5 Most Overhyped NBA Super Teams of the Last 25 Years
The recent "super team" phenomenon isn't going away any time soon, but it didn't necessarily start with the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010.
Throughout most of NBA history, there have been teams filled with superstars that were projected to do great things. Some of these teams made the transition from paper champions to real-life winners, while untold others failed to live up to the expectations that were bestowed upon them.
If the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers fall short of a title, not only will they join the latter group, but they'll also go down in the annals as one of the overhyped teams in league history.
L.A. will have plenty of company, however: There are a number of squads over the years who received preseason praise and ultimately became playoff disappointment.
5) 2004-05 Indiana Pacers
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After a season in which they won 61 games and took the eventual champion Detroit Pistons to six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, the 2004-05 Indiana Pacers were destined for great things.
And then, on November 19, 2004, something called the "Malice in the Palace" happened.
Many believed that Indiana had the goods to bring home the Larry O'Brien trophy that season, but once Ron Artest began making his way through the crowd at The Palace of Auburn Hills, the NBA Finals was the furthest thing from anyone's mind. Five Pacers were suspended as a result of their actions during the brawl, but the most important blow landed that day was the one to the Pacers' 2005 title hopes.
4) 2012-13 Brooklyn Nets
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Is it a bit early to put the 2012-13 Brooklyn Nets on a list of overhyped teams? Perhaps. But they can't win a title this season.
Just ask Avery Johnson.
With all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Nets move to Brooklyn, you'd think the team had already begun planning its championship parade route. In reality, the Nets (who are led by their "Core Four") will struggle to win their own division and are nothing more than a fringe contender in the Eastern Conference.
Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez believe otherwise, but when Brooklyn is finally eliminated from title contention this year, they'll quickly realize that their head coach had this thing pegged from day one.
3) 1996-97 Houston Rockets
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Two years removed from their second consecutive title, the 1996-97 Houston Rockets added Charles Barkley to a core group that already included Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. A title seemed like a foregone conclusion, but the Rockets would fail to even make the NBA Finals.
A preseason dust-up with Charles Oakley led to Barkley's suspension for the first game of the regular season, and that served as something of a harbinger of things to come. A spate of injuries limited Barkley to 53 games that year, but he still managed to average 19.2 points and 13.5 rebounds per game.
Houston won 57 games that season, but ultimately fell to the Utah Jazz in six games in the Western Conference Finals. The trio of Olajuwon, Drexler and Barkley only spent one more year together and only won two playoff series as a unit.
2) 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers
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With four future Hall of Fame talents and perhaps the greatest coach who ever lived, the NBA title seemed all but guaranteed for the 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers.
The duo of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant had already won three titles at the turn of the millennium, and after a Western Conference Semifinals loss to the San Antonio Spurs in 2003, the Lakers added point guard Gary Payton and power forward Karl Malone.
Because of injuries, Payton was the only member of the quartet to play more than 67 games that season, but the Lakers still won 56 games en route to the Pacific Division crown.
L.A. took care of business in the playoffs until they reached the NBA Finals where they were dismantled by the Detroit Pistons in five games. Despite the defeat, that iteration of the Lakers was the modern-day forerunner of the current "super team" movement.
1) 2010-11 Miami Heat
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As soon as LeBron James announced that he was taking his talents to South Beach, the hype machine surrounding the 2010-11 Miami Heat went into overdrive.
The media coverage of the team was excessive by pretty much every measure. ESPN even created the "Miami Heat Index" as fans demanded (or were forced to endure) constant coverage of the "3 Kings."
And, to their credit, the Heat didn't do much to shy away from the added attention.
Of course, there's a reason why the NBA plays 2,460 games each year (plus an untold number of playoff contests), and shortly after the Dallas Mavericks clinched 2011 title at Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena, the Heat was busy drowning its sorrows in the locker room.
The fact that Miami won the championship the following summer is irrelevant: The buzz surrounding the Heat's "Big 3" in their debut season together was much ado about nothing.