Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2 comments Scoop Jackson Thinks LeBron James Saved the NBA By Losing In the NBA Finals

Scoop Jackson isn't the best of writers. The archive of Scoop's writing contributions to this blog is full dumb or bad ideas. Last time I wrote about him he thought that Derrick Rose needed to risk long-term injury to win the NBA title this year. He also thought Michael Jordan should have just done whatever he could to draft Anthony Davis, as if Jordan's want to draft Davis would cause the Pelicans (then the Hornets) trade the #1 overall pick to the Charlotte Hornets (then the Bobcats) out of kindess and respect. Scoop has not run out of bad ideas and he thinks the Cavaliers losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals has saved the NBA. Because the NBA can't have players dominating or else it is bad for the sport. We all remember how the NBA was wrecked when the Chicago Bulls won six NBA titles in a span of eight years and it's not like the NBA Finals have been dominated by a subset of NBA players over the past 15 years or anything like that. Scoop thinks Cleveland, yes Cleveland, needs to be hungrier for an NBA title. This makes not of sense. It sounds more like Scoop is a Bulls fan who has to dream up ideas why it's good that LeBron didn't win another title.

Thankfully, the basketball gods looked out and did not allow the King, aka "I'm the best player in the world," to win this chip. At least not this year.

LeBron IS the best player in the world. And yes, thank goodness James was denied an NBA title this year. LeBron has been in the NBA for 12 years and been in six NBA Finals, we wouldn't him to just have another title handed to him. It's much better if Steph Curry appears in one NBA Finals after six years in the league and then wins the title. You know, at least he's earned it. 

Nothing against what LeBron James and the rest of his survival unit did to make the NBA Finals as compelling and competitive as they were, but nothing good surrounding the Cleveland Cavaliers' epic overachievement would have come from their Dellavedovian efforts resulting in a victory over the best team in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors.

Other than the stories about how he singlehandedly carried an inferior team to an NBA title and how this would add to LeBron James' legacy. Other than that, no good would come of this victory. 

A MASH unit beating the Splash unit wouldn't have been a good look for the NBA.

Yes, the best player in the NBA winning another NBA title would have been a death knell for the NBA and the league would have been forced to immediately fold. 

They can't lose to a team that, without LeBron, would have struggled to even make the playoffs.

The Warriors could have lost to the Cavs, because the Cavs did have LeBron. A victory in the Finals would have added immensely to LeBron's legacy. 

And in the Cavs' case, they needed to lose. Losing breeds hunger, always the prelude to greatness. And a team is only as great as its appetite.

Scoop Jackson is showing some great recognition of history and self awareness based on writing these two sentences. The one thing professional teams from Cleveland need to do is lose more important games so they don't feel spoiled by all the titles their professional franchises haven't won over the past few decades. The city of Cleveland just needs to lose more games, simply to get that hunger back. We wouldn't want the citizens of Cleveland to feel spoiled by a playoff appearance or anything.

Did Scoop really just write this? The Cavs need to be more hungry so they can get a bigger appetite for victory? How dumb is this?

If Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao are all back next year, what would LeBron have had to prove? What hunger would he have had deep inside to prove anything more?

Perhaps the same thing he had to prove after winning an NBA title with the Miami Heat and then coming back the next year to see if he could do it again with much of the same supporting cast around him that contributed to the first title. LeBron would want to prove he can do it again.

This is the dumbest argument for why it's good the Cavs lost to the Warriors. What does any NBA team that tries to repeat have to prove? What did Bill Russell's Celtics teams have to prove when winning all those titles? Why did Michael Jordan come back to play again after winning three NBA titles? Why did Michael Jordan come back (again) after winning three straight more NBA titles? If Scoop thinks LeBron wouldn't have had the hunger inside to prove anything else then he doesn't understand the competitive nature of sports.

Is the Cavs' loss good for basketball?

No. It is not bad either. 

Yes, you can say that when looking at the big picture and what is in the NBA's best interest.

No, you can not say that when looking at the big picture and what is in the NBA's best interest. I love how sportswriters like Scoop are so obsessed with storylines and narratives as if these are as important as the actual competition on the court. Scoop is just looking out for what is in the NBA's best interests, you know. The Cavs loss isn't necessarily better for him as a sportswriter or gives him something different to talk about other than another LeBron James title. Scoop just really cares about the NBA and it's best interest. That's all. 

A Cavs title this season would have made a general public -- which already has a love-hate relationship with LeBron -- lose interest in this team ever winning again.

Or, as has happened many times in the history of the NBA, there will be increased interest in another team taking down the current NBA champion. Those who lose interest in the Cavs winning another title could easily become interested in seeing the Cavs not win another title. Interest is interest and a team that is hated can help the NBA as much as a team that is loved. Scoop's background prior to joining ESPN was in discussing the NBA. Did he watch any games over the past 20 years though?

