At this time of year, everyone likes to talk about how good their teams are.
They point out their players' amazing stats from previous seasons. Drool over the all-stars and past all-stars now on THEIR roster.
Writers and analysts hang on recent records to justify their optimism and expound on rookie signings, free agents, and trades that can only make their favorite teams better.
Strangely, even players coming back from serious injury, missed seasons, and even retirement factor into this exuberance.
It’s easy to find the positives in the offseason. A game has yet to be played. The best part is no one can say for sure that you’re wrong!
But not everyone can get there. Under the current NBA, only 2 teams have made it back to the finals in consecutive years.
These teams are the LA Lakers from 2000 to 2002, and then again in 2008 and 2009. They won four times. Also, the New Jersey Nets made it in 2002 and 2003, losing to the Lakers and the Spurs.
The Indiana Pacers represent one of the great Eastern Conference teams from the early part of this decade. Going to the finals in 2000, they never made it back despite a 61-win season in 2003-04.
The dynasty represented by the San Antonio Spurs alternated winning it all with failing to make the finals for six seasons.
No team can know with any certainty if this year’s squad will have the talent and the sheer LUCK to make to the finals, let alone make a return appearance.
And is this bad in any way for the game or the league? Well, NO!
This is despite the grumblings from the major media outlets that imply the world would simply be better off if New York could be represented in every championship series for every sport (Sorry, LeBron is not joining the Knicks!), and despite the obvious NBA media desire for every NBA championship to be between LA and Boston (which really shows the age of many in our sports media).
Leagues need the surprise factor and the legitimate hope from franchises in smaller markets to make the product they produce compelling to watch in every market.
So who is set up in this year’s NBA to disappoint both their fans and their hordes of reporters falling over themselves to tell us just how good they are?
Well, you actually have to be good enough to compete in order to disappoint. And the higher the expectations, the closer a team can get and still leave their followers crying in their beer.
The good news is that not everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
For those who missed out last year, your team could be one of this year’s lucky ones and make it all the way or even just to the playoffs.
Just don’t ask for your team’s GM and coach’s head on a platter when what can happen, does happen.