I grew up in Chicago, which means I grew up here A basketball environment that reassured that the league was always rigging things up for the Knicks. Even though the Bulls won six titles — most of them by beating the Knicks along the way — Bulls fans always insisted they had to overcome more than just the rigors of a season and a playoff run. He also had to hit the deck stacked against him by the powers.
Obviously, no one in their right mind ever bought it, but basketball was stupid despite Chicago’s success. He is hardly the only fan. Ask Kings fans about the 2002 Western Conference Finals and you can be sure that mention of a plot isn’t too far off the surface.
What the NBA wants is just good basketball, and hopefully some stars in the last few rounds. It won’t get the biggest now, and that’s partly because the league barely gave LeBron James and Anthony Davis a chance.
The Lakers had a 70-day off-season, with both LeBron and Davis suffering major injuries in their season. The latter was on the floor for five minutes last night, could barely walk, and was relieved of the chance to perhaps affect the next training camp by withdrawing from the game. How he set out to play should be a mainstay of inquiry among Lakers medical staff.
The Heat also dealt with a season ruined by injuries for almost everyone. The Celtics were kind of a mess all year long, the last two years in fact, but Jason Tatum was the only regular to manage over 60 games and was clearly handicapped in the end. The Nuggets are the only team from last year’s Final Four to have won their first-round series, and of course they are doing so without Jamal Murray, whose knee exploded.
This was all too much to ask of players, especially those who went deep in The Bubble playoffs last year. Not all of these teams will actually be rewarded even in the normal off-season. We can call it short, because it is only a matter of time before the final will be played normally. So the teams that have eaten it in the first round will get a leave of three months before the training camp.
Every game keeps asking more and more from its players. The NFL just added the 17th game. An 18th won’t be far behind. The NBA had this change, and the next change, and the NHL would be doing the same (at least the latter gave their teams an extra two weeks on the NBA). I think at least we have seen what the breaking point is.