5 Reasons Why – Part 2: NBA All-Star weekend is crumbling

asg21. Frequent disappointments 

In my opinion, the number one reason the NBA All-Star weekend has been struggling lately is due to the disappointments, on all levels. Players don’t try, favorites rarely win, dunks don’t live up to the hype, and shooters seem to never show up. While hype can (and is) usually built through social media and TV networks leading up to the event, we rarely see any predictions or stars follow through and amaze us.

2. Lack of effort

As mentioned briefly above, lack of effort is a major problem during All-Star weekend. Hardly do you see players giving their best effort or even remotely trying to win any competition. For instance, I was watching today during the Skills Challenge (essentially a dribbling/passing/shooting course for guards) and I would say 90% of the players were jogging around, hardly giving any effort. One player in particular, Reggie Jackson of the OKC Thunder, was moving a shade over walking speed while doing the course, and all I could think was “C’MON MAN!” While this is technically a midway break from the season for most players, it would be nice to see them go full speed, especially for events that last 30 or so seconds…

3. Lack of participation

This is another big issue. The key events that have generally been exciting and superstar filled (dunk contest/3pt shootout) are now being performed by marginally known players and hardly any superstars. While I will give the 3pt shootout a break, since it usually does have the games top shooters (except Kyle Korver this year…), I can make no such excuse for the dunk contest. Rewind a decade or so and you had the likes of Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Jason Richardson, Steve Francis, etc., performing and enjoying this event while also displaying genuine creativity and athleticism. Then look at today, a bunch of mediocre dunkers performing ok dunks with the occasional get-off-your-seat slam.

4. Lack of personalities 

This is another issue that I didn’t really notice until this past year, we really don’t have many great personalities. While LeBron James, Blake Griffin, and Chris Paul bring some personality, the rest of the upcoming stars are very mild mannered. When you take a look at say, Kevin Durant and Paul George, you see some great players with personalities, but both just have a “chill” attitude. Neither of them will be seen pulling off entertainment stunts such as this gem from Shaq a few years back.

5. Injuries

This is the inevitable. Players are bound to get hurt. Year after year we move closer to All-Star weekend and 2-3 key players have to miss out, with this year being Kobe Bryant and (potentially) Dwayne Wade. While injuries are not an avoidable reason like some of the points mentioned above, they definitely add to the dullness of the weekend. Although, in all fairness, I should say that in some cases we do get to see young stars and snubs get their chance to rightfully perform (i.e. Anthony Davis).

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5 Reasons Why – Part 1: I’m Not Watching The Olympics

nbcsochi

1. Lack of knowledge

This one I feel is pretty common. Not only do I know nothing about 80% of the winter sports featured in the Olympics, I know nothing about most winter sports in general. Some would say: “Hey! Doesn’t that add to the fun?” Well no, not really. I like to know/feel when something awesome happens, not just wait for a final score and then say “I guess, yeah.”

2. Lack of recognition 

I don’t know anyone. I guess it’s cool to discover stars (a la gymnastics Gabby Douglas) but for some reason the winter olympics just don’t do it for me… Maybe it’s the fact that they’re covered up with masks the whole time or something, but I just can’t put names to faces very well this year. Along with this, I feel as though I know less “stars” in these Olympics then ever before. Is Shaun White still competing? Apolo Ohno? Beats me..

3. None of my friends are interested

Unlike some of the past Olympics or say, the World Cup, not many of my friends seem to be too interested in this years games. Yeah I occasionally read tweets from my friends regarding the Olympics, but they are few and far between. This has typically been a reliable source for me. Usually, me and few friends will follow the top names and events along with the medal count (which I still periodically do) and eventually get into the games, but not this year.

4. Little media coverage

Don’t freak out. I’m not saying the Olympics are not covered or that media has mentioned them, all I’m saying is that I’ve seen much more in the past. For instance, I have watched First Take and Mike and Mike on ESPN2 almost every morning for the past couple of weeks and have barely heard a peep about the games. Not sure why, but it seems as though nothing spectacular is happening, giving me more reason to watch New Girl instead.

5. Scheduling 

This has always been a big one for me. Not only are there, what seems like, a million qualifying rounds, but I never seem to know when they are. I’ll tune in and watch for a good half-hour and then realize this round barely matters because the top people have already qualified or something of the sort… Even more so, I’ve always been too lazy to look up specific events and schedules, especially when I’m not too invested. I need a USA MIGHT MEDAL Twitter account to let me know when and to watch what.

Midway Point: NBA Playoff Predictions

ImageSo here we are. One week away from the NBA All-Star weekend and midway point to the season, and the playoff picture is still a mess in both conferences. While the top seeds seem to be set and surely not moving, the rest of the field is wide open. In the East, spots 3-10 are separated by only six games, and in the West, spots 2-8 are separated by a mere seven. Along with this, we still have the trade deadline coming up and multiple key players coming back from injuries. So trying to predict the final playoff picture would seem like an absurdity at this point, right? Well, yes. But I’m bored so what the hell. Using this awesome strength of schedule graphic from Ed Kupfer and taking into consideration injuries and history, here is my final playoff picture.

Eastern Conference

Current (2/10):  1. Indiana 2. Miami 3. Toronto 4. Atlanta 5. Washington 6. Chicago 7. Brooklyn 8. Charlotte

Prediction: 1. Indiana 2. Miami 3. Toronto 4. Brooklyn 5. Washington 6. Atlanta 7. Chicago 8. New York

Notes: Indiana has the 3rd easiest SOS going forward and Toronto has the easiest, justifying those predictions. I feel the Knicks will make a surge as Melo fights to keep them relevant and I think the Nets will also gain momentum as their team continues to build chemistry and J Kidd gains more experience.

Western Conference

Current (2/10): 1. OKC 2. San Antonio 3. Portland 4. Clippers 5. Houston 6. Phoenix 7. Dallas 8. Golden State

Prediction: 1. OKC 2. San Antonio 3. Clippers 4. Houston 5. Portland 6. Golden State 7. Memphis 8. Phoenix

Notes: OKC and the Spurs seem to be set to claim the top two spots (OKC w/ the SOS edge and Westbrook coming back). Portland has a brutal schedule coming up and I feel as though they won’t be able to sustain this type of play going forward especially with their stars getting so many minutes (3 starters in top 22 of minutes per game). My surge team in the West is the Grizzles. With their experience and semi-easy schedule going forward, they shouldn’t have trouble sneaking into one of the last couple of seeds (they would be a dangerous 7 seed…). Lastly, I hope Phoenix can make the playoffs, and I think they will. I love the way Goran Dragic (my biggest All-Star snub) is playing right now and this team is really gelling.

So there it is. Some awesome potential match-ups in this years playoffs. I would love to see the 3-6 Clippers/Warriors high scoring, probably seven game, draw come true along with the potential Melo takes on the Pacers match-up. What do you guys think? Leave some comments below and let me know how you think this years playoffs will unfold!