The NBA's newfound parity creates a bold new basketball world

A surprising trend has emerged in the playoffs, with 3 small or medium-market teams making the conference finals, proving the NBA now has an even playing field.
Anthony Edward
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Smaller market teams are in a better position to win long-term than big-market teams.

Small market teams often don't have the luxury of clearing large amounts of cap space to potentially land a big star or having one demand a trade there. Instead, the Pacers made smart move after smart move. They traded Paul George in a deal that included Domantas Sabonis, who emerged as a star, and was later traded for Tyrese Haliburton, who has evolved into an elite player.

They also had enough assets to trade for a star in Pascal Siakam, knowing how he'd fit and that they would have his bird rights, giving them a great chance to re-sign him. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves drafted stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, as well as signing a then undrafted future Sixth Man of the Year, Naz Reid, and then traded the farm for Rudy Gobert to put themselves in a position to win.

That initially didn't work out well but their trade for Mike Conley helped them right the ship and they just knocked off the defending champion Nuggets, who themselves drafted stars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.

Dallas, which is more of a mid-market team, also made the smart decision to trade the draft rights to Trae Young and another first for the draft rights to Luka Doncic. He is among the five best players in the NBA and after a lot of trial and error, they made the right move by landing Kyrie Irving, giving them two players who can take over games in the playoffs.