"Cairns and Illawarra aren't involved. Says it all about where they are in the NBL's thinking."
I think you'll find a lot of the teams did their own negotiations for these games.
"These games all depend on how seriously the NBA teams take them. If they don't want it to be close it won't be close."
I doubt OKC went into the Melbourne game thinking 'gee, I want this to be close!'
"like socceroos-France the aussies will lose to a clearly better opponent but everyone will be super proud of how we "could have won" and make unrealistic one eyed predictions for upcoming matches"
United vs OKC was nothing like Socceroos and France. It's not unrealistic to say Melbourne could have won that game. In fact, in the last minutes it was a 50/50 equation.
"And this itself is a good reflection of how this current "progress" of the league will be short term only. It simply isn't a sustainable model and no matter how many games NBL teams play against NBA teams, it won't become one."
Why, because some teams are still struggling? Way I see it is the NBL now has 5 teams that they're ready to showcase to the world, which are managed and funded adequately. Before LK came in there was only one - the Perth Wildcats. Rome wasn't built in a day.
Anyway, how anyone can have an issue with this is beyond me. My team, the 36ers, didn't play the NBA games last season but I didn't go and have a whinge about it because I saw how important it was to the league's credibility that we play any games against NBA teams at all. But here we are, a year later, and the sixers are in. I don't see why Illawarra, Cairns or Brisbane can't make a push for it next year. And I am also of the belief that the teams themselves actually sourced out a lot of these games, and that the league is just kind of taking credit, because of the talks we heard of between Sydney and LA, and Perth and Utah. If Illawarra and Cairns weren't as resourceful then that's their problem.
As for how close the games could be, well we could be served up anything. You often see in basketball that inferior teams can get the win or be more competitive than they should be, especially in pre-season when chemistry is still being worked out. The lack of scouting from NBA teams may be the great equalizer, or maybe their choice to only run stars for limited minutes. But I thought our teams made a good account of themselves last year. Melbourne game OKC a legitimately solid fight regardless of what anyone says. Their stars played big minutes, and they were very close to winning. As for the other games, they were probably more competitive than the absolute blow outs I was personally expecting.
When it comes to on court outcomes, I think we should expect to fight hard, play well, show some genuine skill, but in the end fall to these teams. If we don't look like absolute pushovers and we look like we have some skill we will do more than enough. No one expects us to win. It isn't impossible, but it's not really what the games are about. If we can keep games under 20 point margins in the series I think it will speak highly of our level of play.