Is bigger better?

The NBA has a curious method of improving its lackluster product – thin the level of competition even more. The Charlotte Bobcats become the NBA’s 30th team as they enter their first season of play.

If you’re expecting a team full of high flying dunkers and sharp shooters spotting up from deep, featuring scores from the 1980s, please look elsewhere.

Not even the most well established of today’s teams can provide the thrills of the NBA’s Golden Era.

The tired mantra of “defense wins championships” has destroyed any hope of seeing the days of high flying action anytime soon. Burly, untalented seven-footers now patrol the lane, remnants of a day when Shaq could still dominate the paint and teams had to compensate. The result is a game that is both slow and ugly, kind of like the players that are ruining it. For every Kobe Bryant in the League there are too many Calvin Booths. Overpaid because they are tall, woefully lacking skill because, well, they are tall.

But it is not these oversize behemoth’s faults.

Simply not everyone can be a superstar. Then why was the NBA so much better 20 years ago? The answer isn’t all that simple, but here are two of the major reasons. What purists point to as the prime is the transition directly from high school to the NBA.

The argument is that without at least a couple of years of college players won’t fully develop the fundamentals needed to compete at the highest level. King LeBron notwithstanding, there are plenty of no name high school players who never make it and are polluting the talent level the NBA has now.

That argument is only part of a larger problem the NBA faces. The Bobcats are the 30th team to enter this league. The NBA needs to be subtracting teams, not adding new ones into a city that already proved it wouldn’t support pro basketball. It doesn’t make financial sense, and if you’ve seen the team’s roster, it doesn’t make basketball sense either.

If there were a few less teams, and there are plenty of unprofitable ones to choose from to get rid of, the level of player talent on each team would go up significantly. This is not a popular idea, but neither is seeing a game where the score doesn’t break 90 on either side.

Fans enjoy the NBA because it is fast paced and features almost nonstop exciting play, unlike baseball or football. However the game is in danger of becoming just as boring as watching the lawn grow.

The Bobcat’s come to the Rose Garden on Saturday the 16 to face the Blazers, and Portlanders can see what I mean.