Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Final Thoughts on the 2010-11 NBA Season

Well done on the Dallas Mavericks for winning this year's NBA championship. Dirk Nowitzki and owner Mark Cuban have put their team in a great position to win for over a decade now and it's good to see it all (in Cuban's case, quite literally) pay off. Plus, the Mavs conform roughly to my ideal of how a team should be constructed: astute drafting, clever trading, a couple of handy free-agent signings, all combining to form a deep and balanced team that can handle just about any situation that is thrown at them. Essentially they're another version of my beloved 2004 Detroit Pistons team.

Meanwhile, I've grown well past tired of the level of vitriol that has been thrown at the Miami Heat over the past season. That Cleveland and Toronto fans will never forgive LeBron James and Chris Bosh for leaving I can understand, absolutely. But really, when you put it all together, what have they done to inspire the general level of hatred they have received from other fans? LeBron's "Decision" TV special? Yeah, it was self-promoting and a kick in the teeth to Cleveland fans, but it's not like he went up there and gave the middle finger to anyone - he seemed genuinely torn and sad to be leaving the only team he had known for seven years. (What he did behind the scenes might be another matter.) The "Welcome Party"? Yeah, it was over the top, but is it a lot different to how New York or Chicago would have reacted if they had managed to sign up the three most desired free agents in the league? The on-court and off-court posturing? It's no worse than a lot of other players; indeed, compared to what was going on in the early '90s when the league first gained global prominence, it's relatively subdued. If you're not from Ohio or Toronto, get over it. They lost anyway.

Now, unfortunately, it seems we are headed for the owners locking the players out over disputes around a new collective bargaining agreement. Presumably it's in no-one's interest for it to go on too long, but it may eat up a sizable part, if not all, of next season at least. This is during a time where interest in the NBA (according to TV ratings) has ignited again, and a lockout would surely slow this momentum.

Anyway, to finish off, here are my five most memorable moments from season 2010-11:

5. Following a mutiny in Detroit, the Pistons' bench laughs as their coach John Kuester is thrown out.
4. Jason Terry inexplicably lobs a long-range 3 in the dying moments of Game 5 of the Finals - and essentially ices the game for Dallas.
3. Blake Griffin dunks over a car.
2. Blake Griffin dunks over the Knicks.
1. The Miami Welcome Party - you have to admit it was memorable.

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