Dub Nation Rooting Guide #8: Denver Nuggets (3) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (6). & Open Thread
The Battle of the Warriors Victims
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Bol Bol. Child of Warriors legend Manute Bol.
JaVale McGee. We had some good times on the Warriors, didn’t we? JaVale got to rehabilitate his image, the Warriors got the funnest alley-oop target in the league.
No one is a real villain.
Austin Rivers. Part of the rivals Lob City Clippers and also the 2019 Rockets team, this guy has been part of some pretty hateable teams. But, he also got into a feud with Chris Paul that got so red-hot that CP3 ended up assembling a militia to storm Austin Rivers and friends in their locker through a secret tunnel. Then they had to play together on the 2019 Rockets. Haha, isn’t the enemy of my enemy a friend? If that wasn’t enough, after many seasons of on-court physical annoying defense, Austin and Stephen Curry ended up as co-brothers-in-law, details at (subs only) Explain One Play: Stephen Curry Family Feud with Austin Rivers.
Nikola Jokic. The dazzling playmaker who plays like a guy at the YMCA made a deal with the devil, he will probably beat out Steph Curry for MVP.
DEN has played GSW surprisingly tough in the Dynasty years, but this year the tables were turned, as GSW dealt out devastating wins. I mean devastating in that DEN lost Jamal Murray in a GSW game. DEN fans were crying in desperation to avoid GSW in the playoffs, both for the bad matchup and for the injury bad luck.
Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard is popular in Dub Nation, even getting elected last year as a Honorary Warrior For Life. He’s been a rival to Steph for king long-distance shooter and he gets used as a prop to diminish Steph, but ultimately, as I wrote:
Dame was born in Oakland, is proud to represent it, and he returns often for charity functions. His amazing peak performances and Oakland connections gather admiration, and he was one of the pioneers with Stephen Curry of the long-range three-pointer.
Conveniently, his Blazers have gone 0-3 against the Dubs, losing in 2016, 2017 and 2019 so few bitter feelings have developed from Dub Nation, and Lillard has refrained from trash-talking the Warriors in the press despite it all.
In fact, he has led stunning upset playoff victories over the most annoying Warriors rivals: James Harden’s Houston Rockets (2014), Chris Paul’s and Blake Griffin’s LA Clippers (2016) and Russell Westbrook’s OKC Thunder (2019).
He’s irritated Dub Nation since then, most recently saying Steph wasn’t an MVP candidate because he himself had been dismissed, and then early in the season, he said Steph was getting harder looks because his team was injured and young. Which was kind of obvious, but in those early days of the season, there was a (idiotic) prevalent storyline that Steph Curry had been old and decrepit for years and only KD kept him relevant, so Dub Nation did not listen to that with friendly ears.
No one rises to the level of a Villain.
Zach Collins. The turd in a mostly likable team punchbowl, this guy uses every minute he can on court to irritate the Warriors. The rare guy that got Klay Thompson angry. If he played more minutes in more games against GSW, he might end up a villain, but he’s been injured for most of two seasons.
Enes Kanter. Known as one of the more strident KD critics after he left Kanter’s OKC team.
CJ McCollum. Had Dynasty-era KD on a podcast and then kept stirring the pot on Twitter.
As mentioned, POR keeps losing to GSW, so you’ve got a whole “I Don’t Even Know You Are” vibe.
… so, who are you rooting for?
I’d accept either of these teams winning the championship over any of the favorites. Slight edge for DEN, figuring they’ll have a better chance to take down the mercenary super-teams.