Ah yes, the infamous "Switch."
For those of you who don't know, "the Switch" is a phrase used to describe a veteran team's ability to instantly and drastically step up their game, usually at a pivotal point in the season.
They can "turn it on" like a light switch. It really is quite simple.
My contention is that "the Switch" is a figment of the sports analyst's imagination.
But, before I disprove this theory, let us examine what makes "the Switch" such a compelling concept.
Last year, the Celtics cruise-controlled through the regular season. When it came time for the playoffs, they marched their way to Game Seven.
In more recent news, after ending a promising road trip on a three-game losing streak (including a loss to "The Team that Shall Not Be Named"), the Lakers have come out of the All-Star break out for blood.
I love it.
"Feed, you are an idiot."
Maybe, but not on this topic. And this is why:
There is no such thing as "the Switch." Rather, this "Switch" is simply a team's ability to perform when it matters. Nothing more, nothing less.
The team that completely disproves the theory of "the Switch" is, ironically, none other than the 2009-2010 Cleveland Cavaliers.
That year, the Cavs had a league-best regular-season record of 61-21, but were escorted out by the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
What, then, would you say the Cavaliers had? An anti-switch? A hitch? A power outage?
By being so perfect during the regular season and losing in the playoffs, the Cavaliers are an enigma that questions the concept of the "Switch."
How do you define that team in terms of having "the Switch" and not having "the Switch?" How do you begin to describe a team that has been "on" for most of the year, and shuts off?
Simple. Don't define it in terms of "the Switch." Instead, ask the question:
Can they perform when it counts?
There's a much simpler reason "the Switch" is a falsehood, and it comes from a cliche: Everything is 20/20 in hindsight.
There's a commonality among all teams that are thought to have "the Switch": They are all winners. Looking back at a championship run, it's easy to point out a moment during the regular season when a team "turned on the Switch" and kept it on throughout the playoffs.
If there was no "streak" towards the end of the season, easy: "The Switch" was turned on at the start of the playoffs.
Well, I guess every champion has the "Switch."
Yeah, I know. Mind. Blown.
And, hopefully, switched.