The NBA preseason is upon us, which — like the above Dickens opening to A Tale of Two Cities — is manifold. On the one hand, the preseason means the the actual NBA season is less than a month away: YEAHHHH BUDDY (that’s me giving a cyber high-five to the other NBA heads out there). But, the preseason also means the next three weeks will be spent watching basketball with our fingers crossed behind our back, or on our knees genuflecting to the Gods of Basketball to keep everyone healthy until real basketball starts. That’s because teams are charging fans to watch the reserves on the roster either earn a spot, or a D-League demotion — or, better yet, a more lucrative move abroad. Preseason is fun because we’re finally watching NBA basketball again, but it’s also a bit of a false idol. What we’re watching is even more useless than the too-long, 82-game regular season. These games do not count!
Yet, here we are, playing them anyway and risking useless injuries in the process.
“But they’re going to play anyway,” you say, “so why not have them play in front of fans.” Well, that’s sort of true, but there’s a way to do this without foisting so much anxiety on the fans.
If I were a coach, I’d go full Popovich in Phoenix through this entire month. Yes, my starters would be scrimmaging full-bore throughout October, but they wouldn’t be in preseason games. Remember Michael Kidd-Gilchrist seemingly submarining the Hornets’ season before the dang season even began last fall? That’s also when Derrick Rose fractured his orbital bone, too, instead of his relationship with female fans.