The NeverEnding Season: NBA Fatigue
The upcoming NBA season is going to be great. I'm looking forward to it. There has been so many off-season headlines that it makes your head spin round, right round. In fact, it could easily be made in a Billy Joel parody:
Celts Hayward, Max B. Griffin, Irving out, Ax D. Griffin
Flutz/Ball/Tatum Draftee, No All-Star Joining Kawhi
LeBron's social, Chris Paul, Clippers didn't overhaul
Wall and Harden Max Deals, Kid's Kid's Kids get wheels
Money's tight, Phillies loaded, East's talent has eroded
Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Cue sad trade-banjo
Warriors stronger, Milsap Rock, Dolan and Charles Oakley
Shaq's track, Big 3, Owners in the luxury
We didn't end the season
No the headlines been burning since the world's been turning
We didn't end the season
No, we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it
I didn't even get into a full training camp with Boogie and Davis, a healthy Isaiah Thomas, or a dozen other interesting NBA offseason moves, like Phil Jackson and Zoo York. However, as much as I'm looking forward to seeing all this play out, and I really am, I swear, it'll be great, really... I just can't kick the notion that I want a fricking break already.
Case in point, the NFL. I am really, really, really looking forward to the NFL. I'm a Seahawks fan and I can't wait to soak in the splendor of week 1. Grab some brews. Nuke my stomach with crap food. Flip to the red zone when commercials come on. It'll be bliss. I'm not the only one, either, more people watched the Hall of Fame game between the Cowboys and Cardinals on August 4th than those who watched Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals!
We are itching for some football. As for the NBA... this giant turtle about sums up my feelings right now.
This year, NBA fans will only get two months of an NBA summer vacation. And that's only if Kyrie Irving doesn't get traded. Only if Carmelo doesn't get traded. If either of those happen, we'll be subjected to 3 days of media outlets forcing their rock-hard erections in down our gagging throats. Hmmm, pleasant picture. Ideally, both will be traded within hours of each other and we only lose half a week of peace and quiet. Worst-case, they get traded a couple weeks apart, which will add up to almost a month of lost non-NBA time.
Sports fans need a break from a sport the same way players need a break from a season. You wear out. Mentally, you can't commit. It's exactly like the old maxim, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Let's examine how the NFL, MLB, and NBA treats their fan bases to a little R&R.
NFL Preseason/Season/PostSeason: August-January (basically)
NFL Free Agency: March
NFL Draft: April
Total IN YOUR FACE ACTION: 8-ish months
Total time to miss the NFL: 4-ish months
MLB Spring Training/Season/Postseason: February-October
MLB Draft: June
MLB Free Agency: One week in December
Total IN YOUR FACE ACTION: 8 1/2-ish months
Total time to miss the MLB: 3 1/2-ish months
NBA Preseason/Season/Postseason: October-June
NBA Draft: June
NBA Free Agency: July
Total IN YOUR FACE ACTION: 10-ish months
Total time to miss the NBA: 2-ish months
The NBA is that clingy girl. Yes, she has curves. Yes, she is fun and there's nowhere you'd rather be when those exciting moments are happening. But damn, girl. Give us a freaking break once in a while. I need to go chill with the boys for a bit. Stop calling me. No, we won't respond to your texts. You know what, this isn't working. I think we should take a break.
Even during the NBA season, you feel like ignoring it. Do you know that the NBA has such a thing called "scheduled losses"? That's right, in the NBA, you have a concept called "back and backs". It's when an NBA plays a game one night, then immediately has to travel to a new city and play another game the next night (they also have "back to back back to backs" [4 games in 5 nights] and "fuck this is a lot of running" [5 games in 7 nights]). They show up that second night exhausted from the night before, fatigued from travel, and they lose the game because they had no time to rest or prepare. The players, coaches, and fans, all know the loss is coming and will literally chalk it up as a loss months before they even play the game. What the shit. How can we as fans sit back and respect the NBA for this nonsense. Lucky for us, the NBA are starting their season two weeks earlier this year. That's right, real games are cutting into our offseason by another two weeks. Not that this is an article about wishing we had more time to miss the NBA or anything.
I'd like to point out that starting two weeks earlier isn't causing the "back to back" to become extinct. Nope, it's only reducing them slightly. The NBA will still have "back to backs" and "back to back back to backs" and "fuck this is a lot of running" lineups, just not as much as they did before. What sort of sport does this to their players? The MLB? Nope, sure they play 162 games, but they basically stand around all day. And when they travel, they stay in the same city for 3-4 days straight. Richard Jefferson just said on his latest podcast that sometimes they forget what city they're in--that's how much an NBA player have to travel! (and not the Russell Westbrook kind of travel)
Does the NFL does this? Nope. The closest they come is when they have a west coast team play on Sunday and then make them travel east to play on Thursday, but that's maybe once a season. Only the NBA runs their players into the ground (literally).
Finally, I am going to throw this troubling piece of NBA "participation trophy" bullshit at you:
Percent of League in Postseason
MLB: 33% (10 out of 30)
NFL: 37.5% (12 out of 32)
NBA: 53% (16 our of 30)
More than half of the NBA reaches the playoffs. You may ask yourself, do they even have to try in order to be in the postseason? Nope. Not really. Most of the time, sub .500 teams make it in. This year, due to the massive shift in talent form east to west, there might be multiple sub .500 Eastern Conference teams in the postseason.
So go ahead, fellow NBA fans, enjoy your 60-day reprieve from NBA action (unless Irving or Melo are traded). Release yourself from caring. Utilize every god-given breath to maximizing your basketball emancipation. Divorce yourself from hoop, because before we know it, we'll have to lumber through another 10 non-stop months of scheduled losses, tanking teams, super teams, and a clogged-artery of a playoff system.