The NBA Has No One To Blame But Itself For Its Lackluster Playoffs

No surprises here: The Cavs and Warriors dominated all season, and the finals seemed set in stone. And that might be the NBA's fault.
Posted at 9:22 PM, May 26, 2017

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will square off in the NBA Finals for the third straight year in a series that felt like a foregone conclusion pretty much all season. 

The Cavs strolled past the Boston Celtics. Their Game 3 loss was their only one in the postseason. The Warriors swept all three of their playoff series, winning by an average of 16 points per game.

So why is the NBA so top-heavy that it can't deliver playoffs with any real drama? A lot of it likely has to do with the way players get paid in free agency.

The NBA limits salaries for individual players, meaning an already-stacked Warriors team could only offer as much money for Kevin Durant as any other team that doesn't have a shot at winning a title. 

In other sports, just the teams are saddled with salary caps or a luxury tax, so they can only afford so many stars. But if an NBA player can make the maximum no matter where they play, why not join a super team?

Major League Baseball works a bit differently, fining teams who spend a certain amount of money on player salaries. The so-called "luxury tax" can be exceeded, but most teams are leery about doing it. So it essentially has the same effect of leveling the playing field for teams with less money.

It doesn't help that basketball teams have fewer players than any other major sport. One talented player can have a huge impact on their team. Combine two or three of the league's best and your squad is practically The Monstars.

There are a handful of superstars who can drag their teams to the finals. That's a big reason why LeBron James is making his seventh NBA Finals appearance in a row.

The Cavs and Warriors do deserve credit for drafting great players like Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving

But superstars like James and Steph Curry can make their teams much more attractive for free agents. With the NBA's current cap setup, that makes it all but impossible for struggling teams to have a real shot at a title.