It was not too long ago when Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors and won back-to-back NBA championships and Finals MVPs. But, of course, it was not as if Durant’s arrival alone won Golden State championships; they had won one two years before and lost in seven games the year prior to Durant joining, but Durant was adding to a roster that already consisted of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, two of the greatest shooters the sport has seen, the always-reliable Draymond Green, and had set an NBA record with 73 regular season wins the year before Kevin Durant joined.
The Durant-Warriors teams only lost one game in their two series wins, annihilating the Lebron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers. Kevin Durant’s tenure with the Golden State Warriors was a reign of domination.
Sure, they failed to become a full dynasty, losing in their third finals series together against the Toronto Raptors after losing Durant and Thompson to injuries that postseason, but this Warriors team made it look easy to win NBA championships. When various teams are assembling the best of the best players, or what could be called “superteams,” it is fair to raise the question of whether these help or hurt professional sports.
To start with the positive about superteams, they are entertaining. Love or hate them, the Warriors with Durant were fun to watch. While the perception of superteams is that they are unfair to face, these teams are filled with really talented players in the world.
Watching the Warriors move the ball is a sight to behold, and adding Durant gave potential cases where there were four or five players on the floor who could possibly shoot. I remember when Steph threw a pass from over halfcourt behind his back and hit someone in-stride for two points. It was a one-of-a-kind play that can only be seen with these teams. Superteams also give real fans of the team a joyous time.
Recently, another team has assembled a powerhouse. The Los Angeles Rams made big moves obtaining Mathew Stafford, Von Miller, and Odell Beckham Jr. alongside their already dominant big three in Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Cooper Kupp. It’s a matter of where their team stinks and the fanbase is not happy. Even the Warriors were not nearly as good before Stephen Curry’s ascension in 2014. Superteams give a fanbase a time to shine and something to cheer for, and as a Giants fan, I can understand this.
An obvious downside to superteams is that they create a significant talent gap and makes the final winner predictable. From other leagues, the NBA seems to be the sport where this occurs the most, perhaps due to the number of games played.
Even if superteams are generally dominant, they still can be vulnerable. While the Rams are stacked, they’ve suffered three straight bad losses with their new additions. So it’s understandable how some view superteams as a problem. While I do not wholly condone them, I believe that they do some good for sports, including giving fanbases something to cheer for and bringing the best of the best together, resulting in magnificent plays.
Sources: Basketball Reference