Column: NBA Eastern Conference season takeaways
The NBA regular season came to a close last night and this year the Eastern Conference was rather disappointing. The bottom half of the league was just not competitive, especially compared to the Western Conference. Although the competitiveness was down, this season was not lacking in storylines. Let's take a look at the three of the biggest takeaways from this season.
1.) As much as we want them to, Miami does not care about the regular season. This team does not care about seeding, or your little regular season "statement games". All that matters to them is what happens in the playoffs. And rightfully so: this team turns it up to another level come playoff time. The Heat were swept by the Brooklyn Nets this year but if these two teams meet in the playoffs it will be a completely different story. Miami's main concern with this group during the regular season will always be remaining healthy for the real prize.
2.) Carmelo Anthony needs help and he is going to have to leave New York to find it. It is hard to categorize this season for the Knicks as anything short of a disaster. They never had a real point guard; Iman Shumpert did not make the jump the team expected and J.R. Smith has been a huge letdown. The Knicks did hire Phil Jackson to be their President of Basketball Operations but that may not be enough to lure Anthony to stay. Realistically, the Knicks will not be able to improve much next season due to the way their contracts are set up. I don't see Anthony wasting another season in New York when he can go somewhere in free agency and try to win immediately.
3.) Tanking is horrible for the game of basketball. This year's draft is supposed to be loaded with talent and as more players declare each day there is no denying that fact. However, teams losing an absurd amount of games in order to improve their chances at a good draft pick is bad for the league. The Philadelphia 76ers tied the NBA record for most consecutive games lost in a row this season but they don't even own the worst record in the league. That belongs to the Milwaukee Bucks. There is no easy solution to this but it becomes difficult to watch games where teams benefit more from losing than winning.
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