By, Christopher Kreider
Author’s note: this is installment 2 of 2, which outlines the final fifteen franchises alphabetically. You can find the first fifteen teams in part 1 here.
To document the differences of each team’s season, I’ve selected what I believe is the most appropriate song for every single club, and my justification as to why that is the best soundtrack for each. Enjoy!
- Miami Heat – “Up” – Desiigner
What were you doing on Friday, January 13th? I’ll tell you what the Miami Heat were up to… They were losing their 13th game over the past 15 to the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, sliding their season record to a dismal 11-30. From that point forward the Heat went in one direction and one direction only: UP. Thanks in large part to the offensive firepower of Dion Waiters (did I really just type that?), Miami was just a tiebreaker away from making the playoffs.
- Milwaukee Bucks – “Just in Time” – Frank Sinatra
I thought the young and extremely athletic Bucks would start the season strong and perhaps finish with a 5 or 6 seed. They actually started super slow, but thanks to a 14-4 month of March were still able to secure the 6 seed after all. Better late than never!
- Minnesota Timberwolves – “Jump” – Kriss Kross
Speaking of athletic, the T-Wolves also boast a roster that is saturated with dynamic playmakers. When rookie Kris Dunn was in the starting lineup, Minnesota legitimately had five dudes that could dunk on an opponent’s face at any given time. This recipe hasn’t translated into many wins for head coach Tom Thibodeau, but it sure has been fun to watch.
- New Orleans Pelicans – “Better Together” – Jack Johnson
When Dell Demps, general manager of the Pelicans, landed much-maligned superstar Demarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings, it looked like he got the better end of the deal. Ok, that’s putting it lightly. Basically it reminded me of when Jackie Moon traded the team’s washing machine for former Boston Celtic Ed Monix in Semi-Pro. Demps fleeced the Kings on paper. But basketball isn’t played on paper (that would be weird), it’s played on the hardwood where the Pels are hoping Cousins and Davis with flourish together for years to come.
- New York Knicks – “Bermuda Triangle” – Fleetwood Mac
According to Wikipedia, the Bermuda Triangle is a region where numerous ships and aircraft have disappeared under “mysterious circumstances”. What also disappears in triangles is the Knicks offense. Phil Jackson needs to bag the antiquated triangle offense and find a solution to the Carmelo Anthony drama, before he too disappears mysteriously.
- Oklahoma City Thunder – “Mr. Roboto” – Styx
Russell Westbrook is not human. That’s the only explanation for his incomprehensible feats this year. He was programmed by engineers in Silicon Valley and is part of an undercover experiment by the robotics department of NASA. Domo arigato Mr. Westbrook!
- Orlando Magic – “Good Riddance” – Green Day
To be fair, it’s not all Rob Hennigan’s fault. The embattled GM was relieved of his duties this past week, which is merely a start in the “fixing” of the Orlando Magic. Swapping Serge Ibaka for Terrence Ross may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for Hennigan, but this remains a franchise that’s been bumbling and stumbling since Dwight Howard bolted to LA in 2012.
- Philadelphia Sixers – “Trust” – Keyshia Cole
Trust… as in the Process… as in the battle cry of former GM and President Sam Hinkie. Yes, the Sixers only won 28 games, but that’s the same number of victories they accumulated in the previous two season combined! It was also a very encouraging 28-win season, if that’s possible. The Process continues this summer, as Philly can load up on more young talent with five draft picks in the first two rounds.
- Phoenix Suns – “It’s Strange” – Louis the Child
What a weird team, man. The Suns are an assortment of young, intriguing talent and random journeymen role players all mashed together. They only won 9 games at home this season, but also have a budding superstar in Devin Booker who looks like a perennial scoring champ for years to come. Hey may be too young to pour a cocktail, but he was able to pour in 70 points versus the Celtics last month!
- Portland Trail Blazers – “Third Wheel” – Ron Wave
The Portland pairing of Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter was ranked 12th on the all-time list of NBA Jam teams by Deadspin. If the legendary video game had a 2017 version I think Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum would give them a run for their money. With easily one of the best backcourts in all of professional hoops, the Blazers are now hoping newly-acquired center Jusuf Nurkic can be their third wheel.
- Sacramento Kings – “Free Fallin” – Tom Petty
Those loyal Sacramento fans deserve better.
- San Antonio Spurs – “Machinehead” – Bush
Twenty consecutive years of playoff appearances. Two decades! Gregg Popovich’s current postseason streak is tied with Jerry Sloan’s Utah Jazz for the longest ever, a record that will certainly be owned outright by the Spurs after next season. This streak is due to the San Antonio Spurs organization, from top to bottom, being operated like a well-oiled machine. Everything that is done – be it a free agent signing or a simple in-bounds play call out of a timeout – is done with purpose.
- Toronto Raptors – “Too Close” – Next
The Raptors are close to becoming a legit threat to Cleveland in the East. Very close. But “close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, so at this point LeBron James and the Cavs likely still view Toronto as a mere speedbump in their path.
- Utah Jazz – “The Boys of Summer” – Don Henley
White Chocolate. Pay-Day-Hayward. The Rattlesnake of Salt Lake. Regardless of what you want to call him, forward Gordon Hayward has had a career year and will be a highly coveted free agent this summer. If Utah can’t keep Hayward in town, they’ll have plenty of cap space to potentially pair another top free agent with the emerging Rudy Gobert. Other top FAs this summer include Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Blake Grififn, Kyle Lowry and Paul Millsap, to name a few.
- Washington Wizards – “Good Thing Going” – Sugar Minott
The lightning-quick John Wall has been a superb orchestrator of DC’s explosive offense, creating beautiful music with the ball in his hands. Meanwhile, backcourt mate Bradley Beal has been the perfect complement to Wall’s game, as the duo led Washington to the most wins since 1979. Back then they were called the Bullets and their dynamic duo was Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes. Let’s just say the Wizards had a good year.–
Christopher Kreider | @krydr1