Professional Basketball is Dead

Who killed it? And who – or what – is slowly rising from out of its grave?

“My name is Dan. I love basketball, probably at an unhealthy level”

This is the introduction to my About Cleaning Up The Glass page. And, although I can convince myself that this statement holds true for the sport in general, I no longer can say with a straight face that this accurately represents my love for the way it’s played at the professional level. Which is where my love for the game had originally blossomed, and, therefore, where the majority of my knowledge lies.

What happened?

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Did #RefWatchParty Actually Work?

We all had our expectations of how this experiment was going to shake out, but did anyone correctly predict the result?

We all thought it was a joke. Even I had my reservations about it when I heard the news.

But the NBA did the unthinkable. Following heavy criticism after the first two games of this year’s Finals, the league responded by having @OfficialNBARefs, the Twitter handle representing professional basketball’s referees, live tweeting during Game 3 last night. With the internet, who is always both crazy and angry about everything.

It sounded like a terrible idea from the word “go”. The first two games were so bad that, forget the internet, hoop heads everywhere would have ripped the refs a new one in-person. Upon hearing of the news, my mind jumped to some of the terrible calls from the previous games, and how the referees’ Twitter would handle rabid, spiteful fans demanding explanations for some of the worst officiating we have ever seen (or at least in recent memory). How could the referees Twitter attempting to explain away a call that pissed off the entire internet help anything?

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The Biggest Problem Facing the NBA Right Now

The Warriors are in the Finals again, looking to win their third championship in four straight tries. That’s a problem, but the reason may not be what you think.

Many people right now are complaining that the NBA Finals is always the Golden State Warriors vs. LeBron. It’s been this way for four seasons in a row. LeBron himself has reached eight straight Finals appearances. The easy answer is to keep teams like the Golden State Warriors from forming; however, if you’ve paid any attention to the NBA in the last decade, the Dubs are not the first instance of a Super Team.

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Fixing the NBA Playoffs

No, not the Tim Donaghy way… What do all three players in this “Finals” image have in common? All were able to compete for the NBA Championship this season. They also shared a 0% chance of winning it.

The first round of the NBA playoffs completed this past weekend. We had some surprises along the way, with sixth seeded New Orleans sweeping the number three seed in Portland, as well as seventh seeded Milwaukee nearly upsetting Boston. Cleveland and Indiana also went to a crucial Game 7, and these three series have been a joy to watch.

It reminds me of other great first round moments, like in 1994, when the eighth seed Denver Nuggets upset the Seattle Supersonics, becoming the first team to do so in NBA Playoff history. Or how about 2007, when the eighth seed Golden State Warriors stunned the 67-15 Dallas Mavericks, becoming the first eighth seed to do so in a seven game series? Boston vs. Chicago in 2009 was also great, setting records for most games requiring overtime (4) and periods played (7). We could even go back to 1989, as Michael Jordan hung in the air longer than his defender Craig Ehlo of the Cleveland Cavaliers, to hit the game and series clinching buzzer beater. All great and unforgettable moments.

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The James Harden Rule

Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller forced the NBA to change their rules. Should James Harden receive the NBA MVP this season, Commissioner Dan thinks it’s time to make another revision.

Last season, Russell Westbrook won the NBA MVP Award because he averaged a triple-double. As of this writing, he is 16 rebounds away from averaging a second triple-double, and becoming the only player to ever do so twice in their career; however, something tells me that even if he somehow is able to do this (edit: He did), James Harden is still going to be league MVP. Which boggles the mind the more you think about it. Scoring aside (Harden is leading the league, upping his average by 1.5 PPG), his assists (8.7 compared to a league leading 11.2) and rebounds (5.4 compared to 8.1) are all way down this season. Meanwhile, Westbrook’s numbers have only dipped slightly, and should he record the necessary 16 rebounds to complete the triple-double, does the argument for Harden as MVP truly exist? Continue reading “The James Harden Rule”