The NBA Playoffs Are Ruined
Is Ewing Theory still in play when half the teams have lost a Ewing? At this point, it’s simply become a fight to stay healthy.
Considering that this was one of the most exciting regular seasons in NBA history (for a number of reasons), I suppose it isn’t that hard to believe that there would be karmic backlash in the playoffs. But what’s happened so far—severe, persistent, and disheartening injuries affecting nearly every team involved—has done something far beyond the imaginable in basketball: it’s taken the fun out of it.
Steph Curry is the main story—and reasonably so. Can you imagine Michael Jordan being out for large chunks for the 1996 postseason? What a huge damper that would’ve been on the legacy of such a legendary team? For the Warriors this year, the regular season record was only half the battle—and I know I wasn’t the only one who was confident that they could’ve made a run at the Lakers’ 2001 playoff record of only losing a single game en route to a championship. NOPE. At this rate, they’ll be lucky to put up a fight against the Spurs or the Thunder. Hell, even the Blazers are a threat unless Klay Thompson can step up.
Then you have the devastating losses of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin for the rest of the postseason, which is particularly hard to muster given that their departure leaves us with a Clippers team featuring Austin Rivers in the starting lineup. Can you even remember the last time two superstars have been taken out on the same night before? Let alone on the same team? Even as someone who firmly believes that the organization has what’s comin’ to ’em based on the atrocious uniform redesign alone, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy (which the Clippers basically are).
Where to next? We could go to Dallas, where the Mavericks were completely dismantled by the injuries of Deron Williams, J. J. Barea, and David Lee, left to once again lean on an aging Dirk Nowitzki, who played his damn heart out in one of the most competitive 4-1 series losses you will ever see. We could go to Atlanta, where Kent Bazemore is hobbling for the Hawks. We could go to Boston, where Isaiah Thomas is down for the Celtics (though he certainly has a soldier’s mentality about him, that’s for sure). We could go to Miami, where Chris Bosh was robbed of the opportunity to take control of the Heat this postseason due to a tragic blot clot condition.
It’s all a huge mess. And despite a dirty play from Kyle Lowry on Paul George that almost added to the list, it hasn’t been intentional. Just bad luck and bad timing. Yes, there’s still the opportunity for some sort of fractured version of Ewing Theory to be applied—and perhaps it will, and perhaps something magnificent will be salvaged out of this. One can only hope. But no matter what happens in the next six weeks, there’ll be a stink on the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
If anybody in San Antonio is listening, put Kawhi Leonard in bubble wrap right now.