The NBA’s problem with parity

Basketball is a complicated sport. It’s more than shooting and defending. It takes skill and consistency. Yeah, consistency.

Over time, the NBA has had a consistency of having dynasties. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it can easily go left. The NBA has had 13 occurrences of teams winning back to back or consecutive titles. That’s a lot of the same winners. Even further, there are 34 occurrences of teams going to consecutive NBA Finals. Not to downplay the sport, but compared to MLB, NFL, and the NFL; it’s easier to be dominant in the NBA in terms of long-term winning.

Overall, Basketball is a sport that’s dominated by dynasty. Thank You for coming to my TED Talk.

Of course, I’m not ending; but the facts I just gave can surely boggle your mind. But Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner has made a lot of change. But his main issue is the parity of the NBA.

Lebron James, his best star has now left Cleveland for the second time and where does he end up: Los Angeles. Home of the Lakers, the NBA’s second most Championship obtaining franchise. Although they have been down for about 5 years now, the Lakers are surely back in contention. But the Western Conference was not finished at all. The Lakers signed Rondo, New Orleans signed Julius Randle, Lance Stephenson signed with the Lakers, and JaVale McGee took his talents to LA as well. But that move did not do anything like what Golden State did.

Golden State signed DeMarcus Cousins. Man, like how? Pause and think about this. Golden State drafted Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. They added Iggy, KD, and now Cousins in recent years via Free Agency. So let’s just say that they are loaded, and loaded some more.

The Pros

Before I point out the cons, the pros are good. Let’s call this first point the “Duke Effect” shall we. When Duke loses, no matter who; it’s a celebration. For the NBA, when Golden State loses, it will cause buzz and put the butts in the seats. Their team has been so good if a team actually gets a win over them; it’s a proud moment.

Secondly, it will help other teams. The days are cheering for your local team is over with. Technolgy can connect you to a team that’s across the country. I promise you, when Golden State comes to town; it’s a hot ticket. In some cities, it might be another home game. But besides the profit, GSW and the Western Conference being overloaded is a huge problem.

The Cons

The first problem for this is the Eastern Conference. You have John Wall, Wade, Giannis, Porzingis, Kemba Walker, Oladipo, Tatum, Brown, Embid, Irving, and even Kevin Love. Those are the top stars or faces in the Eastern Conference. That’s a problem. Obviously, we won’t be staying up all night to watch Western Conference games so something has to give. The East TV slate will be mostly boring. We all know that it comes down to Boston and Philly. Washington and Toronto will have stronger seasons as well. Overall, what is there to look forward to in the East? D-Wade’s probable last run? Michael Jordan being a bad owner? Cleveland without LeBron? Yeah, it’s not a lot to be looking forward to.

The West, on the other hand, it’s a circus. You have LeBron in LA and everyone else around him. Golden State just being great. Sacramento’s, Phoenix’s, and Dallas’ young squads. Houston preparing to really finish the job this time around. San Antonio trying to remain dominant in a loaded conference. Portland rebounding from a tough playoff run after a good season. You also have Minnesota probably about to fall apart of Jimmy Butler keep having issues, mostly because of Andrew Wiggins and KAT but you know, let NBA Twitter tell you the rest. Denver missed the playoffs by a game and the Clippers. The Clippers should just go ahead and move already, they will never be the most important team in LA. Sorry, Doc Rivers.

In terms of storylines, the Western Conference has them all; while the East is not gonna compare. In terms of stats, it’s the same.

Only three players who are currently still on East rosters landed in the top ten for scoring last season. Giannis with 26.9 ppg, Kyrie Irving with 24.4 ppg, and Victor Oladipo with 23.1 ppg. LeBron had about 28 ppg but he’s apart of the Western Conference now, so there’s that. I could go on but the West just has that much firepower.

How to Fix It

In terms of fixing it, it’s simple but also complicated. Here are a few options.

Firstly, Adam Silver needs to have a private meeting with some Owners and really light them up, yes; the NBA Commish needs to tell Owners to actually be competitive and stop tanking or even making a better experience for fans and possible free agents. This pertains to these teams: Charlotte, Orlando, Atlanta, Brooklyn, LA Clippers, Memphis, and maybe the Knicks. Even some middle of the pack teams might need some gentle encouragement as well.

Next, we have to blow up the playoffs like we know it. The NBA needs to take away the conference playoffs and put all playoff teams in a 16 seed playoff system, no matter the conference. The way the structure can go has a few options. You can have the traditional, seed pairings started with the best team vs the lowest playoff seed. Or you can give top seeds byes while other teams play. The WNBA adopted this and things have never been the same; it’s been way better.

And another possible option is just to let it play out. There’s always someone on a superteam that’s not going to get the ball or enough spotlight. That will cause a player to leave to get more exposure. Back in the day, most teams had that star player because they needed their shine and other reasons as well. The NBA’s current superteam phase is rare but it’s just going to be a phase. It’s hard to keep up with and tough to stretch in terms of payroll.

No matter what happens, just know that Golden State is a heavy favorite to take it all. That’s a fact.

Twitter: @_StephenSZN / Instagram: @stephen.szn

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