SiriusXM NBA Radio host Justin Termine takes a look at parity in the 2014 NBA Playoffs.
I’ve always been a proponent of having a villain. Parity is bad for the NBA. It’s bad for sports. Baseball is better when the Yankees are winning. Golf is better when everyone is trying to knock off Tiger. The NBA is at it’s best when the Lakers or Celtics or Bulls are trying to extend their dynasties.
I still feel basketball needs the Heat in the Finals. I still feel the NBA needs LeBron to play your hero or play your villain.
But the parity has been so much fun this year.
Usually in picking the first round of the playoffs, unlike the NHL, things are easy to predict. Not this year. I can’t remember the last time I filled out a playoff bracket and got more than two series, maybe three, wrong in this first round. This year I may whiff on seven. SEVEN!
I had the Spurs, Grizzlies, Clippers, Rockets, Pacers, Bulls and Nets all advancing to at least the second round. I don’t feel confident in any of those picks. The only one I nailed; the same one everyone did, Miami past Charlotte.
But I’m not upset, because unlike some years, the first round has been fascinating. You can’t risk missing a game … other than Lebron vs the injury-riddled Bobcats, maybe.
It feels like the NCAA Tournament. Every game coming down to the wire, and every game a coin flip. We’ve already seen three of the four games in the Blazers-Rockets series go into overtime (one shy of the record set by the Bulls and Celtics in 2009). The only thing that has me upset is the lack of sleep.
Usually, April, May and June are reserved for the Jordans and the Kobes and the LeBrons to make their runs and to secure their legacies. This year it’s been about the emergence of young guys like John Wall. It’s been about LaMarcus Aldridge reminding us that just because someone plays in a small market doesn’t mean their not worthy of big attention. It’s been about collective units like Memphis overcoming stars like Durant and Westbrook.
With story lines like this, and upsets like this brewing, parity in the NBA may not be such a bad thing. And even if you don’t like it, I wouldn’t worry too much. The way the East is shaking down, your villain (or hero) will be there in the end.
Some random thoughts:
Tony Allen and Patrick Beverley are two of the most exciting players to watch in the league. They don’t have the skillset of many of the NBA’s elite, but their passion and energy makes up for it … Last year, Mark Jackson’s “Us against the world” spiel was fun; this year, it’s nauseating … Jerry West told me the 80’s were the most competitive era for the NBA. Rick Barry disagreed saying the late 60’s and mid-70’s … In addition to Oscar Robertson telling Spike Lee he would “leave [New York] today” if he were Carmelo Anthony, former teammate Ty Lawson told me he thinks Carmelo will leave … Here’s why you have to take any rankings you see at ESPN with a big grain of salt: about a month ago their panel of experts concluded Frank Vogel was a better coach than Rick Carlisle … This is as healthy as Paul Pierce has been in the postseason in three years … In the Thunder’s Game 2 loss, Scott Brooks somehow played Derek Fisher more minutes than Reggie Jackson … Saturday’s shot once again raised questions about Vince Carter to the Hall of Fame. He’ll get in because of what the Hall has become, but he’s not a Hall of Famer based on what that should mean … Robert Horry told me there’s “no quick fix” for his former team the Lakers, and they “face a long road ahead.”