Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Paul George says superteams are needed in today’s game and believes past players need to understand that.
George, who re-signed with the Thunder on a four-year, $136.9 million contract this summer, notes that no superstar player has won a title on his own in this era of basketball.
“No team has won (a title) where one single guy was the lone star and it was their team. It’s not that era. I’m not sure how the veterans, the legends, don’t understand that part,” George said, according to the Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps. “It’s a different game now. For those guys to chime in and say we’re not built the same, I never understood that, because who would we be fooling if we went out alone and tried to go up against the Warriors?”
The Thunder aren’t really considered a superteam, as they only have two stars in George and Russell Westbrook. In fact, the Warriors might be the only superteam in the league right now.
Golden State has four future Hall-of-Famers in its starting lineup: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. The Warriors also signed DeMarcus Cousins this summer on a one-year deal. When Cousins returns from his Achilles injury, the Warriors’ starting lineup will feature five players who have been to multiple All-Star games.
George says because the Warriors are so lethal, you need to have multiple stars on the same squad to beat them to ultimately win a championship.
“The best guy in our league right now couldn’t do it,” George said. “(LeBron James) got swept (in the 2018 Finals). So that just goes to show you at this point what it takes to win. Because you need guys that are alike talent-wise and skill-set-wise to win championships.
“Back in the day, guys were stuck on teams. It was up to the front office to build around that one guy, and that one guy was going to bring championships to them. It’s not the same now. (Players) understand that, and we know what it takes.”
When James took his talents to South Beach in 2010 to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat, many proclaimed that team was the first superteam assembled in NBA history.
James, Wade and Bosh were all in their primes and were a dangerous Big Three during their time together. They went to four straight Finals, winning two of them.
But one of the best players the game has ever seen, Hall-of-Famer Clyde Drexler, disagrees with the notion that LeBron’s Heat team was the first superteam in the NBA.
“I do know that superteams are not a new phenomenon,” Drexler told Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson of Basketball Society.com. “They’ve been happening for years. Bill Russell played with five Hall of Famers at the same time and that’s why he won 11 championships in 13 years. On top of being phenomenal, you’ve got five to six Hall of Famers that you’re playing with.
“Then you got Celtics again with [Larry] Bird, [Kevin] McHale, [Robert] Parish, [Danny] Ainge. I mean, that’s a super team and they’ve always been around. The super teams usually win. Because why? They’re very talented and they know how to play the game.”
Drexler, who was a 10-time All-Star and won the 1994-95 championship with the Houston Rockets, also says the Los Angeles Lakers were a superteam.
“You’ve got Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], [James] Worthy, Magic [Johnson], c’mon, man,” Drexler said. “And then you got [Ben] McAdoo, Mychal Thompson, you’ve got Byron Scott, A.C. Green, Kurt Rambis; all these great players playing together and at a very high level. That’s what superteams are all about.”