Thoughts on the NBA Finals heading into Game 5

First, what a great , great series to watch. There has been everything that a basketball junkie could want. Passion, intensity, athleticism, how did he do that shots, team play on both sides of the ball, lots of suprises and a coaching chess match between the two best coaches of this decade.

Which leads me to the pre game shows. I don’t want to hear what Mike, Tim, Bill, Steven or Greg think the teams or players should do. I want more information on what they are doing. Why is it that only football pre games or in game analysts talk about plays? Why can’t we get some basketball analysts who break down games and tell us what plays are being run, how the defenses are reacting to them and whats working or not working?

Give me something of substance beyond “Duncan has got to show up”. “Joe Dumars told Rasheed to take his shot when they were in the elevator together.”

We have gotten some in game analysis about where certain players like to shoot from… mostly Bruce Bowen and Tim Duncan, and that Chauncey Billups likes to shoot 3s in the 4th quarter, but beyond that it seems like the announcers assume the fans not only know nothing about the game, but they want to keep it that way.

One of the best features, I think in Sports Illustrated is the scouting reports on teams and players. Give us some knowledge from the people who get paid to scout the league. The more we can give insights from insiders rather than listen to what Ben Wallace’s wife told him for the 9th time (it was ok as a fun fact the first time), the more involved fans will be with the game.

Which is not to say that ABC hasn’t stepped up. The halftime series have been phenomenal! I have seen the ones of Rip, Manu and Horace Jenkins and they have been great TV. The only missing piece is that they weren’t in HD.

Anyone who thought the series was over after the Spurs went up 2-0 had already forgotten what happened to them in the Seattle series. They just havent been great away from home this year. Not great, but capable of winning when pushed hard. Which makes tonights game 5 all the more exciting.

I understand why the NBA wants to bring in the legends of the game. That’s what the focus groups said. That older potential viewers missed the legends of the NBA. Well, beyond the fact that 18-34 is the coveted demographic for our TV partners, to paraphrase Rick Pitino “Larry Bird, Dr J, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordon aren’t playing in an NBA game anytime soon”. Putting the legends in our commercials isn’t going to convince older viewers that they might, or that our current players are their peers.

The NBA product is amazing right now. The games are fun to watch. Every playoff matchup has had drama and excitement. The product is good and not only that, it is working for our advertisers. So why in the world are we selling what we don’t have?

The last time a mashup of old and new worked was when Aerosmith and Run DMC re worked Walk This Way. The NBA attempt at a mashup of old and new just isn’t working.

The first thing any salesperson learns is “Sell what you have”.

Can we please market and sell whatwe have… Drama, intense action, passion, fun, excitement, rabid fans,athleticism, and great guys playing a great game in a waythat can appeal to all demographics. If we market the fun and benefits of the product we have, more people would get into the games. Trying to show off the Legends of the game might be great for ESPN Classic Sports, but it’s not going to get prospective fans, and those on the cuspto make an appointment with their TV to turn on ABC tonight at 9pm EST.

Our biggest challenge is in those cities who don’t have NBA teams. So how about this for an idea this upcoming season. In addition to sending teams to Europe and around the world to build interest, why not start camp a little early and send teams to cities like Cincinatti, Pittsburgh, St Louis, Kansas City, Columbus and others of similar sizes to build awareness and excitement for our game and players? Start off the week with an open tryout in that city, pick one or two players to work out with the team for that week and build some local excitement. It would buildandextend our fanbase in those cities. It would expose the local media and fans to our players, where they can see what we are really like. It would be selling the product we have to the fans and customer we need the most… What a concept!

Finally, the ratings. It seems like thats a big a topic as the games themselves. I personally have been pleasantly suprised at how good they were. I didn’t expect them to match last year. As I have said before, people love trainwreck TV and that’s exactly what last years finals were, the trainwreck of the Lakers, which I enjoyed as much as the next person.

This year is about the games, the players who play them and what fans look for in a World Championship Series.. It’s all there.

Now if we had combined great marketing with all the great things we have seen on TV, who knows how good they could have been the first 4 games. From here on out however, I think the games will more than compensate for other mistakes. It’s a best of 3 series between two great teams, and that will make for great TV and ratings.

What bloggers are saying about the NBA Finals

76 thoughts on “Thoughts on the NBA Finals heading into Game 5

  1. I’d like to see John Hollinger of ESPN added as an analyst; he knows the game extremely well and would be able to break down what’s actually happening rather than talking in cliches. Those analysts are probably talking in cliches because of lack of game preparation.

    Comment by Scott -

  2. Chris (#8):

    Regarding late start times, I’d imagine this is an area that ABC and the league have examined closely. Your theory that more people out East will watch earlier times vs. the additional people out West who will watch later times probably doesn’t hold much weight if you consider Monday Night Football unsuccessfully experimented with an earlier start time a few years ago.

    Comment by JJ -

  3. The challenge the NBA has, and any sports league for that matter, is the often conflicting needs of the fan base.

    For example, die hard NBA fans want to see less “fluff” and more analysis. The SI Scouting Reports Mark mentions are probably quite appealing to serious hoops fans, many whom post in here.

    But tailoring coverage in that direction may come at the expense of the casual NBA fan who really doesn’t enjoy the true elements of the game. These are the fans that love the entertainment factor–hence the over marketing of individual players and tie-ins with legends and music stars.

    At the peak of its popularity, the NBA was so powerful because it satisfied both the die hard population and casual fans. As long as the top players in the league had the charisma of MJ or Magin or Bird, the interest of both fan bases were aligned. But recently those interests have diverged. You know have a greater number of highly talented players, but no standout ala the MJ years. You also have a younger and more international product. The changing dynamics of hoops leads to many opportunities but also confuses the marketing message. And it also results in the NBA taking the die hards a bit for granted and catering their coverage and marketing to the more casual fan.

    Comment by JJ -

  4. Thanks for pointing out some of the problems with the league right now, especially with broadcasters. Some of them (Bill Walton, especially) will say something that is completely overblown and then a few minutes later say something that is completely the opposite and just as overblown in the other direction. Does ABC assume that either a) we weren’t watching 5 minutes ago, or b) that we can’t even remember what was said 5 minutes ago, or maybe its c) they already know that we’ve got the game on mute because we can’t stand to hear more empty fluff that contradicts what was said a few moments ago.

    As for selling the league, for most of us, its too expensive to go to a game, so basketball is just a TV show that comes on at random hours of the night/week. For me to go to a game, $75 per doesn’t even get me out of the upper bowl, well maybe if I’m lucky. So basically to get a better view of the game than I can get at home I have to shell out at least $150 assuming I’m not going alone. The arenas are filled with corporate executives who can pay whatever the owners want since they are writing it all of anyway, and with every town’s high rollers who are just there to be seen. The real fans, kids especially, have been priced out of the game.

