We’re back home in the Southwest to finish off the HMBU series for this season, and this will probably be the least blind of them all, if only because the Mavs are in it. Let’s dive into it!
San Antonio Spurs
They’re so consistent it’s boring. But it’s totally the kind of boring that only affects fans of other teams. As a (now not so much) fan of Manchester United, I totally know what I’m talking about.
Until this season, United have been downright untouchable in England for the past 20-odd years. Countless league titles and other trophies have seen them be the very definition of ‘dominant’. And isn’t that what the Spurs are?
They’ve been one of the best the league has to offer since they drafted Timmy D back in 1997. And in basketball, where player turnover is way higher compared to European football (soccer) clubs (thus leading to inferior chemistry, cohesion and consistency, amongst other things), this sustained period of success is all the more impressive.
I don’t like them. As a Mavs fan, I’m obligated to dislike them as a matter of course. But, similar to my views on LeBron, it doesn’t matter what your personal feelings on them are. At the end of the day, you respect them.
And it’s the same this season. Despite a raft of injuries to key personnel and lots of rest time for Duncan and Ginobili, the Spurs machine keeps humming along. Only in their system can you replace Tony Parker with Patty Mills and hardly notice any differences at all.
They’re going to quietly cruise to at least the 2-seed in the West and then continue wreaking their understated havoc on their opponents in the playoffs. They’re boring, if not in their play style nowadays then in their sustained success, but hell if you can argue with their effectiveness.
Put simply, I don’t like the Rockets very much. Harden is a flop-machine whose beard is supposed to be some cool/marketing thing, but to me just screams ‘attention seeker’ as well as ‘HOBO’, Howard’s lack of maturity (at least as a person/off the court) is well-documented, and their GM has got to be one of the most smug-looking ones in the league.
I don’t like them man. And although they’re better this season and have two great players (in other words, a great foundation for a future championship contender), they’re still clearly not there yet, and I’m happy for it.
I guess I just really dislike their two best players. The rest of the team is alright. Chandler Parsons is quite possibly the ultimate bang-for-buck player in the league right now, with only Isaiah Thomas coming anywhere close to challenging him on that front.
The rest of the team are solid role players, but there’s really no one special. I wonder what they’ll do in the offseason, but with the Rockets you can always expect a canny move or two.
Oh man maybe I’m just jealous of their front office :’(
My guys! They’re flawed in so many ways. They’re a veritable sieve on defence, they’re a pretty old team who seems like they’ll never care about the draft (a HUGE source of frustration for me), and seem set to toil away at the lower end of the playoff seedings until Dirk calls it a day.
Dirk though. And VC putting up games like these (7-of-12 from downtown?!?!?). And B Wright’s elite finishing skills and got-to-be-telepathic chemistry with VC. And Devin Harris playing a huge part in this team’s recent success.
I don’t know man. This is just an entertaining team to watch. It’s not going to win any titles, but it’s won my heart (I’m biased, I know). I love Caldy’s surgical efficiency from downtown. I love Ellis’ insane drives into the paint (not so much the recent spike in turnovers though). I love Jae Crowder being the ultimate ‘no-traditional-stats guy’, who somehow contributes to our success anyway.
(I’m only half-kidding; although I would definitely prefer he knock down some threes and grab more rebounds, and, generally, average 8p-5r, there’s a part of me who wishes he keeps not getting stats while playing significant time, all with the Mavs winning anyway. I love it because it makes absolutely no sense.)
This is my team, and it’s been my team since 2009. I’ve detailed before why I love them, and those reasons still ring true.
I’m both nervous and excited for the post-Dirk era; it could be utterly horrible or it could be fresh and interesting as Cuban and Donnie no longer have the reason/excuse that they have to maximize Dirk’s last years to explain trading away all our draft picks.
Who am I kidding? No Dirk means it’ll never be the same. But it’ll be interesting regardless.
As for this season, the 6-seed is a distinct possibility. All I’m hoping for is a strong postseason showing. I’m not expecting to win a series, though that’ll be nice. All I asked for prior to this season was some proper basketball to watch (especially after the trainwreck that was last season), and they’ve thoroughly delivered on that front. So I’m happy and satisfied.
Let’s see what they do this coming offseason.
Let’s go Mavs!
Last season was their apex and they’re now tumbling down the standings, both as a result of trying to be clever (firing Lionel Hollins, trying to play a different style) and, simply, old Father Time scoring another victory, this time on Zach Randolph.
Injuries, especially to Marc Gasol, haven’t helped, but I have a feeling the Grizzlies’ time has come and gone, just like that. They’re still a tough team to play, but they’re not making it back to the Western Conference Finals any time soon.
Their window was super small because of the age of their key players. It’s likely we’ll see them dismantling the team (trading Gasol and Allen) sooner rather than later.
A sad and quick end to Grit N’ Grind.
New Orleans Hornets
Young, exciting, yet without a clear path to success just yet. Davis is amazing, but the Evans and Gordon contracts are hard to deal with if you’re trying to build a team with a bright future.
The two of them have inched closer and closer (and might have reached it already) towards ‘over-paid role-player’ territory (nos. 16 and 7 on this list, in fact). Their huge contracts are gonna be huge stones around the Pelicans’ neck. Maybe in a year or two their contracts would be easier for another team to swallow, but I’m not betting on it, especially since the two of them have been on such a steady decline.
Still though, Anthony Davis is incredible. And having someone like that to build around is of paramount importance. Not every young, rebuilding team has such a sure thing to build around. The Pelicans need to realize this and get to work.
Even in their best case scenario though, they’re still a couple years away, at least, from being a real problem for other teams.
So that concludes the HMBU series, for this season at least. I think I’ve been quite frank about which teams I can’t stand (the Nets and Rockets) and which teams I love (THE MAVS, DUH. Also, Indiana and Orlando).
The season’s coming to an end soon, and I’m just hoping the Mavs manage to secure that 6-seed, if only to avoid a guaranteed exit/sweep at the hands of OKC or the Spurs. We might not fare too well against the Clips or Portland, but we’ve got a better chance against them at least, I think.
Here’s to the final 20 games or so!