We almost got all four series tied up at two games apiece but the Warriors just had to ruin it. That will definitely impact their placement in my rootability rankings for the remainder of the NBA playoffs. Rootability is a term that I created that pertains to how much fun it is to root for a particular team. Rootability mainly comes into play when you don’t have a favorite team in play and just watch to watch the games for fun. Since I am a Seattle sports fan I don’t have a favorite NBA team (#bringbacktheSonics) so I am free to cheer on whatever team I choose. The rootability of these teams changes over time but as of right now here is where the eight remaining teams in the NBA playoffs rank in terms of rootability.
Reasons to root for them: They are kind of the underdogs in a playoff where there isn’t really a true underdog team. They are up against the best team in the NBA right now so rooting for them is the closest thing left to rooting for David versus Goliath. Luka Doncic leading this team to a championship would go down as one of the best stories in NBA history and would solidify him as a mega-star at just 23 years old. