If you are a true blue fan of your favorite National Basketball Association team, do you think the franchise you follow has any chance to win a Title this year or in fact, in the near future? If your team occupies the Bay area of San Francisco/Oakland, your answer would be, without question, not only yes, but hell yes. And taken that the best basketball player on earth plays out of his home city of Cleveland, Cavs fans would also have a strong say that with James, it is always a possibility that you will be in the NBA Finals and play for a championship. Let us not forgetting the perineal contenders and many times champs in San Antonio. Lead by the best coach and organization in the Association, you will never give quarter to any team that might be better but the thinking that the Spurs can still pull it off, year in and year out, is always in your psyche.
The NBA is unlike other major league sports, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League. Of the four major leagues, except for the NBA, a franchise can win a championship, or at least play for one, without structure and player interference holding them back. The way the NBA does it business with the players wanting titles with little regard to anyone but themselves, the majority of teams will never see a Finals championship banner hung in their gym.
In the Association, if your franchise does not have at least two, and most often three, super stars on its roster, you can always forget about winning the title. It just will not happen. And with the collective bargaining agreement between league and players, the imbalance in teams will continue to excluded all but a handful of teams each year to win the NBA title. And that handful of teams, as has been the past custom of the Association, will continue with the stars dictating the winners and the large group of losers.
Golden State is the prohibited favorite to win in 2017. The will win it, unless the injury bug takes down at least one, and possibility two of the group of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and one significant role player currently on the roster. Bank on it. The title is going back to the Bay.
Superstar LeBron James understands the situation he is in with the Cavs. He is not going to win a title this year with his current playmates. The adding of Kyle Korver, a basic give away by the Atlanta Hawks to strengthen the Cleveland team, approved by the league to bolster them, is not the answer. Another possible give away to the Cavs, in the name of Carmelo Anthony, from New York, will probably take place. If Carmelo does not go to Cleveland, he will don the Clippers uniform, trying to give them a chance to get to the Western Finals. No matter, this is Golden State’s year, and if the core of Kevin and Stephen stay together, we can see the next years as a coming dynasty in the likes of the Boston Celtics of the past.
When the Association allowed Kevin Durant to go to Golden State they told the fans in the other cities of the Association we “will” have a marque team on the west coast, and they can be the poster child of the sport. San Antonio can not keep pace with the fire power of the Warriors. And as LeBron ages, the league will go from three team dominance to just one. And for all you folks in places like Salt Lake City, Denver, Portland, and yes, Oklahoma City, do not even think about going to a Finals. You are not ever winning a title. And if you are blessed with a great general manager, and you build through the draft, that is not going to get you where you want either. The players decide where to play and when they are allowed to gang up and form super teams, it is those super teams that will win. LeBron made his super team in Miami and Cleveland, and now with Kevin in Golden State, he has put his lot with a super team where he can win not just one championship, but many.
As a fan in a city that has no realistic chance to ever win a title, you have to enjoy the game for other reasons. If you are lucky to have one super player (until he bolts to a super team-most will), enjoy that player while he is in your town. If you follow a team building a powerhouse, or on the cusp of getting into the Conference Finals, enjoy the process, but understand it is just for that, and not for winning it all. Some teams are just not going to win one. Minnesota, enjoy your young stars now. In a few years they will be in Chicago, LA, or maybe Miami. Oklahoma City fans, you had the closest run at winning, and your team was almost there. Forget about it happening again, at least in the next ten years. With your fine General Manager Sam Presti, the franchise is not the next coming of the San Antonio Spurs, but the continuation of the Utah Jazz under Jerry Sloan. Twenty-three years of winning, twenty playoff teams, but no titles.
Presti will not mortgage the future for one year, one superstar, and then see the Thunder disintegrate into the air the following season. Why should he? Golden State is your man right now. And after your superstar (s) depart for another city, you will be left with not a better team from the one you have now but one that would be looking at the lottery. Mr. Presti would also depart from OKC, fired.
Since 1980, thirty-six seasons of the NBA, there have been eleven cities winning titles. Right now, the trend says Golden State for the for seeable future, with San Antonio and Cleveland following. The breakdown it telling.
Los Angeles Lakers-10; Chicago Bulls-6; San Antonio-5; Boston Celtics-4; Miami Heat-3; Detroit Pistons-3; Houston Rockets-2.
Golden State, Cleveland, Dallas and Philadelphia one each.
In the history of the league, twelve current members have never been to an NBA Finals, and are no closer today in getting there than on day one of their existence.