okay, so does the reg. season matter or doesn't it?

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by professor, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. professor

    professor Bench Warmer Forum Donor

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    Here's the thought -- really, it's just a feeling -- behind this thread: it seems that for some fans a regular season win doesn't matter but a regular season loss does. That is, a regular season neither contributes to nor is indicative of post-season success, but a regular season loss at the very least seems invariably to be taken to indicate why the team won't succeed in the post-season. So that leaves me confused and leads to the question: does the regular season matter or doesn't it?

    (To be fair, I think that for many posters it's not as simple as I've just put it. For them, it's not about wins and losses but about the trends they see the Pistons exhibiting and how these trends relate to what the poster believes the Pistons need to do to succeed in the post-season.)


    But still, it seems to me that a game like last night's is too readily taken to be a sign that the Pistons will fail in the post-season, whereas a win over the Spurs in San Antonio on the second night of a back-to-back tends to easily to get written off.

    My own opinion is that the regular season's relevance is related in pretty complicated and sometimes contradictory ways to post-season success. At the most basic level, you need enough regular season wins to make the playoffs. At the other end of the spectrum sacrificing everything to rack up post-season wins, no matter the cost, may land you a number one seed, but it could leave you vulnerable in the playoffs. Beyond sheer numbers of wins and losses, there are the myriad ways in which a regular season game offers opportunities to experiment with tactics that teams believe will result in post-season success (things like, but not limited to, types of offense and defense and personnel). Then there is the issue of pacing and the stresses an 82 game regular season can put on teams, physically and mentally. To repeat, this isn't an exhaustive list. I just meant to hint at a level of complexity in the relation between regular season performance and post-season success that I feel often gets lost in our debates, which tend to polarize rather rapidly (e.g. "enjoy the wins" vs. "i'll enjoy the wins when they come in the NBA Finals").

    In that sense, my thread title is kind of misleading. I don't really mean to be asking a poll-type question like "does the regular season matter: yes or no?" but rather to be inviting more complex thinking on the ways in which the regular season does matter. I'd love to hear from some of you on this issue.
     
  2. webz

    webz All-Star Snub Administrator 2x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    Prof, you seem to have summed up the latest thinking thats gone on here in a few other threads.

    My thing is, if the only time you get enjoyment out of the Pistons is when they win the clinching game of the NBA Finals, then you'll be a pretty unhappy fan most of the time. It just doesn't happen that often.

    I just keep getting the feeling that some of us as fans are pretty spoilt when it comes to the Pistons success. We experienced success rather early in the phase/window (if you can call it that) and I think that definitely increased our expectations quite highly from then on. I'm not calling it luck or anything like that, but I felt that we were perhaps 1 or 2 years away before we won it in 04 (even after we got Sheed).

    After we did win it all, everyone kind of expected that with the same team and the experience of winning it, there should be no reason we shouldn't win it again. However, we were playing at an extremely high level at the right time of the year in 04. Our bench was strong, we were hungry and we had a great coach.

    Then after we did win it and we didn't win it again in those subsequent 1 or 2 years, it was a very disappointing feeling. But still, there are a tonne of fans from some regularly bad teams who would kill to reach the Conf finals right now. And every time I get upset at this team, I need only remind myself of that fact. For some people though, that isn't enough.

    So all I'm saying is, I get enjoyment from following the team for the whole year, not just 1 game of the year. The ups, the downs, the wins and the losses. For me its about the journey as well, not just the feeling of winning it all. This isn't just a means to an end. If it was, I would have given up watching a long time ago. If you can't find any other reasons to follow this team other than winning a championship, then maybe sport isn't for you.
     
  3. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    The regular season matters for a lot of reasons.

    1. It sorts out the wheat from the chaff.

    2. It develops chemistry

    3. Sorts out weaknesses and style
     
  4. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Indeed. You have to actually enjoy the game, not just winning or playoff success.
     
  5. raxrets

    raxrets Team Captain

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    In addicion, some (if most) tend to live in a sort of fantasy realm, demanding things what in reality is not just possible(oh, I want that player , trade him, etc, etc). Seem that most are not ready to accept realities, i.e. to take consideration of weaknesses( like it or not, but neither maxiell nor dice and sheed are not "true" post players), and so those "fanatasy GMs" blame Flip Sr for absolutely everything. Very simplified take.
     
