LESS RATINGS, MORE PROBLEMZ: The NBA’s rating issues continue to persist, with the Sports Business Journal reporting that TNT’s ratings are down 22 percent this season when compared to last, while ESPN’s are down 19 percent. This trend has obviously created quite the predicament for the league, who, despite the shift with regards to how young people consume their entertainment these days, obviously didn’t expect to see such a drastic year-to-year drop-off in numbers.
There are a few plausible explanations as to why ratings have decreased so vastly. For one, LeBron James, who remains by far the most popular player in the league, moving to the west coast has no doubt hurt viewership on the east coast, where people just can’t stay up until past midnight on school/work nights to watch their favorite player suit up. Furthermore, the disbandment of the Warriors, who were a major ratings draw during their dynastic run, certainly hasn’t helped matters. People may have loved to hate Golden State, but they were tuning in in droves to watch them on national TV. And thirdly, the games broadcast on national TV this season just haven’t been that appealing. Golden State and New Orleans, two of the worst teams in the West, have gotten a bunch of games on TNT and ESPN, because the league expected Stephen Curry and Zion Williamson, two of the biggest draws the NBA has to offer, to be healthy. Without them, though, the NBA has been displaying an unwatchable product.
In response to their ratings issues, the NBA has started to flex a lot of Golden State’s games out of national spotlight in exchange for more competitive matchups. They have also started to target content creators on YouTube, particularly those like the popular channel FreeDawkins, who are posting complete game highlights within minutes of games ending, on the platform without permission, in hopes of attracting more live TV viewers.
LAST NIGHT IN THE ASSOCIATION: The Raptors lost at home for the first time while the Rockets dropped a wild one to in-state rival San Antonio.
🔥 Led by Jimmy Butler’s 22 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, the Miami Heat became the first team to beat the Raptors in Toronto this season, besting them 121-110 in overtime. Butler scored eight straight points within the first minute of the extra session, and became just the 10th player in Heat history with a triple-double.
🚀 In Texas, San Antonio beat the Rockets 135-133 in a wild double-overtime contest that contained historic performances (James Harden had the worst shooting performance in a 50-point game ever while tying the record of most missed threes in a game) and major controversy, as a Harden dunk that clearly went in was ruled no-good, which wound up costing Houston the game. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon is reporting that the Rockets are optimistic the league will look into it, and either count the basket and award Houston the win, or order the final 7:50 of the contest to be replayed. No, seriously.
Never change, Rockets.
NEARLY CALLED IT A CAREER: Carmelo Anthony told Rachel Nichols that he was ready to retire had the Blazers not offered him a job last month. A future Hall-of-Famer, Anthony is coming off a stretch that earned him Western Conference Player of the Week honors, but followed that up with a 2-for-9, nine-point showing against the Clippers last night.
HOT SEAT WATCH: SNY is reporting one member of the Knicks organization believes David Fizdale’s firing is coming soon. New York is 4-17 and have the league’s second-worst net rating at -9.6.
MVP RANKINGS: We have voted and ranked the Top-10 players in the running for league MVP so far this season. Spoiler alert: A certain Greek Freak is at No. 1.
STOCK UP/STOCK DOWN: Find out which NCAA players have helped their stock the most ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft.
HISTORIC AWARDS: Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo were named Players of the Month for their respective conferences yesterday. It was the first time a pair of European players swept the award in the same month. Yeah, this is the best crop of international players we’ve ever had at the same time in the NBA.
GOOD TEACHERS: Celtics big man Robert Williams has elite defensive potential, and with fantastic defenders such as Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown teaching him, he’s more than likely going to reach his massive ceiling on that end of the floor.
TOXIC SOCIAL MEDIA: Myles Turner deactivated his Twitter account and deleted all of the photos on his Instagram after a brutal three-point, three-rebound, five-foul performance against Philadelphia. He didn’t give many details on why he did that, but he did tell local media that he did it for himself.
Probably the smart decision for Turner, considering the cesspool social media can be at times, especially for high-profile athletes.
LEGEND RIPS KYRIE: Celtics legend Kevin Garnett, while promoting a new film he’s in with Adam Sandler, told the media that he wasn’t surprised with Kyrie Irving’s decision to leave the Celtics, and said that you need cojones to play in Boston.
He also said that Irving and Kevin Durant should have signed with the Knicks over Brooklyn, for whatever that’s worth.
ONE POINT GUARD DOWN: Heat point guard Goran Dragic will miss at least one more game with a groin injury he suffered over the weekend, and considering how careful Miami is with injuries, he could very well miss a bit more time.
AND ANOTHER RETURNS: Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry returned from three-plus week layoff last night, coincidentally enough, against the Heat. Lowry was understandably rusty, scoring 12 points but shooting 2-for-18 from the floor and 0-for-11 from the foul line.
NO SIGN OF ZION: Turner Sports’ Kristen Ledlow reports Zion Williamson has turned a corner in his recovery this week, but his return will come after the original 6-8 week timeline. Considering Williamson’s injury was originally announced by New Orleans on Oct. 21, that means we probably won’t see the 2019 No. 1 pick until 2020.
TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL: Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke, following Indiana’s 119-116 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday, said he hates the Sixers, and that the league allows Joel Embiid to get away with “a bunch of crap” that wouldn’t be tolerated from other players.
If only every player/coach was that honest.
FRIVOLOUS EGG TOSS: TNT’s Inside the NBA closed out last night with Charles Barkley pelting Shaquille O’Neal right in the head with an egg. That continues to be one of the best sports shows on television.
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
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