NBA Parity

— Jeff Waddilove, Author

Franchise Sports Media - NBA Parity

The NBA and Vegas are currently flirting with one another.


Right now the WNBA’s Aces, NBA Summer League, and USA Basketball are the closest Las Vegas gets to having its own NBA franchise for the moment. However, Las Vegas does step up and impress when the situation arises. In 2018, Summer League drew 139,972 fans. For 2019 they averaged 12,199 fans per day, compared to 11,664 the year prior. 

The WNBA’s average attendance is just over 7,700. When Las Vegas hosted the WNBA All-Star Game a couple weeks ago, over 9,100 showed up to watch. That’s what happens when you team up with neon lights of this city. 

Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, did go on record as saying that there’s no plans for expansion, and no team is looking to relocate, but that doesn’t mean Las Vegas won’t get a team in the future. When they do, the NBA is as wide open and competitive as it has been in years. 


NBA free agency is usually pretty uneventful outside of a couple key signings. The Super Team era made it all but certain small market franchises would stay down and out, while even mega-market franchises like the Lakers and Nets couldn’t accomplish all that much. Sure, the Warriors were exciting to watch, but NBA fans felt like Kevin Durant joining an already All-Star packed lineup was beyond overkill. 

And who could blame them? June and the NBA Finals seemed like a foregone conclusion. For years it was the Dubs and whatever team LeBron was carrying towards contention. For lack of a better word, it became boring. 

Then out of nowhere came the Toronto Raptors and Kawhi Leonard. The injury bug biting the Warriors hard certainly had a lot to do with it, but no one in their right mind (Except Drake) would have said that the Raptors in 6 would claim the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the start of the season. What that unlikely turn of events caused was a veritable domino reaction. 

The biggest domino could be said to have been LeBron getting his wish; Anthony Davis came to the Lakers via trade with the Pelicans. On top of that, they didn’t even have to give up Kyle Kuzma in order to get him. The move was blockbuster and then some. But they weren’t done, they wanted more. So they settled in, waiting for Kawhi. And they waited. And then they waited some more. 

Meanwhile, it was Kevin Durant and Kyrie who made their own power move by shirking the Warriors and Celtics respectively by joining the Brooklyn Nets (amidst many Knicks’ fans tears). Although Durant will miss all of next season, he makes the Nets the team to beat in the East for 2020. 


After that it was Kemba joining the Celtics, Jimmy Butler to Miami, and just to make sure the NBA didn’t forget their name, D’Angelo Russell joined Klay, Steph and Draymond in Golden State. That right there is enough to have been arguably the wildest off-season in NBA history…

But just like he did to upset the balance of the NBA power rankings in knocking off the Dubs dynasty, Kawhi kept the world waiting. He had everyone pressing F5 on their laptops for days, and he had everyone scrolling through their Twitter feed obsessively. He had everyone guessing and citing sources that it was going to be the Lakers or the Raptors. When the news finally broke, it was none other than that team across the hall at Staples who hangs selfies instead of banners–the Clippers–who ended up getting the two time champ and two time Finals MVP. But that wasn’t it. Paul George had forced a trade out of OKC to join him. People were stunned. Hell, people are still stunned. 

The Lakers wouldn’t be licking their wounds long after the announcement though. They went out and landed Danny Green and Avery Bradley to cement their core. The type of role players that keep you in contention if a James or Davis inevitably miss some games.

Those moves also ended an era in OKC. No, not the short run Paul George had there. Dame Lilliard waving to George after he buried that 30 foot game winner in his face during Game 7 of their First Round matchup signaled that ending. No, I’m referring to that of Russell Westbrook. The lone survivor of the trio of Durant, Westbrook and Harden. The guy who became a living, breathing triple double. Brodie was shipped out, and he rejoined Harden in Houston instead of dealing with any more rebuilding. 

As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s also Doncic and Porzingis to consider in Dallas, the Sixers adding Horford to Simmons, Embiid and Harris, as well as Giannis Antetokounmpo making another run at Eastern Conference glory with Khris Middleton. There was even an underrated and under reported pairing of Victor Oladipo with Malcolm Brogdon in Indiana. 


Parity is now the name of the game, and while one could speculate that the Lakers or Clippers are the odds-on favorite to win it all, the reality is that no one really knows. As many as four different teams could come out of the East, and you could probably double that in the West. The Super Team era is all but vanquished, and duos and big-threes have replaced them. More than that, the excitement of not knowing, and being glued to our seats to find out has become the new era in the NBA.