What do you believe?
I believe The Wire is the best television show ever and I believe you can’t go a day without getting stuck behind a Prius in the passing lane. I believe these things are true because I’ve seen them. It’s the opinion of Giddy Up America that you believe things are true because of stuff you’ve seen, stuff you’ve heard, stuff you’ve tasted, etc. Belief is a truth.
I believe that belief can govern how you feel about sports. You either believe in a team or you don’t. Before the NFL season started, I broke down all 32 teams into two categories- those I believe in and those I don’t. For instance, I believe in the New England Patriots not simply because I’m a fan, but because I believe in Tom Brady and Bill Belichek. I’ve seen what they’ve done. I trust them. I believe in them. I don’t believe in a team like the Raiders or the Chargers. Taking fandom and the irrationality that comes with being a fan out of it, belief in a team is what should guide you.
With the NBA season about to start, I thought I’d run through which NBA teams I believe in and which ones I don’t.
EASTERN CONFERENCE TEAMS I BELIEVE IN
I don’t believe in the Nets because of Deron Williams and I don’t believe in them because of first-year coach Jason Kidd. I don’t believe in them because I like their uniforms and like the energy of their fans. No. I believe in the Nets because of two people: Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Those two dudes bring a legitimacy and fire that was sorely missing in Brooklyn last year. They’ll make the Nets competitive, they’ll make them better and they’ll make them stronger. I don’t think they’ll win the title or anything, but I definitely think they’ll be better than last year.
One of things that makes me believe in a team, regardless of the sport, is the head coach. It’s why in football, I believe in a team like 49ers. I believe in Jim Harbaugh. When it comes to the Bulls, I very much believe in Tom Thibodeau. That dude is the balls, man. He’s a rock. As long as he’s calling the shots for the Bulls, I both believe in them and believe they’ll have a chance to win.
I believe in toughness. I believe the best part of the NBA season is the playoffs and I believe toughness is one of the main things a team needs to succeed in the playoffs. The Pacers are tough. And they’re good. Paul George is legit and David West is a force. I think the Pacers have a good chance of de-throning the Heat this year.
This is all about LeBron James, who last year, during the Heat’s title run, made me a full on disciple of his greatness. LeBron is the greatest basketball player out there- in the whole world. This isn’t like math or something, where you could always say that so and so is the smartest person in the world, but who knows, there might be some smarter in a small village in Africa or something. LeBron is greater than any potential mystery candidate out there. This season will be a referendum on him in terms of whether or not he wants to embrace the Greatest Player Ever mantle. The only frustrating thing about LeBron is that sometimes it seems like he doesn’t want to be the Greatest. He can dominate any game he wants to, which is a problem. Because sometimes it seems like he doesn’t want to. If he can get past that, then it’s all over. Easy. Give the title to the Heat now.
Couple other things I believe about the Heat:
- I believe Dwayne Wade is the dirtiest player in the league
- I believe Chris Bosh is a joke
- I believe Ray Allen has one more effective year left in him
- I believe the Heat won’t win the title this year.
EASTERN CONFERENCE TEAMS I DON’T BELIEVE IN
This is where the difference in decision making between fan-based decisions and belief-based decisions lies. As a fan, of course I believe in my beloved Celtics. I believe they’re great and that they won’t be as bad as they might appear to be. But in terms of a belief-based outlook- I don’t believe in them as anything more than a below-average, re-building team. I don’t believe in Brad Stevens as a NBA coach- yet and I don’t believe Rajon Rondo can be the leader the team needs him to be. Too many questions about the 2013-2014 Celtics to really believe in them.
But hey, I’d love to be wrong.
New York Knicks
I believe circuses are funny, but I don’t believe circuses are good at basketball. The Knicks are a circus.
I believe they’d be a mildly okay D league team and I believe the city of Philadelphia deserves better.
Yeah, these dudes need more Drake could ever give them.
No. Not yet.
Hotlanta! But Hotlanta? No. Sorry.
Yeah, like a lot of people, I believe Michael Jordan is a terrible CEO of a team.
I don’t believe in Magic, the team, Magic, the gathering, or magic, the thing people do.
I believe Wizards is a terrible name for any team and this team should be renamed. And they should do it on the same day they rename the Redskins. Both teams should have names like the Capitals and Nationals- something patriotic. I mean, Wizards? That’s just dumb.
WESTERN CONFERENCE TEAMS I BELIEVE IN
I believe in the Mavericks for the same reason I believe in the Patriots- great coach, legendary player. I also believe the Mavs’ best days are behind them. But I still believe they’re a good team.
Again, toughness. The Grizzlies are tough- like bar fight tough. Like Mike from Breaking Bad tough.
San Antonio Spurs
I believe in the idea of a culture of winning. It’s why I think the Cardinals have a chance against the Dodgers and it’s why I’m not counting the New York Giants out just yet. A culture of winning is a mindset and it’s one the Spurs have. The Spurs also have consistency at the top, which I think is hugely important. Plus they have an infusion of young talent coming in as reinforcements, which oddly enough, is something the Giants lack. As long as Popovich is the Spurs’ coach and Tim Duncan is around, I’ll believe in the Spurs.
My belief in the Thunder has wavered some, but as long as they have two of the best players in the game (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook,) I’ll believe in the Thunder. Clock is ticking, though. I’d say this is their last year before they become the Tampa Bay Rays’ of the NBA- cute underdogs who can’t get over the top.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are The Bridge of the NBA when it comes to my level of belief in them. It’s there; totally present. But it’s on thin ice.
Los Angeles Clippers
I’ve spent the past handful of years seeing what a great coach Doc Rivers is. And while I still hate the way he left Boston, I can’t let that hate cloud my judgement and belief in his ability to coach a team. The Clippers have so much talent and potential. Doc is just what they need. Of course, he is also what the Celtics need. But oh well.
WESTERN CONFERENCE TEAMS I DON’T BELIEVE IN
My lack of belief in Dwight Howard > My belief in James Harden
New Orleans Pelicans
I don’t believe in unibrows because you can remedy that shit.
Wait, is George Karl still the coach of the Nuggets.
No. Bryan Shaw is.
I don’t believe in first-time coaches anymore than I believe that The Big Bang Theory is a funny television show.
I believe Kevin Love deserves to be on a better team.
Portland Trail Blazers
I believe Zach Lowe was right– best name in the league.
I believe that skiing at Snow Bird was the best skiing I’ve ever experienced in my life.
Los Angeles Lakers
I believe Kobe Bryant is a great follow on Twitter. He’s the Kanye West of the NBA.
NBA FINALS PREDICTION…
Clippers over the Pacers
Clippers: Arash Markazi/ESPN
Nets: Robert Sabo/NY Daily News
Grizzlies: Mark D. Smith/USA Today Sports
Celtics: Nancy Lane/Boston Herald