Well, the NBA Finals are now set. The Defending Champion Detriot Pistions vs the San Antonio Spurs.
Before I get to my other thoughts, I want to say that while I like this match up and think it's the best possible one for the NBA, part of me wanted to see Shaq and Wade get to the Finals. Wade is turning into a phenomenal talent and getting to see him on the biggest stage the league has to offer would be something to behold, IMO. Shaq....well, let's just say that anything that would make little baby Kobe and the Lakers look bad, I'm in favor of. I'm also a fan of Shaq's propensity for media sillyness, which would have added another element of entertainment to a Spurs vs Heat tilt. Alas, fate sees it another way.
The old-school in me is jumping for joy at the prospect that the two teams that most exemplify the concept of TEAM are playing in the Finals. Sure, both teams have stars, but they are the low keyed typed (Yes, even Rasheed Wallace now) and team play takes center stage, rather than individuals. Throw in the fact that DEFENSE will also take center stage in the Finals and I'm tickled in places that I'm not supposed to talk about in public.
Sure, I'm not a fan of either of these teams, but I am a fan of thier basic ideology and style of play. In an era that sees individual talent super-hyped and largely ignores the fundamental qualities of team play that all NBA players should aspire to, I'm now actually psyched to watch post-season basketball that doesn't involve the Celtics.
The Spurs being there is really not a big surprise to me. After all, they became my personal pick to come out of the West as soon as Shaq got his walking papers from LA. Phoenix was a nice story this season, but they still lack the defensive component that puts the Spurs over the top.
I'm actually proud of Detriot making it back because so many people started to write them off early in the season. First, they were a fluke Champion, then when it started to look rough for the team, everyone piled on to that thought and dismissed them. They did the team thing and made it back to the Finals. After all, that's what teams do, rally around each other to accomplish thier goals. Maybe people will stop with all the "fluke" talk now.
Regardless, I'll enjoy watching the Finals, even if the largely offense hungry NBA watchers will call them boring, uninteresting and all that other crap that I can't stomach. Watching fundamentals and the game the way it's supposed to be played will be a treat for this fan.