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A Warrior Mentality

Shane Morgan, Writer

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In the world of professional sports, all players should be after the same goal: winning as many championships as you can. This mindset for NBA players, in particular, has led to multiple superstars teaming up and creating what is known as “superteams,” igniting or crushing organizations and their fanbases in the process.

During the 2016-2017 season NBA, the Golden State Warriors broke an NBA record for wins while also having the first ever unanimous MVP of the league. During the playoffs of that season, the Warriors had three games to one lead over the Cavaliers in the finals. However, they ended up losing the next three games and became the first NBA team to blow a 3-1 lead in a championship series. After the reality of the loss sank in, the Warriors decided that they were going to try and improve–on a record 73-win season. The move they decided to make still has left some NBA fans shocked and upset, effectively helping start the most current “superteam madness.” 

The Warriors decided to add depth to the team but no sports fan around the world thought that meant adding another Top 5 NBA player in Kevin Durant, who had long been the top star of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Immediately after Durant announced his decision to join the Warriors, fans and analysts around the country were stunned and couldn’t believe it. This signing ushered in the dream of another NBA title for the Golden State Warriors and also sent a message to the rest of the league. The trend of “superteams” has seen extreme growth in the past couple of seasons as all teams are trying to keep up with Tthe Warriors and compete at a high level. Take the Houston Rockets and the Boston Celtics for example. 

However, adding three superstars to your team does not always work out how you expected it to. For example, two teams from the past season had added former stars that they expected to help the team win. For example, the Minnesota Timberwolves traded for Jimmy Butler whom they expected to pair with their young core and win championships in the near future. The other team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, added veteran Carmelo Anthony and tried to pair him with superstars, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook. For both of these teams, their moves were met with instant failure. Both teams made the playoffs but didn’t live up to the expectations that they set early. Sometimes, when these teams are created, there is too much pressure and the teams can’t live up to the hype that they have created but other times, a dynasty can be born.

As many more players try to team up with other superstars in order to better their chances at winning the championship, the competition in the NBA has started to decrease. This offseason we’ve seen multiple star players leaving their respective organizations in the hopes of setting themselves up for a better playoff run. For example, Kawhi Leonard forced a trade to the Toronto Raptors, Lebron James left Cleveland to join younger stars in Los Angeles, and Jimmy Butler has expressed a serious interest in leaving Minnesota for somewhere “better.” All these players have shown a lack of trust in their current or former teams. 

Finally, as the rumors of next years free agency class starts to swirl, it looks like more super teams could be formed. Rumors of Kevin Durant leaving the Golden State Warriors to join the Los Angeles Lakers have begun to be discussed. Kevin Durant leaving one super team to form another with his friend Lebron James would create havoc through the league just like his similar move years ago.

With moves like this from veterans, younger players will see this and believe it is the right thing to do. In the upcoming years, decisions made by veteran stars will decide the future of the league and will loom over future stars for years to come.

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A Warrior Mentality