‘If you wanna make the world a better place, you’ve gotta look at yourself and then make a change.’ – Michael Jackson.
As the summer draws to a close and the NBA readies itself for another rollercoaster year, many other things like the NFL, the premiership or whatever you’re into begin to recommence. The end of summer marks the beginning for many other things, unlike the end of a calender year does.
This year in particular however the NBA has unfamiliar surroundings going into the 2014-15 season. This will be the first full season the NBA has without David Stern as commissioner, it’s also the first time in 33 years that Donald Sterling won’t be stinking up the Staples center when the Clippers come to play, Pau Gasol is now with the Bulls(!!), Kevin Love is no longer the franchise player, the famed draft class is now fully in the spotlight, the Hornets play in Charlotte (Again!) and holy cow LeBron James is back home!
The NBA would be doing well if all that happened within 3 years never mind one summer.
They say embrace change and I think that the NBA is doing a fine job of it (Unlike when the Lakers tried to pry Chris Paul from the Hornets and the NBA denied the trade.). It’s clear that the NBA is a business and that all of this free agency and trade talk is in a way to help boost popularity and offer something new rather than stay with the old product, at the same time it’s clear to see that although the NBA in the end of the day is a money making operation they aren’t going to let things slip under the radar (Anymore). It was known for a long time that Donald Sterling was a loose cannon as an owner of an NBA franchise and that there was a lot of corruption and scandal surrounding him, however when push FINALLY came to shove and he over stepped the mark, new NBA commish Adam Silver was swift in fining, banning and relieving him of the franchise he’d ruled for such a long time.
The biggest story though is the return of the ‘King’. In a long-winded, well written essay LeBron James announced he was returning home to Cleveland. I think it showed a lot of character and guts for him to do that and although I’m really not LeBron’s biggest fan he won over some admiration from me after that move.
Although Cleveland and NBA fans are giddy to see what the new-look NBA will provide us with, I am more wary of a bogged down future we are facing into. When you look at the current stars in the NBA, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Paul George, Dwyane Wade you can’t really imagine any of them retiring any time soon. And although this may be good to see athletes being more durable it is threatening the long term development of younger and more promising players.
A lot of trades and free agency moves were made in preparation for the upcoming season or two, but many of these moves hold some up and coming players back in my opinion, take Isaiah Thomas for example, for no reason in particular the Kings let him go without a fight to the Suns, who have an already stacked backcourt (Especially if they capture Eric Bledsoe) and this means that like his first three seasons in Sac-town he’s going to have to fight for his place rather than focus on developing into one of the league’s elite PGs, something I really think he can do. Still, Thomas has proven in the past that competition is good, yet other promising young players, like Derrick Williams found tough competition in their early years and never really bounced back since.
The same may be said for last year’s first pick Anthony Bennett who entered the league injured and out of shape with a packed front court and buckled under the competition for places. Although Philadelphia presents him with the same sort of competition he holds an advantage over them with a year’s experience of what it feels like to ride the pine and underperform in the back of his mind as motivation to seal his place amongst Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel, we can already see the effect of this with his monumental weight loss when he played in the summer league.
I think the best example f the opposite of this would be Damian Lillard, as the Blazers already had an Allstar caliber player in LaMarcus Aldridge they allowed Lillard to share the reigns of the team which allowed him to flourish even though the team didn’t accomplish much in Dame’s first season, they were a force throughout his sophomore year and will likely threaten again this year coming. The same can be said for Anthony Davis and New Orleans most likely this after two years of excellent play from the big man the team will most likely breakout this coming season.
Many young players have the opportunity to perform and develop this year, in particular Andrew Wiggins (Who will be traded to the Timberwolves for Kevin Love on the 23rd of August when he eligible to be traded, if the NBA do not involve themselves in stopping the trade from going ahead.) and Jabari Parker who will likely flourish in their new homes with nothing to play for but personal development.
The offseason can be very harmful to players in my opinion because it often gives players an excuse to become lazy and out of shape or too comfortable (JR Smith last season) or uneasy (Dion Waiters, Iman Shumpert). It’s a dangerous time where survival of the fittest applies and no one is safe. It brings out bitterness that exist among outgoing players and their teammates (James Harden and Chandler Parsons), brings out the work ethic in players (LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony’s weight loss) or breaks a player altogether .
It goes the same in all walks of life however, be it holidays from your job or school or just when you have free time, it’s very important to spend it right or else you’ll regret it when you have none. It’s important to notice when you’re doing or not doing things that are going to hamper your short term enjoyment of whatever your’re doing like who you hang out with or how you act, and what may effect you long term like how you eat, sleep and exercise. It’s hard to plan for the future (*NEW YORK KNICKS!!*) and it’s even harder to make a change to help avoid difficulty later on but sometimes you’ve gotta be honest knuckle down and MAKE THAT CHANGE.