NBA Finals or Tony Soprano? Fuhgetaboutit
How bad were the NBA Finals? Put it this way. Instead of watching Game 2 of the Spurs-Cavs, I watched The Sopranos. And instead of watching Games 3 and 4? I watched reruns of The Sopranos. Watching the final five minutes of Tony Soprano eating onion rings was more suspenseful the second and third time than the NBA Finals between San Antonio and LeBron and four guys I never heard of. (I'm kidding. I've heard of, like, two of them.)
I'm a casual NBA fan. Not a diehard. It's not my favorite sport. But I don't ignore it either. It's not my least favorite sport. But I hardly paid attention after Game 1 when I realized LeBron was not going to be able to pull off even one upset by himself. I wasn't alone. The TV ratings were dreadful. Yet, the disturbing part for the NBA is that this final was between the hottest player in the game and the team of the decade. If that couldn't draw fans, what will?
The other disturbing part was the playoffs started with some much drama and entertainment. The Warriors upset the Mavs. The Spurs and Suns series was incredibly intriguing. And, of course, there was LeBron beating the Pistons. But the momentum was gone by the finals.
Assuming the NBA Finals are broke, here are some possible solutions for the NBA.
One, throw out the conferences, make it one big league and have the top 16 teams make the playoffs. In that scenario, it's likely that this season we would have had a Spurs-Suns final and if that HAD been the final, it would have gone down as one of the better in recent memory. Right now, the West is just too good for the East. San Antonio was the third-best team in the West during the regular season and they still demolished the Cavs in four games.
Two, if you're not for making it one big league, then the NBA needs to take a cue from the NHL and re-seed the teams after each round. That way, we would've had San Antonio against Phoenix in the conference finals instead of the second round.
Three, tighten up the schedule. The playoffs are too spread out. San Antonio won on Thursday night and doesn't it seem like the playoffs started like six months ago?
As others (including ESPN's Bill Simmons) have said, when the offseason drama of the draft offers more drama than the NBA Finals, you have trouble.