3 Reasons Why You Should Watch the NBA This Year
You don’t watch NBA basketball. You think the players are selfish and overpaid. You think they don’t play hard until the playoffs. I understand. I hardly watched much NBA over the decade, for the same reasons.
But I’ve re-discovered my love for the NBA. Last year, I got roped back in. Here are three reasons why you should start watching the NBA again.
3. The Knicks are good. Rasheed Wallace lives.
The Knicks opened the season with a compelling 20-point victory over The Heat. Carmelo Anthony dropped 30 on Lebron & friends, on national television. Despite being the oldest team in the league– featuring old-timers like Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, and Rasheed Wallace– they looked good. They shot well from the outside and moved the ball well. They looked like an actual basketball team. The question remains about whether Carmelo will be able to co-exist with Amar’e Stoudemire, once he returns from injury. I’m happy that the Knicks seem to be thriving in the post-Linsanity era. Plus, it’s hard to pass up the chance to see Rasheed Wallace talking trash to the opposing youngsters.
2. Steve Nash has reunited with Mike D’Antoni.
I’ve never liked the Lakers or Kobe Bryant. But I love Steve Nash more than I hate Kobe, because of how Steve plays the game (and his hilarious assortment of youtube videos, which you should watch). With the addition of Dwight Howard and coach Mike D’Antoni, these guys may be able to win the West and take a shot at the title.
Mike D’Antoni coached Nash in Phoenix. D’Antoni was the mastermind behind an uptempo, run-and-gun style of offense, that propelled Phoenix to the Western Conference Finals in 2005 and 2006. A younger Steve Nash ran point on these high-octane Phoenix squads. The style of play in Phoenix, combined with rule changes that opened up the floor, changed the landscape of the NBA. Big men no longer dominate. It is a guard’s league.
Can D’Antoni and Nash run this style of offense in 2012? Will D’Antoni’s uptempo style prove to be a better fit for this team than Phil Jackson’s triangle offense? How will Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard fit into this system? Does Kobe have enough pieces around him to will the Lakers to a championship? Will the team be able to withstand all of the pressure that comes with the expectation of success?
This storyline is too compelling to ignore.
1. Lebron James is super-human.
For the first 8 years of his career, Lebron failed to win a championship. Everyone wondered if he had that “killer instinct” and whether he’d ever live up to his potential. In the Eastern Conference Finals last year, The Heat were down 3-2 against the Celtics. The pressure of elimination in game 6 fell squarely upon Lebron’s shoulders. His legacy was on the line. He responded with 45 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists. He single-handedly dismantled Boston, relying on an improved interior post-up play. He went on to win the Championship. The critics were silenced. He had become the Lebron we knew he could be.
During the Finals last year, I told my boss– who is not a sports fan– to make sure that his young sons watch Lebron play. His sons are the bookish type, and sports is not a priority in their home (sadly). I made my boss promise to watch Lebron with his sons, telling him that they would be more well-rounded human beings for knowing about the best basketball player on the planet. I stand by this statement.
Lebron has the body of Karl Malone, the play-making abilities of Magic Johnson, and the footwork of Jordan. The NBA has never seen a talent with Lebron’s unique mix of size, strength, speed, and sheer athleticism. When his career is over, Lebron may prove to be the most gifted athlete of my lifetime. This man is now at the zenith of his basketball powers. If you are any sort of basketball fan, you will watch Lebron James this year.