Oh, sure, the league still has its problems. Many in fact! But do you remember how sour the mood was at the beginning of the season? Watch this library-style, super-bookish NBA season preview from The New York Times video archive. (These are some writers I really like, but has there ever been a video production that more clearly made the point: "we prefer print!")
The talk is all about Ron Artest, a severed tie between the league and its fans, Ron Artest, crappy play, Ron Artest, the dress code, and Ron Artest.
Harvey Araton made the point that the league needs to focus on the product: the quality of the game of basktball.
And you know what? For all their referee controversies, those playoffs were something else. That was exciting basketball. The product is better, and looks to be improving even more as more teams seek out the personnel to take advantage of the new rules that prohibit a lot of contact on the perimeter.
Used to be if you took your big clients to a game, there was a decent chance it might be boring. Which is unforgiveable. Now, if you're going to see an ever expanding list of teams--Phoenix, Dallas, Miami, Cleveland, the Clippers--you can practically guarantee a good show. That's an improvement.