I’ve been, what I’d call, a dormant NBA “fan” since the back-to-back-to-back Cavaliers and Warriors’ Finals match-up, which started in 2015. I wrote quotes around the word fan because I haven’t liked the “melodrama” that’s embedded in the association’s culture; drama which has nothing to do with on the court play. I was relieved to hear Chris Mannix, of The Vertical, express those same sentiments in a recent interview on The Dan Patrick Show with guest host Ross Tucker.
There’s a melodrama in the NBA that has swallowed up a lot of what’s out there. … More stuff is about off the court stuff than it is on.” (skip to the 4:07 mark in the video below)
What’s attracted me back to the game in the last month are a few things. One being the Warriors. Steph Curry is my favorite player in the NBA. Okay, go ahead and start to hurl the you’re hopping on the bandwagon verbal attacks. My defense? Curry epitomizes what makes the current state of the NBA such an enjoyable watch. That leads perfectly into another reason I’m itching for more NBA action in my life: I love basketball.
At its core for too many years now, however, is the predictability of how we’re able to almost know before a new season starts what two teams are more than likely, come June, going to vie for the NBA title. The Cavs, Dubs, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder, Celtics, Rockets, Wizards, Bulls, Heat, Raptors, Hawks, Bucks, Trail Blazers, Grizzlies, Pacers… are teams over the last three years who have been, at least, in contention. I want more parity in the NBA. Dynasties are cool, sure. A competitive league is better. More of the latter breeds less super teams. We’d be able to say goodbye to the Heats, Cavs and Ws of the past near decade.
Steph got PAAAAAAAAAIIIIDDDDDD. pic.twitter.com/TBk8XMheH5
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) July 1, 2017
In the NBA I dream of, there’d still exist Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook… The difference is no group of players would feel it necessary to team up and form these super teams to win championships. Keep in mind, we’d still have one or two of those Cavs-Dubs match-ups because the Warriors are just that good. Why? Easy. They drafted Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Let’s not forget they won 73 games without Durant. Yes, he put them over the hump to better distract the Cavs’ defense from Curry and Thompson to allow the Splash brothers to have as much space and open looks as they need to drain threes and bludgeon teams, which they did by going 15-1 in the 2017 postseason. As for the Cavs, they have LeBron freakin’ James; he makes them elite. Yet the stage he’s at now in his career, he needs more than Kyrie Irving to win another ring or two. Paul George would’ve been quite the game-changer for LeBron’s Cavs and might have been the difference in the next inevitable re-match series with the Warriors. But after PG-13’s shocking trade to the Thunder, who knows what the Cavs do to compete with Curry and his Western Conference juggernaut of a team.
Players like Curry have me hopeful for the future of the league. My only resistance to being a fan full-on again and rooting for any one particular team are the early rumors and thoughts that George may sign with the Lakers next off-season to team-up with LeBron, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. If that were to happen, it’d extend this love affair the NBA has with its best players joining forces. It’s something that needs to and should be addressed in the next CBA to somehow figure out a way to bring competitive balance to the league.