from Space Jam before Michael Jordan saved the day. Oh yeah, and LeBron James is on the Lakers. The National Basketball Association is doomed.
Except literally none of that is true. Well, besides LeBron being on the Lakers, that unfortunately is true.
Despite what fans and former players-now-analysts are saying, the NBA is completely fine, even with the Warriors acquiring DeMarcus Cousins, and I am here to tell you why.
The main argument for why critics of the Warriors and Cousins is that it:
1) Kills the competition in the NBA by putting all the good players on one team.
as well as:
2) Destroys any interest in the league since we all know who will win the championship before the season even starts.
While both of these are semi-true, there is another narrative to these statements that is not being looked at. Yes, knowing your team or other teams will probably not win the title at the end of the year is disappointing, but let’s get a couple things straight. Unless you are a fan of the Houston Rockets (second best team in the Western Conference as of now), the Boston Celtics (my projection as the best team and team that will in the Finals out of the Eastern Conference next year), or any other team currently contending for a championship, did you expect to win it all anyway? Sorry Suns, Hawks, Magic, Mavs, etc, fans, I didn’t realize the Warriors were killing your title aspirations! It’s absurd to think that the Warriors are actually affecting the 90% of the league that were not going to win the championship anyway.
Also, to the “Warriors are going to win it anyway”, let’s take a look back at this year’s Western Conference Finals. James Harden and Chris Paul had the champs down 3-2 in the series and were a Paul injury away from having a great chance of going to the Finals themselves. And you can’t think that adding DeMarcus Cousins to the team means that the Rockets have no chance for a number of reasons. First off, Cousins is coming off a torn Achilles injury and will miss at least half the season, meaning he will also need some time to get back to his old self, if he gets back to his old self at all. A torn Achilles injury is one of, if not the hardest injury to come back from in the NBA, and has derailed several careers throughout league history. Elton Brand averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds through the first nine seasons of his career and was on the fringe of having a possible Hall of Fame career. After suffering a torn Achilles at 28 years-old (which is also Cousins’ age), he would only post one decent season afterward, ultimately ending his career. Another example is Kobe Bryant, who was still dominating at age 34 in 2013 before tearing his Achilles, averaging 27 points per game, but would only play around 100 more games in the NBA in his last three seasons due to the restrictions the injury caused. Cousins could definitely help if he gets back to his play pre-injury days, but as of now, that is a big if.
Now, to those who are saying that they are done with the NBA since they already know who is going to win the championship, why has that not stopped you already? If you take a look back at NBA history to see who have won past titles, you will learn two things: that in most eras of the league, people already had a pretty good idea who was going to win the Finals at the end of the year, and that those winners were essentially super teams themselves. Starting in the 1980’s, only a few teams at the most had real chances to win the title. The 80’s were dominated by Magic Johnson’s Lakers and Larry Bird’s Celtics, who won every title in the decade except for two. Michael Jordan and the Bulls won six out of ten championships, with two of the other four being won by Oajuwon and the Rockets. The Lakers and the Spurs controlled the 2000’s, winning seven combined championships in the decade. This decade is a little more diverse in champions, but that is mostly due to LeBron winning titles with two different teams. If you look at the Warriors and LeBron led Heat/Cavaliers teams, you get six champions in the eight years of this era. Obviously the league was just fine then and it will be now, despite the incorrect and untrue thought that the super-teams will destroy the NBA.
I know it seems unfair the potential best team in NBA history just got better, but there is plenty to watch despite the Warriors will probably win the championship. So kick back, relax, and continue watching the NBA.