    Comment by Jake -

  5. A problem with these games is that they are shot-making games instead of play-making games. The NBA is never at its best when there are two offensive-minded point guards on the floor. San Antonio is at its most entertaining when they have Duncan, Horry, Barry, Ginobili and Udrih on the floor, five excellent passers looking to make plays.

    I am particularly happy that the officials are ignoring the flops. This flopping has gotten out of control. Parker and Ginobili routinely finish their drives with flops, although Ginobili seems to have cut back since the media finally questioned him about it. But throughout the playoffs there have been two or three players on every team flopping. When did Ben Wallace start all this flopping? Thankfully, as I said, the officials are ignoring a lot of it. Now if they would stop sending players to the line when THEY INITIATE THE CONTACT, there’d be some real progress.

    Comment by Steve Follansbee -

  6. The so-called basketball analysis today is a complete joke especially when someone as dumb and worthless as Steven Smith( I refuse to put the A. in there because he just does it to see and feel educated) puts down these players. Every single NBA player has more skill than he ever has dreamed of. He rips in people like Rasha Nesterovich constantly. The way he does it is as if he is a better player than he is or something. it’s so worthless. Them an has no creditbility and neither do alot of those hacks.

    It just makes absolutely no sense how someone who probably didn’t even play college basketball sits there and rips on an NBA player who does this for a living. Being a critic has to be the easiest job in the world. Problem is there are suppose to analyze, not criticize.

    Comment by JR Ewing -

  7. I’m a basketball junkie — the more analysis, the better. I totally agree with you — I want more in-depth analysis of the basketball being played. One of my favorite features is when the broadcast is able to “spy” on a team huddle. You get the perspective of the foremost expert on the game — the coach, not the announcers — and what they’re worried about. Is it intensity? Are they running the defense wrong? I’d love to see more “in the huddle” stuff. Also, I enjoy hearing the referee explanations to the players on disputed calls. I know that cussing is probably a problem, but the more “miked up” stuff, the better.

    NFL pregame shows are the only watchable pregame shows to me. Baseball and basketball pregames are almost all fluff stories with little real content. A fluff piece here and there is OK, but not all fluff.

    One of my favorite features on NFL Fox pregames is when the ex players and coaches get on the miniature field and show the audience what’s going on. How a good receiver uses his hands for just a little bit of a push on the cornerback as he leaves the line of scrimmage. How the defense end uses a swim move to get past the offensive guard. I love watching about technique and strategy — like you said, not that “wow, is really hot this series, you have to slow him down!” Give me something with substance — is really hot this series. The Pistons are going to have to put a bigger defender on him and force him to start his offensive players from further out on the wing. In these plays, he’s setting up on the left side, just 6 feet from the basket. They have to muscle him further outside and make him work over his right shoulder, rather than left shoulder, when he has his back to the basket.”

    Comment by Andrew Kaufmann -

  8. 200 miles away, in Austin, TX we are looking forward to our NBADL team which will start next year. These new breeding grounds as well as open tryouts are going introduce some interesting basketball in the future.

    Comment by RamZ -

  9. Mark,

    Agree with the comments about the legends. Don’t get me wrong, I love Magic, Bird and MJ. But I think the league and the media sometimes over-reminisce.

    ABC’s marketing theme this year is that the Finals are “where legends are made”. Unfortunately, after 5 games, it doesn’t look like a legend will emerge from this series. Both teams excel because they are a balanced team. And so far no one has been dominating throughout.

    If on the other hand we had a Phoenix/Heat match up, it could have been a great prelude to 2 probable future legends – DWade and Amare.

    No disrespect to the Spurs and Pistons. In fact they both play ‘the right way’ and I enjoy wacthing them. It just doens’t fit ABC’s marketing theme, that’s all.

    Comment by Victor -

  10. To Glenn #9:

    There is plenty of scoring. Phoenix, Sacremento, Dallas, Boston, and Washington all averaged over 100 points per game in the regular season. 10 teams, roughly 1/3 of the league averaged 99 points or more per game.

    The fact is, in most highly competitive sports, offense sells tickets and defense wins championships!

    If you think the series is boring because there is not enough scoring you aren’t a true fan of basketball. If you want to see high scoring games check out the And1 mix tapes/tour.

    San Antonio and Detroit are two GREAT basketball teams, they play basketball like it should be played as Mark mentioned. They have passion, energy, they play hard nosed defense, they play well together as a team.

    SA and Detroit are the only two teams in the NBA this year to hold their opponents under 90 points per game. Coincidence that they made it to the finals? I think not…

    Some good old fashioned basketball in this series…

    Comment by Chris -

  11. Mark,
    I’m in total agreement. Steven A. Smith and some of the other so called analysts don’t ever use words like pick and roll or transition defense, etc. It’s more about who can we call out from the last game or what was Eva Longoria wearing at the game. I was watching a game last week and they had Jim Gray interviewing Mike Tyson during the game. What does anyone have to gain from a useless conversation between two people who know nothing about basketball? Another item I’d like to bring up is the length of halftime. During the regular season, halftime lasts anywhere from 14-18 minutes. During the playoffs (especially on TNT), haftimes are lasting 24-30 minutes! That’s insane. I firmly believe that it has effected games. How many times have you seem a team make a late 2nd quarter surge and them come out flat in the third. Teams should not have to sit in the locker room that long. It ruins momentum. Oh, by the way, don’t tell me that a game starts at 8:00et when it’s not going to start until 8:25et! How are we going to grow the game when last nights game didn’t end until 12:30am. Unfortunately, the NBA playoffs are turning into a Fox World Series broadcast. I’m waiting for the cast of the OC to be courtside.

    Comment by Rich -

  12. It’s funny, even before I read this entry, a friend and I were just discussing how much more we would enjoy watching the finals if you could CHOOSE your announcing team. I’m personally not a big fan of either of the ABC guys who did last night’s game, and often their analysis is so painful that it borders on unintentional comedy. Why should rabid basketball fans put up with lowest-common-denominator commentary? Of course ABC is trying to draw in as many people as possible to watch the game, and they’re afraid of “scaring” off viewers who don’t know much about basketball…but honestly – if viewers are given a choice of who to listen to, it can lead to much more efficient way to spend advertising dollars – you can learn how people like to receive information, and what type of info sinks in with them. Think about it – some people like the loud “YEAH BABY!” announcers, some like them descriptive, others analytical. Taylor your advertising toward xyz-type crowd, and that’s ad dollars better spent. And I do realize that this is technically unfeasible with current common TV equipment, but if we can get streaming audio to wifi devices, why can’t I just stream a realtime commentary file from the web and listen to it on my speakers and turn down the volume on the tv?

