Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dwight Howard trade cements death to small markets

By Kshell

When the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Dwight Howard it just continued a long going trend that has been happening in the NBA for a while. That trend being that small market teams simply can't compete in the NBA. Howard isn't the first Super Star to be dealt from a small market to a major market and he isn't going to be the last. In the NBA the rich continue to get richer while most of the league sits back and enjoys being not a factor. The Lakers roster now features six former all-stars in Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Antawn Jamison. Of those six all-stars they drafted none of them and only Bryant has played his whole career there. The Lakers aren't the only team doing that as they are just trying to keep up with their rivals the Miami Heat.

When Lebron James announced he was "taking his talents to South Beach" along with Chris Bosh the Miami Heat formed a "super team" who won a championship this past season. The Heat's roster has five former all-stars in Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Of those five all-stars only Wade was drafted by the Heat. James left a small market in Cleveland while Bosh left Toronto for Miami as well. Players want to play in big markets, great weather and win a title. Since teams in big markets and with great weather have players flock to them they are naturally able to win a title as most great players go play for them. The two overwhelming favorites in the NBA are the Lakers and Heat who feature 11 former all-stars and only one was drafted by that team. This is a scary trend for the NBA which back in the 1970's saw eight different teams win an NBA championship. Since 1980 to the present day only nine teams have won an NBA championship. Los Angeles Lakers(10 titles), Chicago Bulls( 6), Boston Celtics(4), San Antonio Spurs(4), Detroit Pistons(3), Houston Rockets(2), Miami Heat(2), Philadelphia 76ers(1) and Dallas Mavericks(1). There is no parity in the NBA that is for sure.

For a small market team to win the NBA title you need to get really lucky. First you need to win the lottery to draft a franchise changing player like a Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Dwight Howard, etc. Second you need that player to want to stay with your team which so far only Tim Duncan has done with the Spurs. Duncan led the Spurs to four NBA championships as he was the #1 pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. Duncan wasn't joining a terrible team either as they had super star David Robinson who had basically missed the previous season so they immediately became a success. The only other way to succeed is to suck bad enough so you are in the NBA lottery and strike gold. Also helps having an owner who is best friends with the commish so he can give you Kevin Durant landing the #2 pick in a year with Kevin Durant, then sucking again to draft Russell Westbrook with the #4 pick then sucking again to draft James Harden with the #3 pick which is what Oklahoma City did. Under this current format there is a good chance Oklahoma City won't be able to keep all three guys there. NBA history shows one of them will bolt and still no players will continue to go there. Nothing against Oklahoma City or any other small market but NBA players don't like small markets. They want to play in Los Angeles, New York or Miami. That is where the endorsements are, that is where the beautiful women are, that is where a lifestyle outside of basketball is. Tim Duncan stayed so the Spurs won four titles, remember when Kevin Durant is a free agent he'll be 26 years old so he'll be in the exact same spot in his career which Lebron James was in. 20 years from now nobody is going to remember that Lebron James played for Cleveland.

Let's go back to the 2008 "Redeem Team" roster shall we? You had Chris Paul(New Orleans), Kobe Bryant(Los Angeles), Carmelo Anthony(Denver), Lebron James(Cleveland), Dwight Howard(Orlando), Deron Williams(Utah), Chris Bosh(Toronto), Jason Kidd(Dallas), Michael Redd(Milwaukee), Dwyane Wade(Miami), Tayshaun Prince(Detroit) and Carlos Boozer(Utah). Of those 12 guys you see 10 guys not playing for Miami, Los Angeles, and New York. As of right now nine of those guys are playing in Los Angeles(Bryant, Howard, Paul), New York(Anthony, Kidd, and Williams) and Miami(James, Wade and Bosh). Boozer left for a big market as well in Chicago while Redd and Prince careers fell off so nobody really wants them. So that is 83% of the team is now playing in big markets which screams small market teams just don't matter in the NBA.

As a northwest fan this sucks I must say. It hurts knowing that when we do get a team and they are the Sonics again we are playing against a stacked deck. On this current 2012 team only Kobe Bryant was the only player not picked in the top 10. So the only chance a small market has is to suck for multiple years in a row like Oklahoma City while also being in a draft with a game changing player like a Tim Duncan or Kevin Durant. Meanwhile Los Angeles, Miami and to a lesser degree New York will continue to clean up on free agents. David Stern in the 1980's decided to feature the players with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird instead of the teams. Due to that the players have all the power in this league which means the teams don't. Lebron James set the stage also for if players are willing to take less money to join forces to create a super team. No the Howard trade didn't change anything at all just cemented the fact that the big market teams in this league are going to continue to get better. While the small market teams are going to have to continue to fight a stacked deck which is made to prevent them from winning championships. That is the NBA that David Stern built which sucks for all small market teams. Basically as long as David Stern is commish small markets teams don't stand a chance.

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