For the past few years, NBA free agency has built some pretty powerful teams. Cleveland Cavaliers F LeBron James led the way and has now constructed his second Big 3 in hopes of more championship rings. While he won two titles with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, he also lost two, including last season in five games to the San Antonio Spurs. Now LeBron has made his infamous return home and will try to reclaim his throne.
The path looks pretty good for James and the Cavs. Teaming up James with rising star Kyrie Irving and arguably the best PF in the game right now in Kevin Love, the Cavs have a scary combination. The Heat looked scary too, and they went 2-2 in the Finals. After meeting the Spurs three times in the Finals, one can assume that LeBron may just have to go through San Antonio again to win another championship.
The Spurs have demonstrated the power of team basketball over athleticism and skill, but the team is led by the winningest Big 3 in the history of the game in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Now James has a new Big 3, but how does it match up with that Big 3 in San Antonio?
Look for the Cavs to be great at some point. It will probably take some time though. It wasn’t that long ago that the Miami Heat struggled to put everything together in its first season with its trio. They did make it to four straight NBA Finals, but is Cleveland ready to do so well so quickly? The Spurs Big 3 is championship tested, and the players know each other like family. The Cavs will probably need some time to learn how to play and win together.
The debate could continue for ages, but the biggest reason the Spurs Big 3 is better than the trio in Cleveland has to do with everyone else on the team. The Spurs Big 3 is more like a Big 4, but on any given night a Spurs player could get hot and lead the team to victory. The Spurs Big 3 have established a culture of teamwork and trust that inspires its role players to step up. Duncan, Parker and Ginobili could all have a poor night, but their leadership drives players like Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green or Patty Mills to pick up the slack.
The Cavs have solid role players as well, but what happens if James, Love, and Irving are having off nights? The Spurs Big 3 demands greatness in every aspect of the game so the team doesn’t always rely on its aging stars. The Cavs Big 3 is younger and more athletic so it can bear a greater burden, but is that a recipe for success? The Spurs don’t seem to think so, and until the Cavs prove otherwise the Spurs Big 3 will continue to reign supreme.