25 Things We'll Miss Not Having Seen in the NBA This Season
In the event that the entire NBA season is washed away due to the ongoing lockout, there are several things that fans are going to miss watching.
While everyone has a different reason for watching the game, there's no question that the popularity of the league had grown.
In 2010-11, the league saw its highest television ratings since Michael Jordan retired, and the draft was the most watched selection process in 15 years despite being a less heralded class than those that had recently preceded it.
Fans of basketball will be deprived of these 25 things without a season.
25. The New Size in Utah
It seems like a lot has been made about the Los Angeles Lakers having a competitive advantage when it came to size along the front line, but the Utah Jazz were prepared to combat that.
After already having Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson in the fold, the team added Enes Kanter in the draft, giving the club an unbelievable amount of talented big men in the low-post.
With Gordon Hayward on the perimeter and the team also drafting Alec Burks, the tide could have quickly changed in Utah in the post-Deron Williams era.
24. Miami Heat
Love them, hate them or no matter what your feelings are toward the Miami Heat, everyone is going to miss this team without basketball.
For those that didn’t like Miami, it gave them a reason to root for the underdog. For those that love Miami, it provided a reason for fans to cheer louder than they ever have before.
The media might miss this group the most with all of the juicy story lines oozing from the squad last season, but there’s no question that following their ups and downs made the league much more interesting.
23. Rick Adelman in Minnesota
Rick Adelman was a really interesting choice for the head coaching position in Minnesota, and it was going to be awesome to see how he was going to handle a roster riddled with youth and inconsistency.
He really has an interesting way in which he seeks to garner production from his group, and that strategy may or may not have worked for the current T-Wolves roster.
22. The Hysterics
The complaining to the referees, the flopping in the key and the utter hysterics in the course of the action.
Some might complain the game is soft and there’s too much theatrical content pervading play, but who doesn’t like to see an acting job good enough to win an Oscar from Anderson Varejao, James Harden or Derek Fisher?
We haven’t had as much arguing with the officials since the league instituted its new ridiculous rules surrounding technical fouls, but there’ s still enough to satisfy the appetite of a hungry hoops fan.
21. Kobe Bryant Stare
Whether or not someone is a fan of Kobe and/or the Lakers is a moot point—the Black Mamba’s stare has become an infamous one around the NBA.
There’s something to be said when Bryant goes into his zone, as the look in his eyes makes it look as if he’s truly on a one-man mission to shut down the opposition.
He has never been afraid to give that same look to his own teammates, and that may have been the most enjoyable part about it.
20. Tyreke Evans & Sacramento Kings
The Kings had a really intriguing roster prior to the draft, and then the selection of Jimmer Fredette absolutely blew that intrigue through the roof.
Although Paul Westphal will have a tough time deciphering how to split up playing time among all of the guards on the roster, there is a lot of exciting talent stashed on the Sacramento team.
Evans struggled immensely with plantar fasciitis throughout his sophomore campaign, and his third season would’ve been fantastic to watch as he was really set to explode.
19. Ricky Rubio's Debut
Rubio will have an even tougher time transitioning to the NBA without the benefit of a summer league and training camp in his first season out of Europe, and he picked an ironic time to finally make the switch to the United States.
Although I was never expecting much from him in terms of his rookie season, the extended time off is not going to help him acclimate to a different style of basketball.
18. Kevin Garnett's Trash Talk
Not everybody enjoys what Garnett has to say on the court to his opponents, but whether one hates it, loves it or is completely indifferent, it certainly adds intrigue to any matchup.
There isn’t another player who sweats as compulsively as Garnett does prior to the tip and brings it with such utter ferocity as he does, and that’s really an interesting thing to watch.
17. Derrick Williams Overshadowing Kyrie Irving
There was a lot of debate about which player should have gone first overall in the draft, but there really shouldn’t have been.
While Irving may very well have the higher ceiling of the two players, Williams is better suited to find instant success in the league, whereas Irving will likely take a longer period of time to adjust his game.
Despite all of the options on the wing for the T-Wolves, Williams could have gone in there and instantly made his presence felt around the league.
16. Breakout Players
Every year, there’s another player who seemingly comes out of nowhere for a breakout campaign and leaves the basketball world saying, “wow.”
Last season, we saw substantial improvements from players like LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcin Gortat, and it is enjoyable to try and predict who would be the next in line.
It’s going to be tough to predict which youngsters may be next in line now.
15. Kevin Durant Winning the Scoring Title
It might not be as impressive to some as Dwight Howard winning three straight Defensive Player of the Year Awards, but Durant has won the scoring title in back to back seasons.
The 2011-12 campaign very well could have been his third straight season in claiming the crown, as his team needs him to score 25-plus every night to achieve success.
While he’s denied that opportunity, the fans are also denied the right to finally see what is in his backpack.
14. All-Star Weekend
The Slam Dunk Contest, the Rookie vs. Sophomore Challenge and most importantly, the actual All-Star Game itself.
