The Portland Trail Blazers sit in ninth place in the Western conference, and therefore sit out of the playoffs. They lie right behind the Utah Jazz and in front of both the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. It looks like it will be a fight right down to the wire for that eighth and final playoff spot, and a meeting with either the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.
Does the NBA and David Stern really want the Blazers to make the playoffs? Of course they don’t.
Portland is one of the smallest media markets in the league. They don’t have that legit star that league can market a series let alone a game around. They aren’t an attractive team to any of the international media carriers either.
The single most important reason why the NBA doesn’t want the Blazers in the playoffs is that they aren’t the Lakers or the Mavericks. Stern has built the league into a billion dollar industry. It’s a league that spans not only North America, but the entire globe.
He has done this by marketing specific players or specific teams, and he has done this with a keen eye to make the big media market franchises successful. He needs, and the league needs both, if not one of the Mavericks or Lakers to be in the playoffs.
The Mavericks have come off one of the most successful decades of their existence culminating with a title. They have Dirk Nowitzki whose brand is still huge in Europe.
The Lakers, well they are just the Lakers. Kobe Bryant markets himself. Adding Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to the team hasn’t improved fortunes, but it has made for constant chatter in blogosphere and social media universe which is exactly what the league wants. Both teams hail from large media markets.
Look around the globe and tell me how many Trail Blazers or even Jazz uniforms you see. I can guarantee that they are more Mavericks uniforms in Europe and more Lakers uniforms throughout the globe than both teams combined.
For the good of the game, Portland can’t make the playoffs. Where do advertisers want their adverts to be shown? If you had your choice would it be a timeout in a Spurs – Blazers series or a Spurs – Lakers series? It’s a simple answer. Speaking of a Spurs – Lakers series, you can just imagine the television ratings go through the roof. Wait, how about a Lakers- Thunder series? Bryant versus Kevin Durant would be a match made in heaven.
So for the good of the NBA, Portland should just cool off, grab someone in the lottery and hope next year they aren’t fighting with any big markets for a spot in the playoffs.
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