    I think it was on this blog that I was also reading about HDNet’s converage of the war in iraq, where they would simply set up a camera somewhere and let the action tell the story, rather than being bogged down by talking heads like the Fox News crew (whom I also blame for the dumbing-down of espn, esp. shows like SC…I used to LOVE that show back in the day) . I think the no-sound thing is a great way to do journalism, but why not allow people to choose who to listen to?

    Comment by anton -

  13. Oh crap… I send a comment about a typo, and put in a typo. I do understand the difference between hear and here.

    Comment by Joe S. -

  14. I can’t help myself…

    It’s C-i-n-c-i-n-n-a-t-i.

    Sorry. I hope that doesn’t dissuade you from coming. We’d love to have you hear. We don’t have phenomenal facilities for hoops, but the Cintas Center is one of the nicer and more intimate campus basketball arenas in the country.

    My question, Mark, is why not? Who is stopping you from doing it this year? Why not come on down and show those of us unfortunate enough not to be in an NBA city what we’re missing? I would assume where the Mav’s choose to hold camp and intra-squad scrimmages is entirely up to you, right?

    Come on over to Cincy, we’ll be waiting for you!


    Comment by Joe S -

  15. Stephen A. Smith (SAS) and Stuart Scott (SS) are, as SAS would put it, HORRIBLE!!!
    SAS is all about the negative. He gives no solutions or ananlysis at all. He makes ridiculous predictions as if they are fact (he even says that they are fact), then tries to explain why he was correct even though he was wrong.
    SS needs to stick to the basics. All of his catch phrases have now put him in drinking game status. Saturday Night Live once did a Sports Center bit with Ray Romano. The SS character kept looking over at RR with disgust every time he turned a stupid phrase, but he kept doing it himself. Usually, a bit needs to be over the top on SNL to make it funny. Not this time.

    Comment by Austin -

  16. Stephen A. Smith (SAS) and Stuart Scott (SS) are, as SAS would put it, HORRIBLE!!!
    SAS is all about the negative. He gives no solutions or ananlysis at all. He makes ridiculous predictions as if they are fact (he even says that they are fact), then tries to explain why he was correct even though he was wrong.
    SS needs to stick to the basics. All of his catch phrases have now put him in drinking game status. Saturday Night Live once did a Sports Center bit with Ray Romano. The SS character kept looking over at RR with disgust every time he turned a stupid phrase, but he kept doing it himself. Usually, a bit needs to be over the top on SNL to make it funny. Not this time.

    Comment by Austin -

  17. Games need to start earlier, especially non-weekend games. I love watching a great NBA finals game, but I’m not going to stay up until midnight to watch, and neither can most kids.

    And here’s another vote to banish Stuart Scott. He adds nothing, knows nothing, and is generally the most annoying sports broadcaster around today…and that’s saying something. I can’t even watch SportsCenter when he hosts. Hey Stuart. it’s about the game not you!

    Comment by Mark -

  18. Nitromed’s stock increased on news that the FDA panel approved BiDil for use in African American populations. If the FDA takes the panel’s advice, which it usually does, BiDil would be the first drug to reach the market for NitroMed (NTMD). What do you see as a high for NTMD in the next 26 weeks?

    Comment by Duke Rollings -

  19. Until tonight’s thriller, the series has been a mixed bag, since the games weren’t that close. Tonight was fantastic, however.

    I totally agree with Mark’s comment about the lack of analysis as to how the game is actually played. For two games apiece, one team had its way with the other team, and rarely, if ever, was there any attempt to explain what the dominated team should do to reverse what was happening.

    For example, I’m still unsure why San Antonio is still running so much screen roll, when they might want to try spreading the floor and just letting Parker or Ginobli blow by his man — Chauncey and Rip are solid defenders, but they can’t keep up with those guys one on one. I’d also like some insight on how the Pistons got Prince going tonight. He has become a pretty good offensive player, despite the fact that he apparently learned his jump shot from Bill Cartwright.

    Comment by Mike Bennett -

  20. Announcers should also create drama by pointing out that some teams are 0-7 when a certain ref is calling their game. This might prove foolish, as this is obviously a shockingly small sample size. Also, the announcers need to ignore the “noise” in the observation, such as the fact that senior refs do later rounds and said team is always overmatched by the 2nd round.

    They should also ignore the fact that there is a ref who is 5-1 with said team, b/c let’s face it, that doesn’t make for as compelling a story.

    And above all, the announcers should look straight into the camera and say that these stats mean nothing, but then do a little wink-wink so we know they don’t REALLY mean that. Perhaps even the patented obnoxious finger-point-gunshot to seal the deal.

    THIS would make for some interesting pregames.

    Comment by KronicFatigue -

  21. Mark,
    I’m just curious as to your opinion of analysts like Steven A Smith of ESPN. Smith in particular appears to be more interested in putting down other analysts/players than actually analyzing the game. It’s people like these (Stuart Scott another terrific example) who turn me off from the NBA brand of basketball sometimes. Like you said in the post, we wana know what is and isn’t working for the teams. However, instead we are treated to a ridiculous insult fest, not fit for the fifth grade locker room. It’s be nice two see these men display a little more knowledge of the game and a little more maturity on screen! I would find it very interesting to get your thoughts on this topic. thanks

    Comment by Chad Sexington -

  22. I forgot to add that the earlier comments about the finals starting too late are on the money. It’s hard for me to make it to the end of games here in Dallas. I would never make it if I were on EDT.

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  23. Mark,

    I am a big fan. I have learned much from your business postings. However, the NBA finals are dreadful. There is no scoring. All the games have been blowouts. (This one is tied at 42-42) at the half. I change in and out. I can’t watch the whole game. This is from a man who was glued to his TV during the Magic/Bird era.

    The average fan does not like defense and low scoring games. This is something that the NFL figured out long ago. Baseball has working to improve offense by closing the strike zone and building smaller parks. This is one of hockey’s big problems.

    The NBA needs to do something immediately to improve scoring. All the athletic moves in the world are no good if they don’t make the basket. Please lobby to change the rules (or anything else) to help scoring. Make them move, make them pass. Do something!! Phoenix was a godsend for the NBA.

    I think the NBA made a major mistake moving the All-Star game and almost all of the playoffs to cable. Yes, most of us have it (myself included – DIRECTV), but I think you lose too much exposure by not being on broadcast TV. There is no buildup to the finals. Also, I thought it was ridiculous that some of the Mavs games were not on Channel 21, but only on TNT. I have several friends who were very disappointed that they could not see the games.

