I study it like physics, I follow it like a drama series, and I want to learn about everyone like gossip. Then I'll post an example of the stuff I read.
1. The Science
I don't watch just to see the emotion play out. Basketball is a beautiful science. Football is too, but I don't know nor bothered with learning about football's X's and O's. I know when a football commentator say how nice a play was, I appreciate them doing a freeze frame and drawing movement lines so I know what's going on. Otherwise I do what all newbies do: watch only the ball. When I lived with my roomates in college who weren't NBA fans, I ask them what they watch when they see the Lakers. They said they watch whoever has the ball. I then told them I try to watch all five players at once with my peripheral vision. Thank God for different colored jerseys or else I would be confuzzled. In fact, many times when someone shoots I can tell they're shooting from my peripheral, I instead focus my eyes on the inside and see how the players are boxing out and paying attention to which players fight really hard and how they get rebounds.
A team ultimately gets points from the ball going in, but to set up that jumpshot or post up, you need to run an offense, and that is where activity from the ball is most important. The Utah Jazz have the most awesome offense in my opinion. Every one of the five guys is involved in every play. The Laker's triangle is nice too, but too often they give an isolation to Kobe or Gasol and then it relies on one on one skill. Other teams make greatness from scratch through supreme point guards. Watch the Boston Celtics and watch Rajon Rondo. Five times a game he will make you say "Holy **** how did he just make that pass?"
Lakers defend a Thunder play from studying all their old game videos:
2. The Emotion and Drama
I like rooting for underdogs, except when its against my team. I really do like the Thunder, they're young and they play with alot of effort. I like watching series that are even and have hated rivals (Spurs vs Mavericks). I like reading stories about team's trash talking each other. Hate is fun, not real hate, but sports hate. I love to hate certain teams. And even when I'm a neutral observer, I can sense the hate between division rivals, and it makes it more fun to watch.
Joakin Noah takes a dump on the city of Cleveland like a WWE villain:
3. Learning about the People
It's really nice to read stories about the people and their effects on the team outside of the scoreboard. X's and O's are important but its chemistry that creates hard work and success. Shannon Brown was the favorite to win the dunk contest because of ESPN articles that chronicled his hard work on coming to the NBA and making a spot for himself on the Lakers rotation. Too bad Shannon Brown SUCKED at the dunk contest.
I like reading about people because I choose my favorite players based on their personality. It's why I absolutely despise Michael Jordan. It's why Derek Fisher is my favorite Laker. Why do you think NBC wastes air time during the Olympics to show you each Olympian's personal story? Once you make that bond you will root for that person even stronger.
Scott Brooks of the Thunder wins coach of the year for being a great coach for a young team
Kobe has a real friend on the Lakers!