LeBron James vs. superteams in the present day:
Once LeBron James went to LA, it seemed as if the league was finally shifting away from superteams, and increasing its competitive balance. In 2018, The Philadelphia 76ers tried to make a big three by trading for Jimmy Butler, but they lost in the second round that season and he then left for Miami via a sign-and-trade.
It appeared that the NBA was entering into an era of duos. Over the past three seasons, including this one, the league has featured teams led by:
- LeBron James and Anthony Davis
- Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
- Kawhi Leonard and Paul George
- Russell Westbrook and Paul George
- James Harden and Russell Westbrook
- Luka Dončić and Kristaps Porzingis
- Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum
- Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons
- Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown
- Trae Young and John Collins
- John Wall (mostly injured) and Bradley Beal
- Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray
- John Wall and James Harden (short-lived)
- Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal
- Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell
- Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram
- Devin Booker and Chris Paul
In addition, team basketball was once again on the rise with the Toronto Raptors, who with the help of Kawhi Leonard seemed to end the Warriors dynasty…for now.
Also, the Utah Jazz and especially the Miami Heat are showing that through the draft you can build a cohesive and competitive group of players.
However, the era of duos and team basketball seems to have come to an end before it ever really got the chance to start.
After the 35-year-old LeBron James won his fourth ring and Finals MVP with the help of Anthony Davis and their supporting cast, it was apparent that the duo in purple and gold would be running the NBA for more years to come.
Naturally, once again, a new superteam was needed to dethrone The King. James Harden is now a member of the Brooklyn Nets, and there is once again a big three superteam in the NBA (assuming the Kyrie situation is handled).
As far as whether the Nets have enough to beat the Lakers in a presumptive Finals matchup? Yes.
As far as will they? Only time will tell.
A superteam once again has their sights set on LeBron, and LeBron once again will have his work cut out for him, as he has a superteam he needs to take care of if he will continue to win championships.
It will be interesting to see if the James Harden move will start a chain reaction that forms more superteams in the NBA in seasons to come.
If the past 18 years have taught us anything, it is that if anyone is going to beat this Brooklyn Nets superteam, it is going to be LeBron James.