Debating William & Mary, sports and culture since 2011. Updated every Wednesday.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

In Basketball on March 20, 2013 at 5:46 pm

The NBA playoffs are just around the corner. CDH’s Sam Sutton helps you pick your new favorite team to follow for the next six or so weeks.

You have a problem. You love basketball, but your favorite team probably won’t make it to the playoffs.

You're probably making this face right now.

You’re probably making this face right now.

If you’re a fan of the Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Hornets or Cleveland Cavaliers, you knew this moment would come. That’s good, people tend to underestimate the importance of acceptance at times like these. And given your team’s history of mismanaging personnel/acquiring post-prime talent, a lifetime of grief has enabled you to reach this stage with relative ease. It probably led to less stress in your life as a sports fan. Maybe you took up cooking or yoga in the time you didn’t spend  watching your defense blow double-digit leads. That’s great, really. You look healthier.

If you’re a fan of perennial playoff contenders like the Los Angeles Lakers (it was a DIRTY PLAY!), Dallas Mavericks or Portland Trail Blazers, this is probably a difficult time for you. But you know what? That’s okay too. It may sting right now, but NBA seasons are like goldfish — when they die, you flush them down the toilet and get another one when the county fair comes back around in the fall. Unless there’s a lockout. Or a kid dies on the tilt-a-whirl. Or you live in Sacramento.

No matter the case, the season isn’t over. And if you love watching basketball, that means you can still actively root for teams that actually have a chance at a title. Yes, this will require you to hop on the dreaded bandwagon — don’t worry, though — if anyone gives you shit about it, all you have to say is, “I’ve rooted for [insert your disgusting excuse for a franchise here] my entire life, I’m allowed to bandwagon whatever the hell I want.”

Trust me on this, I’m a Warriors fan. Been saying it for years. The worst you’ll get after that is a condescending sympathy dap and some bullshit like, “You know, they’re a young team, maybe next year…”

That being said, there are a few rules when it comes to bandwagoning.

First: Do not under any circumstances root for the Miami Heat. I don’t care if you like the way Shane Battier plays or respect Ray Allen’s longevity. Miami fans are the #$%!ing worst and you don’t want to lump yourself in with them.

Second: You should also avoid the Oklahoma City Thunder. They were cool two years ago, but supporting them now makes you a Johnny-come-lately. The only thing people hate more than hipsters are hipsters that can’t keep up with the times. Choosing the Thunder puts you in the same category as that woman from HR who just emailed you about her “Harlem Shake” video. Don’t be like her. You’re better than that.

Don’t get me wrong, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are very fun players to watch, and I’ll definitely support them in the likely event they face the Heat in the Finals. But they shouldn’t be your first pick.

Third: This rule only applies only to Lakers fans. Even though I included you earlier, I’m now barring you from bandwagoning. Everyone hates you, go home and cry at your 17 championship banners and Phil Jackson memoirs.

Those are the rules. Here are five teams that you can now openly support:

The Memphis Grizzlies

The ladies love Marc Gasol.

The ladies love Marc Gasol.

Couple things about the Memphis Grizzlies:

Stat nerds love them. They hired John Hollinger (creator of the ubiquitous PER stat). Want to impress a basketball fan? Say, “Marc Gasol is pretty much unstoppable at the elbow”. You say that, you’ll have them eating out of your hand.

Wait, you don’t want a stat nerd eating out of your hand? You’re right, that’s kind of weird.

The San Antonio Spurs

Clint Eastwood's favorite team, if Clint Eastwood knew where he was right now.

Clint Eastwood’s favorite team, if Clint Eastwood knew where he was right now.

The San Antonio Spurs are a cold bottle of Coors, a Dodge Ram, basically any product endorsed by Sam Elliott. 

They’ve had the same three stars for a decade. They play mistake-free, unselfish, efficient basketball. And even though they’ve won four championships since 1999, they’ve never been hated  like the Lakers, Celtics or Heat. In fact, the worst thing people say about the Spurs is that they’re boring.

Well you know what? People think Coors is boring too, but your grandfather drinks it and he fought at Guadalcanal. Don’t be a snob. Support the Spurs.

The Indiana Pacers

An unconfirmed Paul George sighting.

An unconfirmed Paul George sighting.

Pros: The general consensus among basketball analysts is that the Indiana Pacers are the only meaningful challenger standing between the Heat and a Finals berth. They are an extremely imposing defensive team, and David West is a stud.

Cons: There’s a good chance you couldn’t identify a member of their starting five if you saw them walking down the street in a Pacers jersey (except for Roy Hibbert, who you probably know from that one “Parks and Recreation” episode, in which case, you have great taste in single camera comedies).

That last point wasn’t me being condescending, by the way. I still haven’t confirmed if Paul George exists beyond the confines of Basketball-reference.com.

The Milwaukee Bucks

If you say Mike Dunleavy’s name three times in the mirror, Biggie Smalls will appear.

If you say Mike Dunleavy’s name three times in the mirror, Biggie Smalls will appear.

Mad props if you f*cks with the Bucks. People will think you’re a weirdo, but I respect that.

The Golden State Warriors

thompson-curry

This is the team you should support. The Warriors have only been to the playoffs once since I turned five years old. Oakland really needs this, you guys.

You can read more of Sam’s basketball musings at The Wind Cries Popovich and Blue Man Hoop, a Golden State Warriors fan site.

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