How would it have helped the NBA for the Cavs to go through the East with ease (only slightly challenged by the Chicago Bulls) minus one All-Star (Love) and then win the championship minus another All-Star (Irving), all the while doing that without their starting center (Varejao), who was out for almost the entire season?

I mean, it would have meant the Cavaliers had to win another title during the 2015-2016 season to show they could do it again? It meant other NBA teams would try to beat the Cavs. It would have meant NBA fans would watch the games to see the Cavs lose. The NBA doesn't lose if the Cavs had lost, just like the NBA didn't lose when Michael Jordan win six NBA titles. 

It would have all seemed too easy. 

Haha! This is great. Scoop Jackson spends the first part of this column talking about how it's bad for the NBA if the Cavs win a title with a depleted team. Now he calls this title run "too easy."

(Scoop earlier in this column) "Why would it be good if the Cavs are dragged to an NBA title by LeBron James? There were no good players around LeBron on the Cavs team."

(Scoop Jackson now) "It would have been bad for the NBA if LeBron had won a title so easily. What does it mean if the Cavs barely struggled without their best players? Where is the motivation to win another title next year? Please ignore that I'm while asking this question, yet automatically assuming the Cavs would have enough motivation to win next year because I've already put them down as the NBA Champions for next year if they had won the NBA title this year."

Also, I like how Scoop believes there is a correlation between the 14-15 Cavs team winning or not winning a title and how the 15-16 Cavs team performs. As if now that the Cavs lost in the Finals then the 15-16 team isn't as strong, but if the 14-15 Cavs team won the NBA title, then the 15/16 team would have run roughshod over the NBA during the 2015-2016 know, even though Scoop doesn't think they would be motivated.

Yes, they would have had the overcoming-the-odds achievement of these Finals to fall back on, but after that, what?

Try. To. Win. Another. Title.

Trying to win another title just like Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and every other NBA champion has tried to do for the past 50 years. This is a shockingly non-persuasive opinion coming from Scoop Jackson. Why would the Cavs be motivated to win another title? The same reason every other NBA champion will be motivated and the same reason the Warriors will be motivated to win another title.

How would that have helped the NBA?

Because teams would have lined up to try and beat the Cavs just like teams are going to be lining up to beat the Warriors. 

The NBA, much like MLB and the NHL, is historically a league of dynasties. Lakers, Celtics, Yankees, Canadiens, Red Wings, you get the pic.

Dynasties can't be easy. There has to be some sort of struggle and adversity. An interruption of a stretch of genius. Or at least some sort of failure in the beginning.

Okay, so Scoop does realize the Yankees' dynasty that started in 1996 didn't have a struggle or adversity, right? There was no interruption of genius or failing in the beginning. They Yankees beat the Braves 4-2 in 1996 and then lost one World Series game from 1998-2000. I am sure Scoop will say 1997 was "the interruption of a stretch of genius," but that's just not accurate. The Yankees had on a single World Series and had not yet reached their stretch of genius. The Yankees faced little adversity during that five year stretch of the dynasty run. The difficulty started AFTER the Yankees stopped winning World Series titles in 2001. 

In sports, we love the players and teams that play, but what we fall in love with are the players' and teams' stories.

A happy ending to the Cavs' story this season could have ruined the rest of their story before it was even told.

This is ridiculous. A happy ending would have forced the Cavs to try and repeat. That's interesting to NBA fans. So how is the Warriors victory good for the NBA? The Warriors have their story ruined before it was ever told and they didn't struggle. I guess Scoop just assumes the Warriors aren't going to be a dynasty like the Cavs are going to be. Why are the Warriors not held to this same standard as the Cavs? The Warriors didn't struggle before winning the NBA title. 

Had the Cavs won, an offseason narrative about LeBron's greatness and place in history -- making the LeBron-Michael Jordan debate finally a legit one -- would not have been bad for the NBA. But on the flip side, had he won it with the depleted team around him, that narrative would have shared space with an open-ended discussion about how weak the NBA is.

Again, narratives and the story the media wants to tell have nothing to do with what is and is not in the best interest of the NBA.

Coming in, they were given only a 27.6 percent chance of winning it, according to the NBA BPI Playoff Projections. After losing Game 1 (and losing Irving), their chances dropped to 19 percent. After tying the series 1-1, the chance jumped to 39.3 percent. When they took a 2-1 lead and had home-court advantage, it peaked at 56.4 percent. Then, when reality set in and the Warriors evened the series, their index sank to 29.4 percent, then to the all-time series low of 14.8 percent before Game 6.

From a pure basketball standpoint, how good would it have been for the future of the NBA if a depleted team that was only once given a better than 50 percent chance of winning the Finals had walked away with a championship only to add back two All-Stars and its starting center the next season?

