Dub Nation Rooting Guide #5: LA Clippers (4) vs. Dallas Mavericks (5). & Open Thread
Not-as-annoying-as Lob-City vs Mark Cuban's Might-be-just-healthy-enough-to-beat-the-other-maimed-teams
DeMarcus Cousins. Honorary Warrior, but not quite Honorary Warrior For Life in the last election.
Warriors Villains (and Friends)
Patrick Beverley. Brash, chirpy, hard-nosed defender who has had lots of moments on-court mocking the Warriors and, well, everyone else. He irritated the Warriors in the playoffs both as a Rocket (through 2017) and the Clippers. Even villains can have a soft side, as he is also a good friend of Stephen Curry.
Kawhi Leonard. In our polling, Kawhi didn’t register as a Warriors Villain or really anything at all. People overwhelming didn’t care, even after his role whacking the dregs of the 2019 Finals team. After the 2019 Finals, Kawhi was used by LeBron fans / media to flog Stephen Curry. He was held up as an example of a star who can really carry teams
As I wrote:
Kawhi Leonard may be the greatest player to have no Stans. Everyone respects the abilities and talent. To me, the most absurd part has been his ability to steadily and majorly upgrade his capabilities each year.
Now you would think Warriors fans would have a strong opinion about him. After all he and the Spurs tortured the Warriors from 2011-2015 (yes I included the championship year). In 2015-16, Steph evolved to beyond Kawhi’s domination, but he threw a scare into everyone in the 2017 Playoffs until his injury. And of course, he helped put the Raptors over the Warriors in the 2019 Finals.
Despite all the negative things Kawhi has been party to, he never smack-talks. He gives amusingly literal responses to questions and seems to care not a little bit about the Fame lifestyle.
More importantly, he has unintentionally crippled multiple GSW-rival franchises. He kneecapped the unkillable-zombie Spurs out of nowhere and seems to have permanently torpedoed them into second-tier status. He then helped the Raptors but immediately left before anyone could really start to feel one way or the other about him. Then he forced a trade to the Clippers while apparently leading on the Lakers as long as possible to sabotage their free agency plans.
If that wasn’t enough to make you think he was a sleeper agent for Dub Nation, then he forced the Thunder to trade Paul George and triggered the demolition of Russell Westbrook’s Cupcake Commandos which then caused the hilarity of Westbrook joining James Harden, two players whose peculiar fan bases had just spent years keyboard-slaughtering the other; and also forcing the trade of Chris Paul, one of the most gifted and obnoxious players in the world, to basketball Siberia.
So… you can’t be blamed for loving, hating or not caring about the fellow. And so perhaps it is no surprise that the poll results are really really neutral.
Serge Ibaka. We just keep on running into this guy. A strong defender with a good jumper, he’s been a tough matchup for years, starting from the Durant-Westbrook-Harden OKC to the 2019 Raptors.
Owner Steve Ballmer. Irritating, but in the end the guy does shell out the bucks for a competitive team (who can forget the awful Donald Sterling who somehow got rewarded for his awfultude with a massive payday on selling the team).
Coach Tyrone Lue. The coach of the LeBron CLE Finals teams (except 2015), he held together a tricky mess of a Cavs team featuring LeBron’s corporate juggernaut, Kyrie Irving’s intense ultra-wandering spirit and Kevin Love’s sacrificing reputation and dignity to let the other two thrive. He also gave props to Steph Curry as the “Head of the Snake” in a time when most of the media was crediting Kevin Durant for carrying Steph and teaching him how to brush his teeth.
Patrick Patterson. Some minor snitching on Steph.
Once the principal rival of the up and coming Warriors, the Lob City Clippers ended up being a punching bag for years and then scattered to the winds. Kawhi tried to assemble a super team in LAC, recruiting Paul George. But will those two have the nerve to go Full LeBron on LAC and ditch them when they start to age out of contender status? Well, given Kawhi’s record, maybe that’s 100% certain.
Goofus reminds me that LAC blatantly tanked the end of the season to avoid matching up with the Lakers, so it would definitely be funny as hell if they lost in the first round.
Tim Hardaway Jr is the son of… well you’re ahead of me on this one.
Willie Cauley-Stein had some seriously fire statements of enthusiasm upon joining the 2019-2020 Warriors, but never put it together on the court and was gone before the season’s end.
None, I think.
Luka Doncic was hailed as the successor and supplanter of Steph for MVP consideration, but this year DAL never took the next step that everyone expected.
J.J. Redick was quite hateable as a Duke player, and then was a role player for the Lob City Clippers. While he did impolitely call 2015 GSW lucky, he amazingly was not even one of the top 4 most annoying Clippers. He also in his old age has become one of Steph Curry’s biggest boosters.
If anyone should have a grudge, it’s DAL. After all, GSW is the one that We-Believed them out of the 2007 playoffs and ruined Dirk Nowitzki’s MVP season.
… so, who are you rooting for?
Give me the Mavericks. Anything to discourage the trend of mercenary strip-mining superteams.