Something fishy in the NBA; give me catfish instead
The NBA used to be my favorite sport… the key words being “used to be.”
I grew up watching playoff series between different teams that could all beat each other. In 2006, the seventh-seeded Lakers forced a seven-game series against the second-ranked Suns. Each team had one star; it was Kobe Bryant vs. Steve Nash. The NBA playoffs were amazing to watch, and every team entered with at least some thought that it had a chance to win. Of course, during that time there were still clear favorites to win it all, but that’s to be expected.
Even just six years ago in 2011, the Blazers were a sixth seed facing the Mavericks in the first round and made it a hard-fought six-game series. Portland lost, and the Mavericks went on to win the NBA championship. Because, despite the fact that the Lakers, Spurs, and Thunder were “better teams” than Dallas, the league was fairly even talent-wise, and the Mavericks won it all.
Today the NBA is a battle between two teams, and really, just one.
The Warriors are stacked with four of the top 20 players in the league. The Cavs are stacked a bit, too, but not nearly as well. The Warriors are up 3-0 in the Finals after Wednesday’s game, having won twice handily at home, then stealing Game 3 in Cleveland. It seems pretty clear that Cleveland just can’t keep up with the Warriors. Golden State now looks to sweep this series and finish 16-0 in the playoffs, for the first time in NBA history.
The league has always had great teams, whether it be Jordan’s Bulls or Magic’s Lakers. But even then, those teams weren’t so dominant that they could sweep their way through the playoffs.
The NBA is now so predictable that before the season even began everyone knew who’d be in the Finals. Sure, you could make the case the league has always had two teams that are the most likely to make it, but this season has felt different. Because it didn’t even seem like a conversation where we discussed the two teams most likely to make it: We literally knew which two would make it, and most likely who would win it.
It takes the excitement of the game away. Sure, the action can still be fun to watch, but it’s not nearly the same. Let me put it into perspective: I love basketball and have never really watched hockey. But this year, I’m genuinely more intrigued by the Stanley Cup Finals than I am towards the NBA showdown.
“Super teams” have ruined the NBA for me, and I’m afraid there’s no turning back. Mainly, I just don’t understand why no other sport is having a “super team” problem. The MLB continues to be as competitive as ever. The NFL has teams like the Patriots that are expected to make it every year, but nothing like the no-doubt-about-it Warriors. And even when the Patriots did grab another Super Bowl last season, they had to come from down 25 points to win.
The NBA clearly has a problem and the league must find a way to solve it. Because I truly do love basketball, but right now I’d rather watch hockey.