    Let’s get those Mavs back on track for next season!!

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  24. I’m definitely on board with your comments about the drama and athleticism of today’s NBA. My biggest gripe is with the start time of games. I work for a living, and I would imagine that most of the people that the NBA and its advertisers are trying to attract do so as well. Maybe I’m just getting to be an old man, but I can’t make it through a whole game and given the choices that cable (or Tivo) provides, why invest time watching a game I can’t even finish? Even the younger fans are not an exception: 99% of the NBA season occurs during a normal school calendar year.

    Am I missing something? Even just a few years ago (<10) the NBA Finals never started after 8:30 EST. Sure, the NBA wants to pull in the west coast fans, but a large percentage of the US population lives along the Atlantic coast. Can anyone educate me here? (seriously)

    Comment by Chris Rhoton -

  25. Seriously –

    The NBA Finals need to start earlier than 9 PM eastern time. There are those of us who don’t stay up that late (past midnight) when the game ends because of commercials every ten minutes.

    Comment by sledge -

  26. Your enthusiasm for Basketball is amazing, Mark. Kind of like me and hockey (hockey will be played again). Legends can sell the game, I see nothing wrong with a hybrid of legends and current stars selling together. Just this week, The Leafs had all 8 of the living team captains under one roof for the first time (there have only been 9 captains in the team’s history). I thought that this was an amazing thing to see.

    Comment by Tino Buntic -

  27. Heh. Richard, I personally find this series less boring than the Shaq/Kobe stuff – more good defense, and more decent coaching. But then, I like soccer, too.

    I’m not enamoured of the “external storyline” approach that most televised sports seem to think is a requirement. I totally agree with Mark, from a perspective of watching WAY too many basketball games over the years – you sell what you have. And the product right now is pretty darned good.

    Comment by Greg Burton -

  28. I agree Mark, the NBA has the product, if they can find ways to get out and include cities that have been otherwise alienated. Cities with teams do a great job of marketing themselves, leaving a loyal crowd to keep support high, but in cities and states that lack a team, the same kind of excitement can be created. Open tryouts, despite creating a lot of disappointment will give fans one more opportunity to interact with their favorite players and teams, even if not one player is ever signed into the NBA through them. Overseas is great, but you have a large untapped market here- just think if you could get half the diehard hockey fans.. 🙂


    Comment by Christopher Uthe -

  29. Bring your idea to Albuquerque, Mark – you’d definitely get a warm welcome, even if this tends to be Maloof country.


    ps: agreed, it’s a great series. Too bad some of the media think it’s boring if the scores aren’t in triple figures.

    Comment by Greg Burton -

  30. I argee with everything you said. The best commericals that are on are Nike’s. The Rasheed Wallace fire is my personal fav, even being a Mavs fan. Any thoughts on the Phil Jackson hiring? Can he resurrect the dead Lakers back to the Finals?

    Comment by James Askew -

  31. Open tryouts is a really interesting idea, and would create interest, but it also seems like it’d create lots of disappointment. It seems rare that anyone would actually make a professional level team just through an open tryout.

    It is wise to bring a couple games to cities without the NBA, I’d think. More wise to continue to promote overseas.

    Comment by Alex -

  32. great site with very good look and perfect information…i like it

    Comment by Litfaßsäule -

  33. Well, after only getting 4 hours of sleep because I was so mad after the Mavs loss I thought I should vent some feelings. The NBA is a total mess and needs to make some serious changes. I would love to see a video replay of the entire series so I could highlight how terrible NBA officiating was in this series. I am a longtime fan of the NBA and yes it is easier to cope with when your team gets the calls, but I still would prefer to win it on my own.

    For some reason NBA officials seem to allow superstar fouls year after year. To me as a fan of the game this makes me IRATE. I think the NBA should implement a rule similar to soccer where if the guy flops intentionally he gets a technical foul. I think this would stop some of the ridiculous acting jobs in the NBA. In addition, why is it that every single official anticipates fouls and blows his whistle even if the foul does not occur? I think one of the problems is because they are so old. I mean some of those official look 90 and how can they keep up with guys who are a third of their age, much less be in the position to see everything correctly.


    3 of the 4 Heat victories were by a combined 6 points in those games the combined free throw discrepancy was 44 in Miami’s favor. Does that seem off to anybody else? Am I the only one who thinks if that is narrowed by 20 that were having very different conversations right now. I don’t want to believe that there is bias towards any player or team, but clearly the bias in this series especially in the waning moments went to D. Wade. Is he a great player? ABSOLUTELY! And the best in the series? Certainly. But, not even MJ received the treatment Wade received at the end of games. Or the rest of the game for that matter. I guaruntee if anyone were to watch a replay of any of those games we could count at least 10 phantom fouls a game by refs that for some reason more than any other sport seem to be brought up after every game.

    Could the Mavs have won despite all that, yes they should have, but when your not getting calls you adjust and they adjusted to taking more 3’s than we did all season. But, that is what you are taught to do, adjust to what the officials are doing. D. Wade did a great job of this, he knew he would get foul calls so he drove and he has a great way of looking like he got fouled even when he doesn’t. So he got the calls whenever he wanted. Last couple of things, why when a team is on a run do the officials seem to allow them to do whatever they want? and why aren’t fouls that are fouls the rest of the game not called at the end of the game? I guess the officials fixed my second question. They absolutely called fouls against the mavs at the end of games when the series is on the line.

    Comment by Jason -

  34. good!!

    Comment by 11nong -

  35. I was a season ticket holder from Day One of the Raptors, and it’s hard for me to even watch any more. If you want to play for a winner, then start being one yourself. The two teams in the finals are definately showing what it takes to be a team.

    Comment by whales -

  36. I think you are right, the NBA has an awesome product right now, and it gets better and better. I think that there is more excitement then ever and they are finally promoting themselves right. The recent NBA and TNT commercials are awesome. If you haven’t seen them look here:

    They are finally speaking the the market and targeting the youth with the stuff that they like. They are showing that the players can have fun and have personalities. This is entertainment they are selling here!!! Entertain me…. Infuse it with pop culture, make the game more exciting and more current. I think the NBA is doing a lot of things right.

    Comment by Ted Murphy -

  37. Since Mark is chiding me (not specifically of course) for Good Old Days Syndrome, this will be my last post.

    I wish the Spurs many more years of success, except when they play the Mavs!!

