After a few days of extensive labor talks with mediation, no progress has been made in the NBA lockout situation. The owners are trying to use the current NHL CBA as a model, and that’s not going to fly with the NBA players.
So first the pre-season was cancelled. Then the first 2 weeks of the season. Now the first 4 weeks have been cancelled. Personally, I don’t see an end in sight and I wouldn’t be surprised if we lose the entire 2011-2012 season.
The real losers here aren’t the fans, it’s the players. Any rookie that came out of college early is flat-out wearing it. Tristan Thompson (who the Cavs absolutely REACHED for) has gone back to Texas, who was nice enough to honor his scholarship even though he no longer has NCAA eligibility. He’s taking classes and working out at their facilities. He’s one of the lucky ones, but as for his ex-teammates Cory Joseph and Jordan Hamilton? Your guess is as good as mine. Kentucky’s Enes Kanter is probably still living off that pro money he got in Turkey. I’ve seen Josh Selby in a few of those pickup games, maybe he gets some free sneakers or something out of the deal. Most likely the majority of guys followed suit with Delonte West and are now working at the Home Depot.
I don’t feel bad for these guys, not one bit. We all knew this was coming. I do, however, feel for the aging veterans who don’t have much time left in their NBA careers. It’s one less ring Kobe can chase. Dirk just got his first championship last year, which is now most likely his last. Do you think Jason Kidd has any more years in him past 2012? I sure don’t. Not to mention we’ve probably seen the last of his Co-RoY Grant Hill.
As for the guys going overseas to Italy/China/Turkey etc., good luck. Brandon Jennings went to Europe instead of college and couldn’t get back stateside soon enough. Signing multi-million dollar deals sounds great, as long as the owners decide to pay you. Maybe that’s only an issue in Europe, but the people in Asia aren’t always so nice, either. Try and tell me Kenyon Martin, Wilson Chandler and J.R Smith won’t be involved in a scuffle or two. Riiight.
You better believe the players are going to be hurting. As for the fans? No NBA, no problem. NCAA Basketball is less than a month away and the teams are STACKED this year. A few sure-fire lottery picks actually had half a brain (or an adviser with one) and decided to stay in school for another year. Harrison Barnes of UNC and Jared Sullinger of Ohio State are the favorites for Player of the Year honors, but don’t be surprised if Tu Holloway of Xavier or one of the star incoming freshmen (Al Davis and Michael Gilchrist of Kentucky, Austin Rivers of Duke) takes the honor this year. I watch as much college basketball as I can anyway, and with no NBA games taking up time slots on TV, guess what’s going to fill the void?
Basketball junkies are going to get their fix with college basketball. It’s just that simple. The game atmosphere is better. The athletes on the top tier teams are just as good. The players actually care about winning more than their next shoe deal, dancing with the stars or changing their name to Meta World Peace (or something equally retarded). I foresee record ratings for NCAA basketball in 2011-2012, you can count on that.
Be sure to check back in the next couple of weeks for my 2011-2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball season preview. I’ll include my picks for this year’s Final Four and All-American team (hint: one of the PoY candidates won’t be on it) along with more must-see college basketball analysis.