The NBA was the result of the BAA absorbing the NBL in 1949. And so, the 1949-50 season was the first “official” NBA season. However, the NBA did start as the BAA in 1946. For the sake of “NBA” we’ll start our post from that era of 1949-50.
This isn’t meant to be a history lesson. However, this explains my list of teams that will appear in this post. The teams are the Sacramento Kings, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, and the Golden State Warriors. These teams have lasted the league origins and really, the NBA’s legacy starts here.
Which makes it rather sad that six of these eight once great teams in the league seem to be poised to miss the playoffs. Out of the top ten teams with the most championships, six of the teams make it. Heck, all of the teams here have won at least once. Each team has had a number of great players throughout the years.
The Sixers are clearly the worst. You have the Lakers and Celtics who, when looking at league history, are rarely down. And when they are down, they’re not down for long. They have the two most NBA championship wins for the league. Also, their championships combined (33) take up almost half of the total championships (67) in league history. And yet, here they are.
The Kings have been struggling to get back to an elite level since post Chris Webber days. They have recently recovered from a lengthily ownership-city battle deciding where the location of the franchise would be in the near future.
The Knicks and Pistons could make the playoffs, but this season in particular has been lower than what people expected.
The Hawks have been fortunate to have a solid team in a weak East conference. But, it’s not like this team is contending for anything.
The only team that appears to be “great” is the Warriors. Good for them, but it’s been a long time since they were considered very good. We’re talking since the early 90′s.
Let’s hope that the NBA’s founding teams can get back to domination. Which team will get there first?
I like to think the Sixers have the best chance. They’re poised to have quality superstar talent that will last them for a long time. It would seem the Celtics are in an interesting position. They have a star in Rajon Rondo, but we’re still waiting to see if Rondo is traded or not. If not, and the Celtics don’t score in the draft or free agency, the Celtics could be looking at mediocrity.
What about the Lakers? They are old. You could say this season was full of injuries and so we don’t know how good they could’ve been. With Kobe struggling to stay on the court, we definitely will never know what this team could have been. However, they decided to go all in with Kobe, which means they are not quite sold on rebuilding.
The question becomes, with Kobe almost certain to not be near as good as he was in his prime, can the Lakers draft/trade/sign the talent needed to win it all? One more for Kobe? I know Dante Exum would love to be the next guy and learn from Kobe. But, again, this isn’t a rebuilding project yet. They’ll be going for the gold. And they will come up short.
The Knicks have had a hard time. After looking good last season, the bad basketball returns, and in a big way. The Nets shook off their issues and now have control of New York. And what about Carmelo Anthony? Will he stay or go? Part of me says he’s gone. A big part of me. And I think it’ll take a change in leadership…and I mean ownership, in order to turn things around for this team.
The Hawks are currently the mediocre team out of the teams listed here. They are good enough to make the playoffs but you know they won’t do much once they get there. In the West, they actually would be bad. In any case, I don’t see anything in the near future. Al Horford in the past couple of seasons has been down with major injuries. Can he be a star again? Paul Millsap has been a star though, and Jeff Teague seems to be a rising very good player. But, unless they are aiming for the mid-2000′s Pistons look, they’ll need a big star.
The Kings have been young and upcoming for a long time. When will it click? DeMarcus Cousins seems to be under-performing compared to where people thought he would be. Big men do take longer to develop than others, and he’s only in his fourth year. They did get Rudy Gay, who can score, although if you ask the Raptors, who have been very good since trading him, they would tell you that he’s not the most efficient scorer. And maybe that core, with another lottery pick can be built to make the playoffs. Championship? Cousins is gonna have to have a breakout year very soon.
The Warriors, while in the best position currently, may never get up there. I can’t see a finals appearance, but, conference finals is possible. I’m looking at the Thunder and Clippers as top teams that will be very good for a good while. The Rockets and Blazers are also going to be there. And I mention those teams because their stars are young and will be in the league most likely seven years from now. The Warriors have Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as a terrific young back court duo. The front court is in their prime and maybe have another three good years left before the decline. Warriors will have to be looking at ways to improve soon.
What about the Pistons? They’ve been struggling to get a pair of stars to build around. First it was Ben Gordon and Charlie-V. Now it’s Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith. Sure, it’s their first season together, but it hasn’t gone well. We can only hope they didn’t waste money there. Andre Drummond has been a bright spot for the team. It seems like this team has no business being this bad. Ok, they’re not bad, but playoffs seemed almost certain. Oh well.
So yeah, out of these teams, who will win it all first? I said my Sixers, but their path to greatness is probably going to take the longest. But, once there, if all goes according to plan, they’ll be there for a nice while. Dynasty? Maybe. I want what the Spurs have had since grabbing Duncan. Each year they’ve had a chance. They were in talks. Love it. That’s all you can ask for as a fan.
Hit me in the comments. Which former NBA great team will win it all first? If you’re feeling bold, give me a year.