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TREBBY: The NBA deserves some love

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I was watching Louisville and Kentucky play earlier this season, in what at the time was a match-up between two of the nation’s best teams. After the game, all I could think about was how bad both teams were at basketball.

They both are good college teams, but saying the team members are good basketball players would be a lie. Kentucky relies on pure athleticism, with little basketball ability. That’s what NBA scouts would call “raw talent,” which really means “they aren’t very good right now.”

Teams and players like this aren’t difficult to find in college basketball. There are plenty of teams with guys who are play at the collegiate level due to their athleticism, and nothing else, because with that comes potential.

What I’m trying to say is that — sometimes — college basketball can be ugly and sloppy and lack many of the game’s fundamental skills.

Many college players never learned how to handle the ball, shoot properly or even box out. These things can be extremely annoying when watching a game.

If you compared that type of play to that of the professional game, it’s night and day.

Everyone in the NBA is a good basketball player (not just a very good athlete), which isn’t something you can say about college players, even on top-25 teams. Many college players are good athletes who never have learned to play the game the right way.

Along with being excellent basketball players, the best in the NBA give you plays that are undeniably impressive and pieces of skill you’ll never find in college basketball.

Watch Chris Paul play and appreciate the little things he does throughout the game. The Clippers guard defends, makes difficult passes look quite easy (speaking of that, watch Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio play and try to come away without being very impressed) and can even score with the best in the game. It isn’t just Paul or Rubio — the NBA is full of guys who have amazing talent I want to watch every time they play.

People say they prefer watching college basketball because of the emotion of the players and how they “truly” care about the result of the game. Those who aren’t fans of the NBA say those are two qualities lost in the professional game, and that there’s a lot of that type of person nowadays.

Many people think the players don’t care about the game in the NBA, that it’s merely seen as a 9-to-5 job — something they have to do.

This past Monday night, I went to the Bucks-Pistons game and saw Milwaukee handle Lawrence Frank’s pathetic Detroit team. In a game between 8-11 and 4-17 teams, Milwaukee guard Brandon Jennings hit two 3-pointers late in the third quarter — with his team in control of the game already — and gave genuine displays of emotion, throwing huge fist pumps and getting excited.

Nobody would know that, though, because a lot of people don’t give the Bucks, or even the NBA, a chance.

I’m not trying to call out all college players for not being good. Our own Golden Eagles are fun to watch — outside of Tuesday night’s sloppy affair against Seton Hall — and they aren’t the only college team that’s fun to observe. I like college basketball, but the NBA is a better watch. It has the best in the world, playing at a level that college kids can only dream of reaching.

But people don’t realize that. They need to give the NBA a chance and get rid of the hyperbolic stereotypes pervading the Association.

This is very common in Milwaukee, where people are quite ignorant toward the NBA and unwilling to give the professionals a chance. They’re missing out some of the best athletes in the world giving some of the best entertainment in the world.

So to those who just watch when the playoffs come around because you think that’s the only time when the players actually care, watch all 48 minutes of the next NBA game you see on television. Tell me they don’t care then.

matthew.trebby@marquette.edu

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