You could say I’ve been following the NBA for a while. The first game I ever attended was Game 3 of the 1972 NBA Finals, which featured seven members of the 50 Greatest Players – Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Walt Frazier, Jerry Lucas, Earl Monroe, Dave DeBusschere and Willis Reed, who was injured. It also featured Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, two of the 10 Greatest Coaches. I grew up in Brooklyn, which wasn’t wired for cable. You could watch whatever the
Everyone knows that the Eastern Conference is nowhere near as good as the Western Conference. But that doesn’t mean that the first round of the East playoffs won’t be compelling. As everyone knows, all you need is one road team to win to make a series interesting. Can the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks rediscover their rhythm? Did the Boston Celtics build confidence with two late-season wins over Cleveland? Is Chicago’s Derrick Rose returning to form or just an accident waiting to happen again? Do
I write this column every year two days before the regular season ends, and I usually get right to the point. But this year I am going to start a little differently. So let me get one item off my chest and out of the way: Michele Roberts is way off base. The new executive director of the NBA Players Association tried to reinvent the wheel this week when it was reported that she is instituting the Players Choice Awards, which will
In recent weeks, there have been a number of folks advancing the theory that someone other than Andrew Wiggins deserves Rookie of the Year. There was a piece that said Nikola Mirotic was more deserving. There was another that said the award should go to Nerlens Noel. There was even one that said the top rookie is Elfrid Payton. Get a grip, people. Mirotic, Noel and Payton all have had fine rookie campaigns. All three are putting together strong finishes to their season. And
What do James Harden, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James have in common? They’re all legitimate MVP candidates, of course. But what else does that Awesome Foursome have in common? In a potential playoff series against the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, they can all expect to see an individual matchup with Kawhi Leonard. In case you’ve been transfixed by March Madness, the Spurs are looking like a championship contender. Again. If you want some perspective, my son Andrew was born
NBA players aren’t the only ones susceptible to rookie mistakes. NBA writers and editors are, too. I spent nearly 20 years in newsrooms, and every year in late March, we received a staff-wide email warning us of April Fool’s jokes masquerading as news releases. At a later point in my career, I became the one writing these emails, cautioning the staff. Be careful. Don’t assume, no matter how innocuous the release may be. Make a phone call. If something sounds hinky, it
Teams in the NBA playoff races aren’t the only ones watching scoreboards this time of year. Take the Philadelphia 76ers, for example. The Sixers lost their first 17 games, were mathematically eliminated from the playoff race nearly a month ago and almost certainly will lose 60-plus games for the second straight season. But GM Sam Hinkie and the rest of the Sixers’ front office are tracking the results of other games almost as closely as their own. That’s because Philadelphia could have
Whenever I’m asked if I have been watching the NCAA Tournament, I say, “No. I haven’t.” That raises some eyebrows in my home state of Connecticut, where both genders of Huskies basketball have been winning national championships for nearly a generation and are followed religiously by the Nutmeg State’s hoops fans. But among the many reasons I don’t go mad in March is because over that same generation, the college game has become less and less of a barometer for NBA success.