It seems like each offseason gets progressively made for click-bait in the NBA, with just about any move being possible and several big names converging on super team hot spots. Despite the salary cap, super teams boasting two, but often three, superstars are emerging more frequently.
This offseason wasn’t any different, with several big moves being made by those that missed out on the NBA Championship in 2021. Of course, this season is all about dethroning the Milwaukee Bucks, and the two teams that came out of the offseason with some of the best grades, on top of having solid teams already, look to be swarming around the newly-crowned.
Bucks Still Coming in Hot
It had been a few seasons coming, but Giannis Antetokounmpo finally added an NBA Championship to his All-Star credentials, leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the title. His importance to the team cannot be understated, and if the Bucks hadn’t locked him down, they might have never been able to reach the heights of 2021. That said, the ‘Greek Freak’ certainly didn’t do it all on his own.
Conquering the Miami Heat in a blowout, edging out the superstar-stuffed Brooklyn Nets, and then beating Atlanta and Phoenix in six took a full team effort. During the offseason, it came as a surprise that the Bucks lost PJ Tucker to the free agency. On the surface, this would mean that they’d be trying to defend with a weaker team, but the savvy additions of George Hill and Rodney Hood should keep them strong throughout.
The Super Team Tries Again
Coming into the season as the clear favorites, the Brooklyn Nets suffered the only offset that could seemingly derail their path to the NBA Championship: injuries. Losing James Harden, who returned too soon anyway, and Kyrie Irving quickly cut the Nets’ chances. Meeting an on-fire Bucks side in the Conference Semi-Finals didn’t help much, either.
Still, having further built up around the super team’s super core, the Nets are being seen as the frontrunners in 2022. As detailed in the NBA odds, the Nets are the preseason favorites at +225, with the defending champions out at +800. Their even more firm backing derives from a solid offseason, which saw the Nets lose Jeff Green but add strength and veteran nous in DeAndre’ Bembry, Jevon Carter, and Patty Mills.
Flipping One Super Team into Another
Essentially, any team with a healthy LeBron James on its roster is still favored to at least make it to the Conference Finals. So, when he and Anthony Davis teamed up for the LA Lakers, the foundations of a super team were very much in place. This offseason saw management do away with the mighty cast that surrounded these two, but that couldn’t help to get past the would-be runners-up, the Phoenix Suns.
Out went Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma, and Alex Caruso, and in came some more superstars to pad out the team. Now, James and Davis will have Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard alongside them, let alone the likes of Trevor Ariza and Malik Monk. This Lakers team all-but defies salary cap era logic, and yet, are only second-favorites for the crown at +400.
In order to beat Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, the Nets and Lakers have gone all-in on solidifying their super teams, which looks to become the new bar required to win an NBA Championship.