Monday, February 28, 2011

State of the NBA

As Carmelo Anthony finally moved to New York near the last minute we now have a large number of "Super Teams" in the league. The Big Threes of Boston and Miami in the east are now joined by Carmelo/Amare and the MVP driven Bulls. Bringing up the rear of the good teams is Orlando, who made a ridiculous trade earlier this season though I suspect they'll still be quite good in the playoffs solely due to Dwight Howard. Of course, once you go beyond those 5 teams the entire Eastern Conference is garbage, but that doesn't seem to bother true NBA fans. I don't consider myself a "fan" of the NBA, I understand a good deal about how the game works and have a mild interest in the strategery of the game but in general it's not as fun for me to watch as Baseball or Football. The playoffs are somewhat different but since the vast majority of those games will be on TNT I might not get to see them (though they do have a buggy online function).

Despite that I don't really see the great benefit of having several super teams instead of a more balanced league, I can understand that the league is probably too large at the moment and several teams have no chance year in and year out but when half the East is under .500 and the 8th seed is poised to be 6 games below (giving the Pistons a shot at the playoffs!) it seems pretty problematic. A few dominant teams to go with several good teams and a competitive race to reach the playoffs is what makes an interesting league, to me, but in this league it's just the hope that any of the super teams go to a 7 game series and have a super dramatic Willis Reed moment somewhere along the line.

The West is slightly better than the East overall, though they have less super teams. The Lakers are the only giant team though the Spurs are doing much better this year it remains to be seen how well they will do in the playoffs. The Mavericks and Thunder seem to both be quite competent and could probably outdo Orlando in the East, but once again the entire rest of the league is subpar (though their records aren't quite as retarded as the East's). New Orleans is a pretty good team, unfortunately they're under the NBA's control until they're able to sell the team and Chris Paul is fairly hampered by injuries, The Nuggets just traded away their best player, and Portland and Memphis might be fairly competent teams in the East but stand little or no chance of overcoming the monster teams at the top in either conference.

While the NFL's parity is overblown at least the teams in the playoffs all have a shot to win the Superbowl (this year's game was almost a 6 seed vs. another 6 seed), obviously the MLB's parity is unmatched despite not having a salary cap, but the NBA has 8 or 9 teams in the entire league that have a shot at a title and the rest have no chance whatsoever. 20 teams to perish in the darkness. No hope for the Cavs, Pistons, Bucks, or any other beloved team you might have.

All of that said I'm still quite interested who's going to win the title and I'm pretty likely to watch the NBA finals provided it isn't Boston/Los Angeles again, while the rest of the the regular season seems a foregone conclusion (though yesterday's game where the Knicks beat the Heat was interesting enough) the playoffs will be quite interesting. Unfortunately they're still a few months out but Baseball is soon to start and all of my troubles will then be solved.

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