  6. professor

    professor Bench Warmer Forum Donor

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    Roscoe, all three of the reasons you gave for the importance of the regular season make sense to me. And thinking about them (specifically: asking myself exactly how the regular season matters with respect to these three things you listed?) made me realize something that is perhaps obvious: there is NO formula! There is no ONE factor! The regular season is indeed something like a creative process. What, ideally, with talent, work, and luck, you'll come up with is a champion. But it's not a science, it's an art and anybody who has ever painted or made music or written or engaged in any number of other artistic practices knows that the fact the thing doesn't always lead where you hoped and planned doesn't render the whole process of getting there worthless. Which leads me to want to add my voice to what you and Webz also said: enjoying the ride.

    That said, sports are also for those whose main or even sole priority is championships. I imagine they are getting a different sort of enjoyment out of the whole affair (and not just the enjoyment of winning the championship, even the enjoyment of kvetching at all the little things that seem to be in the way of that). It might be hard for me fully understand, but I wouldn't want to go so far as to begrudge them their enjoyment.

    When I get frustrated -- slight digression -- with the forum is not with the different opinions or ways of enjoying (or not enjoying) the team, and not even with the attempts to convince others to see (and enjoy or not enjoy) the team the way we do, but when it polarizes into right and wrong. That right and wrong thinking just seems goofy to me when it comes to what is, essentially, an art.

    Part of my hope for this thread was that it would foment a specific and elaborate presentation of viewpoints on how the regular season relates to the post-season without degenerating into a right/wrong, black/white thing.
     
  7. dba

    dba All-Star Moderator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    I guess one way to think about it might be to ask if you would be a fan of a league with 32 teams that didn’t have a regular season but only a five round playoff series. First two rounds would be best of five, last three best of seven so the maximum number of games to be played is 31, minimum is 18. Seedings are based on last year’s playoff series. Would you watch? Would it be as much fun or as interesting? What do you did if your team lost in the first round?

    I suspect most of us would watch, but I’m not sure it would be nearly as much fun or as engaging. For me it’s the long season that makes it all worthwhile. It’s seeing the team play four games in five nights with the last two back-to-back with a flight in between and overtime in the first game. It’s seeing them deal with injuries, with slumps, and with those exquisite brief periods when they can simply do no wrong. It was the road trip when the Pistons held four or five teams in a row to under 70 points and set a record. It was seeing Ben Wallace make two or three game saving plays on the last possession during that streak. It was seeing New Jersey celebrate a loss in which they managed to score over 70. (Just sit down and think sometime about the sight of the Nets celebrating not losing as badly as other teams and what that really meant at the time.)

    I’d be happy with a league without playoffs in which the regular season champs were the champs. Playoffs always seemed more a marketing gimmick to me rather than something useful for a sport. If you really care about finding the best team, then that’s how to do it, not through the best four of seven format where anything can happen. Bottom line, I like to watch the games. And I like to watch a lot of them. 31 wouldn’t be enough.

    But, in the current format, does the regular season matter? I still say yes. I think it’s pretty simple. If you can’t consistently win in the regular season you can’t win in the playoffs. Juggling the need to win games (to keep fans in the seats to generate a substantial share of team revenues if nothing else) with the need to develop players and keep them sharp with the need to have everyone refreshed at the end is what makes it fun.

    I think playoff success is directly related to regular season success. And that regular season success is mainly, but not entirely measured in wins. There are other factors to consider and as Lee is fond of pointing out to us, playing the bench doesn’t necessarily equate with losing. But the other side is equally important – teams use the regular season to develop and maintain a fan base that is what really generates the revenues.
     
  8. raxrets

    raxrets Team Captain

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    professor, this is blashphemy!. Fans have spent a huge amount of time, trying to forge various "recipies": "rules" of sucessful drafting, developing, even accelerated developing, coaching for them is just "tell players to do and so players will do".

    Take away this black'n'white line of thinking and this forum is done.
     
  9. professor

    professor Bench Warmer Forum Donor

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    :pound:i love the recipe-forging as much as the next fan, and i love debating recipes and discussing all the little bits and pieces, and i love how much seems to ride on whether to add 1/4 tsp. of AJ or 1/2 tsp. of AJ, or on how long to stir the bench in the 1st quarter, or on how many points in the paint need to be mixed in.

