I know its a baseball blog but since the NBA playoffs are on and we’re going to be hearing about them for the next two months, I figure I should put my two cents in. I would like to make a few points that you may agree or disagree with and then give you my prediction for winners and a surprise team that could hoist the cool gold trophy.
1) The playoffs are much too inclusive. The Pacers got in with a 37-44 record! Are we being serious right now? There is absolutely no way that a team 4 games under .500 deserves to make the playoffs. Its a waste of everyone’s time. The owners are greedy, the players are greedy. The only reason for the expanded playoff landscape is the increased revenue. The playoffs should not be made up of more than half the teams in a league! We completely disvalue the regular season by doing this. Want to increase attendance? Make the regular season interesting.
2) The playoffs are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long (Similar to my way….). Not only should the NBA cut the number of teams in the playoffs, they should make the first round a best of 5 series. Then Game 1’s would matter. Then Shaq would actually play in Round 1. David Stern, pay attention to what your fans want. In an age of fast moving technology and lifestyles, basketball’s nature as a fast tempo sport should vault it into national prominence but, without an importance and therefore interest on most games, there is no appeal.
3) NBA players have transformed. I have not watched many games but it seems like Stern’s efforts to clean up the game have gone really well. We no longer see those guys complaining about every call, or the Allen Iversons with doo rags in press conferences. If I’m going to berate Stern for his mistakes and incompetencies , I should commend his… accomplishments.
4) Derrick Rose is the man. His athleticism and repetoire of moves in the paint is astounding. But, nobody should ever compare him to Michael Jordan. I was watching Space Jam the other day (Hey, it was the only thing on and happens to be entertaining) and noticed that MJ is the only athlete in history who could pull that role off. The swag, the confidence, the awesomeness, the team first mentality. Everything about MJ told the world he was the best and that is what made him the absolute best. Rose is the best point guard in the league, does things nobody else can do, and plays in Chicago but please do not do him the injustice of ever comparing him to Jordan.
Prediction: Miami Heat over Oklahoma City Thunder in 6 games. You know those moments that define players? The MJ jump shot over the entire Utah Jazz team to win the ‘ship? The Tiger Woods fist pump? The Larry Bird steal? Pete Rose taking the catcher out at the plate in an All Star game? I expect LeBron to have his. We all thought we saw it when he scored the last 1,000 points for the Cavs in ’07, but that was not it. He’s about to turn it on and dominate the entire league. Just witness.
Surprise: I think that having OKC in the Finals is a bit of an upset pick already. Everyone knows they’re real good but too young to win in the postseason. A real surprise pick: New Orleans Hornets will make the Western Conference finals. I think they will beat the Lakers and can’t wait for the ensuing Kobe meltdown. I think they will beat the Mavericks. Boom, finals against the Thunder. I doubt they can beat the Thunder because Russel Westbrook can match up with Chris Paul but they could squeek past the Thunder.
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