Posted by: Lowery Johnson on September 5th, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
What do these pictures have in common, besides pain? All these players are in the Western Conference. They are the biggest names on their team; they’ve proven that they are some of the toughest, some of the best, some of the greatest that will ever be. They are also, undoubtedly some of the players we love to hate because we’ve seen the Utah Jazz struggle against them time and time again. Another thing that these players all have in common, they’re all over 30. Similar to these players but from a different era we have John Stockton. Stockton went into the 1998-1999 lockout at the age of 34, having played one of his hardest seasons ever, almost clenching the ring he so deserved. Four years after the lockout of ‘99 ended, so did his career. His individual performance on the court post-lockout didn’t decline significantly, but the team’s performance as a whole did. Some articles cite the ‘99 lockout as the reason the Jazz lost championship hope. The 50 games shoved into the 89 day season proved to be challenging for players, especially the older ones.
Fast forward to this season, the lockout is lingering, thick like fog in a horror movie. So far reports indicate it’s not going anywhere. That sucks. But as I review the lockout of ‘99 I’m thinking this lockout could have some pros. The Western Conference, with teams like the Lakers, Mavericks, and Suns, is full of older players. A lockout could potentially be really tough for these teams, especially if like the last lockout they end up playing back-to-back-to-backs, it could be career ending. It will become harder and harder for Dirk, Kobe, and Steve to bounce back from injuries like the ones above.
I see this as a pro. I understand we have a lot of rookies, and lockouts can prevent rookies from developing the way they should, but I also understand our star players aren’t over 30. They are physically more capable (if they take care of themselves and stay in shape) to handle a more condensed season. I think that this lockout could potentially weaken the West and give Utah the opportunity to advance in the conference and maybe, just maybe, win the conference final.
What do you guys think?
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