Boring. Predictable. Pointless.
82 games of mediocrity as we are forced to watch the Warriors and Cavaliers tear the league to shreds.
This is what the experts moaned and the fans lamented as we headed into the 2016-17 NBA season.
The Cavaliers have no competition in the weak Eastern Conference, the Warriors with Durant in tow may go through the season undefeated.
Six months later and as the dust settles on the regular season, the naysayers have been forced to eat their humble pie.
Because the regular season we witnessed was anything but boring, predictable and pointless.
It was competitive, absorbing and quite simply, historic.
From the very first night of the season the script was turned on its head. The ever-reliable Spurs came to Oracle and spoiled Durant’s debut, drubbing the Warriors to the tune of 29 points.
Then began the year of the triple-double. Prior to the 2016-17 season, the record for most triple-doubles in a season was 78. James Harden, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James put up 77 on their own this season. The entire NBA, try 115 triple-doubles.
The human wrecking ball Westbrook averaged a triple-double. Words can’t do justice to how ridiculous that accomplishment is, not to mention he dragged the Thunder along with him into the 6th seed in the West.
Yet despite Westbrook’s video game like stat-line, he is by no means guaranteed the MVP award. Enter James Harden, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard.
Harden led the league in assists, was second in scoring and carried the Rockets to the third best record in the NBA.
LeBron reminded everyone why he is still the best player on the planet. He averaged career highs in rebounds and assists, while shooting a ridiculous 54.8 per cent from the floor.
The two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonard, emerged into one of the most dominant offensive players in the league. He finished the season averaging over 25 points and led the Spurs to another 60-win season.
No wonder the MVP debates are getting heated. This looms as one of the tightest Most Valuable races in NBA history.
The 2016-17 season saw 31 players average more than 20 points per game. That number hasn’t been seen for over 30 years, just four years ago only nine players averaged the 20 mark.
One of those 31 players stands at just 5’ 9”. In a league full of tall timber, little Isaiah Thomas exploded onto the scene, averaging just under 29 points a game and leading Boston to the number one seed in the East.
Yes, you read that correctly, the number one seed in the East. After bursting out of the blocks, the Cavaliers limped across the finish line and lost the number one seed to the Boston Celtics.
After January 10th, the Cavaliers completed the home-stretch with a 23-23 record. The Brooklyn Nets won as many games as the Cavaliers in the month of March. For those who are unaware, the Nets have the worst record in the entire league.
The Cavaliers did however win a Christmas day classic against the Warriors. Richard Jefferson turned back the clock with two monster dunks, before Kyrie Irving had Warriors fans feeling all sorts of deja vu. It was one of the games of the season, possibly a precursor for things to come in the playoffs.
This season we also saw a record ten players score 50 or more points in a game. Klay Thompson erupted for 60 points in just three-quarters before the 20-year-old, Devin Booker, dropped 70 points in a losing effort for the Suns.
DeMarcus Cousins scored 55 points for the Kings back in December, but made bigger headlines when he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for Buddy Hield and a few draft picks.
Joel Embiid showed us why the Sixers fans need to ‘Trust the Process’, Dirk Nowitzki reached the 30,000 career points plateau and Paul Pierce hit a 3-pointer with his final shot at the Garden.
All of this and we’ve barely scratched the surface of how great this season truly was.
Even Dion Waiters was on fire and dropping game winners left, right and centre at one point. Nobody can argue that isn’t historic.
So, with the groundwork laid and the home-stretch upon us, let’s get these playoffs started.
If there anything like the boring, predictable and pointless regular season, then we should be in for an absolute treat.