    I just feel terrible, though, when the differences grow to the point that they obscure common ground (everyone cares about the team or we wouldn't be here at all) and lead to unself-checked my way or the highway or if you don't like this team (or country) go somewhere else.

    dba, loved the post, that's what i'm talking about. i mean, i have to admit, i experienced a sort of perverse pleasure last night in turning the game on in the third quarter (having seen and disbelieved the score displayed on the web) just to see the train wreck, just to feel the shock and disgust (how could we be so good three nights before against the spurs and then so so bad), i saw an unguarded tay airball a jumper (over the basket! no less, that's not so easy to do!) from the baseline and turned it off, uneasily thinking: wow,, that's my team!
     
  10. webz

    webz All-Star Snub Administrator 2x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    Hopefully you weren't referring to my post Prof, because that wasn't my intent. I don't think people who only enjoy winning championships are wrong. It's one of the most fulfilling moments I enjoy most.

    I was just trying to get across that not all people only care about winning the championship. I have found this to be a common misconception when people question why some of us can remain mostly content while losing a few games, or not joining them in nitpicking/criticising every element of the team when they lack in a certain area/s.

    I was trying to relate this to the fact that a realistic person should understand that it's very hard to be very successful all the time, and that those of us who have seen darker days with the team, can still remain content and keep our expectations in check when we encounter a few bumps in the road.

    As for whether the regular season has any effect on the post-season, of course it does. Simply put, you have to get there first! But as DBA said, timing is everything and how you are playing at that particular month of the year is half the challenge. Just look at what Golden State did to Dallas last season for evidence of that. One team may be dominant against the league as a whole, but against one particular team it may be weak. Matchups, emotions, psychological effects, tactics and many more things can all play a part.

    Sure we could change the league into whoever has the best regular season wins the 'ship. This happens in soccer leagues all over the world. They still mean a lot, but I would wager most fans get more enjoyment/excitement out of the unpredictableness and do-or-die of the playoffs where 1 loss may mean the end of your season.
     
  11. professor

    professor Bench Warmer Forum Donor

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    no Webz, wasn't referring to your post. you were very clear and i agree.

     
  12. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    In a bizarre way, last night was great. It was one of those games you will not forget, albeit not a positive one per se, but if it was your typical Pistons 12 point victory, it would have been totally forgettable by season's end.

    But that is what the regular season is composed of. Big moments in not so big games.

    I don't think I will ever forget the airballs. It was like a circus act. At times I was chuckling.
     
  13. dba

    dba All-Star Moderator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    Clearly Prince is not on any of your fantasy teams.
     
  14. Warthog

    Warthog Bench Warmer

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    but these leagues aren't about finding the best team, they're about entertainment...and nothing's more entertaining than the playoffs. when i go to the palace during the regular season, sure it's fun to do, but the reason i buy season tickets is for the playoffs, where i go into work the next day and can't talk because my voice is so hoarse, where i'm so fired up i literally stand up and shout at every good play, and even when i'm shown on national tv sulking in my chair after a heartbreaking game 5 loss vs. the cavs.
     
  15. mikhail1973

    mikhail1973 All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion

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    It is interesting that you talk about no playoff system. I grew up on that - being a big fan of our hometown soccer team. Every game during the regular season meant something for pretty much every team. The teams on the bottom were relegated to the minors, and top teams in the minors were promoted. Still the same way in European soccer. And that system has its own merits. However, it won't work here in the US. There's just way too much money involved. Imagine Knicks having to play in NBDL next year. There will be no fans at the games and no money to be made.
     
  16. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    No, but Rip is. :(
     
  17. mikhail1973

    mikhail1973 All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion

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    Hey, at least he's healthy. :yellowprison:
     
  18. BillLaimbeer

    BillLaimbeer All-Star 4x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    The Mad Ants would probably give the Knicks a better effort than we saw from the Pistons last night...
     
  19. Ernie the Slow Adult

    Ernie the Slow Adult All-Star Forum Donor

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    A team like Golden State has to have a menetality that every game in the regular seaon is important. They will not make the playoffs otherwise.

    DET does not face such a dilema. It is how they win or lose that matters. They should be looking at what they have, realizng that their season is the playoffs and peak at the end of the season. Watching them manage their season like they have the same expectaions as Golden State is the frustrating part.
     
  20. mikhail1973

    mikhail1973 All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion

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    Actually, what are the expectations for the regular season for the Pistons?
     

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