I am something of a contrarian when it comes to sports teams. I don’t like the overdog or the heavily exposed. I hate that national networks seem to show one of about six or seven teams in every broadcast.
I don’t get too excited about watching the Yankees, the Red Sox or the Phillies. A NBA game with the Celtics or Heat or Spurs has me at least considering an immediate channel change.
If it wasn’t clear previously, I have the NBA League Pass for the third consecutive year. I’ve grown into a NBA fan/junkie, something that wasn’t the case or an option when I was covering college hoops. I have a far greater appreciation for the NBA than I ever have. The players are huge and can do crazy athletic things. Everybody can make open shots. And there no bad teams. I’ll take a bad NBA game over a college game between a good team and some hyphenated or directional school.
Maybe it was because I covered the Big Ten for so long — you know, a league where too many games are 62-58 — but I love offense. I want to see points scored. I like watching teams get up and down the floor. I also tend to watch more NBA games from the Central, Mountain or Pacific time zones, it’s just the way it has worked out. It has started to change a little bit as I enjoy watching the Knicks, but that is probably another post for another day.
So who do I watch? I started watching more Phoenix than anybody else, but the Suns aren’t what they were before D’Antoni left. I like watching Oklahoma City, though I enjoyed watching the Thunder last year a little bit more as they weren’t quite as popular. I’ve been known to watch Portland, but the Blazers play awfully slow.
So where does that leave me? For much of the past two years, I have been a sucker for the Golden State Warriors. Let’s be honest, the Warriors aren’t very good. They don’t really defend and didn’t have much in the middle before signing David Lee. But I love watching Monte Ellis play. He is so fast, he’s fearless, he plays so hard. And he’s good. Steph Curry is very fun to watch because he’s such an interesting complement to Ellis. While Ellis plays pedal-to-the-metal, Curry is much more calculated. He changes speeds, he understands how to get open, he can get his shot off in a hurry.
And I love the Warriors new uniforms. I’m convinced they are among the very best in the NBA.
But of late, I have a new favorite team to watch. I am now part of Clipper Nation, and this move happened long before the Clipps toyed with the Wolves on Wednesday night.
I didn’t really know what to think of Blake Griffin heading into this season. He was obviously good, but I wasn’t sure where he would play. Could he play center if he had to? Was he big enough? I had some of the same questions about him that I had with Kevin Love.
I thought he would be solid, but not like this. Dude has been just incredible. He plays super hard, he’s athletic, he overpowers defenders. He has become one of the NBA’s must-watch players. And I’ve been watching. I love how he doesn’t back down and mixed it up a little bit with the Lakers earlier this week.
He’s also really helped the Clippers get better. With the amount of attention he draws inside, he’s given Eric Gordon more room to operate on the perimeter. He’s also helped to somehow keep Baron Davis interested in this season. I realize they are the Clippers and things always go south with the Clippers, but they’ve been winning games like crazy. Wednesday’s win was the 11th in 15 game games for the Clipps.
I’m kind of worried that I’m too late to this party. And instead of being ahead of trend, I’ve become a bandwagon jumper. I’m going to try not to think about that for now and just watch the craziness.
The guys on the Wolves broadcast tonight said that Griffin has become the most-searched athlete on YouTube. Don’t know the parameters of that (there has to be some), but I’ll leave you with some Blake Griffin internet goodness.