A down year for the NBA

A friend’s NBA power rankings post inspired this rant so please bear with me.

You guys know I’m one of the biggest NBA homers out there.  I love the dunks, the personalities, the no-look passes, the alley-oops, the pick-and-rolls.  Heck, I even love the recently illegalized flops where a random player gets busted for trying to draw a charge then looks at the ref like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar.

I love Hubie Brown and Jalen Rose.  I love Dr. Jack and Marv Albert.  I love TNT’s coverage and ESPN’s promos.  And yes, I even love when Herr Stern despotically flexes his muscle by fining coaches obscene amounts of money for merely altering their lineups.  It’s his party and he’ll fine if he wants to.

But this, my friends, is a down year for the NBA and by that I mean there are not very many good teams in the league, if any at all.

Let’s take a closer look at the standings.  Sure you have your Heat (12-5), your Grizzlies (13-3), your Thunder (15-4), your ageless San Antonio Spurs (15-4) and your pleasantly surprising Knicks (14-4) but none of these teams strike fear into the hearts of their opponents.  None are unbeatable and none of them appear, at least at this point, championship worthy.

Miami is playing well… NOT!  They just lost to the Wizards (2-13) the other night and have already lost to the Knicks by twenty points TWICE this season.  The Grizzlies are a tough team but only those within Memphis city limits honestly believe they’ll win a championship.  Even if they do, you’d have to assume television ratings would suffer.  Oklahoma City’s not getting anywhere near last year’s notoriety after trading away James Harden.  The Spurs are always solid but again, their brand of basketball doesn’t move the meter.   And most of us agree it’s only a matter of time before the Knicks implode.

Let’s look at some of the other teams in the league that would make the playoffs if the regular season ended today.  The Atlanta Hawks are nowhere near as good as they’ve been in recent years.  You can thank the absence of Joe Johnson for that.  The Chicago Bulls aren’t competitive without Derrick Rose in their lineup.  The Celtics, who many thought might challenge the Heat for Eastern dominance, are only 10-8.  And without their best player, the Pacers (10-9) are 30th in the league in scoring.  Snooze.  Heck, the best story in the East this year, other than the Knicks is the Brooklyn Nets who are good, but clearly not great.

Out West, things aren’t much better.   Aside from the Thunder and rather dull Grizz and Spurs, we have the Clippers (12-6) who are fun to watch but still losing games they shouldn’t and we have three other teams hovering around .500 (or worse) that will make the playoffs.  The only thing worth rooting for out West is another Laker loss.

Oh, and the Pistons, Cavs, Raptors, Wizards, Suns, Hornets and Kings are god awful.

Maybe David Stern, who recently announced he’ll be retiring next season, is getting out while the getting is good.  I know it’s early and everyone is still watching football but at this point in the season, there should at least be some quality basketball being played, some teams to fear.  That has yet to happen.

The NBA desperately needs the likes of Derrick Rose, Ricky Rubio and Steve Nash, three of the league’s most exciting players, to return from injury and give us something to talk about.  Or maybe we should just go back to the strike-shortened 66-games of last year because right now, the NBA’s not giving us much to get excited about… except mediocrity.

28 thoughts on “A down year for the NBA

  1. Pingback: A down year for the NBA - BallHyped Blog Network, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Well said Chris. I think this season is a sign of the future of the NBA. Ian Thomsen at SI.com had a great piece on the NBA repeater tax and the fear of that tax keeps teams like OKC from signing Harden and it will break up the Heat in a few years. Stern has always wanted a league more like the NFL (lots of middle of the pack teams where a 4-12 St. Louis Rams team can win a Superbowl the next season) as opposed to MLB where 1/2 of the league has no shot to win on day 1. Congrats Commissioner Stern, the days of dynasties and great teams is over!

  3. Thanks, Frank. I’ll take a look at that article.

    Some might call what we have here as parity and in some sense they’re right.

    Most of the teams in the league are either equally mediocre or awful.

  4. Dude wait after the allstar game, then you will see the real players come out. 82 games is a long season up and down the court. They need the rest like the Spurs.

  5. The fact that many teams are in the same realm with one another should actually benefit the league. Sometimes, you just get tired of the Heat killing every team put in front of them. It’s good to see a good matchup once in a while. The Knicks have been making noise since the start of the season and could be a force in the playoffs if players like Raymond Felton, J. R. Smith and Steve Novak show up. Carmelo Anthony will do what he does, but the Knicks will go as far as these other players take them. In any case, the NBA to us is still exciting. Involve yourself in fantasy, it should help muster some excitement.

