With the NBA regular season coming to an end last night I thought we should look back at the season that was 06-07. Starting with what dominated: Injuries. Every week a different NBA star went down with an injury. Just look at the big names that missed a significant amount of action. Dwyane Wade, Michael Redd, Yao Ming, “Agent Zero”, Carmelo Anthony (via brawl suspension), Shaq, Paul Pierce, T-Mac, Jermaine O’Neal, Chris Paul, and Ray Allen. Look at all of these stars whose injuries directly affected their teams chances of making the playoffs or that teams seed. When Paul Pierce and Michael Redd went down in January both of their teams were in line to make the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Celtics were actually in a battle at the top of the lowly Atlantic division. I still stick to the prediction that if Michael Redd had not been injured the Bucks would have made the playoffs, Terry Stotts would still have his job, and Redd would be battling it out with Dirk and Nash for MVP. Call me crazy, but Redd was carrying the Bucks on his back. He had a nice backcourt mate in Maurice Williams, and with the other Bucks at full health (Bogut, Villanueva, and Simmons) they could have really done some damage in the East. Those two injuries (Pierce, Redd) lead their respective teams to be a part of the tanking saga at the end of the season.
Looking back this season gave us many things that we had never seen. We got to see the potential of the “Hibachi”, and all of his great antics. Also he had that great spree where he just wouldn’t stop hitting game-winning shots. The great winning streaks of both the Suns and Mavericks. The whole tanking spree that teams went on to put themselves in position to draft either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. An almost complete Cavs schedule televised on National TV. Please ESPN and TNT listen, we don’t want to see a one on one, slow it down Cavs team with a Lebron in cruise control for 1/2 of the season on National TV every possible night. People actually like to watch great basketball. Like the Suns, instead of watching just one superstar player who plays with a lack of passion half the time. Anyways….we also recently saw a long time official challenge a perennial All-Star to a fight. We saw Kobe go on an almost impossible scoring run. If those things don’t do it for you then how about the fact that the last playoff spot in the contested Western Conference came down to the last night. Also how about the Suns trying to beat the Clips just so Dallas has to face a feared Golden State team in the first round of the playoffs.
So maybe it wasn’t the best regular season ever, but we did see some new things and the league has a lot of parity right now. Let’s just prepare for the Playoffs and all of the great things to come, and for TNT to tell us that they know drama a million times. The playoffs always bring unbelievable performances and the incredible atmospheres that so many of us could only dream of playing in front of. Just look at all the great things from last year. A depleted Suns team that had already played two seven game series took the Mavericks to the limit in a great series. The Mavs-Spurs series wasn’t a slouch either. With Dirk establishing himself as one of the best crunch time players in the league. Then there was D-Wade putting the Heat on his back and leading them to the promised land. While making one of the best shots while being fouled that I have ever seen. In a game in Miami vs. Detroit, when he acrobatically somehow flipped a shot in behind his head. These are the things that we remember because of the players raising their level of play in the playoffs to do great things. We saw Lebron make a plethora of big plays in that Wizards series then almost take down the Pistons. Who knows maybe Kobe will go on one of his scoring sprees this year, and carry the Lakers. And hey who knows maybe we will get another Antoine “Shimmy” before all is said and done. Impossible is Nothing.