The NBA Playoffs Are Better Than The Stanley Cup Playoffs And It Isn’t Close

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Crosswalk

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It seems like every year come springtime all anyone is talking about is that the Stanley Cup Playoffs are the best in sports, filled with their “drama” and “intensity.” Maybe that is just a defense mechanism for hockey people who still want to believe that hockey can, for a couple of months, be more popular than basketball (similar to ESPN’s Buster Olney writing Twitter diatribes on how baseball is not boring), but the NBA Playoffs are significantly better. Does anyone outside of Chicago or Tampa Bay care who wins this year’s Stanley Cup Finals? Are you going to tune in to watch Patrick Kane and Steven Stamkos skate up and down the ice and maybe score a goal or make one nice pass in two and a half hours? I say you won’t, and Greg Wyshynski from Yahoo! can back me up. But will you watch LeBron James try to overmatch Draymond Green, Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving go head to head, and Klay Thompson and J.R. Smith rain threes? Hell yeah, you will.

I had a friend tell me last year that the NHL playoffs are great because the results are so unpredictable, this after the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs clinched their respective conferences to set up a rematch of one of the greatest series in sports history from the year before. But that is what makes the NBA Playoffs so much fun. You get some of the best to ever play going head-to-head year after year. Think about the rivalries that have developed just in recent years. There has been LeBron vs. the Celtics,  in which the Celtics beat the top seeded Cavs in 2010 and force James’s exit from Cleveland. Then LeBron, with Miami, beats the Celtics and their Big 4 of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett the next two years, including an epic 2012 conference final in which LeBron wins Game 6 in Boston and Game 7 en route to his first NBA Championship. The rivalry festered even more, as that series was the last in Boston for Garnett, Pierce, and Ray Allen, who fled to join James in Miami and helped him win back-to-back titles with this season-saving shot in Game 6 of the Finals. Which led to another rivalry. I mean, how does this 2014 opening montage not give you the biggest goosebumps ever? It gets personal in the NBA. You don’t get that with hockey.

Second, the NBA Playoffs allow the fan to watch superstars come to life and age before our eyes. Think about the awesome first round series in 2010 between the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder, featuring a third year Kevin Durant and second year Russell Westbrook taking the reigning NBA Champions and 1-seed Los Angeles Lakers to 6 games. Think about Allen Iverson singlehandedly willing the 76ers to the NBA Finals in 2001 and winning an overtime Game 1 in LA, scoring 48 points against Shaq and Kobe. Think about last year, when Kawhi Leonard outplayed the best basketball player on the planet to enact revenge on the Heat and win Finals MVP. Think about Evan Turner’s up and under in Game 2 in Boston in 2012…well, actually don’t think about that one. But you get the point! Hockey doesn’t allow for as much as that.

Finally, the NBA Playoffs are better because of the game itself. In hockey, you could turn off the game for a half hour and really not miss anything. There is no progression of scoring, i.e. being in the red zone or having bases loaded. Just because you missed an off-target point slapshot from a third line defenseman you have never heard of – and won’t hear from again – doesn’t mean you missed anything. But in basketball, things are happening all the time. Miss a quarter, and you may have just missed half of the SportsCenter Top 10. You can walk away from a hockey game and think, man, I came to see Claude Giroux and the Flyers got shutout. In basketball, you know the stars will come out to play.

So hockey fans you can take your no name goalie from Finland who suddenly gets hot, and his team is in the Cup Finals despite having the sixth best record in the west. You can take your sudden death overtimes. I’ll take LeBron James going back to Cleveland and bringing them to the Finals. I’ll take Steph Curry knocking down jumpers from miles behind the arc. I’ll take the greats going mano y mano any day. That is what I call drama

[pvc_paratheme ]
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23 Responses

  1. you had me sold at this being a good post until commenting on the game itself, which is absurd. Hockey games can end 1-0 with a goal in the first minute. You don’t need to watch basketball until the last 5 minutes, because that’s when the game was decided. If it’s not exciting at the end, then you missed a blowout.

    And acting like only exciting things happen in basketball and not hockey makes you an asshole. The first goal within the early minutes of last nights hockey game was more of a top-10 play than anything i saw in either conference final other than the one LeBron dunk.

    1. You stated some good facts. You can miss the first 45 actual minutes of a basketball game and just watch the last 3. No one cares that Klay Thompson knocked down a 15 ft jumper in the 2nd. Only the last few minutes matter, unless (like you mentioned) you missed a blow out.

      There is nothing in all of playoff sports better than overtime hockey…especially if it’s a game 7.

      1. This is very poor logic. You could literally do the same for an NHL game, except wait for it, the outcome of almost every game can change within the last 3 minutes.

        “There is nothing in all of playoff sports better than overtime hockey…especially if it’s a game 7.”

        Uh…

        One possession game last 24 seconds of an NBA game/buzzer beaters
        Two minute drill of a 1 score NFL game
        Countless scenarios of MLB playoff games

        I mean playoff hockey is fun, but lets not get crazy here.

        1. your both right.

          There’s nothing better in sports (that happens on a consistent basis) than the last possession of a basketball game. Sure you have OT goals, walk off HR, overtime in football…but they are all a lot rarer than having a basketball game come down to one shot.

          hockey games rarely change their outcome at the end of the game, basketball games always do. One of the great parts of basketball is that you can’t go up 3-0 in the first period then mail it in for the rest of the game. Hockey also doesn’t have games that end in a free throw skill competition (well regular season does but we all agree it’s bull), and you really need to pay more attention to the whole game.

