Saturday, July 16, 2016

The NBA: Where "Parity" Happens

Parity (par-i-tee): Equality, as in amount, status, or character.

            That is the definition of the word 'parity'. It's a favorite sight among sports fans who are tired of seeing teams like the Yankees and the Patriots win all the time. It's what comes with being an admirable underdog.
            Yet, the NBA seems to have a hard time with the concept of 'parity' compared to the other four major sports. From 1984 to 2014, eight different NBA teams won the Larry O'Brien trophy. Eight. Yes, the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers are a breath of fresh air with regards to the trend of champions in the NBA. However, there seems to be a power shift gravitating towards particular teams in the NBA.
            In a league that banks heavily on superstars, the NBA and Adam Silver are faced with a daunting issue: the concept of the "Superteam". While this concept has actually been around for quite some time, this idea has manifested itself into a grotesque driving force for championship teams. 
            With Kevin Durant agreeing to a two-year, $54.3 million deal with a player option in the second year with the Warriors, the NBA landscape has gradually shifted in Golden State's favor. Now there are rumors of his ex-Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook joining forces with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford in Boston or tagging along with Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge in San Antonio. All of the sudden, an NBA Finals contender in Oklahoma City is quickly being gutted. Not only that, but the 2017 NBA Finals (at least on paper) looks to be Golden State and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
            You can bring up Dwayne Wade and Dwight Howard returning home to their respective hometowns as examples of 'parity' in the NBA. However, what will happen to the likes of the Washington Wizards and the Portland Trail Blazers, teams with one mega star? The Wizards were in the mix for Durant early, but bailed. Portland actually has a budding backcourt with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCullough. What will happen when Lillard and John Wall hit the free-agent market?
            What will happen to places like Charlotte and Denver, areas that aren't exactly the places to be? What will teams like the Thunder do after they not only lose one superstar, but are on the verge of losing another? These issues will have to be addressed by Silver, the NBA player's union, and the owners when they go over the new CBA. Maybe the NBA can go the MLB route and give an extra draft pick to a team that loses a superstar to free agency. For example, if Golden State signs Kevin Durant, then the Warriors forfeit their pick and the Thunder pick up a draft pick.. 
            Until then, the rest of the NBA better brace themselves. The Golden State Warriors are coming.

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