Dub Nation Rooting Guide #6: Phoenix Suns (2) vs. L.A. Lakers (7). & Open Thread
Showdown of the most annoying teams in the West
PHX mis-developed Marquess Chriss and let him go to GSW, so that was very helpful. (GSW also tried to re-habilitate mis-developed PHX draft picks Dragan Bender and Andrew Harrison, but with less success.)
Chris Paul. We covered the feud between Chris Paul and the Warriors, Dub Nation and most people in extremely vivid detail previously. In short, King Obnoxious with the Lob City Clippers, then Knight Obnoxious in the court of James Harden’s Rockets, he’s just continually getting in the way of the Warriors. He also brought out the best of the Warriors and Steph in particular. From the feud story:
What does Steph in Maximum Tryhard Mode look like? Between the Game 7 loss in May 2014 and January 6 2018, the Warriors went 13-1 against LAC, dropping only the traditional Warriors dud in Los Angeles on Christmas Day 2014.
Many of Stephen Curry’s most famous highlights came in that stretch against Chris Paul’s team.
He was elected Warriors Villain For Life, but unfortunately he was not able to dethrone James Harden as the most despised player in Dub Nation. Most recently, CP3’s 2021 MVP campaign irritated a lot of commenters here.
Cameron Payne was a role player for the KD OKC team that almost took out GSW in 2016.
Well, PHX has been horrible since the 2010 last gasp of the Seven Seconds Or Less Suns. When you’re horrible, you get a zillion high draft picks and now they’ve drafted themselves into being a promising team. It also means there’s no way to develop a team rivalry since PHX has been irrelevant for so long.
Alfonzo McKinnie. Elected an Honorary Warrior, though not For Life.
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 recently 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.
Kyle Kuzma. Outraged Dub Nation and many others with his Tweet on Klay’s injury: “This was karma from the spurs series when kawhi got hurt vs the warriors. Sucks to say.”
Montrezl Harrell. Part of playoff battles vs GSW with Harden’s annoying Rockets team (2015-2017) and then the annoying Clippers (2017-2019).
Marc Gasol. Wish we had this guy, but he chased a surer ring in LAL and rode the bench for his trouble. He was part of the Grit and Grind Grizzlies that nearly took out the 2015 Warriors, part of the 2019 Raptors that took out the remains of the Dynasty Warriors, and part of the 2021 LAL team that won the 2021 Play-In.
Most of Dub Nation wished ill on the Lakers franchise 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 Play-In loss.
… so, who are you rooting for?
Lakers + strip-mining mercenary squad = LET’S GO PHOENIX CLAP CLAP clap clap CLAP
Broke my heart to see Lolakers, another LBJ mercenary team, bite the dust; should have consulted with Gentry to find out how difficult/frustrating it was to keep a healthy Davis on the court all those years in New Orleans. Dang those HOMEGROWN-core Warriors led by ET Cury who robbed him of the 6-ring legacy he desperately sought...Looks like Nets-Bucks is going to be bigger than the East Conference Tittle Series, and, for all practical purposes, even bigger than the NBA Finals Series. Methinks only the Giannis-led team can stop the HARDEN/KD/IRVING Mercenary team from winning the title it was built for...
Somewhat crazy stat which came to me today - Steph has only lost 4 playoff series (I think he's win 19 if my calculations are correct) in his entire career. Each of those was to really good or great teams - the Lob City Clippers, the 2013 Kawhi-Duncan Spurs (who were a second away from beating the big 3 Heat to win the title), the 2016 Cavs with LeBron, Kyrie and Love and the 2019 Raptors who were the best defensive team I've seen in quite some time. And all of those series were really really close - 6 tough games to the Raptors and Spurs, and 7 super close games to the Cavs and Clippers.
That's a hell of a playoff resume. I know his somewhat late prime (for all-time greats) plays a big role in this, but still.