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Ten Things About the NBA: Phil’s Ten Biggest Disappointments

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Phil shares his ten biggest disappointments for the 2015-2016 season

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I would be using this space to highlight ten disappointments from the NBA this season…..and in no particular order here they are.

The MVP Race

In my lifetime this has been one of the most highly contested NBA MVP races. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching James Harden, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul and Isaiah Thomas do their thing this season. That has hardly been a disappointment.

What has been disappointing is the all or nothing attitude some have towards this award. Meaning you hate the others if you voted against their guy. Mostly those folks can go kick rocks. I’m not letting these Twidiots and bloggers rob my joy and the experience of watching SIX outstanding professional athletes remind me why I love the NBA.

The other thing that disappoints me is this; why on earth is the NBA going to wait until after the season to announce the NBA MVP Award winner?

Wouldn’t it be interesting to announce it shall we say before game three of the first round? And wouldn’t it be even more interesting if say Westbrook or Harden actually won? And if so wouldn’t it be interesting to see how the loser non award winner responds?

Now that would be fun wouldn’t it?

The Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks started out hot as a firecracker, cooled off considerably to the point some of us thought they wouldn’t make the playoffs. Then they finish with a flourish winning four of their last five games including two come from behind wins over the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers. That was good enough for a 43-39 record and a fifth seed in the East.

This Hawks team is better than that. At least that’s what I believed at the beginning of the season.

For those of us who watch the Hawks closely something was missing from this squad. These Hawks just didn’t seem to have an identity and rarely if ever imposed their defensive will against other teams the way past Mike Budenholzer were able to do.

The other thing that was missing was ball movement. Making the extra pass was the key to their offense but we didn’t see much of that either this season.

Kris Willis and I discuss some of what seemed to be missing for the majority of the season on this week’s Peachtree Hoops podcast.

The Golden State Warriors

You are an NBA owner and have built a winning ball club. You’ve done it through savvy trades and damn good drafting. Your team is good enough to win a Championship and the next season your squad is arguably the best regular season team in NBA history. Your team then comes from back from being down 1-3 to win a tough seven game series for a chance at defending your title. Some bad luck and a little help from the NBA and your team blows a 3-1 lead and loses the Championship.

73 wins and a 3-1 Final lead PLUS having the UNANIMOUS MVP to go along with two other All-Stars wasn’t good enough so you blow up your team and sign someone who has never won anything at the elite level?

I was really looking forward to a rematch between the same two teams that hopefully the NBA wouldn’t interfere with but that won’t’ be happening now that the Warriors threw their veterans away in order to sign Mr. Unreliable.

Time will tell if the move pays off but I was highly disappointed in the Warriors for doing this.

The Detroit Pistons

After the way the Pistons fought last season to reach the playoffs and the way they fought the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first round of the 2016 playoffs I felt the Pistons were really going to make a move this season.

Unfortunately the move was down rather than up.

It didn’t help that point guard Reggie Jackson missed the first month of the season with a knee issue; it didn’t help when Jackson was on the floor he was mostly missing in action to the point that Head Coach Stan Van Gundy decided to shut him down for the remainder of the season in order to clear his head so he wouldn’t have a bad taste in his mouth next season.

Huh?

Plus there was a sulking Andre Drummond and enough locker-room strife to make a preacher cuss. To add to the disappointment this was the last season the Pistons will be playing in the legendary Palace at Auburn Hills…….at least they closed the place in style!!

The Denver Nuggets

By all accounts the Nuggets had a terrific season. They darn near reached the playoffs and if it wasn’t for the rough end of the season NBA scheduling I truly believe the Nuggets would have been the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Their 40-42 record was much better than the 33-49 record from one season ago so why the disappointment?

They didn’t make the playoff that’s why. Forgive me for being human but I made a pre-season prediction the Nuggets would supplant the Trail Blazers and reach the playoffs. Now I have to listen to those windbag online Trail Blazers fan base about how I don’t know shit.

The New Orleans Pelicans

Two seasons ago the Pelicans finally found their way into the playoffs; and they haven’t been there since and I find that highly disappointing.

Okay; injuries have played a major role in this but that’s what disappoints me so much about them. As much as I love Anthony Davis the Dude leads the NBA in in-game locker-room visits. That’s just hard for me to get excited about.

They traded for Boogie Cousins and in the 17 games he managed to play before getting hurt the Pelicans weren’t really that much better record wise. Hopefully they figure out how to make the most out of the Cousins and Davis tandem otherwise the Pelicans will make this list next season.

Jason Walker

As a human being Jason is hardly a disappointment; as a Fantasy Sports analyst and player he is on the top of the tree; as the former co-managing editor of Peachtree Hoops he was absolutely fantastic.

What really disappointed me is why I like him so much; he is so humble that he wouldn’t let us publicly thank him for the YEARS of great work here at Peachtree and on various radio shows he guested on representing Peachtree. Including the SEVERAL times he appeared on the Phil Naessens Show.

He also didn’t let us say goodbye so please use the comments section to say adios and muchos gracias to my friend MR Jason Walker!!

Resting

Are you as tired of all this resting business as I am? I get why playoff bound teams would desire to curtail their star players minutes but why “rest” a player on a non-playoff team?

Why does Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez need rest? I know he played 75 games this season but why rest him on April 12th when he is effectively done playing basketball until August?

Lopez isn’t the only one “resting” before his official vacation either and this entire resting business needs to be addressed because it’s really getting ridiculous.

The Cleveland Cavaliers

I’ve been covering this bunch all season long and I still can’t quite figure them out. Even the Oklahoma City Thunder can notch a “W” without their star Russell Westbrook but the Cavs can’t win a game without LeBron James?

Pathetic and especially so when you consider the Cavs have two other All-Stars on the roster besides James whereas the Thunder have Enes Kanter and Victor Oladipo.

You’d think that a defending NBA Championship team would play with a certain sense of urgency instead of entitlement but that’s what it looks like to me.

As I have said before it’s the defense; last season the Cavs were a top ten team (102.3) in terms of efficiency and this season they are tied with the Brooklyn Nets at #22 with a HUGE 108.00 efficiency rating.

That disappoints me. Most Cavs fans I talk to expect the Cavaliers to flip some mythical “switch” and go on some crazy run but unless Coach James lights a fire under their defensive feet that bunch will be joining the Nets on an early vacation.

The Two Minute Report

This is just a MAJOR disappointment and as the playoffs approach and things really matter we’ll be seeing these silly reports more often. As a by-product we’ll have to endure blog posts telling us how their team got hosed by the referees. Twitter rants will then ensue followed by podcasters whining to their ten listeners how the refs are out to get them while holding their own personal copy of the two minute report?

It is never a very good idea to criticize your employees publicly; especially when they have one of if not THE most difficult job on earth. How on earth will be criticized publicly by my boss going to make me any better at my job? Especially when my job is something my boss can no longer do?

I get why the NBA did it but it’s time to do away with all this two minute report crap. It doesn’t really change anything and all it does is give lazy people who know nothing about sports more fuel for their irrational fire.

See you next week!!