For many years all the NBA experts have been making statements that you can not win in today's NBA without trading for superstars or getting the "pals" team scenario.
I give you the 2021 Playoffs, the year of redemption.
Lakers - gone fishing
Clippers - gone fishing
Nets - thank goodness gone fishing
Look what we have left in the playoffs:
Bucks - built through draft and real trades not player demanded trades
Hawks - built through the draft and being on the "losing end"(as it was described when they took Capella in the rockets trade. Another attempt at a superstar team Westbrook and Harden team has been disbanded and the Rockets are in a massive rebuild.
Suns - built on young talent some strategic trades, some draft picks, a cast off or two from other teams and the brilliant addition of a great floor general Chris Paul.
If we take a deeper look into the entire season and further back.
2020-2021 season: I give you The Jazz number 1 seed; Suns number 2 seed; 76ers number 1 seed, with honorable mentions of Nuggets, Knicks, and the very feisty Grizzlies.
Teams suffering from the attempt at building a superteam - aforementioned Rockets, Celtics (thanks Kyrie), Cavs (two time Lebron victims), and on the cusp teams that tried to acquire their way into a better situation Heat (Oladipo) and Mavs (Porzingis).
In the post "decision" era NBA GMs have possibly the worst job in a franchise do they succumb to owner, expert, and fan pressure and make the big signing or do they do the real job, develop talent, and risk setting up the next GM/President of basketball operations? Who most likely will probably trade away the youth to win now and trade themselves right out of the office.
So as we reflect on the excite of the big signing/trade of the recent year(s) and the dollars spent on those transactions I would like to provide a short history lesson. Since the 1996 Houston Rockets attempted to build the first super team with Charles Barkley forcing The Suns to trade him and the later same player doing salary manipulation and co-signing (with the Houston Rockets) of Scottie Pippin to the 2021 Brooklyn Nets.
1996 Rockets - Eliminated WC Finals
1999 Rockets - Eliminated WC rd 1
2004 Lakers (2nd attempt at a superteam) - Eliminated NBA Finals
2011 Heat* - 2 NBA championships - 2 Finals losses (one very questionable EC Finals refereeing job and one very questionable decision made by Pop)
2015 Cavs* - 1 NBA championship - 2 Finals losses (and a very questionable groin kick finals game suspension)
2020 Clippers - Eliminated WC Semifinals
2020 Lakers - 1 NBA championship* (took COVID, Riots in Milwaukee, and a bubble to set this Lakers team straight prior to this they did not look like NBA champions)
2021 Nets - Eliminated EC Semifinals
Now many will complain that the Golden State Warriors (the Warriors were already built, won a championship, see 2nd asterisk, before signing KD (and who wouldn't) in free agency) and the Boston Celtics (a straight up Danny Ainge special) are not listed as a superteam on this list. This post is not against superteams but against players manipulating and forcing teams into bad situations.
2020-2021 Season will always be a season to remember the trades, the fantastic playoffs, the injuries, but most of all for me it will be remembered as the year that the basketball gods set things right and proved that it takes an entire organization Owners, GMs, Coaches, trainers and medical staff, and finally players to make an NBA champion and when you try to discount any of those members in the family of a franchise you usually end up with loss than a win.
Thank you for reading, please post your thoughts, and enjoy the discussion.