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  38. Sorry,

    but it would be very hard to find anyone who is unbiased by fandom that would pick David Robinson over Kareem Abdul Jabbar. No one ever destroyed Kareem the way Hakeem did the Admiral in 1995. Also, the Admiral was never the same player after the injury that allowed the Spurs to draft Duncan and we are talking about the post-injury Robinson. The Admiral was a great player, but he was not Kareem.

    Ginobili had a nice playoff run (but he vanished in games three and four in the finals), but he is not a top 10 player. He sneaks into the back end of the top 20. Give him another two or three years and he might get there.

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  39. Based on your wanting to have teams travel to cities unrepresented in the NBA. Would you support Kansas City in it’s attempt to get an NBA team in it’s new stadium?

    Comment by Aruna Fonseka -

  40. Ginobili in ’05 is a significantly better player than Byron Scott ever was. After the performances he put together in the playoffs, he’s arguably a top 10 player in the league. I don’t recall Byron Scott being anywhere close.

    David Robinson in ’99 hadn’t started to fall off yet, he just let Duncan be the go-to guy on offense to concentrate on defense. At that point, he was probably the #2 or #3 all-time defensive center, behind Russell and in the same ballpark with Olajuwon. Robinson’s incredible defensive presence is arguably the main reason that team went 15-2 that postseason and swept the Shaq-Kobe Lakers. Kareem was an incredible scorer, but he was hardly the most intimidating post presence of his era.

    Stephen Jackson is a head case who was really good as long as he had the right team around him to rein him in. He’s a good defender (though not in Bowen’s or Cooper’s class), and he could drop 20 on any team in the league on a given night when he was with the Spurs, either by penetrating to the basket or by nailing the outside shot. It’s apples and oranges to compare that to Cooper, but it’s not like Cooper blows him out of the water.

    I’d call it 2-2-1 for the starters (Magic, Ginobili, Worthy, Duncan, tie). Maybe the Lakers win it on the bench 2-1-2, but that’s not a huge edge. And personally, I can’t think of anything that would be more hilarious to watch than Kareem and AC Green trying to get positioning in the post against the ’03 Duncan and the ’99 Robinson. It would be a pretty interesting series, actually. You’d have to put Bowen on Magic, which would make Worthy a pretty difficult cover. On the other hand, I can’t even imagine who could cover Duncan. It’s not like you can leave Robinson to double him.

    But ultimately, the reason it’s tough to compare the Spurs to the Lakers, though, is that the ’99 team was an aging veteran team that finally broke through thanks to Duncan. By the time the ’03 title team came around, there were only 3 guys left from ’99, and Robinson was in his last season. By ’05, Duncan was the only guy left from ’99. It probably makes more sense to treat ’99 as a different team and look at ’03 as the beginning of the Duncan-Ginobili era, which still has quite a while to go.

    The ’05 team has a bunch of young guys who haven’t peaked yet. Ginobili finally broke through in the playoffs this year. Parker is still only 23, and a long way from peaking. Mohammed had half a season to learn the schemes. They’re bringing in the best power forward in Europe next year, and they’ve got a few other kids developing in Europe who may be ready to contribute at a high level before the Spurs’ run is over.

    Comment by Andrew Norris -

  41. My comparisons are based only on the championship teams.

    Is Kareem a better player in 1982 and 1985 than the Admiral in 1999 and 2003?

    Is Jamaal Wilkes a better player in 1982 than Sean Elliott in 1999?

    Is Norm Nixon a better player in 1982 than Avery Johnson in 1999?

    Is Tim Duncan a better player in 2003 and 2005 than AC Green in 1987-1988?

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  42. The Lakers won five championships in nine years. The Spurs have won three championships in seven years. I didn’t use anyone that was only on the Lakers 1980 team, so it’s really a comparision of an equal seven year span.

    Which do you dispute?

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  43. Glen,

    You’re pulling players at their peak out of 5 championships up against a team that may not even have reached its peak yet. I would dispute several of your comparisons, but I think that’s beside the point. It will be a little more fair to call this 5 years from now when we see whether the Spurs ended up with a dynasty of 5 or 6 titles and developed several more championship caliber guys, or whether they peaked this year.

    My main point, though, was that the NBA game is finally improving again. Frankly, I think this makes your point rather moot. Yeah, there are still a ton of players in the NBA that can’t shoot. In the 90’s, they didn’t need to, because you only needed 2-3 guys on an entire team to do your scoring for you, because there was no ball movement. Now that you need ball movement to score, you see more guys who can shoot, and there will be even more a couple of years from now. Five years ago, nobody cared whether a guy like Bruce Bowen could score or not as long as he could defend. Now, the fact that he can hit the open jumper is vital, because the defensive rules allow his man to more easily leave him to collapse on someone else inside.

    All of this is still a work in progress, but every year it’s been getting better. A couple of years ago, you saw a couple of exciting teams like Sacto and Dallas pass and shoot really well, but they were weak defenders. Last year, you saw the breakout season of the Suns, a team even more committed to offense. But more importantly, you’re seeing teams like the Spurs and Pistons, even though they are built around defense, use strong offensive fundamentals to get themselves good shots. Sure, they may not drop 120 on someone very often (though the Spurs did it to the Suns), but they cut without the ball and pass to the open man as well as they penetrate to the basket. And ultimately, that’s good offensive basketball.

    Comment by Andrew Norris -

  44. I can’t comment on the NBA before 1980 because I did not watch it. I haven’t examined the Champions of the 70’s, but most people would agree that the quality of the NBA was much better in the 1980’s than in the 1970’s. It is a consensus that the NBA was in serious trouble as a league when Magic and Larry arrived. The Finals weren’t even shown live.

    The Lakers last year had four name players but only two stars. Malone and Payton did not play very well at all.

    Open shots are available in today’s NBA. The Suns proved that. Most players just can’t make them. Some coaches can’t design an offense to get open shots. Other times, players pass up an open 10ft shot to drive into a triple team to try to draw a foul. Don Nelson stated many times on his local radio show that players don’t shoot as well today as they used to. The style and pace of play are also a big part of the problem. FG% was lower in the 60’s and 70’s, but the pace of play still allowed for more offense. They need to speed up the pace of the game. The NBA recognized that when they changed the crossing half court rule from 10 seconds to 8.

    The NBA must do something to make their product more exciting to the general public. That’s my point. Viewship is declining.

    I’m happy that you like the current game in the NBA. I hope you continue to enjoy it.

    We will just have to agree to disagree.

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  45. Glenn (#52)-

    I’m puzzled by your comment that NBA teams today wouldn’t compete with teams in the 80’s. To support that you point out how champs in the 80’s had three star players, and that evolved to the Pistons who had no star players.

