Many fans are complaining about this year’s NBA Playoffs being boring. They are complaining about the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors being 8-0, the possibility of them meeting in the finals for the third straight season, and how nobody in the Eastern Conference can touch LeBron James and his squad.
If that’s the focus, then you are missing every beautiful part of not only the playoffs, but basketball in general.
Hating the NBA Playoffs? Then You Don’t Appreciate Good Basketball
First of all, this isn’t March Madness. There’s a reason an 8-seed has never won an NBA championship. In the NBA, there’s no hiding. It’s not like Lehigh is going to come in and beat Duke in the playoffs, that’s not how this tournament works.
That doesn’t mean some really good teams will not get a lower seed because of how they ranked in the regular season and then flourish at the right time. Look no further than this year’s Cavaliers team for that.
But there are no major upsets because the higher seeded teams aren’t selected by a committee; those spots are earned by wins and losses, nothing else. So with teams like Golden State and Cleveland beating the snot out of their opponents, it is because they are that good. They are truly that much better than who they are playing against.
Secondly, are you even watching the games? The ball movement, the intensity, tight games, opposing styles of play going head-to-head, superstars of the game shining when it matters – its all there. If you are a new fan unfamiliar with basketball, that’s one thing. But for people who know the game – yes, sometimes it’s a blowout – but how the teams are playing is phenomenal to watch.
This could be one of the better playoffs I’ve seen in terms of quality basketball.
Thirdly, what’s so wrong with Golden State and Cleveland being dominant and meeting again in the finals? Even Kobe Bryant said this week that he doesn’t understand why them meeting in the Finals could be a bad thing.
Rivalries start by fierce competition against the same group of people. They have always made basketball – and sports in general – really fun to watch. But nowadays, you see less of that in the NBA.
As a matter of fact, you could argue that a rivalry is the main reason the NBA still exists – and is thriving – today.
In the 1980’s, the NBA was in serious trouble because of drug use, violence and even racial issues. But then the Magic Johnson and Larry Bird rivalry started a new chapter in the NBA, while also renewing the rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.
For the majority of the decade, Boston and Los Angeles dominated the league, were always favorites to meet in the finals and – with the help of a new T.V. contract – people tuned in and the game evolved.
Today’s league is different obviously. It is not as violent and intense – which probably is not a bad thing. However, it is softer than it needs to be – but the competitive drive has never been stronger. Add that to the history between the Warriors and the Cavaliers, starting a new chapter in that rivalry is great for the league and the game, because they are showcasing some of the greatest ever and it will be an intense series. Ratings would be huge and the media would have a field day for story lines.
But the most important thing is the next generation will see the people they look up to – the players they pretend to be shooting in their driveways or blacktops – competing and grinding it out against each other. And they will carry that with them until they break into the league and evolve basketball into their era.