If you look at the NBA standings you might argue that the Utah Jazz are the best bet to represent the West in the NBA Finals this year. Or the Phoenix Suns, or maybe the LA Clippers. The Denver bandwagon is faltering thanks to Jamal Murray‘s injury – but sure, go ahead and make a case for the Nuggets as well. This kind of talk happens every year. It gives us something to do. We’re easily bored. Like everyone in the office on a Zoom call.
Let me help you out. None of those teams are going to the Finals if LeBron James and Anthony Davis are (relatively) healthy. The regular season doesn’t matter. And I don’t care how good you think those teams look. Come playoff time, none of them are beating the Lakers in a series. If you think otherwise, you just don’t pay attention to how the NBA works. I’ve seen this movie before. Spoiler alert – there’s no twist ending. Unless you count Space Jam: A New Legacy.
First, there’s the super team effect. As a fan, it’s horrible. A true fan wants as much parity as possible – that would lead to better basketball on the court. And it would give teams like Utah and Phoenix a fighting chance. But most fans just love rooting for (or against) the most dominant players and teams. So no one really objects (at least not strenuously like Demi Moore in A Few Good Men) when superstars like LeBron make their own teams with all the best players. I strenuously object!
LeBron and AD on the same team isn’t a fair fight – except maybe against ANOTHER super team like, oh, say, the New Jersey Nets. If the LeBron/AD Lakers had come together organically, both drafted by LA, or in an EVEN trade or something, that wouldn’t bother me. But the stacking of the deck – almost always for big market teams I might add – means that every year you will have only three or four teams with a legit shot at the title in the NBA. And it’s pretty much always the same teams. Which is super fun. For them.
Sure, once in awhile a Golden State will emerge – organically I might add. Well, until they added Kevin Durant. Because the Avengers needed Hulk too, right? The rest of them weren’t enough to beat bad guys (where’s the eyeball roll emoji?) But in general, this is the NBA now. And the level of play is suffering as a result. Lots of isolation hero ball, dumb turnovers, and guys repeatedly stepping out of bounds like idiots (looking at you, Celtics).
Why even bother rooting for Minnesota? Or Sacramento? Or Orlando? And as for the Jazz/Suns/Clippers this year – fool’s gold. Like diet soda, or Netflix Originals.
I get that these guys want rings, but does stacking the deck really make them feel good when they win? It’s hard to respect. And it’s hard to take other teams seriously while that’s going on. I have mad respect for Damian Lillard. He’s loyal to Portland and he’ll never sell out and join a super team. He’ll also never win a championship in Portland, but that’s kind of the point I’m trying to make. In a fair fight he’d end up with at least one ring.
Anyway, all this to say stop going on about the Jazz/Suns/Clippers. You’re embarrassing yourself. Like Brad Stevens on a nightly basis (sorry Brad, but Gregg Popovich you are not).
Bring on the Lakers/Nets Finals!
As always, thanks for playing!
DON’T KID YOURSELF DON’T KID YOURSELF DON’T KID YOURSELF DON’T KID YOURSELF