As we watched the 2012-2013 season come to an end and then the first two-rounds of the NBA playoffs unfold, we can label what we saw as predictable. So what makes a team a member of this predictable group? What does it take to be in the NBA Finals?
The answer is one word and it is easy to remember, MARKETABILITY. If the world thinks NFL commissioner Roger Goodell likes abusing his powers with his ridiculous rule changes, then the universe should be irrate with David Stern and his playing GOD with the NBA.
I understand that money makes the world go round and the NBA survive, but having control over which team makes the playoffs and even more, who makes the NBA Finals has started turning off fans.
After watching the Miami Heat lose to the Dallas Mavericks two finals ago, things have taken an extreme turn for the worse. Last years playoffs turned a lot of fans off from the NBA. We watched the Boston Celtics outplay the Miami Heat, but as the series went on, we had to observe Stern’s influence on how the game was officiated. What went from the better team winning quickly shifted to the more marketable team winning. Obviously the old Boston Celtics were not going to keep up with the young fast pace Oklahoma City Thunder. Then with the Finals having the most marketable player (LeBron James) since Michael Jordan, there was no way Stern was going to allow the Miami Heat to lose. The first game showed us that OKC was the better team, the next four games showed us that Stern was in charge.
This season has been no different. Stern made sure the Lakers were in. They were marketable to be in the playoffs, so it was made possible, even though they had NO business being in the playoffs. At the same time, they weren’t a marketable fit for the Finals so Stern didn’t have mercy on a Kobe-less Lakers team and what do you know, NO favorable calls. The list goes on – Clippers are fun to watch (on ESPN’s Top Ten Plays of the day maybe) but not marketable, the Bulls ended two big streaks and had a potential cinderella story in the making, but without Rose they aren’t marketable, Stephen Curry was the best outside shooter this season but once again Golden State is not marketable, Kevin Durant got great exposure by SI but without Westbrook nobody cares about OKC, the Milwaukee Bucks guaranteed victory in six games but really??? and finally we had the BIG TWO whom play with more heart than 99% of the league but if Boston wasn’t marketable last year with Rondo we know they didn’t make Stern’s list this year.
I get it. I know nobody wants to watch a Indiana vs. Golden State, Milwaukee vs. Memphis or even a New York vs. Westbrook-less OKC finals, I get it. So as we get set to watch the conference championships, we already know who Stern has in mind to be most marketable.
New York Knicks – will be eliminated. Indiana Pacers – will be eliminated. Memphis Grizzlies – will be eliminated. Miami Heat – will be in the Finals. San Antonio Spurs – will be in the Finals. We knew this way back in the beginning of the season. When Stern abused his power with the most ridiculous fine in NBA history. Who in the hell gets fined $250,000 for almost beating the Miami Heat without playing their superstars??? Oh that’s right, Stern decided that team would be the Spurs. We watched it take the Miami Heat until the last 0:30 to beat a Spurs team without Duncan, Parker, Ginoblili and Green. The fine wasn’t about the Spurs, it had to do with tarnishing the marketability of the Miami Heat. I mean, Stern can’t have his most marketable team struggling against a team with NO stars playing.
So since the stage is set and we know what two teams Stern views as being most marketable, let’s talk 2012-2013 NBA Champions. LeBron James has one more year in Miami, the Heat were embarrassed at home by the Spurs earlier in the season and Stern can’t afford for Miami’s marketability to be tarnished. To prevent this, not only will Miami win it all again this year, they will do it in five games or less.