We're Witnessing the Most Boring NBA Playoffs Ever
Is it just me or have the NBA Playoffs not been particularly exciting this year?
Yes, the Golden State Warriors came back from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. That was pretty cool.
Yes, that same Thunder team came back after a blowout loss in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals and won four of five against a historically good San Antonio Spurs team to get into said matchup with the Warriors. I guess that was neat too.
Through 14 completed series, we've only had three sweeps. We've even had four Game 7s. It can't be all bad, right?
Well, if you still get that sinking feeling that these playoffs have been a bit too lopsided and chock-full of blowouts, the numbers back up your hunch:
Another day, another blowout. The average MoV is now 12% higher than the previous highest mark in the playoffs pic.twitter.com/FTd7CNfg8O
— Basketball Reference (@bball_ref) June 9, 2016
That's right. According to Basketball-Reference.com, the average Margin of Victory (MoV) of the 2016 NBA Playoffs is higher than any other year in league history. And we're not talking barely higher, we're talking 12% higher than the runner-up.
Even if the 2016 NBA Finals goes to seven games and each of those four remaining contests is decided by only one point, this year's playoffs would still have an average MoV north of 14 and set the bar for the highest of all time.
One might've expected these playoffs to be lopsided, considering we witnessed two of the best regular season teams of all-time steamroll the NBA all year long. Overall, however, there haven't even been that many one-sided series. The disproportionate nature of these playoffs is based far more on game-to-game returns than matchups on the whole. Even the best teams are taking their turn getting blown out big.
Those 67-15 Spurs? They lost two games to the Thunder by 14 points. That Thunder team lost a game to the Spurs by 32 points and a game to the Warriors by 27.
The Warriors? The 73-and-frickin'-9 Golden State Warriors? They lost a game to the Portland Trail Blazers by 12, dropped two consecutive to the Thunder by 28 and 24, and lost by 30 just last night to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
And those Cavs have lost a total of only four games this postseason and three of them were blowouts: by 15 to the Toronto Raptors and by 15 and 33 so far in the Finals to the Warriors.
Speaking of which, this year's NBA Finals is on track to be the most boring we've ever seen as well. Take a look at the top-five highest average MoVs in NBA Finals history, compared to the pace that this year's edition is on:
|2016||GSW vs. CLE||GSW leads 2-1||26.0|
|1965||BOS vs. LAL||BOS wins 4-1||21.0|
|1982||LAL vs. PHI||LAL wins 4-2||16.2|
|2014||SAS vs. MIA||SAS wins 4-1||14.8|
|1985||LAL vs. BOS||LAL wins 4-2||14.7|
|1996||CHI vs. SEA||CHI wins 4-2||14.5|
There are still two to four games left before we can officially declare these the most boring Finals ever, but it's already a done deal that the 2016 NBA Playoffs will go down as the least competitive ever on a game-by-game basis. A snooze-worthy Finals full of blowouts would just be a perfectly fitting rotten cherry on a decidedly vanilla postseason.