Let me start this morning with the NBA. Steph Curry scored 60 points in a game against the Hawks over the weekend, but the Warriors lost in OT 141-134 – – Total Score 275 points. Last week on the same night, here were two NBA game results:
- Mavs 148 Hawks 143 Total Score 291 points
- Pacers 133 Suns 131 Total Score 264 points
It was not that long ago when those sorts of scores were only seen in the NBA All-Star Game where only the best players in the league participated and where it was acknowledged that no defense would be played. Now these scoring levels have become commonplace, and it does not make the games more enjoyable.
It is not just the team totals that are inflating. It used to be that when a player scored 60 points in a game it was an event. Now that feat earns a hearty “Hoo-ray” because it seems to be a routine occurrence. In just the last two weeks, the NBA has seen the following performances:
- Luka Doncic 73 points
- Joel Embiid 70 points
- Karl Anthony Towns 62 points
- Devin Booker 62 points
- Steph Curry 60 points
Might I suggest that the NBA rules mavens begin thinking about a few rule changes that might bring a semblance of defense back into their games?
And while I am at it, let me also suggest that the NBA devote some thought/effort to several other issues facing the league:
- “Instant replay” is sucking the enjoyment out of too many games. If you are a fan in the arena or a fan watching at home, time spent looking at a ref or two bent over at the waist looking at a tiny screen to check on some aspect of the play is not enjoyable. Fans in attendance did not pay $200 to see the ref’s butt sticking up in the air; fans did not tune in for that sighting either. And yet, that sight has become commonplace, and it seems to be expanding.
- [Aside: Some “instant replay” reviews take so long it makes me wonder if the refs replay channel has ads on it and some of that time is consumed by their having to watch LIMU Emu – – and Doug.]
- The NBA has very successfully used the strategy of “marketing and branding its stars” ever since the days of “Bird and Magic”. For the last decade, the three faces of the league have been LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. LeBron is almost 40 years old and his game is not nearly as compelling as it was even two or three years ago; Curry is still a scoring machine (see above) but he is 35 years old; Durant is also 35 years old and has missed significant portions in two of the last four seasons. If the NBA has a “Succession Plan” to slip new marketing stars into top positions, that plan is not clear to me.
- It seems that two weeks cannot go by without some reporting on “NBA expansion” usually in the form of reports that some group seeking a franchise has done something that seemingly puts pressure on the league. I am sure that having 32 teams in the NBA is preferable to having 30 teams from the standpoint of creating divisions and scheduling and the like. And I am equally sure that the current owners would love to split up the “Entrance Fees” paid by a couple of new teams. Nonetheless, the talent to sustain more teams is not there; the NBA needs to resist the “pressures” and the temptations to expand. If you think I am exaggerating about the lack of an additional 30 NBA roster spots, take some time to try and watch a G-League game on NBA TV. The product is significantly inferior.
Switching gears … Lindsey Horan is the captain of the US Women’s National Soccer Team. In an interview with The Athletic, Horan had this to say about the fans who watch the USWNT’s games:
“Most of them aren’t smart. They don’t know the game. They don’t understand. But it’s getting better and better.”
Horan seemed to be particularly perturbed at the level of credence that fans put in the TV analysts who try to explain the game; Horan does not think they know as much as they purport to know. Maybe she is right; maybe not. However, I am not sure in what universe it makes sense for her to say of her team’s fans that they “aren’t smart”.
Looking on the bright side, at least Horan did not call those fans “deplorables” …
Finally, I wondered above if NBA refs were subjected to advertisements on their “Instant Replay” channels; so, let me close with this observation from Sinclair Lewis:
“Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………