  6. Chris
    ,
    It’s a down year in the NBA when the Wizards not the Bobcats are on track to surpass the all time low for futility in a season .

    It’s down year when the NBA hierarchy
    has yet to bust a player for “weed”

    It’s a down year when the Lakers now make even the Raptors look respectable

    It’s a down year when Stern says he needs to revisit the issue of retiring and considers staying on for an additional 5 years

    It’s a down year in the NBA when Knicks’ owner James Dolan is considering whether or not to have Isiah Zeke Thomas come back to the organization not as a special consultant but as the new Head of their PR Dept

    It’s a down year in the NBA when Michael Jordan is seriously considering making another comeback for Bobcats as he feels that this roster could be a great deal better , were he , on there .

    It’ll definitely a down year in the NBA if Paris Hilton is asked to give a rendition of the national anthem at the NBA All Star Game , because her AR agent delivered her latest CD to David Stern , personally , and that was how the decision was made .

    It’s definitely down year in the NBA if the Knicks sign Latrell Sprewell to a one year deal on the recommendation of current player, Rasheed Wallace.

    It’s definitely a down year when Shaq publicly announces he’s making a comeback , and will play for any team willing to give him a tryout . Magic GM , Rob Hennigan is said to be interested signing the former player.

    It’s definitely a down year when the best center in the NBA not someone named Dwight Howard .

    It’s definitely a down year when an NBA player has yet to be busted for a DUI . The NBA hierarchy loves to make those stats public as that’s one of the ways Stern looks to keep the league’s image family-friendly .

    It’s a down year when Spike Lee is getting more NBA airtime than ardent Lakers’ supporters Jack Nicholson and Dyan Cannon

  7. Chris

    I know it’s off the beaten track but explain this to me if you can ?

    Bonds Clemens and Sosa are now eligible for the Hall of Fame . Why is that the hierarchy headed by Selig , is said to be seriously thinking about submitting their names to BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) for consideration in adjudicating the merits of their enshrinement . And purists can see nothing wrong with this at all ?

    Steroid era stars on the Hall ballot

    NEW YORK (AP)

    The most polarizing Hall of Fame debate since Pete Rose will now be decided by the baseball shrine’s voters: Do Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa belong in Cooperstown despite drug allegations that tainted their huge numbers?

    In a monthlong election sure to become a referendum on the Steroids Era, the Hall ballot was released Wednesday, and Bonds, Clemens and Sosa are on it for the first time.

    Bonds is the all-time home run champion with 762 and won a record seven MVP awards. Clemens took home a record seven Cy Young trophies and is ninth with 354 victories. Sosa ranks eighth on the homer chart with 609.

    Yet for all their HRs, RBIs and Ws, the shadow of PEDs looms large.

    ”You could see for years that this particular ballot was going to be controversial and divisive to an unprecedented extent,” Larry Stone of The Seattle Times wrote in an email. ”My hope is that some clarity begins to emerge over the Hall of Fame status of those linked to performance-enhancing drugs. But I doubt it.”

    More than 600 longtime members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will vote on the 37-player ballot. Candidates require 75 percent for induction, and the results will be announced Jan. 9.

    Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling also are among the 24 first-time eligibles. Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines are the top holdover candidates.

    =================================

    Click on link to view. & read in full
    ==================================

    Your thoughts on this all ? Another reason why Selig should make his departure , immediate , rather than a few years from , like his NBA counterpart , David Stern .

    Tophatal …………

  8. Al…

    I think they should get in. Bonds’ and Clemens’ careers were already HOF worthy before they got involved in steroids.

    Furthermore to leave them off the first ballot just to eventually let them in seems petty to me.

    We’ve talked about this for years now and I can’t wait to see what the voters do.

    And boy, I can’t wait for those acceptance speeches if and when they happen.

  9. Snake…

    What? Are you and BS hanging out at the same biker bar now?

    Are you still having nightmares about Evan Turner?

    And why the hell is Rondo taking the last shot when he’s still one of the worst shooters on the team?

    Or don’t you want to talk about it?

  10. Chris

    I’m not going to touch the sensitivity of those conservationists out as it regard to pelicans .

