So here we are, the last weekend of the regular season, and we’ve already determined 15 of the 16 teams that will make the playoffs. Only Toronto (sans Chris Bosh) and Chicago (doing everything they can to not make the playoffs) remain in contention for the last spot. Both teams lost Friday, and they remain tied at 38-41. The "winner" of this playoff spot gets the pleasure of being swept by Cleveland in the first round. The loser – unless they get very lucky – will pick around 14th in the draft and do it all again next year.
I don’t know what I expected. I mean, every year it’s like this: A couple of mediocre teams fighting for a spot in April and the elite teams resting all their stars once their playoff spots are secured. It wreaks havoc on fantasy championships that so many teams – good and bad – pack it in. And the few remaining teams that are trying? Boring!
Ok, in the Western Conference, seeds two-through-five are jockeying for playoff positioning, and with the Lakers suddenly looking vulnerable, whoever winds up with the #2 seed could find themselves with homecourt advantage for awhile and may have someone else do the dirty work of unseating the Lakers. However, Denver, Dallas, Utah, and Phoenix are all capable of winning games on the road, and they’ll all face strong teams in the first round. Where they end up seeded isn’t nearly as important as how well they play over the next month – there are no easy matchups in the West.
So what we really have left is Toronto vs. Chicago. The Raptors, thanks to the Bosh injury, has opened the door for the Bulls to snag the eighth spot, but Chicago isn’t doing much to grab it. The Bulls lost in double-OT to the hapless New Jersey Friday night, setting up a "big" game Sunday night north of the border. Will you be watching? I’m a Bulls fan, and I probably won’t.
I just want the offseason to start. With Thursday’s Kentucky exodus, Evan Turner, and plenty more good potential draftees, the draft can be interesting. Of course, that’s just the warm-up to the LeBron James sweepstakes and all of its ancillary prizes. I can’t get excited about the regular season, I’m not even sure I can get excited about the postseason, but I’m definitely excited about the offseason. Oh man is it going to be fun.
I just wish we could fast forward past this part of the year to June and July. Give me a good NBA championship and good draft in June – nice appetizers for the main course in July. It can’t come soon enough.