New season could help define league

Travis Kriens

Travis KriensNBA Skeptic

The NBA season starts this week. Yeah, I don’t really care either.

Growing up in the Michael Jordan era-NBA and being a Chicago Bulls fan, it was must-see-TV whenever they were on, which was virtually every game.

Today’s NBA has just as many great stars as they did 15 years ago, but it feels different for some reason. Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the 10 best players ever, but I don’t get the same urge to watch him and the Lakers like I did with Jordan and the Bulls.

I would much rather watch a random college basketball game than NBA, and after talking to quite a few people, they tend to agree.

That made me think, what would the NBA have to do or what would they have to change to get my interest back?

One thing that goes for all fans is having your favorite team be competitive and playing important games late in the season. I have stuck with the Bulls through the dynasty of the 90’s, the depression era of the early 2000’s and their resurgence to .500 over the last five seasons.

Chicago is a trendy pick to be one of the most improved teams due to the addition of Carlos Boozer and new head coach Tom Thibodeau, so I hope that it might awake the dormant NBA fan inside me. Don’t worry, Tom’s parents haven’t heard of him either.

The single biggest reason why this NBA season has a chance to be different is the formation of the “big three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

If you are a Miami fan, this is great news and anything less than a championship this season – or any of the next five seasons – may be considered a disappointment. But more importantly, this gives the NBA something they have not had since Jordan’s Bulls; a team that you either love or hate.

The two most dominant teams of the last decade have been the Lakers and the Spurs, but neither team is really hated. Most people don’t even care about the Spurs, due to playing what is seen as a boring, team-centered game led by a non-flashy superstar like Tim Duncan.

I think that people tend to hate Kobe more than the Lakers, but with Miami, it gives the NBA their version of the New York Yankees; a team that everyone likes to root against no matter the opponent.

There’s a reason why nobody hates the Detroit Lions or the Kansas City Royals. They never win. If your team is hated for some reason, you know that you must be doing something right.

You have a lot of different dynamics and storylines going into this season that makes for interesting match-ups down the road.

The Heat will play the part of the team that is expected to win it all and be the most talked about team all season.

The Lakers may be seen as somewhat of an underdog should a Miami/L.A. Finals happen, which is unusual considering the Lakers are the two-time defending champs with everyone back.

The Boston Celtics are the old team looking for one last run at a title before time runs its course. For the Heat of James, Wade and Bosh it would be like looking in a mirror 10 years from now going up against Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett of the Celtics.

Then there’s the young upstart that is hoping to make the next step into the NBA’s elite; the Oklahoma City Thunder.

A team that would have finished fourth in the East last season ended up being the last team in the playoffs out West and gave the Lakers all they could handle in the first round.

The Thunder, led by the next great NBA player, Kevin Durant, is the team that gets my support in this race and the team that I will be rooting for.

So whether you care about the NBA or not, this could be a season that could shape the league for years to come.

#1.1655801:2599443231.jpg:Travis Kriens: Sports Genius:Travis Kriens: Sports Genius:File Photo