The NBA started its season around Halloween last year. They have played 1230 games since then in order to eliminate just under half the teams from participating in the playoffs. I have argued for years that most of the games before the end of January are virtually meaningless and that the season does not begin to present compelling games until late February/early March. I wish to invoke a privilege that is sought by our esteemed US Senators all the time.
- I wish to revise and extend my remarks on that subject.
As of 2017, I am incorrect in thinking that regular season NBA games from about the beginning of March until the end of the year are meaningful. These games are no more important or meaningful than the ones in November between the Sacramento Kings and the Brooklyn Nets. Why did I change my mind?
Well, it is really very simple. The NBA players have convinced me that the games are unimportant because they have behaved in ways that prove to me that THEY believe they are unimportant. In the last week or so, players “rested” when the schedule had them laying back to back games even though:
- The Cavs/Heat game had relevance to which team would get the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs – – AND – –
- The Cavs/Heat game had relevance to the Heat’s pursuit of the #8 seeding in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
That game should have mattered to both teams. It did not. And so, I now do not care about ANY NBA regular season games. This is the league that has known for decades that some teams tank entire seasons to get high draft picks and had to introduce a lottery system to try to prevent teams actually racing to the bottom. Now they have players so stressed out by scheduling that they need time outs that extend for about 48 hours.
These players are victims of nothing except Fat Wallet Syndrome. They deserve the scorn of sports fans everywhere. Maybe they are in receipt of some scorn already given that regular season NBA TV ratings are universally down this year as opposed to last year.
Commish Adam Silver diverted his attention from what he identified as one of his prime tasks – assuring that there is a woman as a head coach in the NBA sooner as opposed to later – to recognize that resting players is something the league as a whole needs to address in a way that makes it less of an affront to the fans who pay the freight. Deciding on who plays and how long they play is a coaching decision but there are “integrity of the game” issues here.
- When top teams rest all their good players at one time in a nominally meaningful game, they tell the fans that the game is not really meaningful because they do not give a spit.
- When bottom-feeding teams play “the end of their bench” for long stretches in late season games seeking to lose and get more ping-pong balls in the hopper, that tells fans they value a high draft pick more than winning. The Lakers tried – not very successfully – to use this strategy late in the season when all of a sudden Metta World Peace became a 20-minute per game presence on the court instead of a 5-minute per game presence.
Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald had an interesting perspective on this need to rest NBA players recently:
“The new NBA trend is resting your star players. I remember when this was called ‘defense.’ ”
There is another embarrassing situation going on in the NBA world this morning and – – no great surprise here – – it involves the NY Knicks and the team owner James Dolan. CBSSports.com reports that the fan who got into a “verbal altercation” – probably better described as a shouting match – with Owner Dolan now claims that the team is making it difficult for him to renew his season tickets and that his ticket representative will not even take his calls. James Dolan surely does not like anyone getting up in his face and calling him a “rhymes with glass bowl” and James Dolan is the owner of the team and the arena in which they play. I doubt that this situation infringes on any of the fan’s inalienable rights even were he to claim that attending Knicks’ games in the Garden is essential to his Pursuit of Happiness.
Having said all that, this is yet another “bad optic” for the NY Knicks and Lord knows they have become the masters of bad optics over the past decade or so. The Knicks are a bad team and this fan wants to renew his tickets – – translation: he wants to spend his money on that bad team – – and the team is behaving like a hard ass by making that difficult. Here is a link to the CBSSports.com report so you can see for yourself what is going on here.
I began today saying that I am now convinced that none of the NBA regular season matters anymore. Well, here is something else that falls into the bucket of “does not matter yet it has become a big deal”:
- NFL Network had a “special program” to announce the upcoming schedule for the NFL Exhibition Season.
Let me be clear; the NBA regular season is more important than the NFL Exhibition Season for the basic reason that the NBA regular season games count for something and the NFL Exhibition games are meaningless with a capital “M”. The NFL stages 65 of these Meaningless events – or 64 in seasons where the Hall of Fame Game field is unplayable and the league cancels it because the NFLPA won’t allow its members to take the field – and none of those events means a damned thing. Notwithstanding that reality, the schedule announcement becomes a “Special” on NFLN. My only reaction to this is:
- Give me a [bleep]ing break!
Finally, here is one more comment from Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald:
“Klay Thompson was asked to sign a fan’s toaster. It speaks volumes when an American in public doesn’t have any paper on him but he’s lugging around his toaster.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………