DNHQ Rooting Guide: NBA Cup Finals. LAL vs IND, 5:30pm. Plus open thread.
Our Warriors-centric guide to all the petty rivalries
All the Dub Nation HQ Rooting Guides for Other Teams are here.
NBA Cup Finals
Tyrese Haliburton is famously Dub Nation HQ's choice in the 2020 Draft. No really, this isn’t some 20-20-hindsight yapping, we did a whole pre-draft tournament and the group vote was for Haliburton.
I wrote: Tyrese Haliburton just seems like the most Warriors player in the draft, with his high character, shooting, defensive effort and smart playmaking, and his weakness of poor shot creation seems less urgent in Kerr’s motion O and with Steph Curry passing to you. This season revealed that without Steph and Klay Thompson, the Warriors were the worst shooting team in the league, so Dub Nation is pining for players who can hit an open shot.
I had Haliburton as my 1A with Okongwu, but I also wrote: Haliburton over Edwards. Edwards could be the next Oladipo, but Oladipo look a long time to become Dipo and Steph isn’t getting younger. The Haliburton dream is that his flaws (not explosive creator) aren’t relevant in Kerrball.
Before we get too high on ourselves, I note that Haliburton beat Wiseman in our semifinals by 1 vote.
Myles Turner is on the all-time list of Dub Nation Unrequited Love. He’s been mock traded endlessly as a tough shot blocking big who can hit a three. It’s part of the DNA of Dub Nation to be endlessly pining for a great big man and being endlessly disappointed.
Oscar Tshiebwe is the kind of bruising big guy that DNHQ always wants as a two-way.
Pacers have been thoroughly off the GSW radar for a while now except maybe when Monta Ellis landed there, except to serve as foils for highlights.
There was a hint of friction after the 2021 Draft when Indiana sources claimed that GSW was crushed when IND drafted Chris Duarte one spot ahead of GSW’s pick (which ended up being Moses Moody), and that GSW was phoning IND with tears in their eyes to trade for CD. If this is the best I can dredge up, it’s been a pretty drama-free relationship.
Haha, in my previous draft, I completely forgot a significant ex-Warrior, D’Angelo Russell. [Thanks for the reminder ForeverFoyled!] As far as I know, DLo tried hard with the Warriors to the best of his ability (which seemed to not include defensive focus), and he helped us net Andrew Wiggins in trade (plus the draft pick that became Jonathan Kuminga), which led to the 2022 NBA Championship.
DLo did not get voted Honorary Warrior For Life, but with a majority of fans having good will for him, he qualified for Honorary Warrior.
A couple of seasons ago, LAL paid and dumped Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones.
Parts of Dub Nation really wanted to acquire Jarred Vanderbilt (All-NBA Motor) and Rui Hachimura.
LeBron James. LeBron pioneered the age of players assembling as mercenary super squads at resource-rich franchises and then leaving when they’ve strip-mined everything for maximum short-term gain.
LeBron combines all-time genius level play and athleticism (explosiveness plus invulnerability) with petty crap. One sequence that sums it up: His 2018 Finals Game 1 regulation performance was one of the best games I’ve ever seen; he then follows that with a mental meltdown after J.R. Smith’s meltdown; then smashes a whiteboard in the locker room after and breaks his hand and ruins any chance of an upset; then shows up to the post-Finals press conference in a “oh you mean this?” hand cast so that people would ask him the story.
Anthony Davis. AD pioneered the age of players having multiple years left on their contract forcing themselves off the team via PR tricks, sudden injury issues and generally abandoning their team and contract.
AD forced a trade to the Lakers by sieging the Pelicans well before his contract expired to team up with LeBron, though NOP took an amusingly long time to call his bluff. He won no fans in Dub Nation when the heavy favorite Lakers got a ref-colored win in the Play-In and he followed it with giddy trash talk.
AD played a big role in the 2023 LAL victory over GSW with a lot of Dub Nation mad at his camping in the lane and getting a friendly whistle.
Austin Reaves worked his way up from the G-League, works hard on both ends, and has become possibly the worst sport-destroying foul-baiter on the planet. He must be stopped for the sake of impressionable children, the elderly, people looking in the direction of his games, marine habitats and basically all terrestrial lifeforms.
Update: AR seems to have toned down the foul-baiting, but there was a stretch in 2022-23 when he was Must-Not-Watch-TV.
LAL picked Jalen Hood-Schifino at #17 right before GSW’s #19 Brandin Podziemski. You can either think this has no impact on GSW, or you can hope that JHS doesn’t end up being a superstar that didn’t quite fall to GSW.
Most of Dub Nation wished ill on the Lakers franchise long before LeBron and AD showed up to strip-mine. Now that they’re together, it is a recipe for Dub Nation disgust. That doesn’t even bring in the recent ref-fueled playoff defeats in 2023 and 2021.
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