Just how good a season was it?

Five writers judge the most memorable elements of the 2010-11 NBA season

Originally Published: June 27, 2011
ESPN.com

Dirk NowitzkiAP Photo/Tony GutierrezHow did Dirk Nowitzki and Dallas' title fit into the big picture of the 2010-11 season?


1. The NBA just had its greatest season ever.

A. Strongly agree
B. Somewhat agree
C. Somewhat disagree
D. Strongly disagree
E. None of the above

Ryan DeGama, CelticsHub.com: B. Somewhat agree. The league is flush with talent. You can watch every game even if your favorite team is Toronto and you live in Tasmania. Throw the myriad of fascinating 2010-11 stories into the mix and it just might be the greatest ever. Unless, of course, you are a Toronto fan. In which case it probably sucked.

Tim Donahue, 8points9seconds.com: C. Somewhat disagree. At some point in my 45 years, I lost the ability to believe in "greatest ever." It was a good season with harbingers of a good future. That's really all you can ask.

Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes Of Hell.com: C. Somewhat disagree. It was a great season, no doubt about it. The NBA tends to be a two- or three-horse race, but this season it honestly felt like six or seven teams were contenders. But there's a difference in being the most recent great season and the greatest season.

Zach Harper, Daily Dime Live: C. Somewhat disagree. I'm not sure how you determine what the best season of all time is. In terms of league interest, this is probably it. But I don't know that this season was technically better than 2007-08. That year had Boston coming together, the Pau Gasol trade, a monster trade deadline and a fantastic playoff season. Not sure if this season was better.

Rob Peterson, Hardwood Paroxysm: B. Somewhat agree. In the sense that there was no clear favorite for the title during the season, there was a team everyone could hate in the Heat, and young stars such as Derrick Rose hit their stride. It's too early, though, to call this season the greatest. We need a little more time to adequately assess it.


2. The NBA just had its greatest postseason ever.

A. Strongly agree
B. Somewhat agree
C. Somewhat disagree
D. Strongly disagree
E. None of the above

Ryan DeGama, CelticsHub.com: C. Somewhat disagree. Sure, Dallas and Miami packed at least seven games worth of excitement into their six down-to-the-wire battles, but how many of the other 14 series lived up to the quality of the discussion surrounding them? Do the math. You'll be disappointed.

Tim Donahue, 8points9seconds.com: C. Somewhat disagree. See my answer to No. 1, but it was awfully good -- better than the season. Drama was brought. Good basketball was played, and good storylines were abundant.

Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes Of Hell.com: C. Somewhat disagree. I do so for similar reasons to the first question. It was a great postseason: hard-fought, well-played games from the first round 'til the Finals; exhilarating upsets; and an eventual champion that was both well-deserved and somewhat unexpected. But, again, just being the most recent great postseason doesn't make it the greatest.

Zach Harper, Daily Dime Live: D. Strongly disagree. The first round of the playoffs was a legendary set of series. But with how short the rest of the series were, can we really say it was the greatest ever? Dallas played only nine second- and third-round games. Miami played 10. We had a lot of great games, but we needed extended series for it to be the greatest ever.

Rob Peterson, Hardwood Paroxysm: C. Somewhat disagree. There was only one seven-game series and some of the more anticipated series (C's-Knicks, Heat-C's, Mavs-Thunder) never turned into classics. The Finals were great, but the '88, '06 and '09 playoffs were better.


3. The Dallas Mavericks winning the title was good for the NBA.

A. Strongly agree
B. Somewhat agree
C. Somewhat disagree
D. Strongly disagree
E. None of the above

Ryan DeGama, CelticsHub.com: A. Strongly agree. I'd still much rather have the team with the batch of elite players, but a periodic reminder that you can sometimes squeeze out a title with just one is good for the health of the league and the sanity of small-market fans.

Tim Donahue, 8points9seconds.com: C. Somewhat disagree. I think it's good that the Peyton Manning treatment of Dirk Nowitzki has gotten a stake in the heart, but I don't really think this has far-reaching meaning for the league.

Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes Of Hell.com: A. Strongly agree. The more franchises that have a title, the better. It gives hope to those who don't support the select number of franchises that have won repeated titles, and creates an intriguing and original story line in a way that, say, a Celtics-Lakers Finals does not.

Zach Harper, Daily Dime Live: A. Strongly agree. I don't really know that any team winning could be a bad thing. If the Heat had won the title, it would not have been bad. It's the same if the Lakers had three-peated or the Bulls had risen up to win it all. Getting Dirk's legacy up to its rightful spot in history was very important and great for the league.

Rob Peterson, Hardwood Paroxysm: B. Somewhat agree. If the Heat had taken care of business, there'd be even more of a sour taste in fans' mouths than there already is because of the looming lockout. Seeing Dirk, Jason Kidd and crew capture a title, and the way they did it, left the fans with a good feeling.


4. The Miami Heat losing in the Finals was good for the NBA.

A. Strongly agree
B. Somewhat agree
C. Somewhat disagree
D. Strongly disagree
E. None of the above

Ryan DeGama, CelticsHub.com: B. Somewhat agree. Is next season any less compelling if Miami is the monster protecting its treasure instead of the increasingly desperate band of adventurers in search of one? Possibly. But the Heat's mere existence is the real draw and that doesn't change either way. Unless Pat Riley says so.

Tim Donahue, 8points9seconds.com: B. Somewhat agree. The polarization factor of the Heat drove a lot of interest in the NBA this season, and their loss could arguably be seen as a "cliff-hanger." Having a villain is great for attracting casual fans. Having the villain lose is great for keeping them.

Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes Of Hell.com: A. Strongly agree. The Miami Heat have helped the NBA reach a level of popularity it has struggled to achieve over the past decade. But their failure to achieve their goal only heightens the intrigue and anticipation I feel in regard to next season. Sometimes failure is more exciting than victory.

Zach Harper, Daily Dime Live: C. Somewhat disagree. I don't really find the Heat to be this evil entity that was in need of comeuppance. I know they celebrated coming together and promised titles, but would everybody really have been happy if they promised to hopefully make the playoffs? Maybe it's better for the NBA since it will make next season as intense as this one.

Rob Peterson, Hardwood Paroxysm: B. Somewhat agree. For the reasons I noted in Question No. 3, but also because Miami will probably come into the 2011-12 season (if there is one) focused and determined. With the talent the Heat have, we could see a historic season, which would be good for the NBA, no matter how you feel about them.


5. We will remember the 2010-11 season for a long time.

A. Strongly agree
B. Somewhat agree
C. Somewhat disagree
D. Strongly disagree
E. None of the above

Ryan DeGama, CelticsHub.com: B. Somewhat agree. Miami, Dirk, Dallas and Derrick will linger. But I wonder if we'll ultimately remember 2010-11 as a remnant of an outdated age of NBA economics, when the two Finals teams personified obscene spending (Dallas: $86 million payroll) and stacking the deck with free-agent stars (the Miami trio). Soon-to-be anachronisms? We'll see.

Tim Donahue, 8points9seconds.com: B. Somewhat agree. Probably, but much will depend on how the story arc of the Miami Heat plays out from here, and how much the lockout eclipses the season. I can only vaguely remember Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul "The Truth" Pierce being an earth-shattering combination.

Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes Of Hell.com: A. Strongly agree. I'm hesitant to say the 2010-11 season was the greatest, but that doesn't mean it isn't among the greats. For fans of the Bulls, the Heat, the Spurs, the Lakers, the Grizzlies, the Thunder, the Nuggets, the Celtics, the Knicks and, of course, the Mavericks, this season will, for better or worse, leave an indelible impression.

Zach Harper, Daily Dime Live: E. None of the above. I like to hope we will remember this one for a very long time, but if there isn't a season in 2011-12 or we lose a significant number of games, this one will be forgotten. People are quick to forget what just happened in anticipation of what could happen. I don't see any reason why this past season wouldn't suffer the same fate.

Rob Peterson, Hardwood Paroxysm: A. Strongly agree. For the simple reason that there may not be a 2011-12 to remember.


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