It was a reasonable argument last February to want the Los Angeles Lakers off what seemed like every other national NBA TV show. Their season was unpleasant almost from the start and Anthony Davis missed 42 games. His longest spell was when he suffered an ankle injury just before the All-Star break for 18 games, about three weeks after missing 17 games with a knee injury.
The 10 p.m. EST slot on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and prime-time Saturday nights would have NBA Twitter growling in unison when, once again, the Lakers were the national game. It was boring and, in March, agonizing. In a league full of interesting stars (even though Damian Lillard was injured) making the Portland Trail Blazers more watchable, there were the Phoenix Suns, the Golden State Warriors – hell, make the mountain time zone teams play an hour later than usual and put the Denver Nuggets on TV At least someone will get to watch Nikola Jokić play.
NBA fans make your voice heard loud and clear…after the New Year. If the Lakers are hovering in playing territory again, they must be removed from a nationally televised game schedule before the end of the playoffs of the NFL, especially with Lillard back and a healthy Kawhi Leonard with the Los Angeles Clippers. But the NBA season opener, folks, it’s the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James.
It’s always fun to make fun of the giant. The organization with all the money from local television, in a glamorous market that always makes the acquisitions it wants to make, yet in the last 10 seasons it has only made the playoffs three times. Some of you were specifically waiting for James to fall in a embarrassingly it’s a mixture of hatred for the sport and chasing weight.
As bad as the Lakers were last year, there’s no better way to max out the ratings than airing TNT in San Francisco with the Warriors fanbase, which makes you want Charles Barkley to throw coffee mugs at them (please keep your hands and team paraphernalia to yourselves This year, Warrior) and James fans are watching Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala receive their fourth championship ring in eight seasons. There is no way around it.
Sure, it would have been fun to get a rematch against the hissing Memphis Grizzlies with a healthy Ja Morant, but for NBA fans, it’s a Christmas present. Not literally, the Grizzlies and Warriors play on Christmas Day. Give me that compared to the Denver Broncos versus the Los Angeles Rams or the Arizona Cardinals versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, please and thank you.
It would have been fun to watch the Dallas Mavericks take on the Warriors on Oct. 18, Leonard’s return, or maybe even Zion Williamson’s return against the New Orleans Pelicans. This last would actually be quite exceptional, although it may need a contingency plan due to injury, the NBA can’t take the risk of not being able to maximize the league’s premier franchise draw. It’s highly unlikely that James won’t be ready to play in the first, and there’s still no better face to usher in a new NBA season.
NBA ratings are just starting to climb back to where they were before the pandemic began. The opening night of Warriors vs Lakers last season drew an estimated 3.39 million viewers. NBA stalwarts, I feel your pain, but it would be foolish to put two more teams in this late October 18 slot. If the Phoenix Suns had won the title instead of sputtering and shitting on the side of the road in the second round, Adam Silver would still have been right to schedule them to get their rings home at 8:00 p.m. EST, and then play the Warriors against the Lakers at 10:30 p.m.
The new day is fast approaching in the NBA, but it hasn’t happened yet. I see the complaints and the jokes on Twitter. Some of them are hilarious. Say what you want, but there’s no other way. Until the Lakers release the 2017-18 version of Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, the Lakers aren’t leaving our televisions for a long time.
That being said, NBA, if the Lakers are under .500 after Martin Luther King Day games, get them out of the paint and out of my TV.