With the global reach the National Basketball Association has attained over the years, one could argue the NBA is in the best shape its ever been in.
Basketball is a universal game and along with soccer, it is likely the easiest sport to play by oneself.
Along with baseball, basketball was a sport I played every year of my youth, while also being a large part of free time during college.
I grew up a nineties kid, so watching Michael Jordan lead the Chicago Bulls was a common occurrence.
In fact, my two earliest memories of sports were the home run chase in 1998 between the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Mark McGwire, and watching Bulls’ finals games that my dad had recorded on video cassette.
I remember in kindergarten, we had a program at my elementary school where we, as kindergartners, would go to a fifth grade classroom and pair up with a fifth grader.
We would usually exchange gifts, mostly stuff we had drawn.
There was a particular fifth grader that would always draw Chicago Bulls stuff and I always wanted to get paired up with him.
Much like children likely are with the Golden State Warriors or wherever LeBron James is playing, I loved the Bulls.
That love has carried on to now, even while the Bulls are currently rebuilding.
No team ruled basketball during my time growing up in the nineties like the Bulls.
I recently read an opinion piece that argued the NBA has been its strongest when one team has been dominant.
The Bill Russell-led Boston Celtics ruled the sixties, the Los Angeles Lakers and Celtics reigned in the eighties, the Bulls led the nineties, while the San Antonio Spurs and Lakers ran the 2000s.
With three championships in four years, the Warriors are currently ruling the 2010s.
While the argument that the NBA is stronger when one team rules the rest of the league, it makes for a boring outcome unless you are a fan of the other team.
Of course, it is fun to play the underdog and wanting to see those underdogs knock off the “Goliath.”
Admittedly, I haven’t watched much NBA games in the last couple years because the outcome could be guessed prior to any games being played.
The last four years made it easy to guess the Warriors and Cavaliers would meet in the NBA Finals. Those teams have done exactly that.
LeBron James recently left the Cavs to head west and join the Lakers, so a new team will likely lead the East, likely one of the Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers or Indiana Pacers.
With James going to the Lakers and the Houston Rockets being a strong contender, it looked like the Warriors reign may be in jeopardy.
That is until they added one of the league’s top centers in DeMarcus Cousins for $5.3M this season.
The Warriors added top five player and former league MVP in Kevin Durant after its 73-win season, which brought their already strong roster to unbelievable heights, which includes back-to-back championships.
Now, Golden State has added a fifth all-star in Cousins, which as Cousins stated, is scary.
Cousins will likely not play until 2019 because of a ruptured achillies he suffered last season, and the jury is still out whether he will be roughly the same player that averages in the mid-20s in terms of points per game.
Arguments have been made that historically, no other player has came back from tearing an achillies.
The Sacramento Bee published an article in January 2017, naming five players who tore their achillies and came back.
The first was Elgin Baylor, who was 36 when he injured his achillies. He went from averaging 27.5 points per game to averaging 11.8.
Kobe Bryant got hurt at 34 while averaging 25.0 ppg. After his injury, he averaged 18.9 ppg.
Patrick Ewing, injured at 36, went from scoring 23.2 ppg to scoring 9.6.
The outliers? Wesley Matthews, who got injured at 29 and averaged 14.3 ppg. He dropped to just 13.4 ppg, and Dominique Wilkins, who got injured at 32, averaging 26.2 ppg before and averaging 25.2 ppg after injury.
Obviously every player is different, but Boogie Cousins is 28, still in the midst of his prime, and will likely be brought back slowly to ensure he fully heals from his injury.
It is the best situation for him, but horrible for non-Golden State Warriors fans.
This year’s NBA hasn’t truly been decided, but it looks like the Warriors will add another Larry O’Brien trophy to their case at Oracle Arena.