30 NBA Teams That Are Simply More Interesting Than March Madness
Start writing a post
Sports

30 NBA Teams That Are Simply More Interesting Than March Madness

Why I enjoy NBA basketball more than the college game.

572
30 NBA Teams That Are Simply More Interesting Than March Madness
Pablo BM / Flickr

I don’t find college basketball that compelling. There are way too many teams to keep track of, uninspiring systems and playstyle, and the constant, overhanging thought that the NCAA is completely exploiting college athletes for money. People talk about the drama of March Madness and the exciting games, but I personally prefer the premier basketball players in the world going against each other over stagnant, poorly-spaced, foul-heavy college play.

By all means, enjoy March Madness (especially if your team actually made the tournament), but here are 30 things in the NBA that I find more interesting to watch.

Note: I’m not going to discuss women’s basketball because I don’t watch it and have little knowledge about it. I’m hopeful for the Baylor Women, though!

1. Atlanta Hawks: Ball movement

via GIPHY

Atlanta has a solid coach in Mike Budenholzer, some young pieces in Dennis Schroeder and John Collins, cap space, and they’re doing just fine in the race to the bottom. There’s a rebuilding plan there, even if winning seems like a pipe dream right now.

2. Boston Celtics: Insanely talented depth

via GIPHY

Where do I begin? The Celtics have one of the best coaches in the game, one of the best GMs in the game, draft picks to use or trade, and a ridiculous roster that could go 13 or 14 players deep if everyone was healthy.

OK, so it’s probably not going to come together this season. But the Celtics are going to be incredible next season, with a healthy Gordon Hayward and plenty of rotation players to contend for a title.

3. Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie...?

via GIPHY

Well, OK. Not being able to tank sucks. But Coach Kenny Atkinson is building a good culture there, and he’s getting to push his team every night because there’s no punishment for winning. Brooklyn plays up-tempo, interesting basketball; now they just need some more NBA players. Dinwiddie looks promising, though.

4. Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker

The All-Star Game will be held in Charlotte next season, and judging by this season’s game, it could actually be interesting. Besides that and point guard Kemba Walker, there’s not a lot to like for the Hornets, so here’s a random Dwight Howard moment for you. In a game against the Wizards in January, Michael Carter-Williams was fouled and then ejected for fighting. By rule, the Wizards got to choose a Charlotte player to shoot Carter-Williams’ free throws. They, of course, chose Howard, a notably poor free throw shooter. Dwight laughed, stepped up to the line, and knocked both shots down:

via GIPHY

You take your victories where you can get them, Hornets fans.

5. Chicago Bulls: Random players outperforming expectations

Apparently, Cameron Payne has actually played well this season?

via GIPHY

That’s pretty much what the Bulls season has been. Everyone knew that they were going to tank this season, but Chicago has actually had so many acceptable players on their team that they had to trade one (Nikola Mirotic), and bench another (Robin Lopez). Fred Hoiberg somehow improved Kris Dunn’s shot, and Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis have both improved. There’s some hope and young talent yet in Chicago, but they need that star player to draft and build around.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers: Larry Nance Jr.

Cleveland continues to be the craziest story in basketball, from the flurry of trades that completely changed their roster to J.R. Smith throwing soup at an assistant coach.

But don’t fret among the chaos, Cavs fans, for you now have the superhuman force known as Larry Nance Jr. He hustles, he screens, and he ends Mason Plumlees:

via GIPHY

Oh, and there’s this guy called LeBron on your team? He’s pretty good, too.

7. Dallas Mavericks: Dirk's final seasons

Dennis Smith Jr. can’t play defense, but he’s a solid point guard. Dallas is finally rebuilding, but he might be their only exciting young piece. Harrison Barnes is fine, but not good.

I don’t know what else to write, so here’s a gif of a goat dunking a basketball:

via GIPHY

Maybe Luka Doncic is the next Dirk…?

8. Denver Nuggets: Interesting young talent

Denver is about to have another promising season without a playoff berth. They added least-known All-Star Paul Millsap but have barely gotten better, and Mike Malone is probably going to be fired.

