NBA Playoffs

Not everything in these NBA Playoffs has been about youth

Had I to chose the most talked-about topic of the postseason, I think I’d go with something relating to the young’uns mining the League during these playoffs.

It’s been beaten to death during the past few weeks. We have had discussions about Donovan Mitchell leading a Jazz team that was depleted of assets and riddled by in-season injuries yet still managed to make a surprising run. 

We have experienced Ben Simmons carrying–along with Joel Embiid, a 76ers team that had not sniffed such a successful and hopeful run for years. And I’m not even going to get into the Jayson TatumJaylen BrownTerry Rozier conversation.

Anyways, all of this made me wonder about the other side of the coin.

What about the 30+ year-olds of the league, those carrying bodies rather than powerful spirits at this point? Because if you look at the remaining teams in contention for the Larry O’Brien Trophy, there is undoubtedly some of this meat in the mix, and not precisely of no value.

It’s been years since I could root for my team in the postseason, so it’s not that I’m terribly concerned about the present or the future of the standing-four, let’s be honest though, each of these teams presents something that amazes in the deepest.

Keeping with Boston, I only have a question, and it is the one that has been repeated over and over again and answered–maybe, I’m not sure– in the Twitter sub-world forever and the mainstream media lately. Is Al Horford the most underrated big in the Association?

For all he’s doing for the Celtics, it still feels like he will never make an impact big enough as to be considered the monster he truly is. 

More interesting are the situations to be found in Houston, Golden State, and Cleveland. Not to blame them; winners are built around star players surrounded by dutiful–and often even washed up–veterans.

Of course, you don’t say “Warriors” and come to think of Andre Iguodala first. You don’t think of Shaun Livingston. You think of the Death Lineup, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant, and there is much reason to it, let’s not pretend here.

But how great is and has been Iggy for the past 10 years? If there is a lowkey HOFer in the NBA, it must be him, whether you like it or not, from the Philly times to the Finals MVP accolades. Come on, embrace it for what it is.

Has this guy been handed anything during his pre-GS career of no less than eight years in Philadelphia and one season with the Denver Nuggets? Iguodala has been on the floor for the most time with non-producing, putrid versions of Andre Miller, Allen Iverson, Samuel Dalembert and Chris Webber. 

Nothing pretty. Maybe only that MVP put him in the national spotlight not only for the die-hards but the broad audience and that finally made him a name known by most.

Just a quick note about the rest of the old Warriors: I love living in a world where Nick Young exists, but I’d love even more to live in a world where Nick Young not only exists but is a champion. JaVale McGee and David West already are thanks to Golden State. Root for Swaggy P.

The Rockets are one of a kind. No team, not even the Spurs, has played more guys 30 or older during these playoffs, and all of them have appeared in at least five games.

The names here are impressive. I can see similarities between Nene and Iguodala because I experienced him playing for the Nuggets for quite some time. 

Yes, we praised him when it was due, but he will always be a just-another “one in the books” of the Association (what was that run in Washington)? Trevor Ariza can relate. Joe Johnson, even more than any of the mentioned.

Iso Joe is unique, no less than the Rockets themselves. And you can add Gerald Green to my group of let’s-make-them-Champs I mentioned earlier. 

Finally, I’m still trying to figure out how Luc Mbah a Moute keeps playing at this point after what he’s been showing. Not saying he should be doing more given that he’s coming off an injury and he may not be fully fit either mentally or physically, but this is starting to look crazier than Cleveland putting Jordan Clarkson out there for long stretches.

No words for Chris Paul. 

He logs in at 32 but he just doesn’t fit this group of old-guys. He fits Houston’s championships model, though, back-to-back chips with three 32-year-olds: Hakeem Olajuwon, Otis Thorpe and newly acquired Clyde Drexler (traded for Otis, that’s true) for one last ride.

Finally, the mighty Cavaliers are any contender’s role model on paper. Or they should, if they worked, or were meant for anything and played any kind of game with some sort of purpose.

Forget about youth and young blood if you live in Ohio. Nothing new, yet nothing good. It is LeBron James, and then some. 

LeBron himself being already 33-years-old yet playing like it was 2009, which pretty much nullifies anything related to his age, really.

But I can’t figure this out. I just can’t solve the puzzle in my mind. What the Cavs are after and what they have been aiming for since James came back is new to no one. 

If there is a moment in time they have a chance to win as many titles as possible it is with the best player, maybe ever, but that’s up to you to decide, in their roster.

But what is the point in doing what they are doing, honestly? It can’t be winning. Cleveland’s body of work was never sustainable. 

NBA Playoffs

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

From the front office to courtside to the actual floor. You can surround James with bad players and still make a deep run, but you can’t hope to throw in a manhandled-by-anyone coach, a bunch of done players and some other fools from here and there and expect anything good to happen.

I’m sad about George Hill because this is the closest he will get to wear gold–how unlucky must one be to spend three consecutive years in San Antonio earlier in the decade and not win a championship? Same goes for Kyle Korver. I guess the other side of the coin (J.R. Smith already being champion of the world, yes) balances the equation. No more than a fool’s consolation, yet something incredible great by any measure.

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