Rewarding Mediocrity: A.K.A., Why the NBA is Wrong and I’m Right

Washington Wizards Media Day

I have a confession to make: I watched an NBA 1st Round Playoff game. Yes, I did. I crossed the picket line that I proposed, but for good reason. I watched the Washington Wizards defeat the Toronto Raptors last night. Now before you treat me like a traitor and scold me a scab for not supporting the strike, here this – for all those of us NOT watching the NBA Playoffs, here’s what we’re missing:

The Wizards are now up 3-0 on the Toronto Raptors, the same Raptors that won the Atlantic Division. The Wizards are up 3-0 in a best-of-seven series for the first time in franchise history, against a Toronto Raptors team that swept them three times in the regular season. AND they’re up 3-0 after winning the first two games ON THE ROAD. They’re doing it in dramatic fashion. They’re doing it with young studs and old heads, and a coach – Randy Wittman – that seems to know what he’s doing.

And now to my point.

The NBA is wrong to mandate that every team play a best-of-seven first round series. Dead wrong. Seven of the eight playoff series’ are laughingly lopsided. In only one series has the weaker team even won a single game: the San Antonio Spurs are up 2-1 on The Los Angeles Clippers. All of the other First Round Series’ are all but over. Five of the eight series are 3-0 and another two are 2-0. That leaves the lone competitive series between the defending champion Spurs and the wanna’ be Clippers.

No NBA team has ever come back from a 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series. And the Raptors don’t look like the team that would be the first. Neither do some of these other sub par, substandard and substitute for sufferable teams that “made” the playoffs. One of the sixteen teams in these playoffs had a losing record, and another three were 0.500 or barely above 0.500. And the NBA rewards this mediocrity with a playoff berth? Please. So why are we punishing ourselves by watching First Round games? (Oops, that’s right, we’re supposed to be boycotting!)

So now back to the Wiz.

Paul Pierce, once the face and the foundation of the Boston Celtics, instead of hanging it up when the “C’s” – nickname for the Celtics – were done with him and hung him out to dry, decided he still had something left in the tank. So he hung out in Brooklyn with the Nets last season. This year, he’s pitched his tent with the Wizards, and without his veteran leadership and old-timer expertise, the Wizards may not be up 3-0, on their way to a sweep.

Yes it was a true team effort, as six players were in double figures, but Wall and Pierce were the heart and soul of this team. Pierce had 18, and Wall, who had 19 points and 15 assists, became the first player since Nash in 2010 to have back-to-back playoff games with at least 15 assists. How far will they go? There’s no tellin’. Perhaps only or just as far as Pierce pushes them or Wall wills them.

But this much is as plain as the nose on your face; these Playoffs are too long and too laborious and the first Round is too lopsided. And that’s why I’m right and the NBA is wrong.

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