    The Hornets this season have been a complete joke .

    Concrete evidence that spending $49-95 can indeed be damaging to your health . Manny Pacquiao gets knocked the f##k out , in his bout with Juan Mraquel Marquez , suffers orbital bone damage as well as a concussion . Furthermore even with the $20 million payday , Pacquiao’s declining skillset , he should now retire once and for all.

    Also let’s be real , a bout between Mayweather and Pacquaio at this juncture , would be a complete waste of time .

    So you really believe that the inclusion of Bonds , Clemens , and Sosa will actually add some legitimacy and integrity of the game as it now stands ? Also Rose knew that the decision he made was one that was frowned upon by baseball. And if you think that the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Assoc of America ) has any integrity , then think again . These are the same bunch of a##holes who looked the other way while this whole-scale mess was still going on . Tell me again succinctly why all three should be included ? Hall of Fame credential by way of the statistics is not a guarantee of inclusion under any circumstance and you should know that .

    That’s like giving a pedophile a “hall pass ” to be in a room filled with kids .

    Like it or not , the game of baseball has become a complete farce and the players , owners , union and league hierarchy are to blame for the mess . And when it comes to journalistic integrity the BBWAA ranks up there alongside governor Rick Scott’s claim of being a consummate businessman . I know how much you’d like bow to the authority of our beloved governor ! lol,lol !! Just kidding bro !

    Tophatal ………

  11. I don’t hang at biker bars. I don’t have nightmares and what I think about what my favorite team is doing doesn’t change anything. I just sit back and enjoys them. Looking at the 2nd game of the back to back between the 76ers & the Celtics just proves that on any given night, any team can beat any other team in the NBA. Parity is a beautiful word.

  12. Al…

    I saw that punch a few times. Square on. But we both know the real loser here is Money May who stood to make a hundred mil had anyone wanted to see that fight. Now that Pac’s taken the fall, I’m not so sure that fight will draw as much interest.

    And integrity in baseball, Al? Since when? So what’s the difference whether we let them in or not? Either we celebrate the game’s integrity or its hypocrisy.

  13. Snake…

    I’m surprised it took this long for someone to mention the P word.

    I belong to another hoops forum I should get you on. This post raised quite a stink, with all these hoops homers telling me how great the teams in the league are.

    Look, I’m gonna watch regardless. I’m just trying to be objective and I can’t listen to anyone tell me that this year’s Spurs, Celtics and Heat teams are better than in recent years.

    That’s simply not true.

  14. Chris

    Are inspired by the Rays’ trade that sent Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals ? I simply see it as a money saving exercise and not much else ! Shield and Price have been the two mainstays on the Rays’ pitching staff in terms of the pitching over the last two or three seasons and now they have in essence sent Shield into purgatory by sending him to the Royals . On that team , he might as well have been sent to the middle of the Kalahari .

    I mean what the hell did the Rays really get in return , in your honest opinion ?

    CBS Sports

    Rays trade James Shields, Wade Davis to Royals for Wil Myers, more”>

    The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a trade that will send All-Star starting pitcher James Shields and pitcher Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals. In return, the Rays receive highly-touted outfield prospect Wil Myers along with minor-league third baseman Patrick Leonard and minor-league pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery. The Royals will also get a player to be named later.

    The Rays officially announced the deal late Sunday night.

    Shields, 30, was 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 223 strikeouts in 227 2/3 innings pitched last season for the Rays. He is only one year removed from finishing third in AL Cy Young voting, as he had a huge 2011 campaign.

    Davis, 27, had a 2.43 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings out of the Rays’ bullpen last season, but he’d previously been a starting pitcher. In 2011, Davis went 11-10 with a 4.45 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 105 strikeouts in 184 innings. So he seems more suited in a relief role, but the Royals have a very good bullpen and need starters, so it’s possible he’s used in the rotation.

    Shields now slides neatly atop the Royals’ starting rotation, ahead the likes of Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana and Bruce Chen. For now, Davis could be in the rotation as well, giving the Royals’ their starting five for 2013 — at least until Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino return from injuries.

    =================================
    Click on link to view .

    ================================

    As you’re an avid Rays’ fan , indicate to me where you see the upside in this trade, beyond the team saving money in terms of the salaries that would have been due to both Davis and Shields ?

