Let's all go back to high school and dole out some superlatives.
Biggest Villains---The Houston Rockets
This category was surprisingly competitive. The two squads who qualified for the title were the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers currently lead the league in technical fouls, clowning each other on Instagram and being generally disagreeable. Their star player, Chris Paul, has become almost iconic for his flopping and incessant whining (notably, so has their second biggest star, Blake Griffin).
But damn it. No one irks me like the Rockets. I don't think stats are stupid. I don't think exploiting statistical inefficiencies should be a punishable offense. We value winning so much as a culture that as long as there are rules and loopholes, someone is going to exploit them. That's the way it is. Do we all hate the Oakland Athletics because of Moneyball?
But then there's James Harden. He of the massive beard and flailing arms, basketball player as Octodad. Basketball-reference.com refers to him as "The Beard" in quotation marks. And he's brilliant. He's averaging 27.2 ppg on .440 shooting. He's taking at least 10 free throws a game. He's handing out 7 assists and stealing at least 2 possessions from your team.
He's also a notorious flopper who banks his 10 free throws by forcing refs to make calls. The Houston offense is basically 15 seconds of Harden dribbling in isolation, trying to draw a foul or make his defender look silly, and then (failing that) driving to the hole, shooting a 3-pointer or finding an assist. It's functional offense but it's ugly. It's not fun to watch.
Oh, and he kicked LeBron James in the balls.
And if your grandfather hates James Harden, you hate James Harden. That's called family and it's what our nation runs on.
And since the Houston Rockets offense is essentially James Harden, the Rockets are the playoffs biggest villains. May they lose quickly and with much humiliation.
Commercial you're most likely to hate---This Steph Curry ad
This monstrosity has already been out for a few weeks, or months, or years. I've lost track of time. I just know it's been haunting my airwaves for an eternity now, like a demon waiting for me, knocking on the fading ether that separates our dimensions, reminding me always that it will come for me eventually, inevitably.
Also, this commercial is dumb.
Quick recap: Jamie Foxx (whose last semi-successful film was a guest stint in the craptastic Horrible Bosses 2, keep that in mind) reads the audience a chunk of Shakespeare, specifically this quote: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players...."
It's a quote about the meaning(lessness) of life and the roles we play. It's about the cyclical nature of our lives and the forms we must all inhabit.
Then he rambles something about working hard, Shangai, says hello in a foreign language, then does an impersonation of a 1940s sportscaster saying "bang, he knocks it down" and then concludes by summarizing, "My apologies to Mr. Shakespeare, cause onto the stage of mere players enters the babyfaced assassin and he's about to write his own story."
What the hell does that even mean? What the HELL DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?
What the hell does a famous Shakespeare quote have to do with Steph Curry? All the world's a stage...unless Steph Curry can bomb 3s! Defeat classic English literature with Under Armour! Steph Curry can escape the finality of death because his stroke is so sweet! DEATH CAN BE DEFEATED.
Behold the stupidity, a collection of sound and fury signifying nothing.
Remember when Russell Westbrook had a hole in his face and he played anyways? He had a hole in his face. They don't even know how it got there. A blackhole just formed on his cheek and Westbrook's response was to bag MORE triple-doubles. He had a goddamn hole in his goddamn face. Can we seriously take a second and think about that? Here, look at the man's hole-ridden face and think about that.
Westbrook has been the most compelling player in the NBA since Durant's injury. He is putting on Herculaen efforts every single night. His team cannot afford him being anything less than some combination of Galactus and Khan and the man is doing it. He is carrying a bloodied, bone broken Thunder team into the playoffs and he's doing it with a goddamn hole in his head.
You will never do anything in your life with as much passion. Ever. He played with a hole in his face. You probably call off work if you have the sniffles. You pussy. Your grandpapa would let you get kicked in the nuts by Russell Westbrook.
Most likely to almost be the Spurs. ---The Atlanta Hawks
SO CLOSE. They were, like, right there. They were almost the Spurs. But then, they weren't. They were still the Hawks. Which, like, isn't as good.
Most likely to throw shade at Steve Kerr ---Mark Jackson
Butterflies, man. Butterflies.
Have fun, kids. We'll see you in the next post.