In case you're a hermit living with a Yeti in a mountain yet to be discovered, you're aware that Kevin Durant is now a Golden State Warrior. In fact, countless heated debates on whether KD is a weakling or a straight up G for joining forces with the Splash Brothers and Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala are still ongoing around the world.
Ultimately, only time can tell if the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player's switching allegiances to the already über-talented Oakland-based squad pays off. In the meantime, for a better idea of how things might end up for the juiced-up Dubs, we made a ranking of the past iterations of Super Teams composed of elite players who were perceived to have ganged up together (or brilliantly brought together by ingenious General Managers) to chase a ring.
10) 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers
Despite a botched trade for Chris Paul, the Lakers still managed to piece together a robust lineup that would've boasted Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash had the plan panned out. Rings were expected as we're talking about a team armed with a former Defensive Player of the Year awardee, a former FIBA World Cup MVP, a two-time NBA MVP and a two-time Finals MVP who once scored 81 points in a single game. Off the four highly decorated ballers, only Nash was visibly on the decline but was still considered as an efficient playmaker.
Why No. 10: There was no team chemistry and the squad's health was deteriorating. As it turned out, Kobe and Dwight hated each other, while Pau and Nash were plagued with injuries all season long. To make matters worse, Kobe tore his achilles in the last game of the regular season. The Lakers, which barely made the playoffs, ended up getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. The Purple and Gold's supposed dream season is now infamously referred to as "Dwightmare."
9) 2003-2004 Dallas Mavericks
This roster included future Hall of Famers Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash just as they were reaching the peak of their powers. And the supporting cast was headed by All-Star caliber players Michael Finley (20 points per game), Antawn Jamison (22 ppg) and Antoine Walker (20 ppg)—all three of them in the best physical condition of their careers. The idea behind this star-studded concoction is to create the ultimate run-and-gun lineup for then-Mavs coach and small-ball pioneer Don Nelson.
Why No. 9: The freewheeling style became excessive. Case in point: Walker jacking up threes like he's playing a shooting game at an arcade. Defense wasn't in the team's vocabulary, too, as Dallas gave up a league-worst 100.8 ppg to the opponents. Despite amassing 55 regular season wins, which was good enough for the 5th seed in the Western Conference playoffs, the Mavericks was soundly beaten by the Sacramento Kings in the opening round of the postseason, 4-1.
8) 1996-1997 Houston Rockets
The biggest NBA stars of the '90s included Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. And yes, the Rockets' marquee players for the 1996-97 season were the perennial All-Stars nicknamed The Dream, Sir Charles, and Clyde The Glide. The formation of Houston's monster trio became possible when Barkley, formerly of the Phoenix Suns, asked for a trade to Houston in hopes of finally winning a championship.
Why No. 8: There were glimpses of greatness from the Texas-sized team-up, particularly their 21-2 start. But then came the playoffs where the Rockets appeared to have lost a lot of steam. Apparently, Father Time had caught up with Drexler and Barkley, and it showed when they played the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Finals (WCF). Only Olajuwon out of Houston's "Triple Threat" performed at a high level; Charles and Clyde almost running on empty led to a frustrating loss to John Stockton and Karl Malone in six games.
7) 1999-2000 Portland Trail Blazers
Playmakers, rebounders, post players, you name the position—the 1999-00 Blazers had it locked. The culmination of building this highly talented group came when Portland acquired two of the league's most versatile players from that era—Scottie Pippen and Steve Smith. The starting five was completed by standout forward Rasheed Wallace, the crafty Arvydas Sabonis at center, and 1996 Rookie of the Year Damon Stoudamire manning the point guard spot.
The bench was one of the deepest you could ever imagine: the main guys were backed by do-it-all forwards in Detlef Schrempf, Bonzi Wells and Stacey Augmon, a promising first-year player in Jermaine O'Neal and workhorse in Brian Grant. The brimming talent and strength of this Blazers contingent carried the franchise to a 59-23 regular season record and a trip to the WCF.
Why No. 7: They trampled on the competition until they encountered Shaquille O'Neal and a young Kobe in the conference finals. In the decider, Portland suffered a major meltdown, blowing a 15-point fourth quarter lead, paving the way for the iconic "Kobe to Shaq" alley-oop that buried their chances for good. Even with all the talent they had, the Blazers looked awful in crunch time. Scottie must've been missing MJ sorely during those pressure-packed moments. Sub-par coaching and the acquisition of a drug-troubled Shawn Kemp in the following season put an end in the Blazers attempt to bounce right back into serious title-contention.
6) 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers
Just one year removed from their much-celebrated three-peat, the Lakers—bannered by the top two dogs of the game, Kobe and Shaq—landed aging but still formidable superstars, Karl Malone and Gary Payton. It was an astronomical collaboration thought to be a surefire recipe for a championship. Back then, seeing the names Payton, Malone, O'Neal, and Bryant on the Lakers roster prompted people to say things like, "Ibigay niyo na lang sa Lakers yung trophy."
Why No. 6: Unlike the teams that came before them on this list, the 2003-04 Lakers made it to the NBA's last dance. However, they failed to achieve their ultimate goal of winning the crown. Individual brilliance got them as far as reaching the Finals, but they were no match for the excellent team play of the Detroit Pistons. Looking back at it, LA wasn't really fit to win it all. Malone's knee was acting up, Kobe and Shaq were on the verge of an ugly divorce, and Payton wasn't suited for his role as a...well, we're not sure if he even had one. They were a good team because they were stacked in terms of talent, though their lack of harmony as a unit cost them the title.
