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If Charles Barkley has a problem with the Nets and NBA Super Teams, he doesn’t know his NBA history.

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If Charles Barkley has a problem with the Nets and NBA Super Teams, he doesn’t know his NBA history.

When Charles Barkley proclaimed in an interview with the New York Daily News that he was rooting for the Nets in their quest for the 2021 NBA championship, there could be many reasonable justifications for that preference.

James Harden’s drive to get out of Houston was, to say the least, inelegant.

Kyrie Irving has lost more than a few fans on his bewildering journey from the clever character of Uncle Drew to the edge of the flat Earth.

Barkley, however, is bothered by the Nets’ reunion of those two and Kevin Durant on the latest NBA Super Team.

“I’m rooting for all the super teams,” Barkley said. “I’m from the old school.”

MORE: How the Nets Were Built | Hardened Injury Update

Is it old school enough to cheer on the original Super Team?

Because this didn’t start with LeBron James taking his talents to South Beach to help Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh lead the Miami Heat to four consecutive NBA Finals. The era of the NBA “Super Team” didn’t start with kids who grew up doing the Mikan Drill.

It began with George Mikan himself and the Hall of Famers who surrounded him with the Minneapolis Lakers, Jim Pollard and Vern Mikkelsen, who won five titles between 1949 and 1956. It continued through Bill Russell’s Celtics, the Clyde Frazier. Knicks and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s team with Oscar Robertson in 1971. It reached its peak in the 1980s, with the Lakers-Celtics rivalry that was loaded with Hall of Famers and emerged in the next decade with the Chicago Bulls. and Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and ultimately Dennis Rodman.

There’s probably a book on the theory that the only NBA championship, won by a non-super team, came in 2004 with the Pistons’ unlikely win over the Shaq-Kobe Lakers Super Team.

If you don’t have a super team in place, your chances of winning the NBA championship are now, and always have been, close to zero.

That’s one reason the NBA has such a huge chunk of teams that have never won their championship: 36.7 percent, compared to just 28.1 percent in the NFL and 20 percent in MLB in the seasons since. The NBA was founded in 1947.

The difference seems to be in how the Super Team is built. There’s an idea that it’s somehow nobler for a GM like Red Auerbach or Jerry Krause to dodge opposition in trades, or for San Antonio to be lucky in the draft (being No. 1 when David Robinson and Tim Duncan were available) or really smart (picking Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili when so many passed), as opposed to players exercising their free agent options to work wherever they want.

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This is a silly concept.

Building a championship team is extraordinarily difficult using any gadget. Auerbach had to carry out the trade that brought Robert Parish and No. 3 chooses Kevin McHale in exchange for No. 1 (Joe Barry Carroll) and No. 13 (Rickey Brown) in the 1980 draft to create the dynasty. of the Celtics who won three titles from 1981 to 1986. Sean Marks had to build a working roster with three players consuming more than 60 percent of the current Nets payroll. There are no shortcuts to winning.

If modern NBA players seem “disloyal,” blame the owners whose fear and greed (but especially fear) led them to create the rookie salary cap in 1995. Instead of being able to hire gifted and prepared rookies for the NBA. their franchises for longer periods, owners opted for younger, less-prepared players with little ball in short team deals, and then acted hurt when those same players are equally happy to receive a lot of money from a team in a city that may be more close to home or more suited to your ambitions.

Barkley told the Daily News his concern that cities such as Houston (after Harden), Oklahoma City (after Durant), and Toronto (after Kawhi Leonard’s departure) may have drifted off the NBA map after their stars headed elsewhere.

“I just don’t think that’s good for the game. Even though we didn’t win a championship, the Sixers were worth watching when I was there,” Barkley told the Daily News. “The Knicks are worth watching. The Pacers are worth watching when Reggie (Miller) was there. Same with Atlanta and Dominique (Wilkins). So I don’t think it’s good for business, but these young men, all of them. they retire to. “Peer pressure and feel like they have to win a championship or their life sucks.”

Leaving aside the obviously false statement from someone who demanded to be traded from the Sixers to the Suns and then joined a Super Team hopeful in Houston with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, each time without winning a title, is the fact that The Nets Were Never Worth Watching Before Durant, Harden and Irving showed up, and now they are. The Lakers didn’t make the playoffs once between 2014-19, but LeBron James and Anthony Davis teamed up for an NBA championship last season. There are very good NBA players in places like Portland (Damian Lillard), Denver (MVP Nikola Jokic), Salt Lake City (Donovan Mitchell) and Milwaukee (Giannis Antetokounmpo). The league has never had a period where there aren’t terrible teams that are best ignored.

Whether they’re in New Jersey or Brooklyn, the Nets were one of those teams for much of their NBA history. They won just one playoff series in their first 24 seasons in the league. They won just one playoff series and 10 postseason games in their first eight seasons in Brooklyn. They should eclipse both figures by the middle of next week.

And if it goes beyond that, to the NBA Finals or the organization’s first championship, it will be as admirable as any other great season from any other franchise. There is no right or wrong way to win, as long as it is within the rules of the game.

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