    For starters, there was a lot of NBA history before the 80’s. Teams like the Washington Bulletts and Golden State Warriors won championships without three star players.

    But the main reason I don’t buy your theory is that one year ago we saw a team with zero stars (Detroit) dismantle a team with four stars (Lakers).

    The perceived decline in the quality of play has less to do with stars on teams and more to do with the way the game has evolved. Simply put, players have become much bigger, stronger, and quicker than decades ago. The result is a style of play where every shot is contested.

    That’s not necessarily a problem. But if people seek a more up and down game, rule changes aren’t going to do it. The league should consider widening and lengthening the court.

    Comment by JJ -

  46. Excellent points about the absence of legitimate analysis on basketball broadcasts. It’s maddening how superficial the commentary is. I also appreciated you saying as much on the ESPN Hot Seat–it probably won’t change anything, because there’s an ambivilent mass of casual fans that ESPN/ABC is really trying to reach, and I guess they appreciate hearing about Ben Wallace’s wife–but I thought it was great that you got to say that when asked.

    Are there any commentators/studio analysts that you feel even approach the level of analysis you’d like?

    Comment by Adam Ghander -

  47. I hope this formats correctly.

    Let’s do a comparison between the championship Lakers and the Championship Spurs. I will choose the best players from all the teams for starters (David Robinson at Center and Ginobili at guard for the Spurs).


    Magic Johnson vs. Tony Parker

    No need for discussion.

    Lakers huge.


    Byron Scott vs. Manu Ginobili

    I would consider this a draw.



    James Worthy vs. Bruce Bowen

    Lakers huge


    A. C. Green vs. Tim Duncan

    Spurs huge. This and Point Guard are the two biggest mismatches.


    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. David Robison

    Kareem beats the Admiral. He was more productive and he was the focal point of the Lakers half court offense while the Admiral took a back seat to Duncan



    Norm Nixon vs. Avery Johnson,

    Nixon wins this battle easily.


    Michael Cooper vs. Steven Jackson

    Larry Bird said the toughest defender he ever faced was Michael Cooper. Jackson is decent.



    Jamaal Wilkes vs. Sean Elliott

    Wilkes was an excellent player who is largely forgotten. I consider him barely a step below Worthy. Elliott was a great story, returning from a kidney transplant to win a ring, plus his great shot to win a game, but Elliott was a shadow of himself at this point.



    Kurt Rambis vs. Malik Rose

    Kurt Rambis did more with less than almost any NBA player. I always thought that the fact that Rose was a primary backup was an indication of the decline in NBA talent.



    Bob McAdoo vs. Nazr Mohammed

    McAdoo was still a good player for the Lakers in the early 80’s. I chose Mohammed since he played over Nesterovic in the playoffs. Mohammed has little offense but wins the defensive battle.


    The Lakers win 6-2-2. I don’t think this series would go more than five games.

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  48. You forgot 1980. They had Jamaal Wilkes, who was an excellent player. He seems largely forgotten today. I consider him barely a step below Worthy.

    I have done a position by position comparison between the Lakers and the Spurs.

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  49. What nearly killed basketball wasn’t the development of physical defense. Early 90’s Pistons-Bulls was exciting basketball. What killed it was the response on offense: the dominance of the isolation play. Watching Jordan or Iverson run an isolation, using incredible athleticism to create a brilliant play is exciting. Watching pretty much anyone else run one (especially post players) is like watching paint dry. If Jordan hadn’t been in the league in the late 90’s, everybody would have realized that the NBA had turned into an increasingly boring, stagnant game.

    Ever since the defensive rules were changed a few years ago — allowing the zone, but preventing big slow guys from parking in the paint — basketball has started to show signs of life again. You see a lot fewer plays now where a big guy backs his man down in the post for 10 seconds, and a lot more passes and transition plays.

    The scores have finally started to rise again, but higher scores alone don’t mean better basketball. Some of the most boring basketball ever played was watching the Nuggets play 149-135 games with no defense at all back in the 80s. Instead, what you’re starting to see again is games where solid, fundamental basketball is being played, even when there are low scores and stifling defenses.

    You now see plays again where good offenses will pass the ball around 8 times or more until they finally find a guy left open by a late rotation or a double team. You once again see teams starting to be built on pushing the ball upcourt to score before the defense is set. That’s good offensive basketball, whether the final score is 85-81 or 124-119.

    BTW, Glen, if “through the 1980’s, you needed three great players… to win it all,” how on earth did the Lakers win the 1982 title before they drafted Worthy? Could it be that the 80’s basketball paradise wasn’t quite as idyllic as you remember?

    Comment by Andrew Norris -

  50. Basketball just doesn’t seem as exciting as it used to (and the season is way too long), but after hearing what Jeremy Roenick said this week about fans and the NHL, I think I’ll take up watching more baskeball next year.

    Comment by Boston's Hidden Restaurants -

  51. You keep forgetting that the NBA is a business that must have TV revenue to survive. Winning is fine for an individual team but the league must prosper. The product must be entertaining or no one will watch. It was great that the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999. As a fan, I was thrilled. Very few people watched. I hope the Mavericks win in 2006. The NHL has become a minor league sport because no one watches. The NBA is headed in the same direction. It has become a cable league. Ratings are down.

    There are always points in the evolution of things where you can look back and see where it started. The Pistons started the constant hacking on defense because Chuck Daly said “They won’t call a foul on every play”. The Knicks took it to a new level.

    You should try to have an intelligent debate instead of just stewing insults.

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  52. Please consider waiving Keith Van Horn instead of Michael Finley. Finley can be molded into a Robert Horry – without Horry, one would argue the Pistons would be champions again. It’s a heavy price to pay, but your return may well be becoming the next NBA champions.

    Comment by Don Trestrail -

  53. A few other thoughts. The point JJ makes on post number 29 could not be more spot on. EXCELLENT point.
    And Gene Gilbert’s idea on post 34 couldnext frontier for sports networks. Imagine a show with expert analysts, like former coaches explaining what happened on a game deciding play ina finals series 20 years ago. Imagine furthermore coaches that were ON THE BENCH in those games analyzing what went right or wrong. For example Chuck Daly or Pat Riley for the 1988 series. Now that would be something!
    P.S. Unfortunately i agree more with chris#21 than glenn#51. The level of play in the NBA has dramatically decreased the last 12 years. Thank God for the new generation with Lebron, Dwyane, Amare etc. providing hope for the future. And don’t be fooled by the increased scoring this year. The way the game has been officiated this year with all those ticky-tack fouls sending teams repeatedly to the line and opening up defenses with a simple dribble penetration, the increase should have been way more dramatic. And would anybody please stop the comparisons with the 80’s uber teams? Can we all agree that we will probably never watch basketball at that high a level in our lifetime? Even comparing the Spurs and Pistons with these teams is sacrilege in my eyes.

