Porter and I Weigh in on NBA Hot Takes
Is Kevin Durant weak? Is the NBA rigged? My whippet has feelings about this
Here now are two unique perspectives on the recent NBA hot takes and conspiracy theories. One of us is a bit cynical, but is trying to play Devil’s advocate and play by the facts. One of us is a dog. One of us semi-informed about the NBA’s doings, but not so much that he blogs about it regularly or even brings it up in everyday discussion. One of us is a dog.
One of us has eaten a dog treat in Minnesota, and another in Massachusetts. One of us is a dog.
We’re sure to disagree on some things, and we’re sure to be wrong. Let’s get to the takes!
KEVIN DURANT IS WEAK, WEAK I SAY!
Kevin Durant wants to win.
Kevin Durant had barely been in the league when his team was wrenched from Seattle and plopped out in fcking Oklahoma City.He didn’t throw a fit or demand a trade. He watched his team cheap out on James Harden, and didn’t give up. He didn’t grovel before Lil’ B; he just played through the curse.
OCK’s competition was leveling up, day by day, making bigger moves and wearing way cooler uniforms. Meanwhile, in fckingOklahoma City, Thunder top brass kept content with middle-round playoffs defeats and wearing Champion tanks from a Target rack. Really, when was the last time the Thunder made a big move? Enes Kanter? Dion Waiters? They’ve drafted well, sure, but they haven’t made any win-now statements in free agency or trades. Now, Durant is making one.
He played eight years in fcking Oklahoma City. He has my respect, ‘kay?
Porter. how do you feel about this?
ONLY FOUR TEAMS ARE COMPETITIVE!
You’re right. Only four teams are competitive, but let’s take a look at those teams and see how they got to that point.
Golden State: Drafted Stephen Curry, drafted Klay Thompson, signed Andre Iguodala well after his prime, drafted Draymond green, plucked Andrew Bogut and Shawn Livingston out from the scrap heap, drafted Harrison Barnes.
San Antonio: Drafted Tim Duncan, drafted Manu Ginobili (second to last in that draft), drafted Tony Parker, drafted Kawhi Leonard, picked up Danny Green after the Cavaliers had given up on him after one season, grabbed LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency.
Cleveland: Fine, this one’s kind of sketchy and we’ll get to it in a bit. Drafted Kyrie Irving, drafted Tristan Thompson, picked up James in free agency after he originally ditched Cleveland in dubious fashion, and traded for Kevin Love in what many consider to be Game of Thrones-style pre-arranged marriage as part of James’ move back, adopted Matthew Dallevadova from the orphanage at Arkham Asylum.
Oklahoma City (pre-Ibaka trade): Drafted Kevin Durant, drafted Russell Westbrook, drafted Serge Ibaka, traded for Enes Kanter and Dion Waiters after their teams had given up on them, drafted Cameron Payne, drafted Steven Adams.
These teams, for the most part, built organically and kept their cores intact. Any team could do that (Cleveland aside, but we’ll get to them). Few do. The norm in today’s NBA is knee-jerk decisions, coaches being fire mid-season, and player cores blown up on after two or three seasons.
That might work in the business world, but it doesn’t work in basketball because …
There are less people!
In the business world, okay, let’s say I eff up a big year-long project and get canned. My company will have probably 200 resumes to pick through of equally (if not more) qualified folks to step in. That’s what business owners are used to.
It’s not like that with NBA coaches. How many NBA-ready head coaches are there, really, waiting for NBA head-coaching gigs? Hell, I’d argue there are more NBA teams right now than there are NBA-ready head coaches. Same goes for front office positions. Same goes for players. That’s why you only see a handful of good teams every year. Nobody’s developing. You’re either making miracles on day one, or you’re a goner-in-waiting.
That’s why most teams don’t work out. Hell, that’s why most of those off-season-made super-teams haven’t worked out (how ’bout those Clippers?!). The Thunder weren’t up there 10 years ago. The Warriors weren’t up there five years ago. The Timberwolves aren’t up there right now. Don’t tell me it can’t be done anymore.
Porter, how do you feel about this?
NO! THE NBA IS RIGGED!
I waffle on this one, too, I’ll admit it. When the draft is decided behind closed doors with ping-pong balls, it’s hard to not think about it. When the game’s best-ever player took a mysterious two-year break to play amateur baseball, it’s hard to not think about it. When it seems like only four teams go into each season with a realistic shot at the title, even after the conversation we just had, it’s hard to not think about it.
Let’s think about it, though.
Let’s assume the NBA is rigged. Let’s assume they extended the Finals to maximize profits. Let’s assume the NBA wants certain markets to flourish; but, somehow, those chosen markets are Cleveland, Oakland, San Antonio, and fcking Oklahoma City. Let’s assume Draymond Green really was suspended in Game 5 of this year’s Finals to ensure a seven-game series. Let’s assume the giant floating heads behind the NBA curtains wanted LeBron James to capture a title this year.
LeBron James is a superduperduperstar, this generation’s best player, but also a cultural icon. He goes beyond basketball. He’s just as powerful without a title as he is with one. Besides, what would he do if he didn’t win one this year? Jump ship, form a super-team with Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury over in China? WTF is the point.
“But even Tim Donaghy even says Game 5 was rigged!”
Preciiiisely. This is my final point.
When something shady’s afoot at the NFL headquarters, how quickly does word get leaked out? Few seconds? It hits the fan and getsFATALITY! messy. It gets raised up to federal courts. Hundreds of witnesses. Months and months and months.
It’s 2016. If the NBA was rigging the drafts, we’d know. If the NBA was rigging the Finals, we’d know. We wouldn’t have to walk around with tinfoil hats on and rave. We would have facts. Take the Supersonics’ move for example, to fcking Oklahoma City. We have facts. We would have facts about this, too, by now. Someone would’ve spoken up. Nobody can resist those clicks anymore.
I’m not saying nothing has ever happened. Maybe that Patrick Ewing draft card was frozen. Maybe Bill Simmons’ Jordan retirement theoryis true, and maybe there was this humongous web spun that involved LeBron James returning to Cleveland, and maybe I’m missing it.
I click, though. I’d have seen it, I think, and I haven’t yet.
THE NBA IS CONSPIRING TO MAKE THE LAKERS AND KNICKS GOOD AGAIN
The Knicks were good once? Anyway, hard pass.
DWIGHT HOWARD WILL MAKE HIS COMEBACK IN ATLANTA
Okay, stop it.
Porter, how do you feel about this?