Last night, watching the Celtics fall to the Heat, it really hit home for me that the NBA as we know it is gone. The Western Conference is in ruins, and the East, with one obvious exception, isn't far behind.
I'm afraid that the Miami Heat will dominate the league for the next few seasons by simple default. Even with a one-armed point guard, no legitimate center and their three best players more than halfway to collecting Social Security, the Boston Celtics competed in this series. Because they are/were an exceeding well-built, well-coached team.
The fact that the Miami Heat did not sweep this series with extreme prejudice is a testament to this.
But now Boston is done. LA will be done (assuming Howard doesn't end up there this off-season), San Antonio is done. After this season it's safe to assume Dallas will soon be done.
Who can possibly stop the Miami Heat?
It really makes me sad. This Miami Heat team would have been swept easily by the 2008 Celtics. Probably even the 2009 and 2010 Celtics. And yet after winning a series that had no business being nearly as competitive as it was, Lebron is crying, people are again singing his praises (even though without Wade's inhuman first half performance the Heat would've likely lost game 5).
And yet I don't think James will ever reach his potential. He won't have to. Wade will continue to play better basketball and get half the credit he deserves. Bosh will become less emotionally-overwhelmed because it's going to get a lot easier. Which apparently is how they all prefer it.
Last summer, what the Heat did was unthinkable. But if they manage to win a title this year, the only year they might have had real competition, how does it not set a precedent for stars and GMs going forward?
I don't know if teams will ever have the time or vision to build traditional championship teams like the Spurs in their prime, the '04-05 Pistons, the '00-01 Lakers, or even necessarily serious contenders like this year's Mavericks. In a post-Heat NBA, why on earth would Dirk have stuck it out like he has?
What do you guys think? What does the NBA look like in the next 2-3 seasons?