    Mo-fo’ protect your neck or you’ll get the knocked the f#ck out

    Tophatal ……………….

  15. Chris

    Fifteen players around the NFL thought it prudent to hand in firearms they had in their possession in the aftermath of the Belcher incident . Several players handed in semi automatic rifles amongst other weapons , in some cases though not yet confirmed according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter , a number of the weapons were unlicensed . And you don’t think that Goodell has another problem now brewing on his hands after this ?

    Never mind the idiocy of what took place with that Cowboys’ player , Jerry Brown , being killed in an accident where his teammate , Josh Brent , was driving under the influence . BAC (blood alcohol content ) has his count at over the legal limit within the state of Texas . Vehicular homicide charges will be filed in the case , which is now pending .

    Your thoughts on the Rays’ blockbuster seven-player trade that saw Wade Davis and James Shields going to the Royals ?

    Another bad loss for the Bucs , a team lacking in leadership, and one which is far too complacent . Ronde Barber should stop his bi#ching and whining and ” man the ##ck up” , once and for all ! . He’s one of the most senior veterans on the team , but he shows no goddamn leadership , whatsoever ! He sets a p#ss poor example to the younger players on the roster .

    Tophatal ……………

  16. Al…

    We all knew this was coming.

    The Rays picked up the option on Shields but weren’t going to pay him that $11 mil.

    I don’t know anything about the prospects they got in return but let’s just hope the Rays know what they’re doing.

    The only thing I CAN tell you about those prospects is that they won’t be costing $11 mil.

    At least not yet.

  17. Al…

    Well, at least some good will come out of the Belcher story.

    And I don’t know that the Buccaneers suffer from a lack of leadership, just a lack of quality players in their secondary.

    We made Nick Foles look like Warren Moon yesterday.

  18. KP…

    You live in a hockey town. Would you miss it one bit if the NHL decided to cancel the season?

    And Dwight? He’s currently averaging a career low in free throw percentage at 47%. Who even knew that was possible?

  19. Jed…

    Not sure if you’re catching this Lakers-Knicks game but Kobe and ‘Melo are going off.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the Knicks handle things when Amare comes back and if the Lakers are going to move Pau Gasol.

  20. Chris

    If Wil Myers was the sole reason for the Rays to send Davis and Shields to save themselves $11 million this upcoming season then Friedman needs to consult more with an accountant . What do you as a fan want to out of the Rays ? Wins or effort ?

    We’ll definitely see attendance dip and even more apathy amongst the fans . Fourteenth out of fourteen in terms of attendance , is that enough of a reason to be worried ? Hell yes !

    Quality of players yes ! Most definitely leadership as well . Who’d you see stepping up on that team being vocal in terms leadership , much less their play ? Ronde being a whining bi%ch , who just isn’t a leader and if you can’t acknowledge that , then there’s something wrong . Schiano can use all the platitudes he wants, but he hasn’t brought any mental toughness to this team at all .

    The Saints will be looking to add to the Bucs woes and looking to inflict another loss on the team .


    Big East Basketball
    about to disappear once and for all , with seven parochial schools disappearing altogether after this season.

    Hamilton makes his piece , as in $125 million with the Angels . Angels’ owner Arte Moreno says he will cut back on the Christmas gifts for family and friends .

    Pujols and Hamilton had better be able to get this team going offensively next season .

    Manny Pacquiao , just doesn’t get it ! His wife is now on the verge of leaving him , because she says she can no longer the pain and mental anguish each time he now steps into the ring . Her most chilling statement , my husband has earned $175 million in his last six fights but what good will it do if he’s not around to be with myself and his children ? The fighter says he vows to fight on . To me this has more to do with Pacquiao and his fu$king shi$-head promoter , Bob Arum seeking another big payday .

    Arum, like Don King simply don’t care about the well-being of their fighters !

    Gut wrenching to see these families mourn the loss of their “loved ones” in that needless massacre in New Town, Conn,. and yet the political leaders nationally , show all of the leadership of an invertebrate . Twenty five victims and one gutless bastard !

    And then you have the NRA with their latest bull$hit !

    Dropped this on the NFL rookies alongside most recent pieces .

    The year of the young guns

    MLB piece

    Stability , spelled S T A B I #### , Oh hell , no !

    Tophatal ………………

  21. Pingback: Sports Chump » Revisiting the 1995 NBA Draft: How the hell are these guys still playing?

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