Saviors, Ruins, and The Future of Sports Dynasties

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How long before this dynamic duo just becomes another part of history?(Courtesy of CBS Sports)

Sometimes, a city gets to experience something really special. Their team becomes a recognizable powerhouse and whole generations of fans bask in the shine of championship trophies, the confetti of victory parades, and the comfort of knowing they can come back and win any game at any time. History will show us tough, the Egyptians, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Galactic Empire eventually fall and will be only be revered through the impact they had on history, their influence on the present, and their impact on their own communities. Sports dynasties, while not as major as unifying or conquering lands, share a similar effect on their communities and can change the way their sport is played. We are reaching a major moment in sports history: we can count the number of active players drafted in the 90’s on our hand. Within the past few generations of players that have entered the league, we have seen power shifts as superstars switch teams, and age while giving way to younger, more athletic and marketable talents. Superstars and their teams that have been dominating since the early 2000’s are going to have to prepare for their swan song. Some teams, such as the Patriots, will be able to sustain their dynastic pedigree when Tom Brady retires. Other teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, aren’t thinking three steps ahead for the retirement of their superstars.


The NFL

Honorable Mention: New York Jets

22jets-1-master1050As the New York Jets continue to struggle through mediocracy to start the season, the Jets are a wildcard
to become one of the more dangerous teams in the NFL in the next 3 years. Two years ago, owner Woody Johnson hired Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles to be the Jets general manager and head coach respectively. There is palpable chemistry between the GM and HC and the two always seem to be on the same page when it comes to putting together a competitive team. Maccagnan’s approach to developing a team is really what sets him apart from his colleagues. In each draft, the Jets have been a wild card,  often taking the best player available like when they drafted Leonard Williams- who many considered to be the best player of the draft- and use free agency and trades to fill holes. This type of team building will lead to a plethora of talent and with Bowles’ coaching, could prove to be a real challenger for the post-Brady era Patriots.

Oakland Radiers

Oakland Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrate his touchdown throw to Oakland Raiders' Amari Cooper (89) during their game against the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
The AC/DC dynamic duo

I could easily list the Patriots to be one of the constant dynasties of the future but I felt like paying homage to Jack Del Rio and take a risk with this pick. Derek Carr has proven to be a very solid QB and he is still young enough to develop his game. Pair Carr with one of my favorite young receivers in Amari Cooper and you have one of the better dynamic duos of the next decade. Risk taker extraordinaire Jack Del Rio, a team with no glaring holes, and cap space lets the potential of this team scream out to the rest of the NFL who need to be on notice for the men in black.


                                                                         

NBA

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Honorable Mention: Minnesota Timberwolves

You’re probably asking why such a promising young Timberwolves team only gets an honorable mention.Well, everything about this team should scream dynasty: two first round picks with game-changing talent, a 2-time slam dunk contest winner, an exciting rookie, and one of team USA’s coaches at the reins of the whole organization. The real issue with why this only comes to an honorable mention is the sustainability of a team like this. More importantly, the sustained motivation from the players to play in a place like Minnesota. I hate to say it, but Minnesota doesn’t provide the excitement, and marketability of some other franchises. These young player visit the Staples Center, American Airlines arena, and Madison Square Garden, but then return home to the target center in the desolate Tundra that is Minnesota. As much as I would hope for these talented players to stay in Minny and build something special, I can’t blame the players for wanting to play somewhere, anywhere, more exciting. Just ask Zach Lavine.

Boston Celtics

boston-celtics-rookie-forward-jaylen-brown-a640e9bf58c15cdcBoston gets to continue never having to suffer watching sports. The Celtics did the best thing for themselves when they pulled the plug on their recent dynasty in the early 2000’s when they traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets for a haul of first round picks. On top of that, the C’s were able to trade a debilitated Rajon Rondo and steal away the brilliant mind of Brad Stevens away from Butler. While the 76ers are in a similar position, the Celtics are far more poised to become a threat sooner rather than later and sustain that level of play. Veterans like the lighting lilliputian Isaiah Thomas, newly signed big man Al Hordord, and defensive stud Jae Crowder will be able to lead the youngsters into the playoffs where they will get valuable experience. Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier have shown a lot of promise in this year’s summer league and preseason to hint at the future of the franchise.

Los Angeles Lakers

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Laker fans, as unbearable as they may be, have suffered enough. Their front office has put together a really young, and really talented team. Led by D’angelo Russel, the Lakers have promising players in Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and rookie (and now frontrunner for Rookie of the year) Brandon Ingram. LA is one of the biggest markets and the Lakers have one of the most storied franchises with tons of superstars donning the purple and gold throughout NBA history. With that- along with the plethora of upcoming cap space- in mind, the Lakers should be in an excellent position to compile a young, talented group that should be able to grow together along with their young coach, Luke Walton.


NHL

Not knowing enough about the NHL, I reached out to fellow Sunset Sports contributor, and avid hockey fan, Shepard Price for his two cents on some rising and falling NHL dynasties.

SP:Winnipeg and Calgary are two contenders for the brightest future. Both teams have a large Canadian fan base, and have assembled a great young core. The key to their winning the cup is now fixing the parts around that core. Winnipeg’s problem is goaltending. Ondrej Pavelec has never been a great goaltender, but he has always maintained the Winnipeg starting job. Now, if they expect to win the cup, they will need someone much better. The playoffs can come down to the best (or hottest) goaltender, and if that happens Winnipeg cannot currently compete. But if they’re able to acquire someone like Edmonton did with Cam Talbot, or like Calgary did with Brian Elliott, they could be instant contenders for the cup, with a good defense, a great offense, and better goaltending.

Calgary however, should be a lot closer to the Cup. They have a great defense, acquired reliable goaltending – even in the playoffs – and have a great top 6. Their problem is depth, and in a league where that is becoming more and more a factor, that’s a problem. Calgary’s top 6 is near perfect, but their bottom 6 needs a lot of work. If they’re able to do that work, they’re another young team with a strong future.


Years down the road, these teams can be the most feared teams in their respective sports… Or maybe not. A lot can change from now until then. That said, we’ve learned it takes a whole lot to create a dynasty. All the stars need to align, really. A great coach, on similar terms with the GM, need to put together a young core of players that can develop together. They need to be adaptable, prepared, and focused. Or you can just have Bill Belichick on your team and he can use his demonic powers to turn any team into a well oiled machine, no matter the personnel.

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