In the most balanced NBA season in years, a particular skill has emerged for teams looking to stake their claim as true contenders: chaos management.
There are always many things that make up the season. health. rack. Whether offseason player and coaching changes come together. Nurturing young stars. A sudden age-enforced expiration date for the soon-to-be former star.
But more than those factors, this season was about a carousel of madness that helped steer events across the league.A moment most of us tend to forget as the days go by, but endure it nonetheless. It’s an important reality for any team that has…
Take for example the Boston Celtics, who wiped out a so-so stretch of recent games by utterly dominating the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night with a 124-95 beatdown to maintain the best NBA record. .
A few months ago, it was completely unthinkable that Boston would be the best player in the league at this point.
This is the team that was awakened in September by the news that Ime Udoka, the coach who led them to last year’s NBA Finals, was suspended indefinitely for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a Celtics employee.
It was a toxic, terrifying and ugly situation – one that still seems to foreshadow that Udoka will never be associated with the Celtics again. was. Assistant-turned-head Joe Mazura was provisionally tagged due to the expectations of this team and the weight of what Udoka’s drama has wrought on everyone in Boston.
The NBA, like other top sports leagues, has always shared drama with its athleticism, celebrities, and 24/7 attention. But in Boston and elsewhere, the 2022-23 season isn’t at the level it was unleashed.
As in Boston, Draymond Green punched Jordan Poole in the face just before the season started. His NBA Finals last year brought enough upsets for both teams before starting the season.
And that was just the beginning of things.
The last few years have seemed like the whole world has gone insane. Along with that, there was often a sense that too many people were at their worst, everywhere: at the grocery store, on the road, at work, at youth sporting events. real life. And this year in the NBA, it’s all about equality, the excitement it generates, and the insane drama that dominates most of the season.
Kevin Durant tried to fire his coach and general manager in the offseason at the Nets — his success rate is now 50% and Steve Nash fired weeks before the season — Kyrie Irving is, well, Kyrie Irving. Plus, the Ben Simmons debacle.
The Lakers had the Russell Westbrook mess and all the angst associated with it. The Phoenix Suns have gone mad because of owner Robert Thurber’s ugliness. According to sources, the Atlanta Hawks were owners of a pervasive and problematic sense that Trae Young was responsible for both leadership and defence.The team’s GM was sidelined. , the CEO labeled a top news breaker a “hack,” and the product on the court was half-hearted.
Despite being underestimated by most fans and media, chaos management has always been a critical tool in the NBA’s success. Talented teams and players are rightly celebrated for their promise, but what separates a talented success story from a talented successful person is the ego, personality, conflict and long season of hardships. ability to survive.
Skill isn’t everything. LeBron James and the Miami Heat failed to win his first NBA title in 2011. It wasn’t a question of talent, it was a matter of fuss.
The old Robb City Clippers are known only by silly nicknames. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre He was too conflicted with Jordan to spend a short period working together to manage the team. The Nets have so far had to do more for themselves than anything else, despite their recent winning streak and stellar play.
Once Jason Kidd left Milwaukee with a soap opera, the Bucks began a steady climb towards sustained success and championships. In Golden State, at least until this year, Curry’s poise and chemistry-building presence tended to smooth out any rough spots.
Of course, there are other factors that shape these things. Health is a huge thing. But when things get tough—injuries, losing streaks, inevitable personality clashes and jealousy—chaos management skills can lead a team in one direction and another in another. .
Let’s take a look at this year’s Warriors. Of course, they need curry to be healthy. And when he returns, perhaps in the next week or so, they’re still the best team in the league and can get out of the hole they’ve fallen into. .In so many more ways to follow. That takes a toll on chemistry and it needs to be used to bring in young players for the Warriors, two issues currently exacerbated by Curry’s absence.
Or look at the Los Angeles Lakers. Yes, Anthony Davis has had another injury, which has contributed to LA’s woes this season. He’s shooting 51 percent from the field. He’s still LeBron James. But the Lakers, bogged down in their own nonstop drama, are underperforming. LeBron James’ teams in dire straits have always had problems, and this season is no exception.
Nearly a decade ago, an NBA GM predicted to me that the top high-profile teams would collapse due to the behind-the-scenes drama that has plagued them all year. A few weeks later, the Los Angeles Clippers blew his 3-1 second round series lead to the Houston Rockets. And just weeks after that, DeAndre Jordan made a brief attempt to leap into free agency for the Mavericks, publicly unleashing all the drama that has plagued the 56-win team all season.
Since then, this lesson has been passed down. The NBA has a story, and it matters. Wins, losses, stats, stars, defensive and offensive efficiency ratings, and everything else are displayed nightly across the league.
And there are stories we never see. Chaos and drama and chaos, and humans handling it in every way possible.
Or at least not usually visible. But this season, chaos has come to the forefront of so many teams. This is a reminder that these forces are more influential than anything else in determining winners and losers.
Celitcs have shown they know how to weather a storm like this. The Lakers are not. And across the league, so many other contenders rise or fall for things that have little or nothing to do with the actual drama on the court.