          This post is just horrendously one-sided and makes me feel like the NBA is even worse than hockey.

          Guess we got to see a bunch of top-15 draft picks become a superstar, but the LEADING SCORER in the NHL playoffs was UNDRAFTED IN A LEAGUE THAT PICKS 210 players every year not 65.

          Guess we shouldn’t watch basketball until June because ITS ALWAYS THE SAME SUPERSTARS IN THE FINALS

          Moron

  2. You got one thing wrong about hockey fans. We don’t care who else is watching and we’re glad ESPN hasn’t yet ruined the league.

  3. Also.. The NBA is a flawed product. 300+ d1 schools to draw from plus Europe and Asia.. And they can’t even fill 30 12-man rosters. Football Has 53-man rosters and the NBA can’t dill 12?

    1. NBA is far from a flawed product if you are using other America pro leagues as the standard. NBA has by far and away distinguished itself as a world sport and league, so no matter how many trolls on here say that basketball sucks it’s still the 2nd most popular sport in the world. Athletes from all over play basketball now and dream of coming to the NBA. The reason the NBA is not flourishing as much as it can is because of poorly ran teams and scarcity of top talent, for now. You say the teams have all those resources but how many teams are actually using them to the best of their ability? How many teams have great coaching staffs and front offices that can acquire and develop talented players? Not many, but even then the NBA is the best basketball league in the entire world, I know we are spoiled because we have great basketball leagues even with just one pro league, but not everyone is going to cut it. You need to be the best of the best, if not a Euroleague star ends up an NBA bust.

      1. Basketball doesn’t suck, the NBA sucks. It’s about height and weight, not basketball skill. Have you ever in your life met a guy that was 6’8 or 6’10 or 7′?

        1. This is probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. One, yes I have if that matters even in the slightest bit. Two, the MVP and runner up were 6’5 and under and no where near behemoths. So many huge players aren’t shit in the NBA. I would go through a list but it would be as pointless as listing numbers 1 through 10. I understand not liking how the NBA is ran as far as star power shit like that but that comment is just misinformed.

  4. Seriously, this article is a joke. Clearly doesn’t watch hockey and seemingly is a very casual ESPN type basketball fan. Please don’t make this the formula for Crosswalk writers, or any good buzz you had will sink pretty quick.

  5. This is so true. The thing is that no hockey fan will ever admit is that no one in America really cares about the NHL, when in contrast basketball is the 2nd most popular sport in the world and the NBA is the best league in the world. Tell me those two recent conference final game 7s weren’t boring as hell. Tell me you aren’t excited to see the new face of the NBA possibly dethrone the current. I mean I understand if you aren’t but any casual fan is going to take that over watching the Chicago compete for it’s 3rd Cup in 6 years (parity?) vs giving the lifeless fan base of Tampa Bay a championship. Where’s the story line? Where is the excitement? Hell the most I care about the Stanley Cup is which ex-Flyer I want to win more.

  6. “The thing is that no hockey fan will ever admit is that no one in America really cares about the NHL”

    The thing is that no non-hockey fan will ever understand is that no hockey fan could give even one shit who else cares about the NHL. You’re the same kind of person that would buy a car because the commercial said it was the best-selling model or watch a TV show because it’s #1 (and you’re 80 and watching CBS). Who cares what someone else likes if you like it? Only mindless trend-followers.

    1. For your information I actually enjoy both sports. When I mentioned hockey fan I guess I should have clarified, I mean that hockey fan that is quick to mention that the NBA sucks and cry about ESPN not showing any hockey. Don’t be oblivious you know they are out there and they are the most annoying type of sports fan. My point being, and you just helped make it, most casual fans don’t care about hockey, they are going to watch the basketball playoffs because they are a better product, backed by annual domination in ratings. That doesn’t stop pure hockey fans from shoving their opinion that hockey is better down your throat and insulting you because you don’t enjoy hockey or call you an ESPN drone when in reality, no one cares about hockey. Obivously, hockey fans care about other people liking hockey because they continue to let us know that it is a better sport than basketball.

  7. Casual fans can’t understand hockey. Basketball is simple to understand. That doesn’t make it better. If anything, you can get the same feeling watching every highlight of a playoff basketball game as you could watching the whole game live. You can’t do that with hockey, too complex a sport.

    But in the end, who gives a shit?

  8. I appreciate the research and opinion of the writer here but this argument is so dull and overplayed.

    Listen, there are basketball fans and there are hockey fans just like there are blonde chicks and dark haired chicks.

    People have different opinions. I highly doubt anybody who prefers NHL over NBA read this article and thought, “whoa, this guy is totally right, I’m done with hockey now.”

    I can watch both. Both are entertaining. Both have tremendous athletes. Both provide plenty of unpredictable drama.

    Can we stop with the NBA/NHL argument now?

  9. “Hockey sucks because no one cares.”

    Sound logic. No wonder you cite the “personal connection” the NBA provides — a simplistic game (played by a bunch of illiterate morons) that caters to simplistic minds.

  10. It is all a matter of what you like. I have some friends who love the Stanley cup more than the NBA finals. There is nothing wrong with that, it is just a matter or preference. I happen to like football and basketball, and as such pick basketball over hockey, like you. I enjoy myself and my friends enjoy themselves, we just see different ads, and you have to admit that Basketball is much slower and as such is subject to more advertising.

  11. they are both good sports, hell i enjoy crack cocaine better than both, but i am entitled to that opinion.

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