Teams I’d pay good money to watch this NBA Playoff season.
There are three teams I’d like to see make a deep run into the playoffs this year, but won’t.
Bulls, in that order.
Tracy McGrady (TMac) is simply the highest level competitive player in the NBA in the last 10 years. Sure, there are some scrappier players, but there is not one superstar that plays like they want to win more than they want a new shoe contract with Reebok like TMac does. If the Rockets made a deep run (Western Conference Finals or beyond) then I feel like all would be right in the world and justice would prevail.
But we all know that the Rockets can’t possibly get through the Spurs, Suns AND Mavericks. Maybe they can beat one of those teams, but having to beat 2 of those teams in a 7 game series consecutively is hoping for a miracle. But if it the miracle happens, which it could, look to see the Houston Chronicle publishing some kind of catchy phrase and then seeing it in front of everyone’s home in Houston just like back in 1994. Go Rockets.
The Lakers are almost the opposite of the Rockets. None of the players on their team cares about winning games first and foremost. Don’t believe me? Watch a Lakers game. They stand, watch, and their offense isn’t a triangle as much as it’s a game of hot potato until the ball gets into Bryant’s hands at which point the other four players do what they can to make room and then watch to see what miraculous shot he’ll hit next. The ONE exception that can be argued is of course Kobe Bryant. I’d like to see the Lakers make a deep run because it would legitimize Kobe Bryant into the top 4 best basketball players of all time. Which is where he should be. He’s better than Bird, better than Magic Johnson, better than Pete Maravich. Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar, and Jordan come in front of him, and his career isn’t over yet.
But the Lakers won’t advance past the first round, because sadly this is a team game we play. T-E-A-M. No “I”.
Finally, I think the Bulls are the best “team” in basketball. That’s not to say they have the most explosive scorers all on one team, or that they play 8 players consistently so they’ll be well rested throughout the Playoffs. I simply mean that the Chicago Bulls play as a together, as a unit, and improve on each other’s strengths and cover up each other’s weaknesses more than any other team in the NBA.
If the Finals was a matchup between the best “teams” in the NBA, the Bulls would be a part of it, for sure. But they’re not. So they won’t.
. . .
But wouldn’t it be cool if we saw the Rockets beat the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals and then lose to the Eastern Conference Bulls in the Finals? I can dream can’t I?…