While some might not look forward to the events as greatly as others, there’s no doubt that the weekend is a fun one for both players and fans.
There have been some great stories for fans who have had positive experiences with players at the event in past seasons.
13. Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry Under Mark Jackson
There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding how Ellis and Curry fit in the same backcourt long term, and 2011-12 could’ve shed some light on that situation.
New Golden State head coach Mark Jackson seemed adamant about keeping them both upon originally accepting the job, and it would be interesting to watch how his game plan has an impact on their ability to co-exist.
12. Kemba Walker Winning Rookie of the Year
He may have been drafted ninth overall, but Walker has been my pick for Rookie of the Year since he was selected by the Bobcats.
Walker was going to receive a ton of opportunity in the backcourt for a Charlotte team desperate to add a scorer, and there’s no doubt he’s shown the ability to make an impact.
Despite abounding questions surrounding his size, Walker has never let any of that slow him down.
11. Blake Griffin's Dunks
He’s jumped over a car, over defenders and had the world watching him, but now he won’t be dunking on an NBA court anytime soon.
Griffin is an unbelievably popular player despite playing just a single season, and there’s no question he brought a number of casual fans back to the game.
Playing for a franchise that was completely dormant until his arrival, Griffin provided a spark for the “other team” in Los Angeles.
10. Oklahoma City Making the NBA Finals
There are a number of rapidly rising clubs around the NBA, but there’s no question the Thunder are going to compete for a championship sooner rather than later.
It could’ve even come in 2011-12, as the Thunder are in a good spot to take advantage of some of the aging groups in the Western Conference and rise to the top.
Who doesn’t like seeing Kevin Durant come up to the microphone at the post-game presser with the backpack on?
9. Tony Allen Makes NBA's All-Defensive First Team
Allen’s perimeter defense is one that might not get noticed by some, but it’s of the lockdown variety.
His impact on a young Memphis team was crystal clear last season, as his unrelenting style of play and motivation to succeed rubbed off on his teammates.
Arguably the best contract in the NBA at three years and just $10 million, it would’ve been nice watching Allen grind for the Grizzlies again.
8. Epic Playoff Battles
Memphis vs. San Antonio, Chicago vs. Miami, and any other playoff game that could have potentially popped up on the schedule.
That’s what we’ll miss a ton without a season, as the postseason in basketball is one that rarely falls by the wayside for anybody.
Between the young teams on the rise and the veteran teams looking to vie for another title before their core ages out of contention, it would have been really fun to watch.
7. John Wall Becoming an Elite Point Guard
Wall’s exhilarating rookie season was masked by the hysteria around Blake Griffin, but it was one that should’ve been focused on much more thoroughly than it was.
Despite dealing with a knee injury that was more serious than he ever let on, Wall made a very sizable imprint during his first season with the Wizards.
He spent the entire summer working on his jumper in an effort to round out his game, and it would’ve been nice to see what he could have done this season.
6. Everything about Derrick Rose
Who didn’t love watching Rose play last season?
He showed exciting improvement in a myriad of areas across the board last season, and most notably made a market improvement in his perimeter game.
Rose got the city of Chicago excited about basketball again, and coming off of a season where he became the youngest MVP in league history, there isn’t a fan of basketball who wants to stop watching him.
5. Dwyane Wade Finally Winning Regular Season MVP
It’s incredible to think that Wade has had such remarkable success and has yet to win a regular season MVP.
He’s got the trophy in both the All-Star Game as well as the NBA Finals, but he hasn’t been able to come away with the regular season award—yet.
This would have been the season where Wade proved to the world that the Miami Heat will be his team as long as he’s there.
4. Trade Deadline
Although the trade deadline doesn’t always result in the biggest flurry of activity, there are always a large amount of rumors.
What does that mean? Well, it makes for some interesting conversations and a lot of fun hypothetical situations for basketball fans to discuss.
Without the ability to analyze how new pieces may or may not fit in their new homes, it’s going to make February a much colder month.
3. Potential Amnesty Cuts
The rumored amnesty provision would give teams a one-time chance to waive a player and have 100 percent of his salary removed from the cap, and it led to rampant speculation from everyone as to how each team would use it.
It would have added plenty of intrigue to the 2011 free-agent crop, but we’ll all have to wait.
We can continue to wonder about which teams might have benefited most from the amnesty clause, and that’s all we’ve got to go on right now.
2. Trade Rumors about Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams
For the better part of a year, there has been rampant speculation around the headline names from the 2012 class about what will happen prior to them hitting the open market.
Without trade rumors surrounding Howard, Paul and Williams, the 2012 free-agent class promises to be an absolute bonanza of activity.
It’s possible that there will be more free agents next year than we’ve seen in a long time, as there are several players who entered the 2011 offseason as free agents as well.
1. Watching the Game We Love
When it comes down to it, those that are the most upset about the action stopping are the fans who crave hoops.
Fans can have preferred athletes as well as favored teams, but there’s a common denominator for everything: the love of the game.
It’s really a dark day when fans are deprived from the game that they love so dearly.