5) 1972-1973 New York Knicks
After spending five seasons, getting buckets for the Baltimore Bullets, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe aka Philadelphia's Jesus of basketball was traded to the New York Knicks in 1971. In the Big Apple, Earl played with five other future Hall of Famers: rebounding machines Dave Debuscherre and Jerry Lucas, the captain Willis Reed, ever-dependable forward Bill Bradley and Monroe's would-be P.I.C. Walt Frazier.
Why No. 5: This powerhouse Knicks squad made the finals in Monroe's first year with the team, but fell short against the Lakers in five games. The Knickerbockers, however, did get revenge on their tormentors in the subsequent season to grant NYC its second championship in three years. Their superiority would completely fizzle out by 1975, losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Rockets.
4) 2015-2016 Cleveland Cavaliers
The three headed-monster of this Cleveland team is personified by the greatest player of this generation in LeBron James, arguably one of this era's top rebounders in Kevin Love, and a ridiculously skilled point guard in Kyrie Irving. The Cavaliers transformed into a titanic team when James returned to his hometown in 2014, after completing his four-year master's degree in winning titles with the Miami Heat. Immediately upon his return, LBJ went into GM mode and lobbied to get Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves by trading away No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins. After the King got all his wishes, the Cavs took two straight trips to the NBA Finals, winning it all in historic fashion on their second try.
Why No. 4: In just two seasons together, they've already won a title. Not only did they give the city of Cleveland its first major sports championship in 52 years when they outlasted the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, they also became the first team in finals history to successfully come back from a 3-1 series deficit. If you're still not sold on this crew, let us remind you that they subdued a superb Warriors team that won a record-setting 73 games in the regular season. If the Cavs keep on winning in the next few years, rest assured, they'll ascend further on this list.
3) 2007-2008 Boston Celtics
During one busy day in the 2007 NBA Free Agency, the Celtics convinced Kevin Garnett, one of the greatest power forwards of all time, together with, arguably the best shooter in NBA history, Ray Allen, to play alongside their franchise player Paul Pierce. It was a match made in Irish heaven. All in pursuit of their first ring, Garnett, Allen, and Pierce, with the help of a well-focused Rajon Rondo, turned Boston from worst to first. A season ago, the C's were toiling aimlessly at the bottom of the league and in the next one, were hoisting up the Larry O'Brien trophy, teary eyed after finally snagging the big one.
Why No. 3: The 2007-08 Celtics had a magical run. They finished the regular season on top of the NBA with a 66-16 record. On their way to the Finals, they continued to impress, notwithstanding the tough test of provided by young King James and his Cavaliers. In the final stage, the Greens' magnificence didn't waver as they outgunned then-league MVP Kobe Bryant and his Lakers, 4 games to 2. The Celtics in the Garnett-Pierce-Allen era had truly delivered performances that took us back to Boston's glory days of the '60s and '80s. Had Boston's Big Three met each other earlier in their careers when age and injuries weren’t an issue, there's little doubt that they would've won at least two more rings for Beantown.
2) 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers
It took this Hall-of-Fame Lakers cast four years to unleash its full potential. It began in 1968 when the Philadelphia 76ers shipped Wilt Chamberlain to LA in exchange for good but forgettable players named Darrall Imhoff, Jerry Chambers, and Archie Clark. Getting the mythical center to hook up with a couple more All-NBA talents in Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, a championship seemed to be on the horizon for Los Angeles. But it wasn't until the 1971-72 calendar that the Purple and Gold figured it all out and tore the league apart. Although Baylor retired after the first nine games of that season, the scoring cudgels were taken up by the '70s version of the Splash Brothers, West and fellow HOF-er Gail Goodrich. As for Wilt, he turned himself into a rebounding demon that kickstarted the Lakers' dreaded fastbreak game through missile-like outlet passes.
Why No. 2: Imagine Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Shaquille O'Neal cooking in one team. That's how things worked for LA back then. As they blew up, long standing records like a 69-13 regular season slate and a 33 game-winning streak were set. Wilt, Jerry and Gail punctuated their dominant display by winning the City of Angels its first NBA title at the expense of another super team, the New York Knicks.
1) 2010-2011 Miami Heat
The Miami Heat Big Three is probably the most controversial of all the super groups ever assembled in NBA history. No thanks to LeBron's management team for arranging a TV special aka "The Decision," wherein LBJ sort of embarrassed his former squad, the Cavaliers, by announcing in front of the whole world that he'll be "taking (his) talents to South Beach." In Miami, he would be in cahoots with his friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the latter had also left his old team, the Toronto Raptors, to chase championships.
Their image of being the league's super villains were cemented during Miami's welcome party when James chanted that they'll win not one, not two, not three...but seven rings for the Heat. But for all their foolishness off the court, it was undeniable how awesome they were on the floor. They had a once in a generation hooper in LeBron, arguably the best shooting guard of all-time behind Kobe and MJ, and Bosh, an All-Star forward capable of carrying a franchise (if he really wanted to).
Why No. 1: In the four years they were together, they had four straight Finals appearances. They won two rings and even added Ray Allen in their final two title runs. Had they stayed together after losing to the Spurs in the 2014 battle for the NBA crown, we have no doubt that the Heat would've made six consecutive finals stints since and likely have gotten one more title.
Photos via The Guardian, ESPN, Complex, SB Nation, New York Daily News, USA TODAY Sports, UPROXX
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