Fans have watched three conference finals games to this point and, quite frankly, none of them have produced any real drama. We’ve gone more than a week since we last saw a final score within 10 points. At a time where we should be watching evenly-matched teams duke it out down the stretch, we’re instead treated to broadcast podcasts as they try to fill time before the final whistle.
Compare this to the NHL playoffs (let alone the NFL) and, well, theirs is a more exciting product night by night. As the two sports are directly competing for eyes, the question begs asking: Does the NBA need to tweak something to generate closer games?
This week in “The Lakers Lounge,” a newly-promoted Harrison Faigen and I offered up some solutions to fix basketball — some serious, some that I came up with.
First, though, as Harrison has checked out for his new gig, I had to catch him up with all he’s missed in Laker-land. We discuss Austin Reaves receiving rookie team votes, the Lakers’ indecision on Russell Westbrook, and a legitimately sad report on Talen Horton-Tucker. As per usual, I was the prepared one for this episode.
Back to the subject at hand, and not to sound too much like Charles Barkley, but both Harrison and I agree that the problem with the wild variance in scoring lies in everyone’s reliance on the three-pointer.
Making a shot that fluctuates wildly from game to game worth 50% more than shots closer to the basket was always going to wind up here, and now that teams are firing up 40-ish threes a game, we basically have to hope both teams have similar shooting nights. We’ve turned some of the best athletes in the world into specialists and we’ve devoted all creativity in the sport to getting two kinds of shots.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to take away from how great NBA players have become at those shots. Shot-making in the NBA can be legitimately breathtaking. But as those in the sport have become smarter and offenses have become hyper-efficient, we’ve made the game less entertaining, which runs counter to what should’ve been the point all along.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.