Every NBA fan has his or her pet peeve. For some, it’s tanking. For others, it’s a “superteam.”
But neither of these things is as irritating as how frequently the general basketball community looks ahead in time. Allow me to explain the angle here.
The first example is Kevin Love. When the Minnesota Timberwolves traded the All-Star big man to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the league was buzzing. LeBron James had just returned home. Kyrie Irving was on the come-up as one of the future stars of the association. There was a new “big three” to pay attention to.
After the honeymoon period and things went awry at the beginning, rumors started going around that the Cavaliers were shopping Love, whose contract expired at season’s end. Reporters were extra aggressive in asking him about the rumblings as the team struggled. Mind you, this was literally one month into the season. Instead of focusing on how he could improve over the course of a year on a brand new time, people were talking about where Cleveland should ship him off to.
Fast forward to the 2016 preseason. The Cavaliers are coming off a championship win, the first in the history of the franchise. The vibes are great. The chemistry is as good as it’s ever been. The environment is relaxed, but the team is focused. Love begins taking questions. The second one into media availability is about his role with the team and the accompanying trade rumors. He responds with an honest answer.
“I don’t think it’ll ever leave,” Love said at the time. “Frankly, I don’t really give a [expletive].”
Example number two is Kyrie Irving. We’ve dissected a ton on that front here on Basketball Insiders, but it’s the other parts of the subject that can be excessive. He’s not even on a team like the Phoenix Suns or the Miami HEAT, yet there are already people already asking where he’s going after that. This is all while he’s still a member of the Cavaliers.
Obviously, it’s fun to speculate about players and their potential moves, but there’s just so much overkill these days. Not even one second after Paul George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the talk wasn’t about what an elite duo he’s going to be a part of with Russell Westbrook. Of course, the chatter was about him going to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Just the other day, there was a report that the Boston Celtics were keeping a close eye on Anthony Davis to try and swing a deal. The big man shot those talks down immediately.
My question to everyone: Is it that difficult to enjoy the present?
Think about how many awesome teams there will be this season. You’ll have Chris Paul and James Harden on the new look Houston Rockets, with the likely addition of Carmelo Anthony, trying to dethrone the Golden State Warriors in the West. Gordon Hayward reuniting with his college coach Brad Stevens on an elite Celtics squad. The Washington Wizards kept their core together and adding depth. The aforementioned Thunder will be a force to be reckoned with as well.
That’s only four teams out of the bunch to be excited for. Instead of concentrating on who can go where next, how about we look at some Xs and Os? Ask yourself how Paul will fit into the Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced, offense-heavy system. Try to figure out how exactly Isaiah Thomas benefits from Boston’s offseason signings.
The future is crucial. That’s a given.
At times, you’ve got to be looking at what’s next, but too often we don’t appreciate on what’s right in front of us.
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