Dub Nation Rooting Guide #1: Philadelphia 76ers (1) vs Washington Wizards (8). & Open Thread.
A Warriors-centric view of the playoffs, studying Ex-Warriors, Friends, Villains, Petty Rivalries and Team Grudges.
Seth Curry. Didn’t have much time to blossom during his short time at GSW and left without bitterness to get out of his brother’s shadow. Steph roots for him hard when not playing him head to head.
Anthony Tolliver. Played only one season for the Warriors… I don’t know why it felt like more.
Joel Embiid. Is a public fan of Steph Curry.
Danny Green. Hit key shots in the 2019 Finals between the Raptors and the dying corpse of the Dynasty Warriors. Involved in Klay Thompson’s injury.
Daryl Morey. The GM of the greatest rival to the Dynasty Warriors, the Houston Rockets. He pushed the league towards a caricature of analytics ball with all threes and layups, oversaw the ultra-effective lawyerball of Harden’s isos and foul baiting, and shared spreadsheets and complaints about how the Rockets technically should have won. But also lost with grace (plus or minus the spreadsheets) and had the guts to challenge the champions instead of whining about it non-stop in the press.
Ben Simmons has been a rival with Draymond Green for Defensive Player of the Year (they probably both lose this year to Gobert). The two have also been tied together in trade chatter.
George Hill was part of the scrappy 2018 Cavaliers team that the Dynasty Warriors swept in the Finals. But we can’t really be mad at him for (1) playing hard and (2) gifting us a missed game-winning free throw that led to the famous J.R. Smith moment and then to LeBron mentally checking out of the whole series.
76ers have stunk for so long during the process that there hasn’t been meaningful conflict to cause grudges. And historically there’s been little to speak of.
However, the 76ers famously followed The Process to intentionally lose for years to stock up on high draft picks. This is, depending on your point of view, somewhere between an insanely clever life hack to take advantage of the rules and an insult to the game, the fans, and a glib title for being a giant corporate welfare cheat.
None, I think
None, I think.
Russell Westbrook. We covered Russ’s case in detail before for his election to Warriors Villain status. Apparently a good teammate off the court, this dynamic mega-talent has heaped scorn on Steph Curry, has never a good word for non-teammates, fanned the flames hard on his feud with Kevin Durant, fought with Zaza Pachulia and Nick Young, hunts impressive stat lines and then pads them.
Bradley Beal was a rival with Steph Curry for the Scoring Lead (just edged out by Steph in the end). He also got very heated in public at Kent Bazemore for the latter’s unkind flippant joke about Beal’s hamstring.
Deni Avdija was a darling draft target for a number of draft watchers over James Wiseman. He had a competent year with starter time, but not enough to trigger Fear Of Missing Out.
The Wizards beat down the Warriors in two head-to-head games down the stretch which ultimately led to GSW having to punch themselves out even making it into the Play-In Tournament.
… so, who are you rooting for?
I’ll go 76ers because they wouldn’t be that bad to have win the entire championship, and they are a credible rival to more obnoxious contenders.