Quijano: Changing of the guard in the NBA


As Paul George sat on the bench in the fourth quarter after a dismal second half output while the Los Angeles Clippers trailed the Dallas Mavericks, a lot must have been going through his mind.

Maybe this was his last game as a Clipper? Maybe if they extend his contract, he won’t be getting the max?

But perhaps, he wasn’t aware that there was more at stake than going through to the next round. One that would signal a monumental shift in NBA history.

He and James Harden were the last of the old guards standing in the way.

It was the end of a glorious era, and even a player of George’s tremendous capacities could not possibly hold back the inevitable.

He wasn’t just facing Luka and his teammates. He and his gang were up against Father Time.

And the last time I checked, Father Time was still undefeated. And yes, even against Lebron James.

OLD. With the elimination of the Clippers and Luka Doncic moving on to the second round of the playoffs, the changing of the guards in the NBA is now complete.

Lebron James, Steph Curry. Kevin Durant. Dame Lillard. Kawhi Leonard. Paul George. James Harden. None of these superstars have made it past the first round.

NEW. Welcome to the new era of NBA basketball. This new breed is led by Nikola Jokic, a two time MVP and NBA champion. Ably assisted by his sidekick, Jamal Murray. These two are poised to potentially start a new NBA dynasty.

And because a healthy era is usually propelled by several other superstars, you have the likes of Anthony Edwards, Jayson Tatum, Shae Gilgeous Alexander, Luka Doncic, Karl Anthony Towns, Donovan Mitchell and Paulo Banchero.

NBA. Don’t worry, the game is alive and well with these stars. For the longest time, the NBA took pains to promote James, Curry and his crew, often featuring their respective teams during Christmas day games and the like.

Maybe they made a little mistake there as they should also have invested more on the new guys, but no worries—the basketball universe has a way of correcting itself.

It’s just a matter of basketball meritocracy. The best players and best teams move forward.

To be honest, it seems kind of refreshing to see new names and new faces as we inch towards the NBA Finals. We have seen too many Lebron and Curry games that by this time, we have become all too familiar with their moves on the court.

It’s time to embrace the new.

LAST ROUND. It’s on a dear friend, Joel Aquino from my UP Yakal family, who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!


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