I've lost count of how many people have called the NBA playoffs boring or said that having two teams dominate up to the finals is bad for the league and its product. The kicker? That so-called bad product is thriving as much as ever with game 1 of the Finals being the third most viewed game 1 ever. You don't have to like the Warriors or Cavs. You don't have to enjoy watching one of the greatest teams of all time steamroll through the playoffs. You don't have to respect the way society allocates its resources, dishing out billions to athletes, movie stars, and other entertainers. But if you are going to be vocal about it, you sure as hell better not watch. I am never surprised to hear about the next giant contract coming in baseball ($400 million to Bryce Harper in the 2018 offseason), the next outrageous shoe deal (Lebron signed a $1 billion lifetime deal with Nike), or even movies making hundreds of millions or even billions at the box office (Star Wars: Force Awakens brought in more than $2 billion). Why do none of those things surprise me? Because I sit down and watch almost every meaningful playoff game of every sport. Because I go to the movie theatre to watch new movies. Because I buy jerseys, shoes, and other apparel of my favorite players. There is so much said about the exploitation of college athletes, but how many Power 5 schools don't sell out of football season ticket packages?
To sum up that rant, the consumer drives every single market in this country. If people didn't watch basketball, players wouldn't get huge contracts. I am just tired of seeing people complain when they contribute to the 'problem.' (I don't think its a problem. If the market values the top basketball players at $40 million per year to entertain people on the basketball court, then so be it.)
So lets get started with the real stuff:
MYTH: KD has become an NBA villain and super-teams are bad for the NBA.
When watching, reading, or listening to any sports related material, I almost always approach it from one of two perspectives: first, as a fan, looking to be entertained; or second, from an analytical viewpoint, trying to figure out how something will impact the on field result. Over the last couple weeks, I've forced myself to look at the Kevin Durant situation from a third perspective: as a human being. If you were offered a better job, for more money, in a better town, exactly on your terms, would you say no? Kevin Durant chose to go play for a better team, in a city that he loves, and be more successful. He is starting his own business in Silicon Valley, and laying family roots down in the Bay Area. Tell me again what he did wrong? Sure he went to a team that his couldn't beat after being up 3-1, but take a look at every other sport. If Antonio Brown signed with the Patriots in a couple years there is no chance he would be viewed as a villain. If (when) Bryce Harper signs with the Cubs, nobody is gonna say "Oh, look how soft he is" or "He is a villain for going to a champion since he can't win in Washington." Literally all the best teams in European soccer are super teams. You can't be successful in the Premier League, La Liga, or Bundesliga without having stars at every position.
So why do basketball players and teams get attacked for building these so-called super teams? Maybe its because basketball is so much more of an individual sport. But these teams make people watch. 90% of American sports fans might hate the Penguins, Patiots, Yankees, and Warriors. But those same 90% watch them every time they're on national TV. Regardless, having super-teams doesn't hurt ratings. League ratings peaked when Michael Jordan's Bulls were on their way to winning their 3rd championship in a row and their 6th in 8 years. And Draymond Green (for as big of a blowhard as he is) put it best: people don't appreciate greatness. I never watched Jordan's Bulls or the Shaq-Kobe Lakers, but I feel pretty confident in saying this year's Warriors team is the best of all time. If they finish a 16-0 playoffs (they won't) then that conversation would be over.
Myth: Lebron James isn't the most dominant player of all time
NOTE: THAT DOES NOT SAY GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME
When I was watching game 2, I kept thinking, I am watching the most dominant player of all time face off against the best team in NBA history. Obviously the team one, because an individual can only carry a team so far in a game that is played as a 5 on 5 sport. But come on, watching Lebron against the Warriors was absolutely incredible. He had answers for everything the Warriors did for 3 quarters, until the Warriors unleashed their full cabinet of weapons. What more can the man do? FiveThirtyEight determined that Lebron is the most clutch playoff shooter since 2000 by effective field goal percentage with the magnitude of the shot factored in. He is tied for the most triple doubles in NBA Finals History. He has made 7 consecutive NBA Finals, something that hasn't been done since there were only 8 teams in the league. If you want to continue to bash Lebron and say he's no Michael, go ahead. Lebron is better than Michael. The '96 Bulls don't beat this Warriors team. Once again from Draymond Green: people don't appreciate greatness.
Not a myth but a constant WTF moment every time the Warriors play: Why does Draymond get such a long leash with refs?
I don't know how Draymond hasn't picked up a technical foul in the NBA finals. He swings his arm or runs down the court on every single foul called against him. Lebron ran down the court without saying a word during a series against the Indiana Pacers when he was on the Heat. Shocker: he got T'd up. I don't know why Green gets so much leeway, but it bothers the hell out of me and every rationale person on my twitter timeline.
Related: Lebron does not get calls because of his size. I won't go any further, but it is not fair.
I don't know how this became a story because there is no way the Warriors trade Klay Thompson. But several writers and radio hosts made it a story last week after this CJ McCollum tweet.
Myth: The Lakers are going to pass on Lonzo Ball
This was a garbage report and I don't even get the point. Its not like a team behind the Lakers creating this story benefits as if it will make the Lakers not take Ball. I personally don't think Ball is a top 5 prospect and I think his dad does bring a great distraction. But the Lakers are picking him. If they do pass, I actually believe Jerry Colangelo saying he won't take him, and then he could fall out of the top 5 (which I would love). I actually feel bad for Lonzo, but his father is the only sports figure in this country that is a bigger blowhard then Draymond Green.
Myth: The Celtics adding Gordon Hayward and/or Jimmy Butler this offseason is enough to dethrone the King
First of all, there is no way the Celtics trade for Paul George. That would be a one year rental at this point (he's LA bound next summer). I do think they should sign Hayward. But trading Fultz for Butler would be a horrible mistake. IT-Bradley-Hayward-Butler-Horford wouldn't be enough to take down the 2018 Cavs with Lebron still in his prime. But Fultz-Bradley-Jaylen Brown-Hayward-TBD Superstar Big would be enough to take down the 2020 Cavs with Lebron a step or two outside of his prime. Danny Ainge needs to be patient. The Celtics will win championships with their core if he can hold on to his assets for just another summer or two.
Myth (NOT NBA RELATED): The Detroit Tigers can contend
About two weeks ago, a report surfaced that the Tigers front office would determine whether to sell their stars on July 1st, a month ahead of the major league deadline. That would be right after the conclusion of an extremely easy June schedule. This is my takeaway from that report (that appears to be pretty credible): the Tigers front office can't get themselves to trade their stars (Justin Verlander, JD Martinez, Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler) and rebuild around the young, developing stars (Michael Fulmer, Dixon Machado, James McCann, Justin Wilson, Alex Presley) because of the money they've shelled out to busts (Jordan Zimmerman, Justin Upton, Anibal Sanchez) in recent years. So they're taking the easy way out. When the team is 2 games back of the Twins or Indians after June, the front office will say, "We are going to give it one more run with this group of players" and then the Tigers will miss the wild card by 3 games and they won't find any buyers for their veterans in the winter. Thanks for depleting the farm system for division titles Dave Dombrowski.
If you disagree with any (or all) of what I've said feel free to leave a comment or bash me on twitter @E____money. Here is a little something for all the disgruntled basketball fans to get you excited for football season.