The NBA is a much more popular institution than the NHL, with what I think is a much larger fan base. If there is an NBA lock out, then I think there will be more die hard fans that are willing to wait until the problems end. There will also probably be more complaints, so the lock out will probably be resolved much more quickly.
In the United States, the NBA seems to be much more popular than the NHL. As such, there will be more fans watching on television which will get the NBA back in the good graces of the American public. The NHL once lost an entire season and since then, interest on American television has waned.
As a hockey fan that finds the NBA boring as sin I don't know why this is, but the numbers show the NBA is far more popular in this country than the NHL is. If it had a lockout people would just rage at Stern and put it all on him like they do everything else, they'd be waiting in line to get in when the game came back.
The NBA would have an easier time recovering from a lockout than the NHL. We have seen proof of this last year when the NBA had a lockout. The NBA actually has major network contracts to show game so it is easier for fans to view games and get involved in the sport.