With the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony being traded to the New York Knicks right before the 2011 trade deadline, it is clear that the NBA has entered the "Age of the Superpower Team."
The separation between the haves and have-nots is growing wider day by day—there are really a lot of bad teams in the NBA.
This is evidenced by the abundance of 10-plus game winning streaks this season. And if you check the numbers closely, most of these long runs have been against teams with records under .500.
But is this the dawning of a superpower age?
Clearly, this all began not with last summer’s Miami Thrice, but in 2008 when the Big Three joined forces in Boston.
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are now OG—they are the original superpower teammates. And the rest of the top players have followed suit.
You could even make the argument that Kobe Bryant and his Lakers joined the superpower party when they traded for Pau Gasol.
But we’ll stick with the obvious super teams and possible contenders.
Melo joining the New York Knicks propels an already rising team into a superpower. Teaming with Amar’e Stoudemire raises that team into this elite status.
The Chicago Bulls entered the debate last summer by landing Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver to go along with an already formidable stable of young talent. Now, with super-work-ethic Derrick Rose having improved his game over the summer with outside jumpers and making a strong argument for league MVP, the Bulls are right there in the superpower race.
Lying in wait are Chris Paul and Steve Nash, two super guards who are more than likely going to join forces with other super heroes to form another super team. The question isn’t when, but where.
Paul and Melo are great friends, and just like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James planned their teaming up during the 2008 Olympics, Paul and Melo will collude to get together. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Paul in NY next year. Chauncey Billups is a great short-term point guard for New York, but for the long run, Paul would be an amazing fit.
And who will team with Deron Williams on the New Jersey Nets? Something tells me that team isn't done becoming a relevant contender. Look for more moves from the Nets next year.
Lastly, I just have the feeling that Steve Nash won’t end his career in Phoenix. I'd like to see him end it all there, since he is basically Mr. Sun, but will he? I'd say he could end up in New York if Paul doesn’t beat him there first. Nash has also been rumored to go back to Dallas and rejoin Dirk Nowitzki.
No matter what, this is the age of the superpower—the elite teams in the NBA. The other interesting aspect of this superpower race is that it is all happening in the Eastern Conference.
So the divide that is growing between the top and bottom teams will only grow into a much larger Grand Canyon.
The only thing that will end this superpower race is David Stern and a player lockout.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, because this superpower race is just heating up, making the NBA all the more interesting.
Everyone says the 1980's were the pinnacle of competitive NBA basketball, and I agree, but with this new superpower race, the new decade may give the 80's a run for its money.
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