Nikola Jokic, Millsap and Gary Harris make up an interesting core, and they have a lot of depth offensively. A coaching change might help this defensive disaster, but watching Nikola Jokic pass the ball is worth it:

via GIPHY

9. Detroit Pistons: Occasional Blake moments

This is the Blake Griffin experience:

via GIPHY

Blake has been awful with the Pistons. The Pistons have been awful with Blake.

If they decide to keep together the Blake, Reggie Jackson, and Andre Drummond superteam, they might be able to figure something out. After all, New Orleans improved this season after adding a star big at the trade deadline last season. But honestly, I’m just trying to be optimistic here.

10. Golden State Warriors: Steph

via GIPHY

Steph Curry is the literal definition of a game changer. Without him on the floor, the Warriors just look like any other team. That, um, also has Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson.

11. Houston Rockets: James Harden

via GIPHY

James Harden is shooting 59-for-131, or 45%, on this shot: the incredibly difficult stepback three. The league is shooting just 36% on all three-point shots! No other player has taken even 40 stepback threes this season. Are the Rockets title favorites yet?

12. Indiana Pacers: Surprising resurgence

Victor Oladipo, who has all but locked up the Most Improved Player Award, has been instrumental in Indiana’s rejuvenation after trading away star Paul George:

via GIPHY

He’s averaging 23 points and 2 steals per game and has his team improbably in the Eastern playoff picture. They might have one of the least recognizable rosters in the playoffs, but they are in position to make it to the second round for the first time since 2014, which without George seemed impossible at the beginning of the season. Good on you, city that cares more about college basketball than the NBA!

13. Los Angeles Clippers: Lou Williams

It’s been a wild ride for the post-Lob City Clippers. Coach Doc Rivers went from “When will he be fired” to “Will he win Coach of the Year” as he created NBA players out of G-League nobodies. Lou Williams did his best to make up for three of LA’s top players getting injured early, and Tobias Harris came in from the Blake Griffin trade and just kept producing the way he was in Detroit. The Clippers have an interesting set of solid, if injury-prone players, and could even keep free agent DeAndre Jordan. Oh, and there’s Austin Rivers, the coach’s son:

via GIPHY

14. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball's passing

Nothing I write about the Lakers matters if LeBron decides to go there this offseason. But even if they don’t win the free agency sweepstakes, the Lakers have a bright future in clumsy, but somehow good, NBA player Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball:

via GIPHY

These guys are a solid young core, but the Lakers would throw them away in a heartbeat to land two max players this summer regardless. Either way, they’re in good position to rise back to relevance from the pits of the Kobe Bryant retirement tour.

15. Memphis Grizzlies: Tyreke and tanking

OK, maybe Grizzlies fans should watch some college basketball, because there’s very little to look forward to in Memphis. Memphis couldn’t even trade Tyreke Evans at the trade deadline, leaving them stuck with a player they don’t need. Memphis is still in position to get a top pick in the lottery, but Evans may have cost them a couple of games in the race to the bottom with plays like this:

via GIPHY

16. Miami Heat: Wade County

Miami has had an interesting season. They streaked early and looked like a definite playoff team in the weak Eastern Conference, but have since been so-so. The Heat are still making the playoffs, but without any stars, they will struggle to make any noise once they get there.

But who cares about that? Dwyane Wade is back, baby!

via GIPHY

Maybe he’s regressed and isn’t that great of a basketball player, especially defensively. But Wade is a Miami icon and legend, and hopefully, he gets to retire in Miami, where he won three rings.

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis!

OK, you could focus on how poorly Milwaukee has played despite their talent, including their disorganization on both sides of the ball and overdependence on their star talent. But that star talent is unfathomably amazing:

via GIPHY

The Bucks will hire a real coach and figure out what they’re doing this offseason, and all these worries will be for naught. Even if they don’t, you still get to watch Giannis Antetokounmpo play basketball.

He dunked from the free throw line. What is this guy doing to these mere mortals?

