Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Western Conference Playoffs

“How Golden State Versus Houston is Ruining Basketball in 2019”


                The NBA playoffs are in full swing and we finally have meaningful basketball with real matchups, so why is it so hard to watch the Western Conference playoffs.


                We can start with the Portland versus Denver series. Who? Yes, that's the question asked by average sports fans when you mention any player on either roster short of maybe Damian Lillard. Unfortunately, this series is suffering from a lack of star power and that has left this one as the series that has been forgotten by fans and media alike, which is sad.


                The quality team basketball that is being played on both ends of the floor by each team rivals an instructional tape.  For anyone trying to teach your youngster how to be the ultimate team player, you should not miss a minute of this series. Even if your youngster desires to be the all-star with the shoe deal, watching these games could make them develop similar to Steph curry or LeBron James who are great leaders and team players with multiple championships. Not watching this series may not prevent them from being on that level but it will increase the odds of them following in the footsteps of ball dominant Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, and Allen Iverson who have a combined zero championships.


                So if the Trailblazers Nuggets series is not being watched due to a lack of star power, then everyone should be watching James Harden, Chris Paul, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green battle it out, right? Wrong, of course we love watching our stars do star things and Kevin Durant is once again providing us with the shock and awe factor, but whenever the ball is not in his hands, it is a different story.


                The style Steph Curry invented, we loved at first, but now I find myself struggling to watch an entire game between these two teams because James Harden has taken it to the extreme. Steph figured out that learning how to shoot from further out than the defense generally picks you up and then falling to the floor as they attempt to close out is quite effective in small doses for an undersized injury prone player.


                By breaking down the value of each type of shot that can be taken in a possession, the analytics nerds for the Rockets have convinced Harden to take this once groundbreaking strategy and make it his entire game. Now Harden, who has the ball in his hands 75% of the time the Rockets have possession, spends a majority of that time dribbling out the clock before launching from 33 feet. The result is a style of basketball that is hard to watch or root for. I find myself not watching the ball fly toward the hoop on his shots or even watching box outs. Since he now falls to the floor on every shot, I am more concerned with watching to see if someone is dumb enough to get close to him so that he can pretend they impeded his "landing zone." Then my attention quickly shifts to the referee and how he is going to call it. Steph still uses the move, but not nearly as often or as laughably obviously. Regardless of who does it how many times, between the two of them, the games have become almost unwatchable.


                Do yourself a favor, watch the rest this forgotten series and remember how basketball is supposed to be played. More importantly, I am begging anyone who will listen, do me a favor, Tweet, write letters, make phone calls, get the attention of the Adam Silver and the NBA rules committee in whatever way possible because something has to be done about this ridiculous flopping that has taken over what should be an all-time great series.

(Follow me on twitter @Jake_Ruch for updates on when I post new articles on my blog and tweets on my real-time sports-related thoughts.)

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