I wish the NBA weren’t so predictable. There is no point to this upcoming season. The Golden State Warriors are going to win the championship. Oops, spoiler alert.
Can we just act like it’s a video game and simulate all the way to next off-season?
Sure, the Eastern Conference is wide open this year because LeBron is in Los Angeles. And by “wide open”, I mean to say that there are really only three teams that could represent the East in the Finals.
Boston, Toronto, and Philadelphia.
Don’t give me this Milwaukee nonsense. They’ve only made it out of the first round once, since 1989. Let them win a few series first and then tell me they’re going all the way to the Finals.
I don’t like the idea of “Super Teams”. If superstars want to play with each other, they have an All-Star Game. Go play your hearts out.
We kid ourselves in thinking that General Managers lure big name free agents. No. The players pick the city and tell their friends to join them.
Now, “Super Teams” that are constructed through the draft? Have at it. That’s what made the Golden State Warriors so appealing a few years ago.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green were all drafted by the Warriors and won a championship.
As soon as they signed Kevin Durant, the taste in my mouth went sour.
They didn’t do anything wrong. They can sign whoever they want. Durant can sign wherever he wants.
But from the outside, it just felt unfair.
It felt like we were all back on the playground again and the four kids who were really good at soccer put themselves on one team, and everyone else – 13 kids who weren’t as good – were on the other.
I’m not picking on Durant here, he didn’t start this trend, it’s been going on for years.
I really don’t know what motivates 80% of the teams in the NBA. What are they working towards? You can look at your roster and immediately know if you’re a championship contender or not.
There is no, “Well, maybe we’ll surprise everyone and be the Vegas Golden Knights of the NBA”.
I don’t like that. You can play the basketball playoff rounds on paper and be right most of the time.
Again, it’s not like Golden State built their team illegally.
But the unpredictability of this sport is gone.
Am I supposed to get excited for teams that enter the playoffs as the 7th seed, when everyone expected them to miss the playoffs?
I mean, good for them, but they’re merely a speed bump.
When the Raptors traded DeMar DeRozan a few months ago, I was shocked at how many people didn’t understand why the Raptors did it.
I’m still shocked people are so naive about it.
“How could you guys trade the one guy who was loyal to this team and city. Smh.”
BECAUSE SPORTS ARE ABOUT WINNING, YOU SOCIAL MEDIA MORON.
For future reference, I can’t stand the “smh” abbreviation. Grow up.
We sat through how many years of playoffs with DeRozan as our go-to guy, and what was the common theme? He never rose to the occasion.
That hurts me to type because I like DeRozan, but it’s true.
And every Raptor fan knew it. Go pull up the tweets from when we were getting embarrassed by Cleveland. Or when we couldn’t win the first game of a series, ever.
DeRozan was benched last year in the playoffs because the coach found five other guys who were playing better than him.
Think about that.
Your best player needs to be your best player in the playoffs, or you’re not lifting a trophy in June. This isn’t hockey. You can’t rely on your depth players to grind out wins.
I don’t know how this turned into a post about the Raptors, but we’re here now.
Yes, Kawhi Leonard may leave after this year. And if he does, I won’t be too upset about it. Sure, I want him to stay, but I can’t control what he wants.
We’re basically taking the roster from last year, subtracting a player who underperformed in the playoffs, and replacing him with a former Finals MVP.
While that’s happening, the other players are going through the growing stages of their career and should be better than last year.
Put it all together, and you have a much better Raptors team.
Is it enough?
Stop asking these questions! I told you at the beginning that the Golden State Warriors were winning the championship this year.
But if the Raptors can make it to the Finals, that’s one more argument they can use in convincing Leonard to stay.
Does he want to be in a situation where he can win in the future, or does he want to go back to L.A. so badly, that he’ll be on a Clippers roster with no one of relevance?
I’m sorry DeRozan got traded, but this city has a poor reputation of waiting too long to trade star players, and ultimately being stuck with them, or getting next to nothing in return.
See: Donaldson, Tulowitzki, et al.
Say they held on to DeRozan until his contract ran out in three years, but never won anything. Then what? Are you going to re-sign him in free agency, just to be loyal to a guy who’s past his prime and won’t be bringing you a championship?
Think ahead, people.
I have no problem with the Raptors getting ahead of the curve and trying something different. The rebuild is closer than everyone thinks and that’s not a bad thing.
Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam will probably be permanent fixtures in the starting lineup within the next two years.
I don’t know how Kyle Lowry’s tenure with the team ends, but it’s coming eventually. He didn’t react well to the DeRozan trade and is getting himself thrown out of pre-season games in Montreal.
Hope the fans didn’t feel ripped off.
Winning solves everything, but body language says a lot, too. We’ll see how this goes.
I had started writing this post, thinking I would do a mini preview of each team, like I did for the NHL, but quickly realized there was no point.
Enjoy the NBA season, even though you know how it ends.
I hope I’m wrong.