Are Superstars Really The Answer The NBA Is Looking For?

Ryan PasbrigContributor IMay 29, 2009

PHOENIX - FEBRUARY 15:  (L-R) Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, members of the women's and men's gold medal winning USA Olympic basketball teams, wave to the crowd during half time of the 58th NBA All-Star Game, part of 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend at US Airways Center on February 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Kobe. LeBron. D-Wade.

These names of some of the NBA superstars that fans have come to know and love or hate.

The NBA has marketed and banked off such superstars. The fans have consumed merchandise, bought tickets, and have become enamored with these athletes.

The head executives at the league offices and the television stations are salivating over the prospect of a LeBron versus Kobe match up in the NBA Finals.

But, to a fan of the game of basketball, this matchup is not what the league needs.

In a league where superstar power runs the show, there are two teams alive in their respective leagues that show that team work is the way to go.

The Orlando Magic and the Denver Nuggets are not the sexy teams for the NBA Finals. They do not have a superstar with the caliber of a LeBron or Kobe. They do have Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony, but they are more team players than LeBron and Kobe.

There is not a soul out there who can look me in the eyes and say that the Cavs and Lakers would be where they are today if they did not have LeBron and Kobe.

Sure, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol are solid NBA players, but Odom is out of his prime and Gasol has shown to be streaky and disappear in games. Derek Fisher and Trevor Ariza can hit the three but Fisher is on the back side of his career and Ariza is very streaky.

The Cavaliers have Mo Williams. He is an all-star point guard, but is too shooter happy at times. Ben Wallace is on the decline and Anderson Varajao is nothing more than a career backup at best. Big Z is too slow and thinks he is a shooting guard at times. The bench is not impressive at all.

As for the Magic and Nuggets, they have the cast around the superstars to make up a solid NBA roster.

The Magic live and die by the three pointer. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu can take over a game with their shooting and Mickael Pietrus and Rafer Alston are no slouches either.

The Nuggets have Kenyon Martin and Nene Hilario in the front court and Chauncey Billiups and J.R. Smith in the backcourt. Chris "Birdman" Anderson brings the energy and spunk of the bench and excites the whole arena with his play.

The Magic and Nuggets play as a team. You never see one guy try to take over the game the way Kobe and LeBron do.

In a league that is so "image conscious" all of a sudden and trying to prove they are still all about basketball, one would think that the team oriented teams would be the teams that the league would want to put up on the show room floor.

But, because the league is all about money (and do not try to let them tell you otherwise), the Kobe's and LeBron's of the world get all the attention while the fundamentally sounds teams that create open shots through ball movement and play defense get no love.

If the NBA really wants to become a league of image, it would stop showing these money and power hungry individuals and start glorifying the team portion of this team game.

Basketball is a game of five on five, not one on one.


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