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2024 NBA playoffs mark the beginning of a new era for the league

It’s official, the NBA has entered a new era. The stars and teams who dominated the 2010s are no longer on top. The Golden State Warriors have had their dynasty...

It’s official, the NBA has entered a new era.

The stars and teams who dominated the 2010s are no longer on top. The Golden State Warriors have had their dynasty ended after losing the NBA Play-In. Other old teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns were all ousted in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

All of these teams featured players such as Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant. These champions are among the faces of the league who defined the 2010s era of the NBA. According to the NBA.com article by Shaun Powell, this marks the first time since 2005 that all three of the aforementioned players missed the conference semifinals.

In the past two years, there has been a trend in rising new talent within the NBA. Young players such as Anthony Edwards and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have ballooned to superstar status.

Both have also played a significant role in bringing their teams back to the NBA playoffs. Edwards, for example, led the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time in 20 years after they swept the Phoenix Suns.

On the other hand, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 30.1 points per game, and finished second in the league for MVP voting all while leading a very young Oklahoma City Thunder team to the first seed in a competitive Western Conference, with a 57-25 record.

But the stardom does not stop in the West. In the East, teams such as the Orlando Magic, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers have also seen a renaissance in their teams. Each team made the playoffs thanks to the leadership of rising talents such as Paolo Banchero, Jalen Brunson and Tyrese Haliburton.

Banchero, who was named rookie of the year last NBA season, led the Magic to their first playoff appearance in five years, while averaging 22.6 points per game and being named to the all-star team.

The other two players, Haliburton and Brunson, both experienced breakthroughs after being traded from the teams that drafted them. Haliburton’s trade to the Pacers from the Sacramento Kings saw him get named to the All-Star team two years in a row, and his scoring and assists increased from 14.3 and 7.4 to 20.1 and 10.9.

Brunson, who proved to be a solid role player for the Mavericks, has now enjoyed a larger role for the Knicks. Along with being named an all-star, his scoring ballooned to 28.7 points per game, while leading the Knicks to back-to-back conference semifinal appearances for the first time since 2000.

Meanwhile, international players such as Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and the rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama have all established their dominance in the NBA.

Jokic in particular has been the most dominant out of the three. Since being drafted in the second round in 2014, he has become one of the best basketball players in the world. Sporting an unrivaled playmaking ability for a center, he led the Denver Nuggets to their first NBA championship in 2023 and won three out of the last four MVP awards.

Since making his debut in the NBA in 2018 as a teenager, Doncic has become a textbook volume scorer. Having turned the Mavericks into playoff regulars again, he was second in scoring this season with 33.9 points per game, and he has been named to the All-NBA First team four times.

Lastly, Wembanyama, who came into the NBA as one of the most hyped up prospects of all-time, did not disappoint in his rookie season. The 7 ‘4 Frenchman averaged 21.4 points per game, and became the first unanimous Rookie of the Year award winner since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2016, while leading the league in blocks with 3.6 per game.

As for the three stars from the 2010s mentioned above, let’s see what they accomplished in the last decade:

Curry led a Warriors dynasty for 10 years capturing four NBA titles all while changing the style of NBA basketball, and becoming the first unanimous MVP in the league’s history.

LeBron James won four titles and made an appearance in every NBA Finals from 2011-2018, cementing himself as an all time great. According to Powell, this “feat is unprecedented in today’s game.”

Kevin Durant, who started his illustrious career on the Oklahoma City Thunder, became one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history. A controversial move to the Warriors in 2016 saw him win two straight titles before a series of injuries began sidelining him in 2019, starting with his ruptured Achilles.

With all of these stars having made their mark the previous decade, it’s only now they are beginning to realize their era of dominance has ended and a new group of superstars and teams has surged again.

Which teams will continue their dominance in the coming years? Which players from the recent NBA drafts will continue to rise? There’s still a while to go before the 2020s end, but one thing is for certain: it’s time for the new school to shine and make their mark in basketball forever.