Behind the Jersey


In a season that had Chris Paul teaming up with Blake Griffin in L.A., Dwight Howard, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo on the cusp of being traded, Ricky Rubio finally coming to the NBA and LINsanity, this shortened NBA season has still been a complete disappointment.
Right when things look to heat up, it becomes a total bust. For instance, when it looks like the L.A. Clippers from ‘Lob City’ are going to go on a win streak, they let the world down with two or three losses.  Right when Jeremy Lin seemed to be the savior of the New York Knicks and analysts had them stapled in as the number three seed in the East, Carmelo comes back and ruins everything. Right when it looks like Dwight is finally going to be traded and keep him from running his mouth, he stays put and the NBA has to listen to him moan once again about wanting to play in a big market.
With the postponed start date to the season being pushed to Christmas, everyone knew this 66-game year would be different from any other. My argument is that there seems to be little excitement revolving the usual suspects. A year ago, the Miami Heat were the most hated team in the league, everyone was watching how Melo and Amare would mesh and the duo of John Wall and Blake Griffin made their own personal highlight reels night in and night out.
This year, Jeremy Lin and Ricky Rubio have been the most exciting headlines. With that said, the Lin fanatics have fallen off the earth with their recent six-game losing skid and Rubio is out for the season. The Heat are no longer the talk of the league, the usual teams sit atop their respective conferences and there haven’t been a flurry of rookie talent. Where do the headlines come from now?
What began with talks about the Hawks, Pacers, Sixers and Wolves shocking the world has dwindled down due to the reality check of late. The only shockers seem to be the Clippers and Wolves. So far, the Timberwolves are a .500 team and in playoff contention and the Clippers sit at number five. My problem is this: that is old news. Everyone knew the Clippers would be better with CP3 and the Timberwolves were already on the rise. With Rubio out and the diminishing Western Conference, would it really be all that surprising if the Wolves missed the cut and the Clippers grabbed a fifth spot? No.
I’m not saying the NBA season has been a complete loss because it has been entertaining to see teams take on their back-to-back-to-back games and the Top 10 plays of CP3/Blake, Wade/LeBron and Westbrook/Durant. The single-game performances of Rondo’s triple double, Deron Williams’ 57 and Durant/Westbrook putting up over 90 have been thrilling. I just hope the stars can ride this season all the way through.
As a fan, I worry the overworking minutes in the minimized schedule will result in less production and less and excitement over time. We watch to answer the following questions: Can Kobe keep doing what he’s doing? Will Deron or Dwight get traded? Can the Thunder win the number one seed? It is pretty sad when the most talked about incident of the year might have been Kobe’s potential broken nose in the All-Star Game. The dunk contest was a no-show and no one watches the Celebrity Game and other events.
Not to the fault of the NBA, but there needs to be more shockers. More nobodies need to become somebodies and someone needs to step up and beat the Bulls, Thunder and Heat. Fans watch the games where “Anything is possible.” It hasn’t been the case so far. The shortened season has provided predictability and the shockless outcomes. It’s hard to tell if 2012 sucks or if 2011 was that good. It is going to take a lot of ‘shockers’ to get fans to turn their TV sets from March Madness to March Lameness of the NBA. Let baseball start already.