I don't know if it would have looked bad for the NBA more than it would have looked like LeBron James performed a Herculean effort to win an NBA title with an epically high usage rate and not very good teammates. I think a Cavs win makes LeBron even more of a legend and with Love (maybe) and Irving coming back next year puts the focus on "who can beat the Cavs?" Having the spotlight on the best NBA player is not bad for the NBA.  

LeBron and the Cavs winning it all this time would have been as bad as or maybe even worse than Magic Johnson winning one with the second-best player on the Lakers being Kurt Rambis. No Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, no James Worthy, no Michael Cooper. What if they were all injured and then they all came back? Think the NBA would have blown up to historic heights in the 1980s had that been the case?

Yes, the NBA would have blown up to historic heights in this situation. Kareem, Worthy and Cooper would have come back and then played the exact same NBA teams in this alternate universe as they played in the real universe. I don't think Scoop understands the concept that one NBA Finals won't have an impact on further NBA Finals. If LeBron had won a title with an inferior team, this doesn't mean next year's NBA Finals will be boring or non-competitive. Much like how if Magic had won a title without his Hall of Fame teammates then it would have had no effect on the historical heights the NBA reached in the 1980's. Just like because the Cavs lost to the Warriors it doesn't mean the Cavs are going to win the 2015-2016 NBA title. 

The impact of such a scenario? No rebirth of a rivalry with the Celtics. No Sixers and Pistons challenges. 

Why in the holy fuck would there have been no rivalry with the Celtics or challenges from the Sixers and Pistons? These teams would have still existed in the same way no matter who was or was not injured for the Lakers when they won an NBA title. I would like to know what Scoop thinks would have happened to the Celtics if the Lakers won a title with Kurt Rambis being the second-best player? Would the entire team have retired out of frustration? Where the hell does he think these three teams would gone or why would they just quit? 

The Cavs would be too good for anyone to really care about. And that is not good for any team sport. Especially one in which a single great player can pull off a miracle by his own damn self.

They would have been too good to cheer for, but because the Cavs were so good, there would be a population of NBA fans who would watch the games to watch the Cavs lose (like how fans watched the NBA to see Kobe and Shaq lose when they played for the Lakers). This is good for the NBA. 

The Cavs during this Finals proved that the field in the 2015-16 season -- even with major free-agent signings, big-name offseason player movement and the draft -- might not be ready.

You can't do epic s--- with basic people. That saying would have lost all credibility and substance with a Cavs victory in the Finals.

No, it would not have lost all credibility and substance with a Cavs victory. And somehow Scoop is forgetting that the Cavs struggled for a portion of the 2014-2015 season, plus Kyrie Irving is ALWAYS injured for some reason. So Scoop's assumption the Cavs will just run roughshod over the NBA during the 2015-2016 season has some holes in it based on past evidence this isn't true. Not to mention, Scoop is trying to tie all of this into how the Cavs running roughshod over the NBA during the 15-16 season is bad for the NBA, when this wouldn't necessarily be true. I hear sportswriters claim all the time that there aren't any dominant teams that polarize fans and get fans to watch the games. Now Scoop thinks a dominant team that fans can love or hate is a bad thing for the NBA. 

And had he done that, just ask yourself, for the sake of parity and competition, how thoroughly uneventful the next four or five NBA Finals stood to be once a fully loaded Cavs squad got back together to play for something already achieved.

Just like how uneventful the NBA Finals were in the 90's when Jordan's Bulls teams ruled the NBA. I remember how the NBA just thrived after Jordan retired. Because nobody had any interest in watching a dominant team play and the NBA struggled so badly during the time Jordan and the Bulls won six NBA titles. I don't know how the NBA ever survived the era where Bill Russell and the Celtics were winning title after title.

Scoop Jackson must remember the history of the NBA differently from me. Also, I can't figure out why the Warriors winning a title on the first try isn't bad for the NBA, but LeBron winning with the Cavs after multiple tries with the team would have not been in the best interest of the NBA.


Chris said...

Considering that this year Finals drew massive TV numbers it's safe to say Scoop is completely wrong. No one is losing interest in Lebron anytime soon. Those who love him love to tune in to watch him play and those who hate him love to watch to see if he will fail so they have more ammunition.

"In sports, we love the players and teams that play, but what we fall in love with are the players' and teams' stories."

Ahh so Scoop graduated from the Rick Reilly School of Sportswriting. You don't actually have to like sports, just care about the human interest stories around the sports and you will be golden. While I have no doubt Scoop does genuinely love basketball, and maybe I'm just a cynical ass, but I honestly could not give a shit about about the stories of the players and teams in the finals. I don't care about Steph Curry's daughter. Yea she's cute but I watch to see good basketball, not for the human interest stories around the game itself.

Joel said...

Serves you right for reading a Scoop Jackson column!