Basketball · Sports

WANTED: New NBA team to root for

So after witnessing a lot of things I didn’t like from my former favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers, I’ve decided that I need a new team to root for.

The details on why I’m no longer going to be a Laker fanatic are quite simple: Andrew Bynum’s poor exit in last year’s playoffs, Jim Buss hiring a bartender to be a scout, trading Lamar Odom for something the average fan won’t understand, aura of uncertainty created by a busted trade, trading longtime fan favorite Derek Fisher and acquiring Nevada-Reno’s Ramon Sessions. That’s a long list of grievances for me. The last one and the hiring of a bartender as a scout are the two largest reasons why I’m separating myself from the Lakers fan base. Kobe Bryant will always be my favorite player, but the rest of the team I cannot support. So good luck to the Lakers, I can only wish they get a chance to play for another NBA title, but based on what I’ve seen, it’s not going to happen.

That leaves me, however, without a favorite team to root for in the NBA.

I’ve toyed with the idea of rooting for the Heat, I mean with intro videos like this I was tempted to join the darkside and root for the “Evil 3.” Then I thought better of it, and despite having been a home to many UNLV players in the past, I decided against rooting for the Heat. The reason: It would get boring eventually. Like the Lakers, the expectations for the Heat is oversimplified to this point: title or no title. There’s no hope for growth because after this season, the Heat don’t have growth potential like other teams.

I was intrigued for rooting for the Golden State Warriors, which were for all intents and purposes, my childhood team. I mean, I went to the now Oracle Arena and watched a few games as a child and find myself periodically rooting for some sort of success. Then I remember all of the years of really bad draft picks (Patrick O’Bryant anyone?) and years of general ineptitude. If you don’t know the history of the Warriors, I suggest reading this article by Bill Simmons. It’s a fine read and will make you understand why Warrior fans are the way they are.

I deliberated on what teams I wanted to root for. I went through the pros and cons of every team — yes, I’m a nerd like that — and came up with with four teams I could find myself rooting for. The Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz are my final four teams.

Memphis Grizzlies

Favorite Player(s): O.J. Mayo, Gilbert Arenas, Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay
Pros: Love the coach Lionel Hollins. Love Memphis’ food. Love the fact that they used to be in Vancouver. Love many of their players.
Cons: Might have plateaued and might be a middling team for eternity.

Utah Jazz

Favorite Player(s): Alec Burks, Derrick Favors.
Pros: Able to watch a lot of the team’s games. Young team with huge upside potential. Big following and rich history. Feels like a fresh start for the organization.
Cons: One of the premier small-market teams. Tends to go in more cycles after big names leave for bigger markets. Lack of players to root for. Raja Bell.

Sacramento Kings 

Favorite Player(s): DeMarcus Cousins Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette, Isiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, Jason Thompson.
Pros: Other than Lionel Hollins, Keith Smart might be my next favorite coach in the league. Plenty of players to  root for. Plays up-tempo. Cousin Maverick is a big Kings fan. New arena coming.
Cons: Old rivalry stemming from when the Kings and the Lakers were heated rivals. Haven’t been good for nearly 10 years.

Phoenix Suns

Favorite Player(s): Steve Nash.
Pros: Bound to get a lot worse before it gets better, meaning the ride will be more fulfilling. Plays an up-tempo style.
Cons: No signs of imminent improvement. Grant Hill. Ugly uniforms. Lack of players to root for.

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