Who Should We Root For? A Prescription to Chaos

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Updated: June 18, 2021
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Fandom is odd a phenomenon which if viewed by aliens from neighboring planets may find strange or humorous. Especially now in recent developments where the allegiance to one’s local team no longer monopolizes how a fan is born or sustained. Many Lebron James’ fans have followed him from Cleveland to Miami, back to Cleveland, and all the way out to the West Coast in the City of Angels. And one would assume, many newly formed “Warriors Fans” would quickly adopt a second team if Curry were ever to depart from Golden State and take his talents elsewhere. The psychology of how fan populations expand and at times become depleted is an interesting topic, however, in recent years there have been dozens of articles on the how and why of these numerical swings. Instead, the question of Who Should We Root For, is not for the vague general we, but towards the NBA front office fanatics. We love speculation and trades almost much as the basketball itself…and for some even more perhaps.

One of the reasons this fanaticism tied to GM’ing has become so popular and continues to grow globally is unlike most markets that people may speculate on like in economics or politics, basketball has an arena used as proof to a person’s claims and predictions. The games have become case studies for Podcasts and talk shows, and they inevitably have swayed and influence the players and teams we choose to support throughout their seasons. The stock we have put in players since their rookie season, or our predictions surrounding up and coming stars often sway our commitment to teams which are not our own. However, these playoffs I have chosen an alternative route, and one which NBA GM fanatics may find intriguing. It is a prescription to chaos.

There are teams whose current construction and the future of their assets may heavily shift in the event of a playoff implosion and an early exit from the post-season than had been expected. In an addiction to player movement and franchise transactions, it is these teams that I root for with the hope for chaos.

I had Luka as my number 1 in the draft but have openly doubted on the pods that he would not live up to the hype train behind him. It isn’t the first time I have been wrong about a player and it certainly won’t be the last. But instead of rooting against him to prove my point and pulling for Kawhi who I’ve always had stock in as a top 5 player, I’ve rooted for the Mavericks to bury the Clippers. Not only with Kawhi’s looming free agency, but the likelihood PG-13 would be put on the trade block after Leonard’s departure. It is not only the current assets they have, but it is far more interesting to the league and NBA GM tornado if those draft picks owed to Oklahoma City end up being lottery picks, and the draft swaps so many have gawked at become instrumental to the Thunder’s rebuild.

Now with them in the second round against Utah, I not only wish for the Jazz to prevail but for Pandemic P’s lack of offensive output to continue. If the Jazz were unable to get over the hump and advance to the Conference finals, it is unlikely anything really happens. With Conley’s injury and unavailability in the series, they have cause and reason for their shortcomings. The Clippers on the other hand are fully healthy and no Bubble to blame for another early exit from the playoffs.

It’s a similar situation in Atlanta with their currently ongoing war with Philadelphia. Trae’s Hawks have already exceeded expectations. As long as they look competitive in this series the season will be unanimously seen as an overwhelming success. With the 76ers however, another 2nd round knockout would almost certainly put Ben Simmons back on the trade block. This time though, it wouldn’t be theoretical pod trades, but the 6ers opening shopping the 6”10 defensive monster who still has yet to equip himself with any semblance of shot. If they get wiped out in the Eastern Conference Finals against Harden, KD, and Kyrie, fine. Philly could live with the fact that they were eliminated by the non-organically assembled juggernaut. But if they get waxed by a player who up until a few months ago was labeled an empty stats defense liability in young Trae, the divorce between the two bigs in Philly certainly will be the heavy topic of discussion.

It is a prescription to chaos. As much as the talk of the town is that the numbers are down around the league, the number of people listening to independent pods and NBA YouTube channels is at an all-time high. We forget at times that the basketball is not a real thing or even a microcosm of life, it is a game, a social construction built for entertainment. All TV shows are centered around conflict, and the NBA and its narratives are no different.

 

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