Just a random thought here, but it seems like the NBA was a lot more fun when it lasted only 111⁄2 months.
Or at least it was more tolerable when you simply had to remind yourself that the excruciating playoffs would only last nine months and 52 days.
That wasn’t bad enough.
Now the league has decided that it wants to have an “offseason,” and apparently it’s not an idle threat.
When did that happen?
It’s happening before our very eyes, everywhere. It’s dominating the headlines and Twitter has been forced to throw another log on the fire.
Oh, brother, please spare us.
Are you really comfortable living in a country where you are forced to care about the Portland Trail Blazers in July?
This great country has other pressing problems, to be sure, but if the NBA is going to demand our year-round attention span, maybe it’s time to think about — well, Canada is out; it has the reigning champions, along with a lot of excess ice in the winter — maybe giving Australia or Costa Rica a closer look.
The NBA is apparently taking a lead from the NFL, which has turned tryout camps (the combine) into must-see TV.
Surely, it is an attempt to expand the NBA “brand” to promote the product.
I might be so bold as to suggest that this offseason mania is just exposing the league.
Lotteries, drafts, bargaining, wheeling and dealing, news leaks, insider trading, summer leagues, earthquakes, double-crosses, media circuses … see it all on Instagram.
Great. But when your offseason chicanery is infinitely more interesting than your regular season, then you’ve got a problem.
And that’s exactly what is happening.
Nothing last season was anywhere near as satisfying to many NBA fans as seeing LeBron James left at the altar and Anthony Davis get much of the supporting cast that made him demand a trade from New Orleans follow him to Los Angeles.
It’s almost like a feel-good Disney movie.
As I understand it, it was scripted so that all the neglected flyover states get to wake up every morning with another reason to laugh at New York (the Knicks, anyway) and Los Angeles (Lakers).
The Brooklyn Nets and L.A. Clippers, normally the big-city afterthoughts, pull slick moves and get to stick their tongues out at arguably the NBA’s two most important franchises.
They are winning the offseason, along with the small-market New Orleans Pelicans.
No one is sure why it can happen, although in the Pelicans’ case it certainly helped to win the draft lottery (Zion Williamson).
But these popular “tease-and-bolt” offseason free agency moves are far more entertaining than the endless supply of on-court “give-and-go” the regular season provides.
It used to be pretty simple for a superstar like LeBron. Use your star power to gather up something of a Dream Team to come play with you and fill up the trophy case. Not that much different than when they were assembling AAU Travel teams.
But suddenly there are plot twists that could only be dreamed up by (scripted) reality TV.
Imagine the look on LeBron’s face when he learned NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard wasn’t going to the Lakers — as all the rumors had it —and not only was he signing with the low-rent Clippers, he was bringing Paul George with him from Oklahoma City.
Go ahead. Name me one moment in the regular season as compelling as that. I’ll wait.
Now along come the “Summer League.”
Who knew? Better question: Why?
True, the NFL plays exhibition games, but no one takes them seriously — even the league presents them with sort of a wink-wink that lets you know they know you know better than that.
The NBA packs up its toys and moves the whole show to Las Vegas.
More than 1,000 media credentials were issued and tickets were scalped for meaningless games.
Zion is apparently the big attraction, and the media was dang near breathless in reporting that Williamson can, in fact, dunk a basketball (in a meaningless game).
At least the special effects were excellent — whoever thought up throwing in a California earthquake in Las Vegas to the New Orleans Pelicans’ wunderkind’s debut against the New York Knicks wins some kind of award.
Maybe they flew too close to the sun. Zion got a little bo-bo on his left knee (not earthquake related) and will be shut down for the summer out of extreme caution.
So the media presumably can go home now.
But the NBA has set the offseason bar very high. Maybe too high.
It will be a hard act to follow when it has to start playing real games.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org