Opinion time: Is the lack of parity bad for the NBA?
Sentinel sports editor
The NBA has become about as exciting as watching grass grow.
As Golden State prepares to wrap up one of the most dominating playoff runs in NBA history, my reaction is to stifle a yawn.
For the last three seasons, it’s been Golden State and Cleveland in the Finals.
The playoffs are when memorable plays and performances normally happen. This is what the fans have waited for after a long, dull season.
But this year, Golden State’s dominance is just a continuation of its regular-season greatness.
In their 15 playoff games, the Warriors have beaten their opponents by an average of 17 points a game.
Routs are not fan friendly.
A great team like the Warriors isn’t the problem with the NBA. They are simply so much better than everyone else that it’s boring.
Granted, Cleveland beat Golden State last year in the Finals, and a good San Antonio team’s hopes of giving the Warriors a challenge were doomed by injuries.
The bottom line is, Golden State has assembled a team far superior to any in the NBA right now.
From Michael Jordan’s shots and dunks, to Larry Bird’s shooting and steals, to Magic Johnson’s passing and fast-break layups — the history of the NBA playoffs are packed with signature moments.
Not this year.
Greatness and dominance have a place in NBA history and the Warriors will leave their mark. But the NBA needs competition, not routine 30-point blowouts.
Right now, the Warriors’ greatness is simply too great and not good for the NBA.
Sentinel sports writer
I feel like those criticizing the NBA for lack of parity hardly, if ever, sit down to watch a game — at least not in the past 15 years. They’re the same people saying there’s too much isolation and the game lacks physical, gritty play. They lament the loss of “team” basketball, but here’s the thing: The best team basketball in recent memory is being played by one of the best teams ever, this year’s Golden State Warriors.
I can hear the cries now from basketball purists, screaming that the Warriors are a super team. Well, if they are, you can thank current Warriors General Manager Bob Myers and former GM Larry Riley. Three of the stars on this team (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green) were drafted. Thompson was selected outside of the top 10 picks and Green wasn’t selected until the second round. Then, they got free-agent addition Kevin Durant to structure his deal in a way where he takes less money and allows the Warriors cap flexibility to sign guys like Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala. It’s the ultimate team-first move, yet Durant is still hated for it.
Now, combine this with LeBron, one of the top two players of all time. He’s playing alongside one-and-a-half stars — Kyrie Irving and sometimes Kevin Love — plus some of the best 3-point shooters in the league. The Cavaliers’ offense is based entirely on ball movement.
How is a trilogy of Finals between these two teams bad? Not only is it spectacular team basketball, it’s two of the best teams in NBA history.
Sentinel sports copy editor
For fans of the Warriors or Cavs, the answer is no.
These are the two best teams and will continue to be so until the stars on the team want more money and can no longer co-exist.
For the average fan, the answer is yes.
If you knew heading into the NFL season that the Patriots and the Cowboys were always going to play in the Super Bowl, would you continue to watch? Probably not.
Parity is never a bad thing as it can imbue excitement into other fans’ bases and give underdog lovers a new team to root for.
The NBA has always been about star players and those teams, but now one star isn’t enough. You need at least three to make a difference. There are plenty of NBA teams with one great player, but only two have an entire starting lineup of good/great players — Cleveland and Golden State.
One thing that makes the lack of parity a little better is the Warriors’ style of play. Golden State’s fast-paced, team-first offense is exciting and as more teams try to replicate it, maybe parity will start to creep in.
At the very least, some competition throughout the season and playoffs instead of playing for second place in the Eastern or Western Conference will be a good thing.