Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Top 5 Reasons The NBA Finals Sucked

No, I didn't watch a ton of this series. There were reasons. Here they are.

5. The incessant whining.
Did the refs suck? Yes, and we shall talk more about this later. But, my word, these guys rivaled French soccer players in stunned looks and, "It wasn't me" asides to the refs. Come to think about it, with Parker, Ginobli, Rasheed, and Prince, you might have the core foundation of a nice soccer team. Every single minute that I watched there seemed to be someone whining about a call or non-call. It was pathetic, and took away from the "basketball" game that was being played.

Gavin: The best comparison I can think of is in a World Series where every ball and strike call was challenged by either the catcher or the batter. Every time there were complaints it slowed the game down, it took players out of position, and frankly, whining is rarely a pretty sight. It wasn't pretty when I did it at age 5, and isn't pretty watching millionaires do it either. There are times when there are questionable calls. However, not EVERY call was questionable. Just play the game.

4. The "superstars" of Tim Duncan and Rasheed Wallace, to name a few.
The NFL and MLB markets teams above players. That is why you see the Yankees and the Red Sox carry such weight. People like Manny Ramirez or David Ortiz don't rise above the Red Sox mystique, they simply add to it. That is also why the NFL gets so upset at players like T.O. when they DO try to push themselves above the team. The reason why this works is that the players, a lot of the time, are not the greatest role models. And that is true in every league, from Randy Moss to Barry Bonds to Jason Giambi. However, the NBA markets players above teams. They market Shaq wherever Shaq is at. They market LeBron, K.G., Dirk, Yao, and Kidd. The NBA commercials focus on players yearning for the trophy. This strategy pays big dividends when Shaq is in the Finals. This strategy tanks when the superstar is Tim Duncan, who is an amazing talent but is one of the most boring individuals in the history of sports. Thus, for this series, no one cared about the teams outside of Detroit and San Antonio and no one cared about the superstars. No large popular interest = extremely low ratings. The NBA needs to pull back the shoe ads and get the team proclaimed, first and foremost, above the individual player to broaden their market appeal in the states.

Gavin: If the NBA starts caring about the teams, perhaps we wouldn't have to worry as much about the thug/gangsta posses as well. Sure would be nice. Still, was there one player I was excited about seeing? Nope. Was there one team that played exciting team ball? Nope. Hence, boring games with low ratings.

3. Terrible shooting.
For example, in Game 7, neither team broke the 60 point barrier until the 4th quarter. Shouldn't good, "fundamental" basketball involve people shooting the ball well? The game started with people trying to make more baskets than the other person. Making more baskets. Making them. What's more fundamental then that?

Gavin: I was listening to Game 7 online and the announcers actually said the following, "18-16 after one quarter. Everything we could have hoped for so far in a game seven." What? Neither team can score twenty points in the deciding game of the season and this is everything we could have hoped for? Yes, both teams played great team defense, but championship teams shouldn't miss that many open jumpers and lay-ins. In fact, both team's offense most closely represented everything I hated about the NBA before the zone defense was instituted. I felt cheated after following the Sonics and Suns for the year. That is offense, not the half-court-run-the-shot-clock-down-before-shooting-fallaway-with-hand-in-face crap. The Spurs have two plays. Give it Duncan to dribble or let Ginobili drive. Is it that hard to stop them? The Pistons had no plays beyond a lot of dribbling. From an aesthetics standpoint, the games were awful.

2. Defense + grabbing does not equal exciting, flowing basketball.
Basically, every play on the offensive or defensive side of the ball ended with the refs having to make a decision on whether or not it was a foul. There was no flow, the play was continually stopping as the whining happened, and then we got to watch Ben Wallace and Tim Duncan desperately try to make free-throws. The only exciting player in this series besides the devil Ginobli was Chauncey Billups. However, this point leads into the next one...

Gavin: I have to agree with Ray Allen, Bruce Bowen does not play basketball. Still, both teams play the entire game on the edge of what's allowable. Everyone grabs, everyone shoves. Everyone runs into one another. Everyone creates contact. It was lame. Pass the darn ball. Run the court. Play real trapping, switching defense. Too much of all these games were in the ref's hands.

1. The refs are, simply, incompetent.
Can you imagine the NFL allowing their refs to be this bad? There is absolutely no excuse. David Stern should sit the refs down for a long, long talk to work out this problem. I might not have agreed with what Jeff Van Gundy said at the beginning of the playoffs, but some of the officiating was SO bad that it conveyed the message that the NBA was trying to fix games. There's not much to say on this issue. If you watched the playoffs, you know what Gavin and I are talking about.

Gavin: The refs were awful. They cost several games. In the playoffs, the players need to decide who wins, but when half of the game is spent at the line it doesn't work. When one team (the Spurs) is on the receiving edge of EVERY favorable call it doesn't work. These refs should have been booed out of almost every building they were in. I'm still steamed as a Sonics fan and it didn't improve in the Finals. I wonder if a random panel of fans would do better. I sure think so.

posted by colin_hesse @ 1:26 PM  0 comments

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