Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 5/14/13
When Nate Robinson and Jimmy Butler are your go-to guys, you probably shouldnt even taste the playoffs. You definitely shouldnt face the Miami Heat in the second round. You certainly cant hope to beat them. But thats not just a lesson for the Chicago Bulls. Its pretty much the lesson of the entire NBA postseason. And its not a lesson anyone wants to learn. Or watch or read about or follow on Twitter. Injuries stink, and so do these playoffs. Yes, the triple overtime thriller between the Bulls and Brooklyn Nets was a blast. So was the double-OT party involving the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. That about covers it. Granted, playoff basketball is always an uglier version of the game we know and love in the regular season. Theres a greater emphasis on stifling defense, on grinding it out on offense, on making every possession count. NBA fans can live with, and even appreciate, all that. But this? This barely gives a chance at anything resembling beautiful basketball. This is what the playoffs look like without Kobe Bryant and a healthy Steve Nash for the Los Angeles Lakers, without Russell Westbrook for the Oklahoma City Thunder, without Rajon Rondo for the Boston Celtics. And thats just the brightest of stars. What about Denver Nuggets big man Danilo Gallinari, New York Knicks big man Amare Stoudemire, Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger? Arent these the guys who are supposed to make the postseason enjoyable? Of course, some stars have actually managed to stay on the floor. But too many those -- Spurs guard Tony Parker, LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin, Warriors guard Stephon Curry, Heat guard Dwyane Wade -- have only done so via lots of Aleve and a couple of cortisone shots. Then theres Chicago. Its not bad enough that the Bulls are still without former league MVP and point guard Derrick Rose. They get to face LeBron James and the Heat minus Kirk Hinrich (Roses replacement) and starting small forward Luol Deng, too. The result has been little more than a slamdance, an attempt by the Bulls to make the Heat feel their pain. You cant blame the Bulls, because theyre out of bodies and out of gas. What choice do they really have? But its not working and its not pretty. Its certainly not exciting. Its mostly just hideous. Of course, none of this will keep the NBA from pushing its product as something less than life-altering. Come June, well be told the Finals are among the highest-rated ever, just as league officials purr every summer. Well hear that injuries are part of the game. Well accept that whoever wins the title is a true-blue champion and a fantastic story. Some of that nonsense will actually be true. But we know what were seeing, and we know what were seeing is hardly the best of the best. We know were seeing too many guys like Robinson, guys who are career backups for a reason, playing important roles. When that happens, you get nights like the 0-for-12 clunker Robinson offered the Bulls in the Heats Game 4 blowout win. Mostly, we know that the best thing about these playoffs isnt about what were seeing at all. Its about what, and who, we havent seen. Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO
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