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February 10, 2017

At this point, it is simply impossible to deny facts of the new NBA: this is a league of super-teams, and those who can beat them. You either have to break the bank to find your own super-trio of starters like the Cavs and Warriors, or you have to carefully construct your team to stand a chance to overcome the withering pace of simply playing the best athletes on Earth, like the Grizzlies. While it makes for exciting basketball, this particular columnist is unsure of whether or not this approach is good for the league. In fact, I would go to wager that it’s not. I know, that’s not a hot take at all. That may be the most tepid take in the history of OTH. Quite frankly, this wasn’t a very difficult conclusion to come to.

However, besides quality of play, the super-team era may simply be bad for the teams themselves, rather than for the league. Basically, in a league where LeBron demands the top backup point guard, teams like the Nets can’t find a starter. If that sounds strange, look at the Nets now. While they await poor Jeremy Lin to return from injury – again – the team is forced to rely on bad bench-fillers to play the most important role in basketball. While this, as a whole, tends to be evened out by those kinds of teams just sucking and ending up at the top of the draft, even that’s not much of a guarantee. If the Nets find themselves out of range to get, say, Lonzo Ball or Josh Hart, they will have to rely on the free agent market to rebuild. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Brooklyn is a legitimate basketball hotbed, there simply aren’t enough scrappy guys to go around to construct a Grizzlies-esque team, and there certainly aren’t three world-class superstars to make the Nets amazing.

And the Nets are lucky, having a somewhat marketable former star like Lin to rely on until they manage to be just not-bad enough to get run over by the Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. Other teams can market draft picks, entire teams, or superstars. And a select few have the opportunity to market top-level picks like Lonzo Ball, assuming he goes high enough. Everyone else just has to either be as good as the Grizzlies as a team, which is impossible, or find a LeBron. Or we can all just watch college basketball. I hear that UCLA’s got a pretty good kid playing point guard.

Anthony Adams
Sports Columnist

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