The Lakers Make it a Three Team Race to the 2013 Finals
Dwight Howard is headed to the Lakers.
It’s a move that immediately locks the Lakers in as one of the top three teams in the league, and one that will make them a serious threat to the OKC Thunder’s Western Division crown.
I normally shy away from talking about the NBA, mainly because I don’t watch enough of it to make informed commentary about it. What I can say is that this type of trade is exactly why I cannot get into the sport like I can in baseball or football. I enjoy watching college basketball, not only because I have a university that I have grown up watching, but also because the college basketball brand is exciting and unpredictable in most seasons.
The same cannot be said for the NBA.
With the addition of Howard, the Lakers “big three” pretty much guarantees them a slot in the Western Conference final (most likely against the Thunder). The Nuggets are an exciting team (more so with the addition of Igoudala), but can they really challenge the Lakers and/or Thunder in the west? How much does the Spurs core of aging veterans have left in the tank? It will make for intriguing debates when the playoffs roll around, but that’s about it.
The same can be said for the Eastern Conference. We will most likely see the Heat in the Eastern Conference final, barring any disastrous injuries, battling it out against Chicago or Indiana. I mean, how is the regular season even entertaining — other than seeing the occasional showdown between NBA powerhouses? I guess that’s okay if you’re a fan of these teams, but what if you follow the Bobcats?
The regular season will just be a warmup period for two major matchups in the playoffs: the Western Conference final and the NBA Finals. I mainly watch the NBA for certain players, and you will very rarely see my TV on the NBA during the regular season. It’s nothing against the sport or those who watch it. The season is far too long (same argument can be made for baseball), and very little mystery surrounds who will eventually land in the NBA Finals.
As I already said, I have followed the NBA very little over the years (I was too young to truly enjoy the Bird/Magic/MJ years), but I know that a lack of variety in top teams in the NBA has existed for quite a long time. I guess I’d just like to see more balance in the league.
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box below. You can e-mail me suggestions or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @JoeSportswriter.