The New York Times is reflecting on the past decade in the N.B.A., which has evolved perhaps more than any other major sports league.
The last decade in the N.B.A. had something for everyone. New superstars emerged — Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard — and veterans like Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant reminded us all why they were so great. There were heartbreaks (the Spurs) and comebacks (the Cavaliers) and moments fans and players will never forget (“The Block”).
Our writers and editors explained which seasons from the past 10 years were their favorites.
2011-12: A Lockout, Then Linsanity
Senior staff editor and reporter
For incident and excitement, 2011-12. The season started grimly, with a lockout, eventually costing 16 games of the regular season. But the revised 66-game schedule felt fresh and fast, and every game had a little more import. Chris Paul seemed to be headed for the Lakers, only to have the deal vetoed by then-Commissioner David Stern, and he wound up going to the Clippers instead. In February, Jeremy Lin turned into Oscar Robertson for the magical run of Linsanity. In the playoffs, the eighth-seeded 76ers beat the top-seeded Bulls after Chicago’s Derrick Rose injured a knee, and the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh Heat won their first title.
2012-13: Ray Allen Happened
Sports business reporter
The N.B.A. is at its best when there is a clear top dog but also a number of fun, interesting and credible challengers, and that was never more apparent than in 2012-13.
The Heat had just won a championship with James and were demolishing everything in their path. But the Spurs almost took them down in the finals — and would have, if not for an incredible shot by Allen.
There were so many other fun teams. A plodding, defensive style was still viable, so the Roy Hibbert-led Pacers were designed specifically to stop James, and Tony Allen led the Grit n’ Grind Grizzlies to the Western Conference finals. The post-James Harden Thunder looked unstoppable, until Russell Westbrook needed knee surgery.
It was also a preview of the rest of the decade. The fun-running Warriors upset the Nuggets in the playoffs, and Harden’s Rockets and Ca