The super-team model for winning an NBA championship is becoming less effective, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The Nets and Sixers are two of the latest examples to fail with that strategy, both by acquiring James Harden. The Big Three in Brooklyn captured just one playoff series before Harden was shipped to Philadelphia, where his pairing with Joel Embiid resulted in a second-round exit.
In the Western Conference, injuries have prevented Kawhi Leonard and Paul George from reaching their full potential with the Clippers, Bondy notes, and the Lakers’ decision to team Russell Westbrook with LeBron James and Anthony Davis was a complete disaster. Bondy adds that the teams remaining in the playoffs were all built mainly through the draft, with later additions focusing mainly on defense.
Here’s more from around the basketball world:
- James tops the list of the world’s 100 highest-paid male athletes released this week by Sportico. James made $36.9MM in salary over the past year and $90MM in endorsements, putting him $4.6MM ahead of soccer star Lionel Messi. Three other NBA players finished in the top 10: Stephen Curry at No. 6 with total earnings of $86.2MM, Kevin Durant at No. 7 with $85.9MM and Harden at No. 9 with $76MM. It’s the most James has ever earned over a 12-month stretch, according to Kurt Badenhausen of Sportico.
- Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated lists five unheralded players to keep an eye on in this year’s draft. On his list are North Carolina State freshman guard Terquavion Smith, Alabama senior guard Keon Ellis, Connecticut senior forward Tyrese Martin, Loyola Chicago senior guard Lucas Williamson and Texas Tech senior forward Bryson Williams. Woo doesn’t expect them all to be drafted, but he does believe they’ll exceed expectations and carve out a spot in the NBA.
- Marcus Foster, who played for the Rockets’ G League affiliate in Rio Grande Valley this season, has signed with Promitheas Patras for the Greek League playoffs, according to Sportando. The 26-year-old guard, who was in Houston’s training camp prior to the start of the season, has an option to sign with an NBA or EuroLeague team this summer.