While the world seems to be on fire, the NBA has cooled off. Sometimes it feels weird to check NBA news while the Middle East spirals, Russians forget the words of Rocky Balboa, and things at the border are complicated. But, sports are a precious reminder that the world can be unified. That sometimes there can be peace. The world will probably never harmonize and flow as well as the 2014 Spurs, but maybe it could try to be like the early Duncan Spurs and just slow it down a bit.
So it's time to take a step back with some Spurs-related things I am currently thinking about.
NBA Midseason Tournament
An interesting report came out a few weeks ago that Adam Silver was considering adding a midseason tournament to the NBA Schedule. I love this idea, I think it's great for livening up the doldrums of the early season and would make the NBA much more like European soccer.
That being said, I don't want the tournament to consist of teams playing for some midseason trophy named after Kareem or whomever. Why? I think if you throw the players with their actual teams into a midseason tournament, one of two things will happen.
One, it could turn into a meaningless pro bowl like game where the players don't want to be there and it would dilute the winning of an actual championship. Imagine a team winning the title and the annoying pundits saying "well, they didn't win the December championship." Or vice versa. That would be infuriating! Two, players would take it seriously and it would make the middle of the season awful because teams would be recovering. Then you still have to deal with annoying fans who claim a championship that others want to call meaningless.
But, this idea could work and be brilliant if Silver makes this a regional tourney. Everyone is sentimental towards LeBron and the idea of Home right now, so capitalize on that! Make it a tournament where the players play for their home states.
This really cool graphic shows what it would be like if every player followed LeBron's lead. And yes, oh my word the Chicago team would be insane! Obviously there wouldn't be a San Antonio team, so you make a Texas team. Have a 16 team single elimination tournament. The final four and championship is a 3 game series. Make cities bid on host cites. Four International Teams, based on active NBA players and where they come from.
Imagine how exciting it would be to root for the Texas team. I think players would be motivated as hell. Stand-outs could leverage great play into potentially bigger contracts. I think this gets college purist fans interested in the NBA and it's great for unified interest in the league. What's that Charlotte fans? You're sad because your team is terrible? Well, stay interested in the NBA the rest of the season, because you're so amped that Steph Curry, John Wall and Chris Paul brought the Carolinas a Midseason trophy!
There'd be tons of logistics to figure out, but basketball has an amazing brand and product at the moment. Now is the time to capitalize on that.
The FIBA World Cup
I'm not sure if any of you guys were aware, but the World Cup is this summer. I am daily going back and forth on whether or not I want to care.
No Spurs are playing for Team USA. Guaranteeing that I'll never be as attached to Team USA as I was to the youth hockey team in Mighty Ducks 2. I was honestly bummed that Kawhi Leonard decided not to play. I think there's a big part of me that doesn't care about anything anymore now that we won the championship. I just want to see good basketball. The angry, neurotic, always-nervous fan in me is gone. At least until October 28th.
I wanted to see Kawhi Leonard compete on a stage that I'd never seen him on. I didn't see him play in college and I think a run with Team USA could've been really good for him. If he'd gone and dominated, his confidence would be sky high. If he'd played poorly, then he's got a fire lit under him going into next season. Which in all honesty probably wouldn't matter.
Everything I've seen from Kawhi Leonard thus far says that he's beyond bulletin board material. I just selfishly wanted to see him play with world-class talent and confirm his greatness on the world stage.
I'm spoiled by sports movies, which I happen to reference a lot. Not every athlete needs Clubber Lang to pummel them in order to succeed. Some athletes, like Tim Duncan, just win. Their motivation to be better at basketball and play great is enough.
But I hope we get to see Kawhi Leonard in the 2016 Olympics. I'd love to see an olympic team with Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, John Wall and The Hand. Hopefully Manu gets a hold of Leonard and tells him how great winning a gold medal is, before Tim pollutes the water. Tim's probably still traumatized after being in constant foul trouble and having to play with Starbury, Richard Jefferson and Lamar Odom.
The Spurs have all these guys from other countries who are so passionate about international ball, but besides David Robinson, no American Spur has ever really succeeded. Pop being an assistant could either guarantee Leonard a spot on the squad or make sure he stays home.
Does Pop just use the Olympics and international ball as a cover for spy work? We need to send Pop over to the hostile parts of the world. Imagine a Spurs militia. David Robinson is the classy officer that everyone respects, much like Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan. Pop is the dude who refuses to use guns because they're too quick and always walks around with a knife in his teeth. Stephen Jackson is the resident crazy dude. Danny Green would be the most inconsistent, but longest-ranged sniper ever. While Tiago would reverse layup every grenade into a foxhole.
I am thrilled that the 2014-2015 season will be my first season as a Spurs season ticket holder. I put together a group and own 8 games. I've set up the draft and I think I'll get 2 amazing games, 3 games against good playoff teams, 2 games against teams with exciting young players that I'd like to see and one game against the Sixers or Jazz.
Right now I am anticipating and hoping for an 8 game draw like this. Cavs (I have the first pick), Clippers, Mavs or Rockets, Pelicans, Wizards, maybe a late round Lakers, Kings and Bucks. What 8 games would you want to draw?