2016 NBA Playoffs Have Been a Joke

Game 4 of the NBA Finals was fierce and competitive throughout. Those are two words that cannot be used to explain very many playoff game in my opinion. Do you think the Warriors are 30 points worse than the Thunder? Can any real basketball fan say that the Cleveland Cavaliers are 30 point dogs to the Warriors. There is a key component missing here.

Effort!

Is the NBA season too long or are these playoff series too long? The Warriors know they can get hot and comeback in any game and any series, so taking a night off in the playoffs is not a bad energy saving tactic. Cleveland has done the same thing. Take nothing away from the Toronto Raptors but a 15 point win against Cleveland in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals is not all from their talent. This stems from a much larger issue in the way basketball has shifted in America. The problem goes all the way down to the grassroots of AAU in the smallest cities in America.

Too Many Games Not Enough Practice

When I lived in Big Rapids, Michigan I coached a 5th and 6th grade boys travel basketball team. That team played two games every Saturday and practiced once a week. Most weeks we showed up and either won two games by 20 points or lost a pair of games by 30 points. The kids did not have enough time to work on the fundamentals in practice so the outcomes of most games came from the effort they brought that day. Those kids were a smart fun group, but they only had so much energy every week. Even when professionals get tired they use their technique to get them through tough times. When the kids got tired they moved slower and were not able to rely on the core fundamentals because they did not have that time to train those skills. Relating this back to the NBA is simple. With the Warriors being one of the youngest teams in the league they have a roster that grew up in AAU culture. Obviously, they have players with sound fundamentals, but they have grown up in a system where winning is not as valuable and losing is not as big of a deal. There is always another game in their mind.

How Do We Fix It?

My thoughts are probably not the most sought after in NBA circles, but I have a few ideas. Why is NCAA tournament so popular? It’s all about the drama. Shortening the series down to a 5 game series would still give the home team, home court advantage without deemphasizing the importance of winning. Basketball is not the same as baseball or hockey. In baseball there are different pitchers in all phases of the game from starting, middle relief, and closers that can make a large impact in how the game turns out. Giving teams the ability to make changes is extremely important in determining the best team. In hockey there are all kinds of rotations that can be tweaked. Hockey has different lines and different people on each line. Finding the best combination of players can be a huge advantage in terms of who wins the series in the NHL. The NBA is not the same as either one of those sports. The same guys play every game and the amount of changes in a 7 game series are much more minimal. Another thing that is ridiculous in the NBA is the fact that teams don’t come back from being down 3–0 ever. In the NBA finals there has never been a comeback from down 3–1. If the NBA finals were a 5 game series the excitement and anticipation for each game would soar through the roof, unlike these NBA finals where the rest of the games are pretty much waiting games. Every NBA fan is waiting to see which one of the next few games the Warriors will win because this series is over.

A 5 game series would be better.

Tell me I’m wrong? I’ll obviously listen but…

You won’t change my mind.

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