Now that the NBA season is officially over, it is a good time to pause and reflect upon the 2013-2014 season. This season, in particular, was filled with dramatic storylines that even Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen could not have written up or directed. This season had all of the great characteristics of a great script: drama, suspense, tension, and uncertainty. Storylines are what make sports so fascinating and intriguing. And this season did not disappoint at all.
In the past, the NBA has seen some crazy things take place in its history. No one could have written up or predicted Michael Jordan’s career, Magic Johnson retiring after contracting the HIV virus, and LeBron James’s fatal Decision when he abandoned Cleveland for South Beach. These are the storylines that make sports worth watching and the reasons why we love sports so much. They entertain us in ways that even Hollywood cannot. They are a real life drama with real life characters that compose a true story and not merely realistic fiction. They are characters and the types of stories that fill every conversation in every barbershop, sports bar, and living room in the country and around the world. And this season had plenty to talk about for hours on end.
This is a list of the top 10 stories from this season. There are a few stories that did not make this list, such as Dwight Howard moving to Houston to play for the Rockets, the surprising success of the young Portland Trail Blazers, up-and-coming Toronto Raptors, and the run-and-gun Phoenix Suns, not to mention the frustrating display of basketball put on by the New York Knicks.
But this is a list of the most important storylines from the 2013-2014 season; a season that may easily go down as one of the most entertaining and drama filled seasons in NBA history.
10. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn
After experiencing a lot of success in Boston, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett packed their suitcases and moved to Brooklyn. Pierce never imagined that he would play for any other team other than the Boston Celtics, but general manager Danny Ainge, wanted to begin a rebuilding process with some of the younger players. This meant that Pierce and Garnett needed to be moved and lucky for them, Russian billionaire and owner of the Brooklyn Nets, Mikhail Prokhorov’s pockets run very deep. And with the most expensive roster in the league, the Nets were able make the playoffs, but it was evident that Garnett should have retired last year and Pierce may not be too far behind him; an unfitting end to such talented players’ careers.
9. Derrick Rose Out For The Year Again
After suffering from a brutal injury last year, this was supposed to be Derrick Rose’s comeback year. There were reports from everywhere that Rose looked even more explosive and dynamic than he was prior to his injury and NBA fans saw glimpses of that in pre-season play. So, when the regular season eventually did start, Rose came out with an anti-climactic thud. He was still clearly rusty and looked like a shell of his former self. To make matters even worse, Rose got injured again early on in the season and the Chicago Bulls immediately said that he was out for the rest of the season.
8. Kobe Out for the Year
The Black Mamba tore his Achilles right before the playoffs last year and it was widely believed that Kobe would be back around Christmas time. Some even got caught up in the hype that Kobe was superhuman and that he could return by the start of the regular season. After all, Kobe just signed a new two-year deal in the summer as the highest-paid player in the league. Why wouldn’t he come back as the same player that everyone remembered him as? Unfortunately, when Kobe finally did make his debut much later in the season, he not only came back much later than was forecasted, but a few weeks later, he injured his knee and was shut down for the rest of the season. Now, the Lakers not only look like they are over budget, but in over their heads.
7. Adam Silver’s First Full Year as the Commissioner
Adam Silver replaced David Stern as the new commissioner of the NBA after 30 years of leadership under Stern. Stern resurrected the NBA from the ash heap and made it an international sport. So, Silver had some very large shoes to fill, and he was immediately put to the test this season with some of the issues that he would face as the new commissioner of the NBA. However, Silver did not disappoint at all. And his greatest asset is that he is willing to look at the game from a fresh perspective and is willing to change some of the older things in order to make the game as great as possible.
6. The Fall of the Indiana Pacers
The focus of the Indiana Pacers this season was on being the number one seed in order to attain home court advantage in the playoffs, with the expectation that they would meet the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. As prognosticated, the Pacers faced the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, but by the time the Pacers got there, they had gone through so much drama on and off the court, that it became clear that they were not only playing against the Miami Heat, but that they were playing against themselves. To make matter worse, their 7’3” center looked like he was 6’3” on the block. No one knows what all the drama was about, but a 30 for 30 series will explain it all soon enough.
5. Kevin Durant Wins MVP
After repeatedly telling the world that he was tired of being number two, Kevin Durant finally finished number one by winning the regular season MVP. After Durant won the MVP, he gave an epic MVP speech that brought tears to the eyes of everyone on his team and everyone else that watched for that matter. Durant led the league in scoring and minutes played and even won the respect of former MVP LeBron James, who said that Durant was the MVP of this season as well. The future looks bright in OKC.
4. Best 1st Round Playoffs in NBA History
The first round of the playoffs looked more like an NCAA tournament than your typical and predictable NBA playoffs. The 1st round was so evenly matched this season that there were no underdogs. Every team from 1-8 in the Western Conference was evenly matched and capable of winning the NBA Championship. So, when the playoffs kicked off, we saw more overtimes in the first round than any other first round in playoff history. There were buzzer beaters, nail biters, and upsets with every game. It made the playoffs more unpredictable than predictable, which elevated television ratings like never before.
3. Miami Heat Making 4 Straight Finals
Very few teams in NBA history have made the NBA Finals 4 consecutive years in a row and the Miami Heat had the opportunity to 3-peat and cement themselves as one of the greatest dynasties that the NBA has ever seen. However, after getting punished in the Finals by the San Antonio Spurs, the Heat finished with a record of 2-2 in the Finals. Not bad at all, when you consider that some teams have never even made it to the Finals. But winning is what counts and now the storyline is what the Miami Heat need to do to come back next year as contenders once again. Melo anyone?
2. San Antonio Spurs Revenge
After the most devastating loss suffered in NBA history, the San Antonio Spurs used their loss in game 6 of the 2013 Finals to fan their flame for this season. It was the fuel that drove them throughout the long 82-game season and through the treacherous terrain of the Western Conference playoffs. However, after they scratched and clawed their way to the NBA Finals, they were matched up again with their nemesis, the Miami Heat, and it was obvious that the Spurs wanted to capitalize on their missed opportunity from last year. And capitalize they did. The Spurs set historic records in the NBA Finals this year. They shot a blistering 76% in game 3 at Miami, which was the best shooting performance in NBA history. In fact, they beat the Heat by an average of 15 points per game, which is one of the highest margins of victory in NBA history.
1. The Donald Sterling Case
In the midst of the most exciting first round ever, another storyline began to steal the attention of fans everywhere. A tape recording of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling leaked out, which was a conversation between he and his lover, V. Stiviano. The recording contained shocking racist contents, which sounded more like they came from the mouth of a plantation owner than the owner of an NBA franchise. This was no surprise, however, to those familiar with Sterling since he had a history of discriminatory remarks and actions. When the recordings went public, NBA commissioner Adam Silver was faced with his first major crisis. The Clippers and many other NBA teams were going to go on strike, but Silver acted quickly and fined Sterling $2.5 million and gave him a lifetime ban from the NBA. By the time the Finals were under way, Sterling was forced to sell his team and the Clippers are now under new owner Steve Ballmer.