Several of the best Celtics and NBA bloggers in the business were kind enough to join me for a roundtable to discuss the upcoming NBA season. They are, in no particular order, Jimmy Toscano of Celtics Blog, Jay King of Celtics Town, Ethan Norof of Bleacher Report, Jeff Clark of Celtics Blog, Steve Alexander of Rotoworld, Jon Duke of Celtics Stuff Live, Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com, Brandon Paul of CLNS Radio, and John Karalis of Red’sArmy.com. This is the fourth installment in a series previewing the season.
A couple of fun questions here concerning Celtics fans, NBA fans as a whole, and the competitive market that is Boston sports.
— Will there be any lingering effects from the lockout with fans?
If the NBA had canceled the entire season, fringe basketball fans would have been pushed to watch Duke, Kentucky, UConn and North Carolina rather than the Heat, Lakers, Mavericks and Celtics. But the league came to an agreement in time to save the season, thus holding onto whatever good will remained among the fringe fan base.
Yet the main reason fans won’t leave is the same reason why the NBA set a revenue record last year — the league put out an on-court product as good as or better than any other era in NBA history. Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan lead a host of aging superstars trying to hold on at the ends of their careers. Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul pace a pack of in-their-prime superstars still searching for championships and defining their legacies. And Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant highlight the league’s young studs, who also include a number of second-tier stars, from Rajon Rondo to Stephen Curry to John Wall.
Adding to the talent level, the league also has a seemingly infinite number of storylines, which include Nowitzki’s defense of his first championship, Lebron’s quest for vindication after a mind-boggling NBA Finals letdown, the Lakers’ attempt to regroup for another title, the Celtics’ journey to hold on to their tenuous grip as contenders and a trio of superstars who — either by trade or free agency — will likely alter the NBA’s balance of power significantly. And if you none of that interests you, you’d probably enjoy seeing a few Blake Griffin dunks. Even after the NBA lockout, the league should draw plenty of interest. The state of basketball is too good not to.
— Have the Celtics been passed by the Bruins in this town in popularity?
People will always gravitate towards a winner. The Bruins are the city’s most recent champions and they’ve been the best team in hockey for the past month-plus. Couple that with a lockout that has pulled the Celtics completely out of the media spotlight and, yes, the Bruins have probably passed the Celtics in popularity for the moment.
Hey, this is Boston. There are a lot of options for sports fans who want to watch a winner. It’s an embarrassment of riches, and its easy to get lost in the shuffle if you’re off fighting over your billions while the rest of the fellas are kicking butt. If the Celtics can come out of the gate strong, they can probably match the Bruins again. But people are busy, and there is a lot competing for their attention. The Celtics need to show the fans that they’re worth two-and-a-half hours of their time again.