Jun. 09, 2017
The 2017 NBA Playoffs are the Worst Ever
Remember when you were told that you should be okay with your team having virtually no shot at winning the NBA championship because the Cavaliers and Warriors were going to have an all-time classic series in The Finals? About that...
Turns out the championship round is shaping up to be just as boring as the rest of the playoffs were. The Warriors have outscored the Cavs by 41 points through the first 2 games of the series. That ties this matchup with the Warriors/Blazers series as the 3rd-least competitive series through the first 2 games this postseason. And that's saying a lot considering there have been very few competitive series at all.
In fact, 12 of the 15 series have started with a team grabbing a 2-0 lead. You read that correctly. Only 3 series were tied 1-1 in these playoffs. Now that wouldn't be that big of a problem if it weren't for the fact that the teams trailing 2-0 are 1-10 so far. Maybe Cleveland will be the 2nd team to rally back, but I doubt that. 5 of the 11 teams to be down 2-0 through the first 3 rounds were swept. That's the most sweeps through the first 3 rounds since 1999 (6) and the most since the NBA made the first round a best-of-7 in 2003. On top of that, there have only been 2 game 7's in the entire postseason. It's the first time since 2010 that there have been 3 more sweeps than game 7's.
If the Warriors can win this series in 4 or 5 games, this will be the first time in NBA history that none of the final 3 series even made it to 6 games. I bring that up to point out that while other years have had dominating performances through the first few rounds, they always end up being competitive in the later rounds. I wouldn't even care if the Warriors and Cavs were in the championship against each other every year as long as it wasn't so easy for them to get there.
I'm not sure what the NBA can do about the complete lack of parity in the league at this point. Maybe lowering the salary cap would help to limit how many all-stars a team can pay at one time, but the players can always accept less money to play with each other if they really want to. With all the endorsements players are getting these days, they can afford to lose some basketball money, and would likely take smaller contracts to continue to stack up on the same few teams. But whatever the league can do to help make things exciting again, they should do it. They have almost completely alienated 30 fan bases over the past 3 years, and the looming offseason decisions for the Warriors are pretty much our only saving grace.
Teams like the Celtics, Lakers, and Spurs aren't sweating the recent dominance of the Warriors and Cavaliers because they always find ways to compete and add great players. The rest of the league, however, may never see their team win a championship (at least not for a very long time). Look at the Bucks, for example. Sure, they have a solid young core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Malcolm Brogdon, and Thon Maker that could turn into once of the NBA's best starting units in a few years. But how will they attract key free agents to Milwaukee? They won't be able to attain any more top draft picks without trading one of the guys I named above either. And the biggest legitimate fear that Bucks fans should have is the possibility of Antetokounmpo leaving Milwaukee eventually. Like Kevin Durant in OKC, he may become frustrated from losing to Cleveland and Boston every year, and he may eventually join one of those teams as a result.
That's the nature of the league at this point. Hopefully young players like Antetokounmpo, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, Devin Booker, Joel Embiid, and Kristaps Porzingis stay with their current teams so the league can be even again in a few years. I hope that we never have to suffer through another postseason that was this predictable and straight up boring again.