Posted September 30, 2013

NBA League Pass matchmaking guide: Which team is right for you?

League Pass, Rob Mahoney
The youth movement in Utah, led by Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward, makes the Jazz an intriguing pick. (Rick Bowmer/AP

Utah’s youth movement, led by Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward, makes the Jazz intriguing. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

THE LOVABLE LOSERS

The teams: Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings
The appeal: Enjoy the regular season through the small victories, fundamental problems, and general anarchy of a flawed, stilted team.

Despite the fact that a number of franchises are pretty clearly positioning themselves for the 2014 draft, the cast of expected lottery teams is nonetheless charming in its own right. Utah should be a League Pass staple this season, as there’s too much unfettered potential between Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, and Trey Burke to let them go unwatched. Phoenix will unveil a new-look roster clad in new uniforms under a new head coach, all of which serves as an elaborate backdrop for the unbridling of dynamo guard Eric Bledsoe. Through ill-fitting pieces and all, Orlando still has its share of productive and engaging young talent, too, spearheaded by No. 2 overall pick Victor Oladipo — an intriguing two-way player in the midst of a positional shift.

POINT FORWARD: Top 10 NBA players for 2013-14 season

Boston (with Rajon Rondo still sidelined) is a fascinating vacuum, in which any of several young players could take on larger roles or produce more than is expected. Yet no lottery team can ever really compare to the talent soup of Sacramento’s roster, which incorporates more disparate flavors than could ever be considered sensible. The Kings may be under new management, but the franchise still has plenty of practice when it comes to turning in miserable seasons of some redeeming entertainment value.

THE WORKING PROFESSIONALS

The teams: San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies
The appeal: Appreciate NBA veterans executing as intended, often to great effect.

These teams might seem too staid for some, but there’s plenty to be enjoyed in the workings of a veteran team that knows what it’s doing. San Antonio is the prime example of that model; you can delight in the creativity of Tony Parker or the brilliant structure of the Spurs’ play design, but all roads lead to the same glowing admiration. Chicago has a bit more broad appeal due to the energizing play of Derrick Rose, but nonetheless forges its contention with the kind of effort rebounding and relentless execution that needs to be seen in repetition to be fully enjoyed. The same is more or less true of Indiana and Memphis — teams that go to incredible lengths to deny and prevent, in the process dominating the NBA metagame.

Atlanta might seem the odd duck in a group of contenders, but the Hawks will draw on Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Elton Brand, Kyle Korver, and new head coach Mike Budenholzer as core personalities — workers, all. They’ll be a bit less consistent due to some young contributors and a relative lack of talent, but will remain committed to executing a studied game plan to the best of their collective ability.

THE DEPENDABLE

The teams: Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Bobcats
The appeal: Fall back on some of the NBA’s known quantities.

Some of these squads will fare better than others, but overall the experience between them stands to be similarly static. In that, I mean only that the floor and ceiling of these particular rosters presents a fairly narrow window for performance. Milwaukee, as tends to be the case, is what it is; the roster was reloaded and spared its prior limitations, but lacks an explosive prospect that could elevate this group beyond its current form. Portland looks to be a playoff contender, but not quite good enough to secure a spot nor shaky enough to fall out of the race. Toronto is in an equivalent spot in a weaker conference — safely in the mix, but too fundamentally flawed to make any serious run in the East. With the $40.5 million-signing of Al Jefferson, Charlotte has bought itself a few spots in the rankings, but still lacks any catalytic hope. These teams can all be entertaining still, so long as the viewer knows what they’re in for: a steady ride plotted to a particular end. There’s comfort in that reliability, no matter the result.

THE LOST CAUSE

The team: Philadelphia 76ers
The appeal: Morbid curiosity.

The Sixers have barely bothered to put together a feasible NBA roster. Select them at your own risk.


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4 comments
joshua33nelson
joshua33nelson

It should be what other four teams should you pick other than your home team.  I'm a life long Detroit fan so the Pistons are in regardless of wins.  What other 4 teams should I pick?  Well the Lakers and Heat are on TV nearly every night so you'd be a sucker to pick them.  Houston maybe, Brooklyn maybe, the rest who knows.

RRamirez
RRamirez

Spurs finish 2nd in the NBA last year and hardly change their roster....yet no respect from national media. WOW....again!!!!

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@RRamirez So every team must be mentioned in every article in order for the article to pass muster with you?   FYI, the Spurs have never been a team that excited the masses.  Folks in the SA organization admit it regularly.  It does not bother them in the least, but I am certain that they are happy that you are getting worked up over it.

RRamirez
RRamirez

@JoeCabot @RRamirez You know....you are so right....we are so boring that this past finals was one of the most exciting finals in recent history and not because of LBJ, because he was basically a no show until game 6 and 7. we are so boring that NBA TV ranked two of our games (Game 1 against Golden State Spurs win in double OT and the now infamous game six Choke against Miami in the finals) Problem is the national media selects who is exciting and fans who don't have a clue, believe them. The franchise doesn't care, because we all know our product is one of the best in sports, but come on. put us on the tube and let these idiots , who think dunking and showboating is great basketball, see a real team play basketball the way it should be played. We might not be exciting to people like you but how can a team with a winning percentage like the Spurs be boring....The NBA is and always will be about flash over substance...so long David Stern,,,,,and not a moment to soon!