Ditch The Doom And Gloom Mentality

By Ryan McNeill

What is with all of doom and gloom surrounding the NBA this spring?

Between people complaining about Miami losing in the first round, fans feeling sorry for Phoenix being punished for their players breaking a well known rule and now complaints about the lottery it’s making me more than a little grumpy this evening.

I’m sick of writers and casual fans flapping their gums about all of the things that they perceive to be wrong with the NBA. Where were these fans when a far superior team lost to Golden State? They were rallying around the underdog of course. So, now that a weaker team like Golden State has paved the way for a team like Utah, what gives you the right to moan and groan about the Phoenix/San Antonio series being the real Western Conference Finals? You don’t. When you jumped on Golden State’s bandwagon you forfeited that right.

Another thing that has gotten under my skin today has been fans ripping LeBron James for not shooting in the dying seconds last night and instead passing to wide open teammate. Are these the same fans that rip on Kobe Bryant for playing selfishly? I have a sneaking suspicions they are. As a coach I would much rather see one of my players that is ice cold (James) pass the ball out to my top three point shooter who connected six times from beyond the arc in the previous game. Isn’t that why Cleveland pays Donyell Marshall the big bucks? To hit open threes? Besides, James is a right handed player cutting through the left side of the paint. For him to have hit that shot he would have needed to get off his shot against Tayshaun Prince with his off hand while Rasheed Wallace was lurking to try and pin his shot. If you’re a gambling man you would want James to pass to Marshall nine times out of ten.

There wasn’t a NBA team in Toronto until I was midway through high school so the first NBA team that I followed closely was Utah because of Karl Malone, John Stockton and Jerry Sloan. Both of those players are long removed from this franchise yet Jerry Sloan is still their head coach and is just as tough as I remember him being when I first started following this franchise. This sprind he has a bunch of second round picks, journey men and young players coming together andplaying some great basketball. Did anyone see this franchise being able to complete their rebuilding so quickly? Despite being a closet Jazz fan I was quick to dismiss their chances of advancing out of the first round when the playoffs began a couple weeks. Now this team is making me eat my words and I’m more than happy to do so as Deron Williams has become the next Jason Kidd in many writers eyes, Carlos Boozer is finally earning his big pay cheque and Andrei Kirilenko has rebounded from his emotional breakdown early in the Houston series to be one of the most dominant players on the defensive end so far in the playoffs. Throw in the heart of Derek Fisher and the toughness of rookie Paul Milsap and it’s been easy to root for Utah in the playoffs.

I wish that basketball fans could get over the Stoudemire/Diaw suspensions and enjoy the way that Jerry Sloan has a team full of second round picks playing out of their minds and the way one of the great young players in the game is playing selfless ball.

Don’t get it twisted, I’m not trying to diminish Golden State’s Cinderella run or rip on Detroit after a big win, I’m just trying to show that there are a lot of great things for fans to watch for in these playoffs still.

If you can’t appreciate the great play currently underway in the playoffs then maybe you should watch the NHL playoffs…

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11 thoughts on “Ditch The Doom And Gloom Mentality

  1. Umm…Utah has been blown out twice, and if you think LeBron is deserving of praise, I dunno what to tell you. No problem with the pass on the last play – what about the rest of the game (nay, the rest of the season)?

  2. Good post Ryan. I hate hearing all the complaints just as much as the next guy so here’s my take on this…

    I don’t think the problem is the Utah Jazz per se, and it’s not specifically the San Antonio Spurs… but combined these two teams make for one of the most boring matchups possible.

    I want to see the Jazz win for no other reason than to right what happened in the semi-finals (in my opinion the tragedy was not Stern’s decision to suspend STAT and Diaw, but the Suns inability to regroup and face adversity). I wanted the Phoenix Suns to win because then that would be a story. And stories are what legends are made of. I’m disappointed that Bruce Bowen and Robert Horry are going on because I just don’t really like them in general, but I’m even more disappointed that the Suns didn’t win this series for all the fans that wanted to see them take their lumps like men (or really durable women too I guess) and STILL come out on top.

    Seeing the Spurs come out of it gives me no satisfaction at all. And seeing them come out of the WCFs won’t either.

