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Scottie Pippen made some eye raising comments this week about the man who played Batman to his Robin on the road to six championships; yes not very smart, especially siding with a controversial figure like Lebron James over the greatest ball player of all time.
Putting these comments aside though, I began to think about young players in the NBA and what is expected from them as soon as they take their first shots in the league.
Immediately thinking of Jordan…well mainly because he dominated the sports world this week ironically without saying one word, I thought about his career, how he developed and became known as the greatest player ever.
One thing that is noticeable and has been the case for the NBA throughout its history is that youth does not win. Being poise plays such a large role in playoff success that it makes sense that winning teams are usually older and more experienced.
But let’s get back to Jordan, everyone’s favorite player.
Jordan came in to this league averaging 28 points a game 5 assists and over 5 boards; impressive huh, but was swept in the playoffs and managed very leader in terms of team success. After missing his second year to injury, he then came back even better but he again was swept out of the playoffs while averaging over 40 points; even more impressive.
Jordan didn’t win a championship until 91…yes nothing comes easy not even to the great number 23.
So called King James came in the league with some impressive numbers himself, but he too felt the sting of the playoff experience having been a part of arguably the worst finals in history. He had a horrible series and looked incredibly unprepared for the moment.
Youth in the NBA does not result in titles…fun to watch but expect a long wait, in fact it’s like becoming the presidential nominee for the Republican Party, and you must wait your turn and hope that you’re next in line.
Yes Basketball is like politics…kind of.
Anyway this year was a perfect example of youth versus experience and talent, as always the latter came out on top.
The Bulls are exciting mainly because of their young MVP point guard but as we all know by now, the moment was too big for them and the talent did not always show. They are young and incomplete as a team, the fact that they have the MVP on their roster is going to bring them back to the playoffs again next year, hopefully they will leave with a different result. Once again though, they must also feel that heartache and pain from tough playoff loses in order to be prepared and step up in the big moments that matter.
On the west side of things we have teams like OKC Thunder, the youngest team in the league on average… their best player is 22 years old and has led the NBA in scoring the last two years but his fate was no different this year from that of our MVP.
They too lost and had trouble executing plays in crunch time mainly due to their young point guard Westbrook who will undoubtedly improve next year. The same goes for Memphis who is older but their core players do not possess much experience in playoff crunch time.
In some ways old is good in the playoffs as we have seen with the Celtics, Pistons, Lakers and Spurs in the past and youth to put it simply; Bad.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35602564@N00/