Superteams are nothing new to the NBA. As a matter of fact, they have existed since the beginning of the league itself, with the 1950s Minneapolis Lakers. From there, it was the 60s Lakers and Celtics, all the way up until most recently, the 2019 Warriors with Demarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson. But never, ever, in the NBA, has a superteam been made that is this stacked.
Your eyes do not deceive you. LaMarcus Aldridge, who was bought out by the San Antonio Spurs, signed for the rest of the season with the Brooklyn Nets. This is the same Nets team with MVPs James Harden and Kevin Durant, as well as All-Star Kyrie Irving. Former All-Stars DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin are also on the roster, and while they are not the athletic freaky specimens they were in lob city, they can still get up there and dunk. This lineup screams championship, and the talent is undeniable.
Originally, the superteam started as KD, Kyrie, and Jordan. But then, they traded for Harden, and Griffin signed, and now Aldridge. At this point in time, the Nets are basically a guaranteed championship for veterans who have played their whole careers without winning one. Griffin, Jordan, Aldridge, and Harden are all ringless; KD and Kyrie have both won championships, but received criticism that they weren’t the main option on those teams.
The Nets are currently the second seed in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 31-15, behind the Philadelphia 76ers. With Sixers star Joel Embiid out with an injury, that is likely to change.
Now some may be thinking: hold on, there have been plenty of failed superteams that screamed championships, even on the Brooklyn Nets years back. This is true, however, never in the history of the NBA has there been a roster this talented.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some championship and dynasty rosters:
2020 Lakers: Two first team All-NBA selections in LeBron James and Anthony Davis
2017-2019 Warriors: Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green
2016 Cavaliers: LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love
2013 Miami Heat: LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh
2008 Boston Celtics: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo
2007 San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili
2004 Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Karl Malone
1997 Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman
1985 Los Angeles Lakers: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Michael Cooper
1984 Boston Celtics: Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale
As you can see, from roughly the 1980s onward, the most a championship team ever had in terms of All-Stars on its roster was four, and one or more of those players generally wasn’t an All-Star at that time. The 1970s mostly had one or two players that carried a team to a championship (Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes, Bill Walton, Rick Barry, Willis Reed), and while the 60s had its superteams and big threes (Chamberlain, West, Baylor), they still were just that; big threes. The team that you could argue had the most players closest to being All-Stars was the 1985 Lakers, who had Hall-of-Famers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy. They also had defensive Player of the Year Michael Cooper and sharpshooter Byron Scott.
Then, let’s look at the predicted 2021 champions:
2021 Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan
Unless all of a sudden everyone gets injured, it seems impossible that anyone else other than the Nets is making it out of the East; or winning it all. Lakers fans can be optimistic and hope, but the Western Conference is stacked with talent, their two stars are injured, and the Nets have way more scoring options than when this started out as a dynamic duo or Durant and Irving. There is no way a team with this much talent, skill, and desire to win a ring can lose.
I was going to do a blog post on the Miami Heat trade about Victor Oladipo and the Hawks getting back Lou Williams, and how that would affect their championships, but a Part 3 seems pointless now. Why debate who will come out of the East when it’s pretty much already decided?
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2021 NBA champions, the Brooklyn Nets.