    Comment by John -

  54. Except for your opening argument that this has been a great, great series (the series didn’t even start before game 5 – it was actually a great, great 3-game series) and your satisfaction with ratings (come on!) you make some excellent points here. That was a very satisfying and refreshing post.

    Comment by John -

  55. To Glenn #51:

    You claim, “The purpose in basketball is to make a basket. “True” basketball fans know that.” I must not be a true basketball fan then because I thought the purpose of the game, especially at the professional level, is to WIN!

    The object of the game is to win and do whatever is needed to accomplish that.

    If you’re worried about teams like San Antonio and Detroit boring you in a “snoozefest” might I recommend you pick up a copy of the And1 Mix Tapes. They’ll be sure to entertain you and don’t worry there won’t be any defense played.

    In major spots defense wins championships, if you win championships you don’t have to worry how “entertaining” your team is, people will pay to win championships.

    I don’t want to speak for Mark or other NBA owners, but if you were to tell them that they could win the NBA title next year, but they’d have lower TV ratings I would bet anything they would jump at that chance…

    To blame any one individual, like Fratello, or individuals, like the Bad Boys, for direct changes in the NBA is just stupid. There are a lot of things that are responsible for the chances in the NBA since the 70’s. The fact is there are better athletes in the NBA now. The teams of yesteryear had better basketball players, today we have more athletes than basketball players in the NBA.

    Think that’s false? The evolution of the dunk and the decline in field goal percentages prove that point…

    Comment by Chris -

  56. To Chris #21

    The purpose in basketball is to make a basket. “True” basketball fans know that. 33% of the league averaging 99 points a game or more is not “plenty of scoring”. Grind it out snoozefests are not entertaining basketball. Both teams combined in game seven scored seven more points than the Boston Celtics did in the “Memorial Day Massacre” in 1985. The Pistons and Spurs are not “great” basketball teams. They are not even “good” basketball teams. They are the best of the dreck that passes for the NBA these days. Neither of these teams could have gotten out of the 2nd round 20 years ago.

    Through the 1980’s, you needed three great players (Magic, Worthy, Kareem or Bird, Parish, McHale) to win it all. Then came the Pistons with two great players (Thomas and Dumars) and a good third player (Laimbeer). The Bulls reduced it to two great players (Jordan and Pippen) and a bunch of filler. The Spurs have further reduced it to one great player (Duncan) and one good player (Ginolbi). The Pistons won it last year with no great player at all.

    The quality of play in the league is in serious decline. Part of it is coaching. The faster the pace of play, the less control the coach can exercise. Mike Fratello is to blame for the grind it out style. Notice that teams today walk the ball up the court. Watch games from the 70s and 80s. They ran all the time. Part of it is all the uncalled fouls. The “Bad Boy” Pistons are to blame for that.

    Bill Simmons drew a great parallel between today’s NBA and the NHL in 1995 when the Devils brought out the trap that killed offense in hockey.

    It does not matter what wins championships if the game is upwatchable.

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  57. I think your idea of holding NBA exhibition games in non-NBA cities is a good one. We have a brand new beautiful downtown arena here in Columbus that sat empty last season with the NHL strike. But realistically, there’s no one here with the guts + money + savvy to take on ownership of an NBA team. I guess we already have pro sports in a big way in Columbus, but the owner is the State of Ohio… (Go Bucks)

    Comment by Paul Lambert -

  58. A great series like this is better for the game long-term than a lop-sided series with big markets playing against each other.

    Comment by Khodorkovsky -

  59. Hey Mark,

    It’s funny that you mentioned the commentators. I was just telling a friend the very same thing during Tuesday’s game. I agree with everything you said.

    I am so put out with the same old hosts talking about much of nothing. This series is so exciting and we have these dull guys voicing over the game. I also, don’t really care to hear the bias commentating during and after the game. I would much rather hear more objective sports commentating. It seems that ESPN does a better job at being objective. In other words I don’t like that the hosts glorify the Spurs, and give the Pistons at light pat on the back…Never the less, tonight’s game is going to gives us all that rush that we love so much! The end result will be well worth sitting through the lame comments!

    Your idea of having an open try-out is great. This idea would definitely get the community excited and involved. Also, blogging is a great idea. It allows fans to go straight to the source. Who really needs the middle man??

    Comment by Natalie Dunn -

  60. well this series is turning out to be a doozie. First Finals Game 7 in a long time. Here comes the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

    Comment by Shake -

  61. The biggest problem I have with the NBA finals is the fact that the games are always on late and always on weekdays. We had game 4 on Thursday, game 5 on Sunday and game 6 on Tuesday. If you are someone who needs to be at work by 8.00 AM, that is too big a sacrafice. I understand that the NBA doesn’t want to compete with people’s personal schedules on Saturday night, but I would have been jazzed about the opportunity to have some beers, stay up late and watch some NBA without having to worry about the next morning. You wonder why the NFL is so good. All games are on Sunday. MNF is nice and all a half, but you’re never worried about missing the outcome. When the playoffs come around, everything is finished by 9:00 PM EST on Sunday night. AND the Super Bowl starts by 6.30…. Basketball and Baseball just don’t get it….It’s not that we don’t want to watch the games, it’s just that we can’t.

    Comment by James Morris -

  62. JJ: We might have to agree to disagree. 🙂 I still feel that there is time during a broadcast to satiate both the diehard fan and the casual fan. I’m not asking for a detailed whiteboard explanation of every play; just more often in-depth analysis.

    As for the pregame, postgame, and halftime, I’d guess that 99% of the audience is already a diehard fan. (I say this with no statistics to back me up, but it would make sense. I could easily be wrong.) So I see no drawback to pointing those in a more “technical” direction.

    Comment by Andrew Kaufmann -

  63. I only wish I could watch it at home. Here in Bend, I can’t get the ABC station from Portland and have been refused a local upgrade when requested.

    So here’s one fan that’s not watching any of it. Go Spurs!

    Comment by Bruce Ewert -

  64. the Spurs threw the game away so ABC, the stadium, and the sponsors can make more money on Thursday night!

    Comment by Calvin -

  65. Why can’t we just watch a game about real peopel (players) and coaches with real lives and goals? Anyone, anywhere likes to see and feel that we all go through the same things. All places in the world should be able to enjoy the love of this game and the inspiration that it brings to the heart. All the techno babble is about heart really. Don’t you think?

