Monday, November 5, 2007

Entertainment vs. Winning

Jeremy wrote: The purpose of a pro basketball team is to make money for its owners. If entertaining basketball were more profitable than winning basketball, every team would play like the Harlem Globetrotters.

I have to disagree. The Globetrotters are only fun to watch for one game every once in awhile. The most entertaining basketball to watch for a whole season is excellence with style. And the most successful basketball (i.e., that wins titles) is excellence with a dominant big man.

The Suns have the highest combination of excellence and style, which is why people love watching them; unfortunately, you just can’t seem to win in the NBA without a big man (Stoudemire might get there, but who knows?), so their excellence can only get them so far.

Dirk has mostly excellence without much style, but when he's hitting everything from the outside it's still fun to watch, because he can put up so many points so fast. Plus Howard and Terry, and maybe Harris, all play with style, which takes up some of the slack for Dirk. And then Dampier and Diop are enough of a presence in the paint that Dallas has a pretty good shot at a title, too.

The Spurs don’t have much style at all with the exception of Ginobili, which is why everyone complains about watching them. But they obviously have excellence combined with a dominant big man, so they have titles. It’s just that they’re mostly only entertaining for their own fans.

I need to do a post on why I think we like watching pro sports so much. Maybe next week.


micah said...

Sports radio was touching on this topic this morning and I think they made some good points. One of the reasons that the regular season is seemingly not as insignificant is because the NBA is the easiest league to determine who makes the playoffs at the start of the season. Before the season starts you can be fairly certain that the Spurs, Mavs, Suns, Rockets, Jazz will make the playoffs. In the NBA the good teams are really good and the bad teams are really bad. This is different from baseball where the bad teams win 4 of 10 and the good teams win 6 of t10. And in baseball most teams don't make the playoffs so we are already resigned to expect that the only baseball we will see is regular season baseball. The NBA regular season seems boring because it is so easy to predict.

micah said...

It's hard to have fun watching the Mavs play the Warriors. Even when we win. Tonight was frustrating, even though we won.

scoots said...

Yeah, I caught the end of the game, and I have to agree. I think it’s because they expose Dirk’s weaknesses so much –– but Terry and Harris didn’t seem to have too much trouble against them.

I think Dallas needs to get past the idea that Dirk has to make all the big plays.

JKnott said...

On the regular season, what do you guys think about giving out a trophy for the regular season? Either for the best record or some more convoluted formula. Would that spice it up a bit?

On Mavs/Warriors, you're right, Scott. Did you notice on the last play Dirk gave it up to Stack and they won?

Ryan B said...

I think to see whether Jeremy's comment is right or not is to ask whether the teams that win basketball championships bring in more profit than a team that just plays exciting basketball but doesn't win anything. My bet is that the Spurs make more money than the Suns, even though the Suns may be more fun to watch during the regular season.