18. Minnesota Timberwolves: Playoff basketball

Congratulations, Minnesota, you finally made the playoffs. Coach Tom Thibodeau might be running your players to the ground, and Andrew Wiggins might be even worse on defense than Karl-Anthony Towns, but at least the 2018 TimberBulls will be back in the postseason for the first time without this guy:

via GIPHY

19. New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis

The Pelicans are vastly outperforming expectations after DeMarcus Cousins went down with an Achilles injury, with Anthony Davis playing out of his mind since the All-Star break:

via GIPHY

Sure, Etwaun Moore and Nikola Mirotic have helped, but New Orleans is in the playoff picture because of Davis and point guard Jrue Holiday. If the Pelicans resign Cousins this summer, New Orleans could have a decent, interesting playoff team on their hands.

20. New York Knicks: Rewatch old Kristaps highlights

New York is paying for the past sins of former GM Phil Jackson; namely, signing Joakim Noah to a massive contract and giving Carmelo Anthony a no-trade clause. New York is in the strange position of being both one of the most poorly-run franchises in the NBA while also having the best player among the tanking teams in Kristaps Porzingis. Maybe it’s a good thing he suffered a really bad injury so that they can tank…?

via GIPHY

The Knicks are undeniably cursed, but replacing high volume, low efficiency Carmelo with high volume, low efficiency Kristaps is definitely an improvement.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: PG13 and Russ

Who would have known that Andre Roberson, one of the worst offensive players in the NBA, was so important to the Thunder’s formerly awesome defense? Without him, Carmelo Anthony’s absolutely horrendous defensive is being picked apart game after game, and no amount of Paul George contending for Defensive Player of the Year can fix that. Even with OKC’s clunky offense, the Thunder are still solidly in the playoff race and could make a little noise in the postseason if they figure out how to hide Carmelo as much as possible. Or, they could just bench him:

via GIPHY

22. Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon can shoot threes!

via GIPHY

OK, there’s nothing else interesting about the Magic. Go to Disney World or something…

23. Philadelphia 76ers: The Joel Health Watch

They’re the best young team in the league, are incredible defensively, and could make some noise in the playoffs, especially if Joel Embiid is healthy:

via GIPHY

They’re apparently another candidate for LeBron’s free agency, but as it stands, this team is ready to make the playoffs year after year, even with the mysterious disappearance of Markelle Fultz

24. Phoenix Suns: Just don't watch their defense

The Suns are leading the tanking race, and have a good player in shooting guard Devin Booker.

via GIPHY

They don’t have many other assets, however, and will need a lot of draft picks to go right to rebuild this mess of a roster. Booker is a good start, though!

25. Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard

The Blazers might not be championship contenders, but they’ve taken a huge leap from the fringes of the playoffs to contending for home court advantage. Damian Lillard and C.J. Mccollum are exciting to watch, and they have a good collection of role players that fill out the roster. And if any playoff games go down to the wire, Lillard knows what time it is:

via GIPHY

26. Sacramento Kings: (some) young talent

How about De’Aaron Fox, the 6’3” rookie point guard who threw down a game-winning putback dunk to upset the Miami Heat?

via GIPHY

No, the Kings aren’t good, but they have some intriguing pieces such as Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Buddy Hield. Harry Giles, who has been rehabbing his entire rookie season coming off of an ACL tear, could also be a solid player for Sacramento, who desperately need some exciting talent to rejuvenate an exhausted fan base.

27. San Antonio Spurs: Aldridge and the Kawhi Leonard Watch

It’s a good thing Spurs LaMarcus Aldridge turned into Blazers LaMarcus Aldridge this season, as without star Kawhi Leonard or any significant additions (sorry, Rudy Gay), Aldridge has had to carry the Spurs’ load, and he’s carried it well.

via GIPHY

However, the Spurs have struggled and may not make the playoffs this season. Whether Leonard can come back and be that top-5 player quickly enough will probably determine how San Antonio fares the rest of the season, but they face a tough schedule ahead of them with plenty of other West teams looking to jump into the playoffs.

28. Toronto Raptors: Finally, a modern basketball system

The Raptors are for real, and they’ll head into the playoffs as the number one seed and the East favorites. They have a very good group of role players next to Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the latter of whom has improved yet again. Just look at this ridiculous and-one transition dunk:

via GIPHY

With the Celtics banged up and the new-look Cavs looking as disjointed as before, this could be the Raptors’ year to lose in the NBA Finals to either the Rockets or Warriors.

29. Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell!

What a story. The Jazz lost Gordon Hayward in free agency, dealt with Rudy Gobert missing games with injuries, and went on an 11-game winning streak heading into the All-Star break. They’ve gone from well out of the playoff hunt to passing five of their Western Conference rivals thanks to a sensational rookie season from Donovan Mitchell:

via GIPHY

Mitchell isn’t just a great dunker: he’s averaging 33 minutes, 20 points, and 1.4 steals per game. As a rookie! He may not win rookie of the year (Ben Simmons is neck and neck with him for that award) but Mitchell is still one of the best, most valuable rookies we’ve seen in a while.

30. Washington Wizards: Beal-Wall drama

Are the Wizards really better without John Wall? No.

via GIPHY

Wall has struggled this season, largely because he’s been banged up. But Washington is still firmly in the playoffs, and still has enough star talent to advance a round in the postseason, especially when Wall returns. Washington has also had nice surprises, like Tomas Satoransky, fall into their laps, which is good, since they have little flexibility to add talent outside of the draft.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

To The Boy Who Changed Me

Just another open letter from a crazy ex-girlfriend.

664
http://cdn1.theodysseyonline.com/files/2015/10/09/635800144722553570-908383045_993037_10201471592537019_550485816_n.jpg

You’re probably thinking, “oh sh*t, my ex is writing a hate letter and a tell-all about our roller coaster tycoon relationship with terrible fallout.” But if you’re thinking that, oh honey you’re wrong. This isn’t some sappy pity party nonsense and it’s not a trash-my-ex tell all; it’s a journey. And it’s my side of our story to tell…

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Dear College Students, Are You Undecided?

The Girlfriend's Guide to College

3524
Dear College Students, Are You Undecided?
https://pixabay.com/photos/college-students-diploma-graduate-3990783/

Up until last week, I always had a major. I was an international business major, finance major, psych major on the pre-medicine track… and now (finally) I am exactly where I should have been when I started college: undecided. I think there is too much pressure as a high school student to have a designated path about what you want to study, be when you 'grow up' and essentially spend the rest of your life doing. As an 18-year-old, I really feel like I tried to pin myself down to a major so that I had a set path to follow and something to look towards. This is probably very conventional and I know tons of people at school who have their minds made up about what they want to study.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Life Is Messy

Finding who you are in your 20s

3538
Life Is Messy
https://www.pexels.com/photo/shallow-focus-photography-of-yellow-sunflower-field-under-sunny-sky-1169084/

I am 25 years old and just now learning who I am. When I separated from my husband I was terrified of what would follow. I did not know who I was outside of a relationship, nor did I know how to be on my own. It was scary, and I was so lost. I spent months discovering who I was, and what I wanted to be. I am still searching as I believe we never truly know who we are even when we "grow up". I came to the realization that I had been hiding a part of myself for my entire life. Coming out was not easy, growing up in the church made it scary, and hard. I was told growing up that being anything but straight was such a sin, and that i would spent my life in hell because of it. I came out to my parents when I was 25 years old. I picked up the phone and called my mom, and uttered the words "I'm queer" through tears. I knew my parents would be supportive, but that didn't make it any easier for me to vulnerable and raw. Since then, I have slowly started being more authentic in who I am, and not hide parts of me just because of people's shitty opinions.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Ask Your BFF These 20 Questions To See If They Know You As Well As You THINK That They Do

Ask your best friend these basic questions to see just how well they know you.

41847
Ask Your BFF These 20 Questions To See If They Know You As Well As You THINK That They Do

My best friend has been in my life since we were 3 years old, now that we are adults now, I'd like to ask her these questions to see how well she knows me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Alone At The Met

I survive a day alone in NYC.

11386
Wikimedia Commons

It was six in the evening. I was sitting in the courtyard of a Renaissance-era Italian villa, glancing around at the statues, most notably one of a boy removing a thorn from his foot. Despite the supposedly relaxing setting, I was incredibly anxious. My phone was at less than 5 percent battery, and once it died I would be completely disconnected from my family and peers, alone in one of the largest art museums in the country.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments