By Justin Thomas
With arguably the most anticipated Finals in NBA history taking place between the Cavaliers and Warriors, not everyone is excited or thrilled about the state of the NBA. Many feel that there is a lack of parity in the league because of Kevin Durant joining forces with the already formidable home grown super team of Golden State. To many, his move to join the Warriors seemed cowardice, an almost “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” type scenario. Although the Warriors are now famously known for blowing a 3-1 lead, Kevin Durant and the Thunder actually blew a 3-1 lead to the Warriors in last year’s Western Conference Finals. This then prompted KD to join forces with the Warriors creating a super team the likes of which has never been seen in modern NBA.
Aside from the last 3 years, the league has experienced a great deal of parity in terms of NBA champions and who played for the title, however it’s not all that meets the eye. From 2003-2016 the league saw 8 different champions and in that span 3 teams won 2 or more titles. In fact, during this span the Spurs won just about a quarter of the total championships. Teams such as the Spurs and Lakers found themselves in the Finals a plethora of times. It was just about downright predictable that the West would be represented by either the Spurs or Lakers as they were in the Finals 9 of the 13 years. Why were there no cries of a lack of parity then? Or let’s take a look at LeBron’s Finals prowess. He has now been in seven straight NBA Finals, taking 2 different teams there in the process. And every year the question is, who in the East can challenge LeBron? The Pacers and Celtics put up some valiant efforts in previous years, but for the most part during this stretch it has basically been a cake walk for the King and his teams. LeBron going to the Finals every year for almost a decade seems like a lack of parity to me. So now that the Warriors are enjoying a brief string of success and just so happened to acquire a top 3 talent why is there now all of a sudden no parity in the league? Durant in an interview about the lack of parity in the league said, “Am I the reason that Brooklyn gave all their picks to Boston? Like, am I the reason that they’re not that good”. Historically speaking though, there hasn’t been much parity in the NBA.
Now if you really want to talk about a lack of parity just rewind the clock to the late 80’s and all of the 90’s. In the 14 years from 1988-2002 only 5 teams won a title. They were the Bad Boy Pistons, Jordan’s Bulls, Hakeem’s Rockets, The Admiral’s Spurs and the Shaq & Kobe Lakers. Aside from the Spurs winning in 1999, each of the other 4 teams won their titles in consecutive years with the Lakers and Bulls 3-peating. The Bulls actually 3-peated twice and may have gone 8 straight years winning it all if not for MJ trying his luck at professional baseball. The league just goes through stretches where some teams are more dominant than others, whether it be from building through the draft or signing a few big name players. There would be no dynasties with the amount of league parity some are insinuating should happen. Why is it, if the league is so bad now that the Lakers and Celtics organizations have 33 of the 70 total NBA Finals and neither of them have won since 2010? This Warriors juggernaut isn’t going to last forever and in a few years another power team will emerge but whining about lack of parity now won’t save you from the lack of parity that will continue.