Of all the professional sports leagues in America, the NBA is by far the most star-driven. Superteams are dominating the league, is this a bad thing? If so, is there a way to even things out?
Barring a big injury or a huge upset, we are going to see a Warriors-Cavaliers finals for the 3rd year in a row. Both teams have swept their way into the conference finals. Before the year, it was obvious that the Warriors and Cavaliers were going to meet yet again in the finals. Is the NBA the only sports league where’s there are only two legitimate title contenders in the whole league? You could definitely argue it’s easier to be a dynasty in the NBA than it is in other sports. 11 teams in NBA history have won consecutive titles in a row, in the NFL only six teams have won consecutive superbowls, and the MLB hasn’t had a team win two world series in a row in over a decade.
This isn’t anything new. The NBA has always had a small group of teams that you would say are legitimate title contenders, but this year that list is even smaller. The Spurs, Rockets, and Celtics are all very good teams, but let’s be real, none of those three teams are good enough to win a title. In the NFL the Falcons made it all the was Superbowl this past season after finishing just 8-8 the previous year. The Panthers made the superbowl in 2016 after winning just seven games the year before. That type of thing doesn’t really happen in the NBA.
The small amount of legitimate title contenders this season has alot to do with Kevin Durants decision to join an already dominant Golden State Warriors team. If he had joined the Celtics (a team that heavily went after him in the offseason) the Warriors would still be title contenders, they were coming off of a 73-9 season and an NBA finals appearance, and the Cavs would actually have to worry about not making the NBA finals.
Because of all of this, I came up with an idea that would help improve the competition in the NBA. I’m not saying that if I was Adam Silver I would approve all of this, but if they felt a change was necessary than this could be an option, just hear me out.
Right after the NBA finals each year, every GM and coach in the league would rate every single player in the league as one of the 5 categories: Superstar, Star, Very good player, good player, starting caliber player. Superstar players would be worth 6 points, stars would be worth 5, very good players would be worth 4, good players would be worth 3 and starting caliber players would be worth 2. Any player not good enough to be rated as one of these five categories would be worth 1 point. I’ll explain the point system in a bit.
For example, players rated as superstars would be guys like: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry, guys who it seems like, are in the MVP discussion every year, guys that you could make a compelling argument as them being the best player in the world.
Some guys that I would rate as stars are: John Wall, Paul George, and Demarcus Cousins. These guys aren’t on the same level as those superstars, you aren’t 100% sure that you can win a title as them as the best player on your team, but still excellent players that you would love to have.
I think you get how the ratings work now.
With the new rated player rule, if a team already has two superstars, they are not allowed to sign a superstar or a star player. If a team already has three players that are either superstars or stars, they are not allowed to sign another superstar or star. If these rules actually existed, and Stephen Curry was rated as a superstar, and Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were rated as stars, they would have NOT been allowed to sign Kevin Durant, thus making him stay in OKC or signing somewhere else, this rule helps balance out the competition. It’s also worth noting that this rule would have prevented the Heat from forming their big three of Lebron Wade and Bosh in 2010, since I would assume Lebron and Wade would have been rated as superstars and Bosh would have been rated as a star.
Now, here’s where the point system comes into play.
A team that is just coming off of a finals appearance is not allowed to sign a star or superstar unless players who’s combined point total matches or exceed the star or superstar they want to sign on that team retire, get cut or sign with another team.
Team A makes the finals, in the offseason they have a very good player retire (4 points) and a starting caliber player sign with another team (2 points), since that total adds up to six, they are allowed to sign a superstar because that total matches the 6 points the superstar is worth. This way, teams that are already great can’t add another great player unless it would fill a lost void. A team coming off a finals appearance wouldn’t “need” to add a star unless its roster was completely decimated.
These new rules would make the NBA more competitive, the point here isn’t to prevent great teams from getting even better, the Warriors front office shouldn’t be getting criticism for going out and signing Kevin Durant because the objective is to make your team better, and they did that. However, a top three player in the entire world joining a team that had just won an NBA record 73 regular season games lessened the interest of the NBA to some because those people consider the Warriors undebatable and they figure “what’s the point of watching an entire season worth of basketball if I know who’s gonna win the championship”