Christian Fuentes, Sports Journalist for Metro Puerto Rico
More like a “lack of parity”. As a longtime NBA fan and observer, it is rather discouraging to see all the talent and all the surging teams come together and make the playoffs, only to be eliminated either by the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Golden State Warriors. Those who know me best, know that I can dig a good dominance or dynasty. I mean, hello, I’m a Yankee fan. But I have to point out, even I tend to roll my eyes when I think that after 30 teams kill each other all season long, to see the same two teams. Now, it’s still early in the Coference Finals, but let’s face it, we’re getting Cavs-Dubs III.
The problem of parity in the NBA isn’t really the league’s fault. They’ve worked and reworked the CBA, the salary caps, and teams can’t spend freely. This is really an issue of the players themselves. These days, it seems like you can either join LeBron James or Steph Curry if you want to win a championship. Gone are the days of building teams to take down the big boys. Golden State actually did that, and they did take down the big boy. But now they ARE the superteam after adding Kevin Durant during the offseason. Stars join each other and the league becomes top-heavy. Look at these Conference Finals: Super Warriors vs. a hobbled Kawhi Leonard and his supporting cast; and the Super Cavs vs. the lone scorer Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics. The 2017 NBA playoffs have been disappointing. Too many blowouts and no upsets.
I would like to see more competition. So, it’d be pretty cool if NBA players decided: “You know what? I’m not joining Lebron or Steph. We can build to take them down”. It worked before, you know, from 1946 until about 2010.
Darío Vázquez, Resident Sports Expert
We are about a week away from our third straight Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers finals. While I’m actually rooting for a match up between both teams at full strength, unlike the previous two encounters, the reality of the situation is that we might have a fourth, fifth and maybe six round between both teams. How long before we as fans get bored of watching the same two or three teams compete for the title every year?
The problem with this is that out of all the major team sports, basketball is probably the one in which a single superstar can influence the outcome of a game the most. We have seen a handful of players dominate their conference or the league regardless of who they play with or against (like Michael Jordan and currently LeBron James). But it seems like contrary to Jordan’s time in the league where everybody wanted to go at each other’s throats, players today are interested in joining either the Cavs or the Warriors. The league has done a great job trying to keep a balance through the CBA. Limiting the amount teams can spend and giving players economic incentives for staying with their current team but when you consider the fact that players make so much money off the court, they can “afford” to take pay cuts in order to join other stars and form super teams like the Miami Heat back in 2010.
Having said that, I believe the solution to having a balanced NBA lies on the players. This generation has been accused of being too friendly or as many former players call them “AAU Buddies” because they don’t want to go at each other. Players are recruiting one another from the moment they arrive to the league and now it’s not just past prime players looking for a chance to win by switching teams, it’s actually stars on their prime. Those star players need to have some pride and break the mold back to what it used to be. Embrace the challenge, put your team on your shoulders and try to slay the giants. But then again, how can you ask the underdogs to do that, when the rich keeps getting richer? Enjoy Cavs vs. Warriors III.