As you probably know, the NBA is currently in a lockout over a dispute regarding a collective bargaining agreement between the players and owners. Although there continues to be much attention on the business side of the lockout, more attention deserves to be spent on all of the canceled games that have resulted. Here are a few of the biggest things fans are missing because of the lockout.
Miami Heat: Like it or not, the Heat is a talented team. If there is a season this year, it will likely finish atop the Eastern Conference standings. Canceled games mean there are fewer chances for the Heat to lose, and almost anyone outside of Miami appreciates a Heat loss. The downside? Less chances for Heat-haters to witness a LeBron James fourth-quarter choke.
Young Talent: Blake Griffin took the NBA by storm last season with his powerful highlight dunks over unfortunate defenders. John Wall displayed his passing skills last year along with his dance moves before game time. Cleveland rookie Kyrie Irving showed flashes of brilliance last year at Duke — when he was not on the sideline due to an injury — that made him the first pick of the draft. The lockout puts these player’s futures on hold and fans are missing out because of it.
Up-and-Coming Teams: Chicago and Oklahoma City both reached the conference finals in their respective divisions last season and hinted at a future where Durant vs. Rose may have been a common theme in the NBA postseason.
Veteran Teams: San Antonio showed it could still win in the regular season before losing in the first round to Memphis. Boston seemed determined to reach the NBA finals again until the Kendrick Perkins trade depleted their inside game. The Lakers struggled against the Mavericks as their bid for a three-peat fell short. All of theses teams’ windows for another title are closing fast and with the season possibly in jeopardy, that is one less year these teams have to win with an already-aging roster.
Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks seemed to be America’s team last June when they faced the Heat in the NBA finals, as no one wanted to see Miami’s big three take home the title. With the lockout, Dirk Nowitzki and crew’s attempt to defend their surprising championship run is put on hold.
Christmas: This year, if the lockout continues into the holiday season, three major matchups on Christmas day will be missed. Celtics vs. Knicks thrilled in the playoffs last season. Lakers vs. Bulls features two of the most talented teams in the league. Most importantly would be a cancellation of an NBA finals rematch between Miami and Dallas for the first time since the Mavericks brought the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Texas.
Permanent damage to the NBA’s reputation because of the lockout is on the line once play resumes, as fans may start tuning out and players may even opt to stay overseas. One thing we can all hope for is that basketball gets underway soon before the entire season is canceled and players, owners and fans lose out.