The JumpOff: A Different Ballgame
Sturg and Josh had me thinking after the show ended last Tuesday night at Smoke on The Water. We had a conversation about the NBA advertising more drama like story lines than the actual product on the court. Is this because the level of play is not as desirable as it once was?
Is it because the “Super Teams” have ruined the level of competition, or is the level of competition just not as good? Has the game gone soft? What about all the superstars not playing due to “rest?” These are all legitimate questions to ask. Josh brought up a great point about the hand checking rule has effected the game. That was a spot on assumption. The physicality of the game has been removed. It’s all finesse now. It’s what the NBA desired unfortunately. They wanted increased scoring, and taking away the hand checking rule would do just such.
Believe it or not, playing defense slows the game down a little. The NBA wanted a faster paced product to display on stage. Just take a look at the overall defense in the league. There used to be so many players that were able to get it done on the defensive end. Almost every team had at least three players that were on the team for physicality or defensive prowess. You can barely name three players in the entire NBA that plays defense today. Let’s try shall we. I will only give that title to Jimmy Butler, LeBron James, and Leonard from San Antonio. I guess I’ll give an honorable mention to Patrick Beverly of Houston. When people hear the word hand check they naturally think about the Bad Boy Pistons for some reason. That was another level of physicality that should only be allowed in the XFL. I’m not referring to that, but the game need to get back to being a little more physical. Josh and Sturg were right!
Today’s game is softer than the luxury pillows they have on their jets. Today’s NBA players are wired differently. Players rather “rest” during week one of the regular season instead of actually playing. Steve Kerr talked about how Jordan never missed games. He stated that Jordan played in every single game except for one during a three year period. LeBron James just recently came out and stated that resting helps with the bigger picture of winning a championship. He said, “It’s the coaches’ job to figure out a way to compete for a championship and not compete for a game.” What in the name of Pistol Pete does that even mean! It basically means that today’s NBA player does not care about the regular season. That brings me back to the topic at hand. The product on the court is horrible because today’s player does not care about the game itself. You are now starting to see more and more teams rest their players during the regular season, and the bad teams are “resting” players in order to secure a higher lottery projection.
The salaries that are being handed out don’t help as well. Players who are mediocre at best now know they can make the same salary as a star quarterback in the NFL without averaging only 10 points! For example, Mike Conley received a 200 million dollar contract with 0 All Star appearances. These guys no longer have to work hard for anything. That’s why they rather team up together then compete against each other. KD to Golden State was the weakest move I’ve ever seen out of a NBA Superstar. I never felt more disappointed for an NBA player other than when Rick Fox let Whoopi Goldberg coach the Knicks in Eddie.
There is no parity in the league because everyone wants to play with their BFF like the Little Giants. San Antonio is the only top NBA team not built from player relationships. That’s the reason why they have a history of success, and not a season of it like the Heat. Wade and the Heat organization started all of this mess. They made it look cool to team together instead of against each other in order to win a championship. It was the Heat that used to give its players days off during the regular season to “rest.” Ironically there was also a certain person on that Heat team that is now on the Cavs. That one player is also the face of the NBA and players union. Fans better get used to only seeing a handful of teams that actually look like a championship contender and the bottom feeders sneaking in with only 35 wins. This is not the NCAA tournament.
You won’t see any upsets from the 8th seed over the 1 seed. The teams at the bottom are just not good enough to win a series. Maybe a win or go home would make it more interesting, but it’s just a dream scenario right now. Sturgis always ask me to give him a reason to watch the NBA during the regular season. I’m running out of ideas. Unfortunately the outrageous salaries, parity amongst teams, and lack of heart are ruining my favorite game. This is today’s NBA. Did anyone just see that tumbleweed pass.