3 Takes on NBA Playoff Schedule: League Too Dependent on LeBron

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Saturday, the NBA postseason tips off with the Blazers-Grizzlies play-in series. The winner faces the Lakers in the 1-8 matchup.

Last night, the league released the first-round schedule, which starts Monday:

Some thoughts:

1) The NBA needs LeBron James, it needs the Lakers. The narrative is the NBA is “a star-driven league.” Sort of. It’s “A star-driven league.” Empathize the singular form because it’s only that. It’s LeBron and a few other social media influencers. The NBA doesn’t have a league, it has a player. Thus, the exclusive primetime slate.

The Lakers will advance past either the Blazers or Grilizzes. Round 1 isn’t the NBA’s concern. It’s the Finals, where it badly needs the Lakers.

If another team represents the West in the Finals, the viewership will need A-level spin jobs from the media. Not dissimilar to last season.

2) As my colleague, Ryan Glasspiegel tweeted: the NBA knows Giannis Antetokounmpo is not a national ratings draw.

It doesn’t matter how many MVPs he wins, how many first seeds he leads the Bucks to; it won’t even matter how many championships he wins. He doesn’t have it. He’s not a star, he doesn’t say anything interesting and is absent of baggage.

No, it’s not the market. LeBron played in Cleveland, Kevin Durant starred in Oklahoma City.

Don’t mix a great player with a star.

3) The NBA wants to make the Clippers and Kawhi Leonard a draw.

The only scenario the NBA would love more than annual dominance from the Lakers is a yearly LA vs. LA WCF Game 7. As long as the Lakers prevail, of course. LA vs. LA is cool, theoretically. Easy to promote. But there is only one LA NBA team that matters. This will never be the rivalry the NBA envisions.

Leonard is a better player than LeBron. However, he’s less interesting than Antetokounmpo. This past weekend, there were at least 10 golfers more intriguing than Leonard.

The other LA team has too many spotlight games.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.


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  1. The 80’s Showtime Lakers with Magic, Kareem & Worthy were must see TV, especially when they played the Celtics. The early 2000’s Kobe/Shaq Lakers were entertaining for their greatness & the dynamic between Bryant & the big man. This Lebron 4.0/Anthony Davis version pales in comparison. Even before the virus and the current BLM bubblepalooza, it seemed the only ones I heard talking about them were ESPN blowhards and Jack Nicholson. They’re the league’s meal ticket, for sure. But the meal being served is stale cafeteria food.

  2. Okay they only played 3/4 of the season then months of layoffs bunch of players opting out now this bubble thingie i mean nice try but no one believes this is legit.

  3. Not an NBA watcher at all. Find the game boring, the players don’t care, Silver says they’re mostly miserable (code for liberal). The B stands for Bitch. Could LeBron be more unlikable. What a difference for him if the sperm contributor had been present throughout his youth. The spotlight needs to be on the deadbeat dads and that term shouldn’t include dads because you’re in no way one. You’re F’ing up so many kids by not being present. I’ll dumb it down – park your ass where you park your pud.
    Wouldn’t need BLM or any other BS slogan or movement. Look at how other groups value education and family. Most of us aren’t buying this garbage.

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