The league’s highest earners are nowhere to be found in the championship standings, even though they have consistently outperformed the league leaders for the past few seasons.
The league’s top five players have all missed the playoffs each of the past five seasons, with three of the top five scoring leaders in the league missing this year’s playoffs for the first time in five years.
Only two of the league top five score leaders, James Harden and Stephen Curry, have played more than 50 games.
And, in a way, that’s not all bad news.
The league is averaging nearly 11,000 fans per game, which is far more than the league average of 8,000, and the league is making a record $8.7 billion in revenue, up $1.6 billion from last season.
That money will go towards new stadiums, new TV deals and new sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike and Under Armour.
And it could help the league maintain its relevance in the eyes of the world’s elite basketball players, who will make more money as their ratings continue to grow.
But even if they continue to miss the playoffs, the league doesn’t need the money.
The best players have proven that they can take the next step in their careers, and they’re already doing so.
James Harden is averaging 25.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists in his last six games against the Dallas Mavericks.
Stephen Curry is averaging 30.5 rebounds and 9.3 assists.
The Rockets have won six of their last seven and are 10-1 in those contests.
And the Warriors are 10 of 13 in their last 14 games against San Antonio.
But there are reasons why they might be getting ahead of themselves.
Harden, Curry and the Rockets aren’t playing to the level that many people expect from them in the coming seasons.
Curry is the reigning MVP, and Harden is one of the NBA’s best offensive players.
But Harden has averaged less than 20 points per game in every game in which he’s played this season.
Curry is averaging 26.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.3 rebounds in his past three games against Houston.
The Warriors are 9-3 in those games and won their last three against the Rockets.
Houston has won eight straight at home and six straight overall against the Spurs.
San Antonio has lost its last five.