The NBA has never been more fun

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 18, 2015

As I watched all-time great players and budding superstars being introduced during Sunday night’s NBA All-Star game, it occurred to me that professional basketball has never been more fun to watch.

It’s true that there is no team who displays a level of dominance akin to the 1996 Chicago Bulls, who finished with an NBA record of 72 wins and 10 losses. (To put that feat into perspective, the best team in the NBA right now has 9 losses with more than 30 games remaining on the schedule.) There also isn’t a rivalry as fierce as the Larry Bird and Magic Johnson showdowns of the 1980s.

But what today’s league lacks in team dominance and individual rivalry, it more than makes up for in sheer entertainment value. Basketball is just so much fun this season.

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Part of the fun is due to the league-wide parity. I don’t think there have ever been this many teams with a realistic chance of winning a championship.

The western conference is such a murderer’s row of basketball talent that the defending champion San Antonio Spurs – who lost essentially nothing from last year’s squad – are currently lurking as a seventh seed.

Basically, the reward for finishing with the second-best record in the NBA’s toughest conference of all-time is a match-up with the reigning champs in round one. For those who don’t know, San Antonio is the NBA’s version of a horror movie monster – they just won’t die. They have been labeled as “old” and “worn down” for the better part of the decade, yet they remain contenders every year. It’s become an annual tradition in the NBA pundits to disregard the Spurs in the middle of the season, only to end up eating crow in the playoffs.

Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried and Demarcus Cousins are all players who have represented the United States in worldwide basketball tournaments. As of right now, none of those guys will be in the playoffs. That’s how loaded with talent the league is right now.

The New Orleans Pelicans remain in the hunt for a playoff berth, but regardless of who makes it in, the NBA post-season will be four rounds of enthralling pandemonium.

Enjoy the ride, because it’s never been more fun to be a basketball fan.