Playoff Guide for the Haters
Your team missing the Playoffs doesn’t mean you can’t follow teams that did.
by Van Sias
Look at you.
Nose buried in the baseball scores in the paper; cursing out your best friend when he invites you over for a couple of beers to catch some games; canceling your subscription to NBA-TV and wishing you could with TBS and TNT but can’t because then you’d have to get rid of all your cable.
In other words, straight hatin’, and all on account of your team missing the Playoffs.
But just because your squad didn’t make it, you don’t have to turn your back on the whole thing. Odds are, you can find someone, something, anything to relate to in the teams that are still chasing the ring while your boys have “gone fishin’.”
Now I’m not saying go and buy a ‘Nique throwback jersey if you’re a Hornets fan, but here’s some guidance on how to love the NBA before next season starts and end the hating on the fortunate ones:
You’re a Fan of: the Knicks
For the Playoffs, Pull for: the Hawks
Here’s Why: They’re a young, athletic team that should be the model for any squad looking to get out of a years-long slump. Plus, your boy Jamal Crawford, the just-crowned Sixth Man of the Year, is lighting it up down there. (Don’t hate on J, he played his heart out at the Garden!)
You’re a Fan of: The Clippers/Warriors/Kings
For the Playoffs, Pull for: the Magic
Here’s Why: Probably the last team you want to pull for is the Lakers, state pride be damned, so why not take it as far out of Cali as near possible and roll with the Magic men? Dwight Howard’s always gonna get his, so you don’t have to worry about your big man not showing up. Plus, they’re already in the conference semis after putting the broom to Charlotte. Hook up with them and you’re on your way!
You’re a Fan of: the Rockets
For the Playoffs, Pull for: the Spurs
Here’s Why: Unlike the California sitch, where one team has been dominant over its in-state rivals, these Texas franchises there’s rings-a-plenty. The season before Tim Duncan was drafted, the Spurs went without its main big man when David Robinson missed most of the year—kind of like what Houston saw with Yao Ming out from the get-go. The Rockets should take heart that they finished way better this past season than the Spurs did that year, so who knows what’s ahead?
You’re a Fan of: the Hornets
For the Playoffs, Pull for: the Thunder
Here’s Why: When not cheering on CP3 and the rest, then Hornets fans’ allegiance should automatically go to Kevin Durant and his crew after all the love the people of Oklahoma City showed back when the Hornets were displaced. For that alone, anyone and everyone should have a soft spot for the Thunder.
You’re a Fan of: the 76ers
For the Playoffs, Pull for: the Bucks
Here’s Why: A young, speedy rookie who weighs 100-and-nothin’ pounds driving, dishing and destroying defenses at will: Sound familiar, Sixers fans? Brandon Jennings looks like the second coming of AI out there.
You’re a Fan of: the Pistons
For the Playoffs, Pull for: the Lakers
Here’s Why: Sometimes, it’s alright to just think of the good old days, back when your team was battling it out with the Lake squad for championships, Magic and Zeke (and later, Aguirre) were exchanging kisses at center court, Arsenio Hall was ruling late night: Like I said, the good old days. Think warm thoughts for your former rival and cheer on Kobe, Lamar and—why not?—Ron Artest. Could make for some good karma.
You’re a Fan of: the Pacers
For the Playoffs, Pull for: the Cavaliers
Here’s Why: Sure, LeBron and them are the beasts of the East, but that used to be you, back in the day of Reggie Miller draining threes and Rik Smits handling the post. As a matter of fact, just imagine Ilgauskas is Smits, and there you have it: a new team to root for!
You’re a Fan of: the Timberwolves
For the Playoffs, Pull for: the Celtics
Here’s Why: Two letters: KG. Don’t hate, appreciate!