SPANISH HARLEM, NY – In all honesty, I have spent no more than 2 hours of my life watching this year’s NBA Playoffs. I only tune in to watch the games that matter (anything with Golden State or Lebron James), and have come away feeling slighted. The Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are just better than every other team in the league. They had no problem showcasing that in these playoffs. Both teams are a combined 16-0 and the only question that seems worth asking is: “Will either team lose a game before they meet up in the NBA Finals?” I’m sure that’s great for their fans… but what about the rest of us?
It’s a foregone conclusion that the Cavs and Warriors will meet in the NBA Finals for the 3rd time in a row. Sure Rockets vs Spurs seems like a good match-up but do you really see either team beating the Warriors? How about the winner of the Wizards vs Celtics beating Lebron & Co? Only an insane person would say yes! To me that makes the playoffs less interesting to watch and I’m sure I’m not the only person feeling this way.
The other day I asked myself: “Is there something wrong with the NBA?” I know the league is making more money than it ever has amd their popularity is at an all-time high. Yet, here I am feeling unsatisfied. What’s to blame for all of this? Is it the talent level? Is it the way organizations are constructing their teams? I don’t know for sure but… Here Is My Two Cents.
All you hear from the media is that the league is more athletic and more talented than in any other era in basketball. 7-footers are hitting threes, every guy can jump out of the gym and we have better point guards than ever before… but something is missing in these athletes… determination. Teams like the Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz played as if they knew they had no chance. I won’t say they gave up but they looked deflated after every loss, I didn’t sense a fire burning inside to get even. They took their lumps and stayed down!
The problem is that the league is getting younger; every good-to-great player in college is one-and-done, so teams are drafting prospects who are barely 20 years old. With more organizations betting on potential, you get teams that have inexperienced players who don’t really know how to play team ball. Most have been winners on every level and were the best players on their respective teams growing up. That usually means they don’t know how to lose. Young players are being drafted by terrible teams and have to learn on the fly, with no veteran leadership to show them how to become winners. Imagine being the best athlete in your neighborhood and you go play somewhere where everyone is better than you in almost every way… that’s the NBA for some of these kids. We live in an era of super teams and it seems that’s having an effect on these playoffs.
Pundits will blame the league for allowing players to enter the draft early but really the organizations are as much to blame. It’s all about money and people will pay to watch the very best athletes. Sure, it’s a business but everyone calls it a game… and games are supposed to be fun to watch.
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