If there is such a thing as an all-knowing, all-being spirit of sports up there in that pigskin promised land, we need to get down on bended knee and pray for some sort of divine intervention.
“If you are up there, oh, maker of all things oblong, you will not allow this fantastic football season to come to an end and force us to watch the NBA. This, oh, god of the gridiron, would be merciless and unconstitutional. To force sports fans in Orlando to make the transition from an unprecedented football season to arguably the worst NBA season in history is cruel and unusual punishment.”
“The (NBA) is so top heavy and so full of bad teams,” points out national NBA writer Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com. “... The NBA has to generate interest in teams other than the Miami Heat and L.A. Clippers, and it’s tough to do. You’ve got a league that’s got an attractiveness problem. There are too many warts and too many zits and you can’t gloss that over.”
Geez, you could take all the Benzoyl Peroxide and Compound W ever made and smear them on this NBA season, and it would still have more warts than the Wicked Witch of the West. Especially in Central Florida, where we are coming off a fabulous college football season in which UCF won a school-first BCS bowl and Florida State won the national championship. But now we must turn our attention to the Magic, who are 30-90 over the last two seasons, in the midst of an eight-game losing streak and playing in a horrid Eastern Conference where only four of the 15 teams have winning records.
Hey, but only 125 days left until the NBA draft lottery!
Going from a fabulous football season to a farcical NBA season is like trading a slick new Porsche 911 for 1992 Chevy Lumina. This NBA season has turned into a cross between Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential aspirations and Alex Rodriguez’s Hall of Fame aspirations:
Train wreck meet grease fire.
Here’s all you need to know: If the NBA playoffs started today, the Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks would be the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds in the Eastern Conference and half the eight playoff teams in the East would have losing records. In the 67-year history of the NBA, no conference has ever had more than three losing teams make the playoffs.
Even one of the most rabid basketball supporters in town — Magic super fan “The Fat Guy” (aka local attorney Dennis Salvagio) — is troubled.
“It’s a bit disconcerting to see what’s happened to the NBA,” the Fat Guy says.
It certainly doesn’t help that the league’s two most storied franchises — the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers — stink so bad that they could make Right Guard turn left (OK, so it’s an old joke). And it hurts even more that other traditional powers and big-market franchises (see Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets) all have losing records.
Said former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, now a radio and TV analyst: “The hardest thing for an NBA fan is to flip around the package at night and find good basketball games between two good teams.”
The problem is it’s not going to get better. In fact, it’s going to get much worse because all of the teams that are trying to position themselves for the lottery are going to start flopping and floundering, tumbling and tanking even more than they already are.
The approved NBA model for rebuilding has become to finish with an awful record so you can put yourself in the best position to get a high draft pick. Even though the tanking strategy is a mathematical long shot, it has become an epidemic in the NBA.
“This draft is loaded,” one NBA general manager recently told ESPN The Magazine. “There are potential All-Stars at the top, maybe even franchise changers. ... Our team isn’t good enough to win, and we know it. ... Sometimes my job is to understand the value of losing.”
Now you know why we are in the midst of perhaps the worst NBA season in history.
Sadly, too many teams believe that being a loser is an acceptable way to build a winner.