Every week, our staff will gather to discuss a hot topic of the week. The San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have been some of the most dominant teams of the last decade. Now that their teams feature players who are in the twilight of their NBA careers, is it safe to say that this will be the end of their dominance in the NBA?
There is no doubt the end is in sight. Tony Parker proclaimed that this would be the last chance the Spurs would have at getting Tim Duncan his fifth title and age appears to be an issue among all three teams.
While all teams have youth built around the core, the core for the Spurs, Celtics and Lakers are aging. I felt like once Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were traded to Boston, they had a window of about three years.
As dominant as the Lakers are, New Orleans has beat them once and some of these young up-and-coming teams are being stockpiled with talent for the future, and the Bulls seem to be ready now.
Yes. With the high possibility of an NBA lockout next season, and players such as Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen getting older, their respective teams will be affected and their NBA dominance will come to an end.
Look at other up and coming teams such as the Thunder, Bulls, Knicks, they are all younger teams and will be soon be the better teams in the NBA.
Also, what future plans do the Spurs, Lakers, and Celtics have in store? We know San Antonio has made a small youth movement with players such as DeJuan Blair, George Hill, and Tiago Splitter but has Boston and Los Angeles made strides to install players now for the future?
But what a ride it has been for these three teams. The countless NBA titles between these three teams, the memories, the battles, the heartache, each team will leave a lasting mark on the NBA and its history.
It ain't over until it's truly over. No one before the season had the Spurs down for such a dominating season and look what happened. Last year the Celtics where written off before the playoffs. And you can never just dismiss Kobe and his determination. That and the fact that he has Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to back him up.
These three teams are led by superstars that won't go down without a fight, especially as playoff-savy as they are. The bigger question is how these teams will evolve when their current leaders fade away (draft, free agents, player development, etc.) and that's not something we can fully analyze just yet. There's a reason why these teams got to the top so there's nothing right now that would indicate that management has forgotten how to put together a winning team. Well, except for that ridiculous Perkins trade.
Regardless, the newer powerhouses of the league (Bulls, Heat, Thunder) may have the talent but they still need to learn how to come together and win consistently in the playoffs. Guess which teams have already proven they can do that? The road to the NBA Finals still runs through them and they'll be tough to beat four times.
As currently constituted, this is absolutely the beginning of the end. This might be the Celtics and Spurs last real chance at a title as currently constituted. The Lakers might have another year or two left to make their runs, but this is certainly their best chance too. Kobe's legs ain't getting any younger. But don't discount these teams being aggressive to try to stay on top. I would not rule out an attempted blockbuster trade by Danny Ainge with either Kevin Garnett's or Ray Allen's expiring contracts. He is clearly not one to shy away from bold moves. So while these teams and their current rosters might be on their last legs... there is a definite possibility that they can re-tool, and re-load, to keep themselves at the top of the heap
With the Spurs and Lakers losing in Game One of their series at home and the Celtics looking older and older by the day, it sure seems like the end is near for these three giants of the NBA. Is this year the end though? I do not think so. These are still veteran teams facing upstarts. They know how to adjust and move on. It is difficult for me to see an upstart like Oklahoma City being ready to take on these seasoned veteran teams in the postseason. However, their day is coming very very soon.
I don't expect these three teams to combine for 83% of the NBA championships over the next dozen years like they have over the last dozen - in winning 10 of the last 12 - so I guess in that respect yes. It is the end of their collective three-team dominance in the NBA. However, I don't think these teams are finished being contenders anytime soon either. This year may be the last season that these three teams are favorites heading into the playoffs, but they'll still be heard from over the next two or three seasons to be sure, especially Boston and LA. Ray, KG, and Paul may be getting old out in Boston, but they're not that old. And more importantly they still have Rondo. Maybe next year once everybody stops mourning the loss of Perkins, and Jeff Green finally feels welcome, he grows into the player Ainge thinks he traded for and he exceeds expectations running alongside Rondo. And in LA you still have Kobe, and who knows, maybe Dwight goes Shaq 2.0 and joins him in the near future. I do see San Antonio taking the biggest step back next season though, but they'll still be in the mix. Even if it is as the underdog for the first time in a while, looking up at teams like Miami and OKC.