By Eduardo Monk Jr
So Paul George is now teaming up with the MVP Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City and they gave next to nothing for him. The Pacers might have waited a little long to strike this deal (especially after what they were offered on draft day by the Celtics) but it’s more than what they would have gotten if they just let him walk after this season. Boy has it been an exciting offseason already.
However this move mean highlights an underlying problem in the NBA that is something we have never seen before. This blockbuster means absolutely nothing for either team. And neither has any other of the massive deals struck this offseason already.
Don’t see what I’m saying? Let me explain. Consider this. Now we know this isn’t the first blockbuster we have seen just this summer. In just over a week, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Ricky Rubio were all traded. Never before have this many stars (yes, even Rubio) were moved this rapidly.
But where this gets really interesting is the fact they were all moved to specifically borderline contenders in the Western Conference. Every team that made a blockbuster (Minnesota, Houston, Oklahoma City, Utah) are teams with a chance to make deep runs in the playoffs. Teams that are trying to keep up with the juggernauts known as the Warriors.
Folks, I need you to reach deep into your brain cells back to 7th grade history class. I need you to remember the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. One of the scariest factors that drove this war was the Arms Race. This was both countries building as many nuclear weapons as possible, simply trying to out-arm the opposition. There was not a single bomb dropped in either powerhouses nor was there intention to but they did everything they could to look more threatening.
The NBA is going through something never before seen in sports. They are going through the first Arms Race in the history of professional sports. Every team with any amount of chance to pose a threat to Golden State are doing whatever possible to accumulate as many stars as possible.
And now, the Warriors have single-handedly triggered the first Arms Race in sports history.
Yeah, I know, superteams aren’t a new concept in the NBA. Almost every year there are a couple of teams so chock full of talent that they can be considered “superteams”. But the difference with the Warriors, though, is there is no real competition for their throne. The best teams in the league looked like a rec league basketball team against Golden State.
The Big Three in Miami had the Spurs. The Showtime Lakers had Bird’s Celtics. Jordan’s Bulls had the Bad Boy Pistons. Every “superteam” had competition from another superteam. But these Warriors are completely unchecked and are basically allowed to do whatever they want with the sport because there is no one to stop them.
LeBron’s Cavs just got manhandled in 5 in the Finals. The Spurs put up a good fight until Kawhi Leonard went down. But with Manu Ginobili most likely enjoying retirement and Tony Parker on his last leg, even they won’t be able to slow down the Warriors. There simply isn’t any competition for them anywhere in the league.
In any other year, a team of Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Jimmy Butler is almost Finals worthy. The T-Wolves struggled defensively but Butler was the perfect addition to solve that. But no matter how much either Towns or Wiggins develops, it will not be enough to slow down Curry. They’re too weak in the backcourt and will become mincemeat for the Splash Bros.
Oklahoma City wasn’t much of a contender this past season but Paul George somewhat fills that void Durant left. There is far from enough talent to hold up against a team like the Warriors and acquiring George or not means nothing in terms of their championship hopes.
Houston might have traded for the wrong star in their blind desperation to get big names in false hopes of defeating the Warriors. Resident superstar James Harden is a ball dominant guard who needs to ball to score while Chris Paul is a ball dominant point guard who needs to ball to do basically anything. While they’re figuring out who takes the ball up court, the Warriors will be up 15-0 in the first 2 minutes against them.
These Warriors has completely destroyed the balance of the NBA to the point where professional teams are now at the point of desperation to load up on talent to at least try to keep up. It doesn’t even matter who and what they need to give up. If they can land a big name in any way, they blindly go for it only if said team has any amount of star talent. Then it’s all in to land as many stars as they can through the trade.
We’ve seen this happen within the first week of the offseason. Specifically, only Western Conference teams, teams that have a chance to dethrone the Dubs in the playoffs, are making these blockbusters so willingly. Stars aren’t supposed to be traded so impulsively. But because of the Golden State Warriors, teams with any glimmer of hope are throwing themselves into the trade market.
This level of a total imbalance in a sports league has never been seen before. Yeah, sports teams have run rampant before but never to this extent. Even Jordan’s Bulls or Gretzky’s Oilers had some level of competition. And while they may not be the greatest team of all time, these Warriors are the greatest team right now. And it’s not even close.
The Warriors have effectively broken basketball as we know it. They were a 73 win team who brought in former MVP Kevin Durant. After some growing pains, they rolled over everyone to a first seed in the Western Conference. They went 16-1 in playoffs where they were completely uncontested. And the superteam of this caliber doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
An Arms Race is an incredibly unprecedented event in sports. We have never seen teams so desperate yet so futile in attempts to keep up with a single team. This chain reaction of this magnitude is wildly unique and we may never see something like this ever again.
Strap in, fellow NBA fans. This Race may only be the beginning and so long as these Warriors exist, there will be desperate teams making desperate blockbusters. It’s an invigorating event but in the end, all of this truly means nothing. As of right now, no team can stand up to the wrath of Curry and the Warriors. And something this enticing and terrible for a sport at the same time is something we may never see again.
Golden State has officially broken basketball. One day the league will be free from the chains of the Warriors but for now, this Arms Race is an incredible event in the world of sports that may only happen once. So enjoy it because come October, it will be nothing but Warriors all over again.