With all the talk about the NBA and it’s parity problems it is interesting to look at what parity actually means. Parity: The state or condition of being equal. It would behoove us to remember that when using the word. While those in sports media use it to talk about how leagues need to be more diverse and different in their competitors year to year it actually means equal.
Equal, however, is also an unclear term in today’s society. Equal: Being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value. Equal does not mean different. Equal means the same. Parity is the wrong use of words when talking about the need for leagues to have different contenders every year the word you are looking for is, variety. The NBA lacks variety it does not lack parity and here is why.
Again, parity is the state or condition of being equal. Are the Cavs and Warriors equal? In some ways yes. They certainly are not even talent wise, the Warriors far outclass the Cavaliers in that department. Prestige wise though they are equal. Over the past four years they have clearly been the best teams in their perspective conferences. This year may have been a different story for the Cavs but in the playoffs both these teams were equal in the fact that they were almost always the favorites to win. The Cavs did it by having one of the best players of all time on their team. If not the best of all time, Lebron James is certainly the best player in the NBA right now. How can you argue otherwise? If Steph Curry or KD were the only ones on a team with the level of talent the Cavs have this year, very little I would put good money they would not make the Finals. Lebron James has single-handedly put the Cavs into the Finals when they have no business being there.
Back to parity though, these teams are also equal in the style of game they play. It is an all-stars game. Lebron is why the Cavs win Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson are why the Warriors win. These team’s depth players are nothing special. It is all about the stars and really only the stars. So they are equal in that measure.
The argument is made that other teams in the league don’t have an equal chance to make the finals. That is a solid argument against parity but this year it is simply not true. Look at both conference finals. Both of these teams were down both of these teams could have been eliminated but their talent shined through and they made their way to the Finals. That’s not a lack of parity that’s just the most talented team and the most talented player winning. It happens in almost every league. Say what you will about the Vegas Golden Knights, yes they are underdogs but they are clearly one of the best teams in the national hockey leauge because of there talent. The same with the Capitals, they are the leagues best team from the east, so they are playing for the cup. The difference between the two leagues is that talent concentrates in the NBA and is more spread out in the NHL. The NBA’s problem is not parity it is partly a talent concentration problem. The best talent are on certain teams and not elsewhere but that isn’t unique to the NBA it happens in every other single sport as well. The Patriots in the NFL, The Yankees in the MLB, The Penguins in the NHL, and The Warriors in the NBA.
So before you write your think pieces about how to fix the NBA, ask yourself this, does it really need fixing? Or does it just need more variety? Does it need less talent concentration and more team centric play? Those aren’t questions I’m here to answer. I am here to answer this, is there parity in the NBA? Yes unequivocally yes. There is equality in the NBA, players have the right to choose where they play every team has an equal shot at getting them. Lebron James would choose Los Angeles over Utah but that isn’t the leagues fault that’s human nature and free will. The NBA does not lack parity it lacks variety. Is that a problem? Yes, because as they say, variety is the spice of life.