With time, things change. The NBA has been no exception, although many Americans may not have anticipated the team sport to change so drastically.
Here is a breakdown of the new NBA today:
Individual Star Power- All sports have key players and more talented athletes than others. However, basketball by far exceeds those limits in that the sport is no longer represented by full strong lineups. Aside from very few, the days of having Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman on the same team are over, and instead, NBA teams have possibly one or two players that are all-stars. DeMarcus Cousins on the Sacramento Kings and Eric Bledsoe on the Phoenix Suns are examples. The athletes who previously were stationed as the headline of their weaker teams are being traded to a NBA Finals contender. Teams such as the Golden State Warriors (43-8 record) and Cleveland Cavaliers (35-15 record) have a multitude of star power with minimal chemistry, causing huge egos and talent to collide.
Fouls- Drawing fouls are essential to a team and may be the key to winning. That being said, basketball has lost credibility with the calls against an opponent who commits a foul.
There are two things flawed with this ideology:
- Star athletes are crying out to the referees because they want a call even though it may not exist
- Referees are seeing a person appear injured if they get bumped a little bit. This ideology, flopping, turns the NBA into less of a game of basketball and more of a “how can I dramatize this situation.” Many times, technical fouls are called leading to free throws and an unrealistic game
Not all athletes and referees are at fault, though the NBA needs to establish a consensus for both groups to play the game correctly.
Standings Gap- The margin between the two levels of basketball is astonishing. 5-6 teams are contenders for the championship and all the other teams play no significant role to the season. As aforementioned, bad teams may have a few great players, but that does not breed team success. 2 of the 16 current playoff teams have losing records and the majority in the playoffs are placeholders. The 82 game season is brutal for bad teams. For example, the Brooklyn Nets have a .176 win percentage, 9 wins on the season and the season is only 51 games in. A matchup between the Nets and Cavaliers becomes hard to watch for 48 minutes. In comparison, the Cleveland Browns had a 1-15 record through the 2016-2017 NFL season. The Browns only played 16 games however, and now can start to prepare for the offseason. The Nets continue to play another 31 games (almost twice the NFL season) but have a similar goal to the Browns. Leagues will always have stronger and weaker teams, though in the NBA, the amount of “powerhouse” teams are limited, and too many programs are rebuilding.
Basketball is an amazing American sport and with few alterations the game will be revolutionary again!
*Stats are all as of 2/7/17*