The Real March Madness: The NBA Is Back
As good as the college die-hards want to go on and on about NCAA March Madness, right now I gotta go with the NBA.
This has got to be one of the best seasons ever for the NBA, for these reasons:
The Western Conference has 9 teams playing .600 ball: The West has never been tougher. Teams are stacked from top to bottom. There aren't any clear favorites. Every game counts down the stretch. You go on a little losing streak and you can find yourself out of a playoff spot. Can you guys even imagine winning 50 games and still not making the playoffs?
And the NBA cannot deny that this has sparked interest into the league, and people are tuning in to watch. David Stern would be stupid to change the playoff format to the 16 best teams. What would be the point of having the Western and Eastern Conferences???
The Lakers and Celtics are relevent again: The Celtics are back to being an elite team, which is good for the NBA since it's one of the most storied franchise in NBA history. Bird, McHale, Russell are legends; now they are replaced by Garnett, Pierce and Allen. Though they aren't legends, they have put the Celts back on top.
But no other franchise is as hated and loved as the Purple and Gold, the Lakers. They attract viewers in bunches. Not to mention Kobe is back on top, and he's the most recognizable player in the league. The Lakers are near the top of the West, with a team built for 4-6 years run at a championship.
LeBron and Kobe: These guys are two of the premier stars in the league. And they are both on top of their game. When there's an MVP debate, their names are always in the top-2.
Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Monta Ellis: These guys are three of the most exciting young players in the NBA. All three came out of the 2005 draft.
Deron shoots 50% from the field and over 40% from 3. Not to mention he averages 10 assists. I'd put him in as the third best point guard right now, but in a year he'll overtake Nash and compete with Chris Paul for the #1 spot.
Chris Paul also averages a double-double, and scores over 20 points per game on 16 shots. He's knocking on the "best PG in the league" door right now. Yes, Nash is a better shooter, but Paul is a better defender and takes better care of the ball.
Monta Ellis is a freak of nature. He makes Leandro Barbosa look slow; that's how fast this dude is with and without the ball. Not to mention he averages close to 20 point per game on 14.5 shots. He glides to the basket better than Drexler. And I think he's the best little man in the game. I'd take him over Iverson right now because he's more efficient and less turnover-prone.
Rockets on 22 game winning streak: It's been more than 30 years since there's been a streak that long in the NBA. Although they might be the "worst" team on a 22 or more game winning streak, it still demands the public's attention. And the numbers don't lie: ratings are up.
Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers, one of the founding franchises of the NBA are relevant again. They are playing great basketball. It's not a fluke neither because they have beaten some good teams during that stretch, namely Phoenix, Detroit, San Antonio and Dallas, all championship contenders.
Golden State Warriors: It's a shame that the league don't put more Golden State games on national TV. They are by far the most exciting team to watch, especially their home games The Oracle Arena crowd is electric: just watch the Dallas-GSW playoff series.
-People, turn the TVs and radios on , the NBA is exciting again...
Ralph Isaac, bleacherreport.com
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