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In sports, it's more important for a team to be experienced instead of talented.

One might want a team full of talent, while another might want a group with more experience. Some think the talented team will easily win because it has better players. It can be argued, however, that the chemistry an experienced team will lead to a more successful organization. While both positions have its arguments behind them, an experienced team will, in the long haul, find success sooner.

People might argue that there’s no doubt a fan would probably want to bet on the more talented team. If someone asked an NBA fan if they could have Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard all on their favorite NBA team, one might assume that anyone would take that offer. However, problems could arise from putting three of the best players in the NBA together.

Players like James, Durant and Leonard strive to be the best in the NBA, with their franchises putting talent around them to help their games thrive. If one puts these three stars together, the chemistry may not work. They’ll all try to be the best and will get in each other’s way while doing so, creating an uptight locker room presence.

With an experienced team, all the players have a special contribution that makes the team “click” as a unit. The experience a team produces goes beyond the game, including how it creates a unique bond between teammates. Experience is something special that comes with time, but it’s worth it in the end.

A talented team is one that people seem to see as unstoppable, one that dominates its respective league. Take the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. During the 2015 season, Golden State seemed as if it couldn’t be stopped, with Steph Curry and Klay Thomspon in the backcourt shooting threes and Draymond Green aggressively dominating the paint. The group didn’t disappoint and won the NBA Finals that year. 

Heading into the 2017 season, the talent on the Warriors grew when they acquired Durant in free agency. The team then won back-to-back NBA Finals, asserting their dominance as the best in the NBA.

Without James and Dwayne Wade’s dominating play, the 2013 Miami Heat would’ve gone nowhere with their season. If it wasn’t for clutch plays by Mario Chalmers or key threes by Ray Allen and Mike Miller, the Heat wouldn’t have won the NBA Finals. 

Imagine just having Chalmers, Allen and Miller, but take out James’ and Wade’s dominating performances—- the team wouldn’t finish on top. It’s like saying that the contributions by Chalmers, Allen and Miller in a game were just as important as James’ and Wade’s contributions when, statistically, that’s plainly inaccurate.

Experience showed in last year's Super Bowl between the Rams and the Patriots. Many thought the Rams’ defense would put pressure on Tom Brady and their offense would be too much for the Patriots with players like quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley and wide receiver Robert Woods. 

Through the game, there was a battle between the defenses, putting it at 3-3 at the start of the fourth quarter. Experience, however, took over in the fourth quarter. Brady made key passes and eventually threw a dagger to his long-time tight end Rob Gronkowski. That drive led to the only touchdown of the game and helped the Patriots win 13-3, taking down down the talented Rams. 

2019 FCS Playoffs - JMU

There was a trust between Brady and Gronkowski that was more than a game of football. Teams might want talent over chemistry, but without experience, talent can’t work.

The national champion of college basketball, Virginia, was the No. 1 seed and suffered a loss to No. 16 seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County in the 2018 NCAA tournament, which was the first time a No. 16 seed had taken down a No. 1 seed. It was a tough hit to U. Va’s program and brought national embarrassment to the team. 

U. Va was determined to not let the past define who it was. The following season in the 2019 NCAA tournament , the Cavaliers won the national championship— not Duke with current NBA prospects Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, Roy Williams’ impressive program at UNC or Gonzaga’s tough team lead by current NBA star Rui Hachimura. 

It was the Cavaliers’ connections seen in the long pass from Kihei Clark to Mamadi Diakite to hit a buzzer-beater to lead the Hoos to overtime against Purdue in the Elite Eight. It was clutch threes and free throw shooting from Kyle Guy against Auburn in the Final Four. It was strong play from Ty Jerome. In the end, it was more experience of playing the game in big moments that led U. Va to win a national championship.

Sports aren’t about one person making a play. It’s about what each person on the team contributes to create the team’s special identity as a whole. That’s what leads to championships.

Contact Andrew Oliveros at oliverab@dukes.jmu.edu. For more sports coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.