    By the way, who else that works the same hours I do would stay up and cheer on a team if they didn’t give a darn???

    Still wanting a chance??? Sure, doesn’t everyone?



    Comment by Sherri Harrison -

  66. I think you are right about the TV commercials. Even if they brought back MJ that would be a little better because 18-34 year olds can remmber him but not people like Dr. J. I am sure that he was great in his time but no one cares anymore. Just my thoughts.

    Comment by Dean Keipert -

  67. I’m a casual fan of basketball and a football fanatic. One of the things that helped me to appreciate football is John Madden’s easy to understand yet profound analysis of a game. I think more of that type commentary would make the game more universally appealing.

    Comment by Julian Brown -

  68. I used to live on the east coast and be similarly east coast oriented, but remember that there are people on the west coast who have jobs and can’t get home til 6pm (9pm EDT) to watch the game. There is no perfect solution to this….

    My main comment is that as good as the finals have been, I thought the Miami-Detroit series was even better….but why were those games on TNT and not on ABC? There are lots of people in the world who still don’t have premium cable. There will be lots more since we can now get TV in other ways (DVD, on demand). Live sporting events belong on broadcast TV, IMHO…or maybe offer something like with streaming video broadcasts as I’d definitely pay for the playoffs as a package if it were decent quality.

    Comment by Ravi Iyer -

  69. With all due respect Andrew, I don’t think it’s that easy. If you develop your product to cater towards the die hard fan, you probably have a very interesting product for hoops fanatics. Having Hollinger offer his insights on efficiency ratings, or coaches walking through chalk talks, or disecting the Rip Hamilton curl and flare may excite this population, but have very limited appeal outside of basketball fans.

    That’s a very different product from the current philosophy of trying to appease every possible causal fan. Outside of multiple broadcasts on sister networks, I don’t know how you simultaneously provide the analysis the diehards crave while also ensuring you have your musical and pre-game tie in for the teens, your international broadcasting bit for the international fans, your Eva Longeria interview for your tv fans, your human interest story for the dramatists, and your typical no-value commentary from studio hosts for the radio call-in crowd. From the NBA’s perspectives, the die hards will watch regardless, so why develop programming they will find interesting? You’re better off using this formula to follow during the game to keep others interested as well.

    Comment by JJ -

  70. JJ (#28): I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to tailor a game to both the basketball fan that wants the in-depths and to the casual fan. There are plenty of opportunities during a game for both kinds of analysis, plenty of time during pregames and halftimes, plenty of time coming out of commercial breaks. Sure, it’s not as easy to please both crowds, but I don’t think it’s at all out of the question to do it. It’s a simple case of improving your product.

    Comment by Andrew Kaufmann -

  71. Brian (32)-

    There is a completely reasonable explanation for a 9:20 tipoff. It’s called money. When you read about ABC spending $X million to secure the NBA finals, how do you think they recoup that investment? They charge companies to advertise. And like most sporting events (such as the Super Bowl) a broadcaster can charge more at the start of the game than the end of the game, when viewership may slip.

    Therefore, when debating between a 9 pm EST start time or an 8 pm, you can’t simply say more people are turning off their tv’s late out east than are missing out early out west. You have to consider the first hour, from 9-10, is your heavy revenue hour.

    Therefore it makes perfect sense why a station chooses to push back the start time. Between 9-10 they probably have the exact same viewership out East as they would between 8-9, while they have the extra bonus of having more West coast viewers. Sure, the East Coasters may tune out later in the broadcast, but it comes at a lower cost.

    Comment by JJ -

  72. What most sports fans want to watch is the best at their sport giving an honest effort. Right now one of the problems with the NBA is the perception of the prima donna cry baby player that loves the team when they give him a max contract, then gives a half ass effort and wants to leave after a couple years of mediocrity (or worse, doesn’t even show up, as in Morning’s case in Toronto).

    I was a season ticket holder from Day One of the Raptors, and it’s hard for me to even watch any more. If you want to play for a winner, then start being one yourself. The two teams in the finals are definately showing what it takes to be a team.

    I just wish all the wanna be stars that left Toronto (McGrady, Carter, Mourning) would stop being so individualistic, and start asking how I can better my team, not where can I go to be better.

    Comment by Paul Cyopick -

  73. What most sports fans want to watch is the best at their sport giving an honest effort. Right now one of the problems with the NBA is the perception of the prima donna cry baby player that loves the team when they give him a max contract, then gives a half ass effort and wants to leave after a couple years of mediocrity (or worse, doesn’t even show up, as in Morning’s case in Toronto).

    I was a season ticket holder from Day One of the Raptors, and it’s hard for me to even watch any more. If you want to play for a winner, then start being one yourself. The two teams in the finals are definately showing what it takes to be a team.

    I just wish all the wanna be stars that left Toronto (McGrady, Carter, Mourning) would stop being so individualistic, and start asking how I can better my team, not where can I go to be better.

    Comment by Paul Cyopick -

  74. I completely agree about the analysis. There really isnt any. But it is not just basketball. If you look at football, they may breakdown one play in a game. Here is something you could start Mark, an idea I have had for a very long time, but do not have the expertise or resources to implement, a sports education TV series or someday even a whole network devoted to learning about sports. It could have shows breaking down previous games in slow motion with a coach both showing what they are doing and explaining WHY and how they are doing it. For example, SA seems to pretty much have Duncun set a pick for the gaurd (parker/ginobili/etc.) up top, sometimes the defense goes over/under/switches and so on, At the same time there are three other guys on the other side of the court moving around, you could easily have a 30 minute show breaking down one play and the how and why showing what different things happen with different defensive and personel sets and so on. But this could apply to pretty much every sport out there. The more people know about the game and what the players are doing, the more they will enjoy it, they can see what went wrong, who messed up, who did great.
    Im done rambling now…

    Comment by Gene Gilbert -

  75. I think in regards to the start time issue, there is no reasonable explanation why a Sunday game needs to have a 9:20 tipoff. I think for next year, the NBA and ABC (or whatever network will have the Finals next year) needs to reexamine the schedule and even moving the tipoff up to 8:20 would make a huge difference on the ability of the East Coast being able to stay awake enough to enjoy the games. Cut the BS pregame show, and get on with the game.

    Comment by Brian -

  76. I think in regards to the start time issue, there is no reasonable explanation why a Sunday game needs to have a 9:20 tipoff. I think for next year, the NBA and ABC (or whatever network will have the Finals next year) needs to reexamine the schedule and even moving the tipoff up to 8:20 would make a huge difference on the ability of the East Coast being able to stay awake enough to enjoy the games. Cut the BS pregame show, and get on with the game.

    Comment by Brian -

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