The Golden State Warriors are far and away the best team in the NBA. They have a target on their back.
So why are other teams so eager to help them?
It's easy to stay ahead when your competition isn't creating much of an impediment.
The Warriors came into Thursday's NBA Draft with what should have been a conundrum. Pushing up on the luxury tax and in desperate need to land impact talent on cheap contracts, the NBA Draft was an important event for the Warriors. Only Golden State didn't have a pick in the first or second round at the start of the 60-pick night.
But Golden State did have $3.5 million in their pocket (thanks, NBA Finals hat sales!) and the confidence that they could exploit what might be the biggest market inefficiency in the modern NBA.
In the NBA, you can buy second-round draft picks for straight cash. Last year, the Warriors bought pick No. 38 from the Milwaukee Bucks and selected Patrick McCaw out of UNLV. You know Patrick McCaw, he was the rookie guard who played the sixth-most minutes in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Out of nothing but greenbacks, the Warriors were able to create an impact player. Alakazam!
And this year, the Chicago Bulls helped them pull off the same trick again.
The Bulls, in a final move of what might be the worst draft day in recent NBA history (and that's saying something), sold the No. 38 pick to the Warriors, who selected Oregon's Jordan Bell.
It's clear why the Warriors wanted to acquire Bell he's an athletic, long, defensive-minded tweener big man who has picked up Draymond Green comparisons. The Warriors put a first-round grade on him, and he could prove to be a viable small-ball five off the bench his rookie year the kind of player the Warriors might particularly need after this summer's free agency period. For $3.5 million, he's a bargain for the Warriors he'll be on a bottom-barrel second-round contract but could have an immediate NBA role.
What's not clear is why the Bulls or any other team, for that matter would aid the Warriors.
Isn't every other team trying to take the Warriors down?
It sure doesn't seem like it.
Perhaps the Bucks and Bulls don't feel like they're competing againstthe Warriors. Maybe they're not interested, or in fact capable, of challenging Golden State anytime soon. That's somewhat understandable, but if that's the case then they should probably take a page out of Golden State's book.
The Warriors called and asked to buy a pick. It would have been well within the Bulls rights to ask who they were going to select with the No. 38 pick they'd want to make sure the Warriors weren't taking their guy and they'd actually have to select the desired player for the Warriors, too.
But why wouldn't the Bulls, when the Warriors said "we want Jordan Bell" think to themselves "Well, if he's good enough for the Warriors…"?
The Bulls said that they had targeted wings with that No. 38 pick that were off the board by the time the pick came around, but what team what style are the now-rebuilding Bulls trying to maintain? How would have picking Bell, instead of selling his rights to the Warriors, hurt the Bulls?
It wouldn't have, at all.
But instead, the Bulls decided to help the best team in the NBA get better. All for the value of a minimum veteran contract.
It could have been any team though not just the hapless Bulls that helped Golden State.
Until the rest of the league bands together and agrees to stop helping the Warriors, Cavs, and Spurs but especially the Warriors those consistently good teams will continue to be successful.