Be Afraid: Five Budding Dynasties in the NBA
Every NBA player has the same dream; to win an NBA title. It's an accomplishment than can determine whether a superstar becomes a legend. We've seen recently mainly people questioning the King James about his superstar status solely for the reason that he hasn't won the big one yet.. Many superstars have come and gone without drinking from that champagne bottle or having the privilege of wearing a championship ring. Players like Karl Malone, John Stockton, Charles Barkeley, Dominique Wilkins, Chris Webber, Adrian Dantley, George Gervin, and Elgin Baylor all failed to achieve that great honor.
While winning an NBA championship is a huge dream come true for NBA players, few players (or even teams) have the opportunity to take part in or even witness an NBA dynasty. When I think of dynasties, I think of the Lakers and Celtics of old, the Bulls of the Nineties, the Spurs and Lakers of the 2000s. Those are truly great teams that achieved not only one, but multiple NBA titles within years of each other.
This list consists of teams that could potentially be on the verge and within a few years of forming their own dynasties. Lots of things depend on whether these teams can take it to the next level. (Keep in mind I did not include current super-teams like the Lakers or Celtics because they are already winning. These are teams that are up-and-coming.)
And here we go...
5. Portland Trailblazers
There has been talk of this team being a championship contender for years, but there is always something holding them back.
In the past few seasons, the majority of their problems have come from injuries, injuries, injuries. Almost as if they've been cursed in the injury department.
After taking Greg Oden with the number one pick, many people expected this team to leap to the next level. Unfortunately, Oden has yet to live up to his potential and has been hampered by a ridiculous amount of injuries. Time will tell if he ever lives up to his potential. Coming into the draft, he was widely regarded as the second-coming of Shaq.
With that said, and assuming that Oden does bounce back from his season-ending injury(ies), I foresee this team as being able to do lots of damage within one or two years.
They have a solid young core with Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge leading out. Other up-and-coming players on the roster are Jerryd Bayless, Nicholas Batum, and Luke Babbitt. This team is talented, and if they have an injury-free season, then they are one of the top 5 teams in the Western Conference.
There is one thing holding them back from reaching elite status: A point guard. They have decent point guards in Andre Miller and Bayless, but they need a truly elite floor leader in order to contend for multiple championships.
There has been talk that Portland could acquire Chris Paul before the offseason is over and if they manage to do that...we should all be afraid.
4. New York Knicks
Now don't freak out on me for this pick. This team might not even make the playoffs next year. My reason for picking this team as a "budding dynasty" deals mainly with a lot of what-ifs.
Obviously, New York is heads and shoulders better than they were last year with the additions of Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton from free agency and the acquistions of Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, and Kelenna Azubuike from Golden State. It's easy to like this team's future, and its mainly due to the widely circulated rumor of a "Big Three" in New York City.
That third speculated piece being Chris Paul who has been rumored to be interested in forming a big three along with Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony in the Big Apple.
In my opinion, I see Chris Paul making his way to Portland (as my previous slide stated) and Tony Parker ending up in NYC. Even so, this team could be scary in a couple of years. Stoudemire needs a very good point guard in order to be the same player we saw in Phoenix. While Tony Parker may not be the pass-first type of player that Steve Nash was, the guy brings unquestionable championship experience and veteran leadership to a team that has desperately hoped for a championship for years and years.
With a solid bench and a couple of other smart moves by the roster, this team has a bright future.
Check out this starting lineup...scares me just to look at it....
PG- Tony Parker/Chris Paul (with Raymond Felton as backup)
SG- Could be anyone (Kelenna Azubuike maybe)
SF- Carmelo Anthony
PF- Anthony Randolph (a hugely improved version of the current player)
C- Amar'e Stoudemire
Keep your eye on NYC.
3. Chicago Bulls
If that picture isn't intimidating, I don't know what is.
To be honest, I like this team for next year. They had (outside of Miami) the best offseason of all teams this past year. Derrick Rose is a budding superstar, Joakim Noah is one of the most underrated and valued role players/hustle players in the NBA, and Carlos Boozer brings an extra 20 points and 10 rebounds to this already imposing roster.
They even added a few solid role players in Kyle Korver, CJ Watson, and Ronnie Brewer to the roster. This team is deep and time will only tell if this team can come together and contend with the Heat next year for the top spot in the East.
The Bulls were originally a dynasty in the time of MJ, but I believe they can become one again, with the addition of one more solid guard to the roster and the continued improvement of Noah and Rose.
A lot also depends on whether Tom Thibodeau can emerge as a decent coach in this league, after spending years as an assistant for various teams. This guy teaches a championship winning skill, defense, like nobody's business. If he can instill that mentality into the mind of this team (Boozer especially), then they should be contending within a year or sooner. This team is young, hungry, and ready for their time in the spotlight. I foresee a possible dynasty in the making in the Windy City....
2. Miami Heat
This is an obvious pick for this list, but I'm sure you're all surprised I don't have them as my number one. To be honest, I don't know whether or not the experiment in South Beach is really going to work, but that remains to be seen.
I really would rather not spend a lot of time on this slide, seeing as how everyone has already analyzed the this team in and out. However, they have surprised me, and I'm not talking about getting LeBron. I am shocked at the ability the Heat have had to pick up some decent role players to go along with the big three. This team most likely will be in the championship running for years but a lot of factors still way into it:
Can Wade and LeBron play together for an extended period of time?
Will their lack of a decent center kill them against teams like Boston, LA, and Orlando?
Will Bosh be able to accept his role as the third option for this team?
We shall see what happens. They formed this team with the expectation of creating a dynasty in Miami, but they haven't proven anything yet.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
I would rather see this team winning multiple championships over Miami any day. While I love Miami, once living a block away from AA Arena for two years, I have a lot more respect for the way this team has assembled their roster and developed their stars. In my opinion, this is the way it should be done.
Building through the draft and patience, the Oklahoma City Thunder have quietly flown under the radar and developed one of the deepest, strongest, and potentially threatening rosters in the league.
Check out the ages of some of the key players on this team:
Kevin Durant- 21
Russell Westbrook- 21
Jeff Green- 23
Eric Maynor- 22
James Harden- 20
Thabo Sefolosha- 25
Cole Aldrich- 21
Daequan Cook- 22
The Thunder are only going to get older and better. Kevin Durant is on the verge of being the next MVP, Russell Westbrook is quickly becoming one of the best point guards in the league, Jeff Green is highly underrated, and Serge Ibake and Thabo Sefolosha are two defensive studs. This team only lacks a strong inside presence. They selected Cole Aldrich and Tibor Pleiss in the draft and time will tell if these players can be valuable for them.
Give them a few years, but they will be an elite power soon.