Thursday evening Chris Paul was traded to the LA Lakers and it got me thinking about the state of the NBA and why anyone should even support such a league anymore. I consider myself a 4 for 4 guy and I’d love to see the 76ers actually have a chance at being a contender at some point before I die but it seems impossible when every year the same teams get all the great players in the NBA. It’s an absolute joke when every year these super teams are built.
At this point the NBA in my eyes is a six-team league made up of the Lakers, Mavericks, Heat, Celtics, Bulls, and Spurs. If you want, I’ll be generous and throw in the Knicks because let’s face it they’ll grab another superstar at some point to go with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire but the point is every year it’s the same teams out of that group making a deep playoff run.
The Magic we’re in the finals recently but Dwight Howard won’t be returning to such a small market team when every other great player in the league heads toward the big markets so they aren’t in that class any longer. The Spurs also are boarder line belonging in that group anymore but for now we’ll leave them in. The fact is the NBA isn’t close to competitive in any way, shape, or form today.
The 76ers have no shot at contending anytime soon the way this league operates. It’s really quite a shame because the young talent on this team looks promising to eventually do some damage with the addition of a possible key free agent or two down the road but the problem is any big time players available won’t come to Philadelphia instead opting for one of the usual suspects that collect the top players.
The only logical solution for this team to build itself up to contend with these super teams is to go in the tank for 3 or 4 years. I mean they need to be awful for about 3 or 4 years and collect top 10 draft picks which will eventually lead to them being a force. The problem is the Sixers are a good enough team to make the playoffs every year now as a 5,6,7, or 8 seed which will put them out of contention for any lottery pick. The average to slightly above average teams like the Sixers will never get anyplace under the current system. They’ll continue to be decent and make the playoffs every year only to lose to Miami, Boston, NY, or Chicago.
The other issue with all of this is major sports networks like ESPN show nonstop coverage of the NBA which couldn’t be any more disheartening. ESPN Sportscenter is absolutely overloaded with NBA coverage and unfortunately the league couldn’t stay in a lockout and spare us from all of it. At the end of the day we know what teams will most likely be in the finals so why waist our time making the American fan base watch the overwhelming amount of coverage.
The NHL displays a much more competitive product in today’s world and the fact it doesn’t receive the recognition the NBA does on ESPN is downright offensive as a sports fan. Every night on Sportscenter they march out Barry Melrose to provide about 5 minutes of insight on the NHL as if they are covering the sport because they feel they have to. They give no effort in the coverage and it lacks substance which makes it downright awful to observe.
Currently NBA coverage on Sportscenter is about 10 times the amount the NHL will ever receive and the shame of it is the average American sports fan is missing out on being exposed to a sport that is much more competitive than the NBA will ever be. With the lockout in place the NHL may have been given a better chance at some decent exposure to the average sports fan that may not be as familiar with it, but that’s clearly out the window now with the NBA back in full swing. Most hockey fans know to turn on the Versus network (soon to be NBC sports network) or NHL network for legit hockey coverage but the average sports fan who may not be aware of it misses out because mainstream sports networks like ESPN barely cover the sport.
There are many more losers than winners in the situation. The NBA fan is forced to watch a league that has no competition outside of a handful of teams. The average American sports fan misses out on possibly being exposed to a sport that offers far more competition than the NBA can ever produce with its current system.
To top it off the Philadelphia sports fan is forced to witness endless years of a mediocre pro basketball until the NBA figures out a way to spread the competition around to everyone. Next time NBA do us a favor and stay in a lock out because the American sports fan has other options when it comes to watching coverage of a competitive sport.