The NBA: Where "Amazing" Really Does Happen

Wes WardContributor IMarch 12, 2009

Is it the best of times and the worst of times in the NBA?

The Western Conference has been a flurry of intense and meaningful games recently. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kobe Bryant have never been better. Players all over the league are stepping up their games, and to whose surprise?

It is almost time for the playoffs, March Madness is in full effect, and Spring Break is here.

The past few years have been dominated by intense rivalries and aggressive basketball that morph into fierce playoff battles at season's end. This year seems a bit different.

I remember a time in my short life when the NBA Playoffs were simply "amazing." I mean seriously "amazing." When you think back, the 80s and 90s are full of great contests between legends of the game.

I'll let you delve into your own memory banks and remember the good times. They became legendary because of the playoffs and how we remember them.

Now I am not saying the playoffs are no longer "amazing," but somehow the regular season has become much more meaningful and "amazing" than years past. At least I have noticed it.

The current standings in the West are ridiculous, and each team is scrambling to get a seed other than the eighth. What's wrong with the eighth seed. It's not like a No. 8 has never won a series.

I seem to remember a mediocre Golden State Warriors team that beat a great Dallas Mavericks team not too long ago. West teams seem to have inconsistency down to a science this year.

Each team currently has a key injury, trade, rumor, or something plaguing the team into thinking it will "click" eventually and the playoffs will be different, but role players and bench players all alike have kicked it in gear raising the intensity levels even more-so. 

Sure, I love watching Manu Ginobili, Carlos Boozer and Tracy McGrady, but honestly the Spurs have surged to the two spot, Houston the three spot, and Utah is on a tear. Perhaps the Blazers and Mavs are better off without Oden and Howard...perhaps not

The Lakers are the one exception, and although they do have a key injury to Andrew Bynum, the team is banging on all cylinders already, which has and is causing all the scrambling in the West to avoid the dreaded eighth seed.

Conversely, when you jump over to the East, six teams are all fighting for the eighth spot. I doubt I am alone as I check the standings more often than I ever have in the NBA.

I am not knocking the NBA Playoffs. I am simply stating the fact that the NBA regular season has honestly become much more "amazing" than it once was. I can watch almost any game now and be thoroughly entertained. Games have become more and more crucial since the playing field has leveled out in recent years.

I remember wondering a few years back when the Lakers started four future Hall of Famers, even before the season had started, who was going to get swept by the Lakers?

I also remember the simple joy of watching Michael Jordan, never really expecting to beat the "Unbeatabulls," and good luck trying to slow down John Stockton/Karl Malone on any given night.

It is too bad the economy is down, because each night is becoming more and more entertaining, perhaps almost even "amazing" as the NBA reminds us over and over.

Is it the best of times and the worst of times in the NBA?