You walk in, sit down, and stare at a long white section of wall at what has been deemed the front or the focal point of the room. Others do the same; one by one they file into the fluorescent-lit and defined space. An older man walks straight to the front of the room, pulls out his notes that look like they’re written on parchment paper as old as the history he’s recalling. The man begins to speak and almost as soon as he does half of his audience loses interest and some fall asleep. He continues until a shrill metallic bell resounds throughout the entire building. Everyone leaves just as fast as they came.
The obvious storyline is what is happening. We can obviously see this is a classroom and the teacher is boring, or presenting their information in a monotonous fashion. Anyone could see that.
The underlying storyline is why those things are happening. Imagine you’ve just flown in from another planet that didn’t have schools. If you had no context for how a classroom operates you’d think, “How do all the kids know to come in a sit-down?” or “Why don’t they just leave?” (I’m sitting in a classroom at 8 am as I type this, sorry Mrs. Taylor, and I’m asking that same question myself). These kids are sitting in a classroom either because they chose to (i.e. High School or College) or they were required to (i.e. Elementary or Middle School). And the teacher is allowed to just walk up in front of the class and start instructing because he’s been trained and educated to do so.
A simple analogy, but that is what we’re interpreting for NBA teams. For every team, there are obvious storylines. How could you even mention the Los Angeles Lakers without talking about Kobe Bryant? Then there are the underlying storylines that could shape the entire season for teams and effect how the team goes about their business. Kobe is also close to retiring but hasn’t said whether he is or not, how could that affect the way the Lakers operate?
As the NBA begins to creep up on us we’re going to be looking at every NBA team’s Obvious & Underlying storylines. We’re going to sort them by division and…I know, I know, divisions are basically useless besides scheduling, but it’s still a good way to organize. Here are the Obvious and Underlying Storylines for every team in the Eastern Conference’s Central Division: Cavaliers, Bulls, Bucks, Pacers, and Pistons.