The boring NBA

We are in the middle of the NBA Finals. And I couldn’t care less. For the last three years, it’s been the same two teams. Before that, the Miami Heat played in 4 finals in a row. LeBron has played in the last 7. If you’re not a 1 or a 2 seed, you have nearly a 0% chance of winning an NBA championship. The last team seeded lower than #2 to win a title was the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. They were a 3 seed.

There are 16 teams in the NBA playoffs each year. The NBA playoffs are a sham, because 12 of those teams have virtually no chance of making the finals, much less winning a championship. By the time those 16 teams are whittled down to two, it’s almost assured that a #1 will be playing a #1, or a #1 will be playing a #2. And your seed is ultimately determined by which teams can collect the most superstars. The era is past when a franchise could build a championship team by stringing together years of successful drafts.

The Golden State Warriors are 14-0 this playoffs. They are in a league of their own. They were in a league of their own last year, until they blew a 3-1 lead in the finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then they went out and added to their roster possibly the best player in the NBA who isn’t named LeBron. That would be Kevin Durant.

No, I’m not demanding the NBA “do something” to level the playing field. Players are welcome to sign with whomever they want and teams are welcome to sign whomever they can afford. I’m not saying the NBA is rigged, either (although the league does have its favorites). What I am saying is that the NBA, as it is presently constituted, has evolved to predictability; the league champion is either going to be the Golden State Warriors or whichever team LeBron happens to be playing for. The remainder of the league’s 28 teams are more or less going to be bystanders.

Contrast this with the NHL, where an 8 seed is currently playing in the championship round. Or baseball, where last year’s World Series champion Chicago Cubs won for the first time in 108 years, and the year before that the Kansas City Royals won for the first time in 30 years. That’s what makes those sports interesting. But the NBA? It’s just plain boring.

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