    The Jazz do have a story behind them, for the reasons you mentioned Ryan. The Jazz are a collection of players who I want to see win. Seeing them get beat in the first two games of the series to an unquestionably better (or at least more playoff-tested) Spurs team is not exciting basketball. The only person enjoying this series is Spurs fans so far. That doesn’t mean that it’s not going to get better, and it certaintly doesn’t mean we should stop watching. If anything we should all shut up and watch as the Utah Jazz try and blow our minds.

    Part of being a true fan is keeping an open mind to all the hidden plots that will unfold throughout the course of the season. Don’t be discouraged because you never would have asked for a UTAH/SAS WCF matchup in a million years. Instead take a moment to think about what makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If you can’t find something like that (or the potential of it happening) in every single game (even moreso in the playoffs) then you’re not looking hard enough. After all, it will give you something to hope for and isn’t that what being a fan is all about?

  3. Haha. Well, most people want to win. When they lose, they want to do the opposite of what happened. It’s kind of the mentality of a sports fan I guess.

    But man. We kinda lucked out that Boston doesn’t have Oden or Durant. So we might be Atlantic Champions again next year 😀

    In any case, Detroit vs Cleveland has got to be the most difficult series I’ve had to watch. I mean jeeze… BOTH teams can’t score about 80? Wow. Makes me want to gouge my eyes out. lol.

  4. Brian – Game one wasn’t a blow out as Utah rallied in the second half and game two was close throughout the second half (I was surprised they weren’t closer last night). That being said, I feel confident that Utah will win both at home to even up the series.

    Granted, LeBron had an off game shooting the rock but every player has off nights once in a while? The fact that he dished out 9 dimes and was one assist away from triple double while picking up 4 steals in my mind meant a decent game for King James. Cavs fans may have wanted his scoring output to be higher but it was an all-around game he put out there and he found a way to contribute when his shot wasn’t falling. As a coach something I enjoyed watching was a young player finding out how to help his team despite not getting points – not many players are wise/mature enough to do this in their early twenties.

    Austin – Why is the Utah/SA series boring? Because it’s not suited for ADHD kids with players zipping around the court? As a coach I’ve loved watching this series because the play off the ball has been great, both teams are executing their offenses, Utah’s taking care of the ball (well below their season average of 20+ turnovers) and there are a ton of great stories to watch like D Fish and the maturation of D Williams. Perhaps it’s the Jazz fan or coach in me but I’d rather watch two teams execute than see a Golden State/Phoenix WCF…

    Austin – Would seeing Utah rally to win the next two games in Utah help increase your interest? Because I feel confident that’s what is going to happen 🙂

    Kinnon – Having Portland and Seattle win the top picks was a pure stroke of luck! I was at baseball and was rooting for Boston because Justin had to record his Celtics Stuff Live podcast last night and when I got home I genuinely felt bad for him because dropping that low must have been a crushing night for Celtics fans. Can you imagine if this happened to our Raps? Wow…

  5. No, I feel some remorse for them, but also some justice after they tanked it for the last part of the season. I wonder if they might move Pierce to Portland to draft up, as Portland is kinda young. It might get very interesting. In any case, a good piece of luck for us. Since Bryan Colangelo’s been here, we’ve gotten nothing but good luck!

    I think Utah vs Phoenix would have been good. I’m just glad Utah knocked out Golden State. It’s not right having a team that jacks up THAT many 3s go on to the conference finals.

  6. I wish that basketball fans could get over the Stoudemire/Diaw suspensions and enjoy the way that Jerry Sloan has a team full of second round picks playing out of their minds and the way one of the great young players in the game is playing selfless ball…. and promptly get swept by the Spurs. Yeah. Nice series.

  7. Oh hey Ryan… Notice that the West got the both Oden and Durant? Holy crap man. That’s going to get everyone to keep dogging on the East for quite some time.

  8. Of course I noticed that 🙂 While I feel bad for Justin and the rest of the CSL crew I do have to admit that I liked that those two beats won’t be battling against the Raptors for the next 4+ years!

    However, on the flip side of that, I’m bummed that those players will be playing on the West Coast and I’ll most most of their games because they start way too late…

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