The NBA season concluded like most anticipated it would. Monday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland, the Golden State Warriors took care of business to win their second NBA title in three years. It came against a game Cleveland Cavaliers team and star forward LeBron James.
It was the culmination of a season that lacked a ton of drama. Golden State and Cleveland met in the Finals for the third consecutive season. The rest of the NBA acted as nothing more than second-class citizens.
With that said, there’s still a lot we can take away from the 2016-17 NBA season that doesn’t include either of the two finalists. Star power around the Association continued to grow with the likes of James Harden and Russell Westbrook putting together huge campaigns.
On the other side of the ledger, the New York Knicks continued to define dysfunction. President Phil Jackson created a major rift with star forward Carmelo Anthony, which could ultimately lead to the future Hall of Fame forward being dealt.
Following Golden State’s Game 5 win over Cleveland, it’s now time to check out the top-10 takeaways from the 2016-17 NBA season.
1. Star power continues to grow
A lot was made about the on-court product this past season. Most of that was narrative. Maybe old-timers attempting to hang on to the past. But we’re at a point in the NBA where star power itself is seemingly at an all-time high.
Obviously, we can talk about Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant in Golden State. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James in Cleveland come to mind as well. Considering the Warriors and Cavs have met in the NBA Finals three consecutive years, that makes sense. Though, there’s a lot more star power around the Association.
Look at the seasons James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard put up en route to being named finalists for the MVP award. Each one can lay claim to being the most valuable to his team, but their stats were just off the hook in 2016-17.
Absurd numbers from these MVP finalists. pic.twitter.com/jwwDGWz28P
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) June 13, 2017
Even when we go to smaller markets, the star power really seems to be there. At just 22 years old, Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to churn in tremendous seasons. We’ll cover him a bit below. In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan and his 27.3 points per game has proven to be among the most prolific-scorers in the game. Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas averaged nearly 30 points per game in 2016-17. Remember, he was the last pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings.
This star power extends beyond those who earned a playoff spot. Anthony Davis continues to dominate the low-post in New Orleans. Former No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns is seemingly on an upward trajectory that could make him one of the game’s best bigs here soon.
With a talented 2017 NBA Draft class set to take center stage here soon, this star power will just continue to rise. Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox could become the next generation of point guards. They could potentially redefine that position, much like Irving and Curry have done in the recent past.
So while some will question the competitiveness of today’s NBA, there’s no shortage of stars around the Association. That’s definitely a good thing for commissioner Adam Silver and Co. moving forward.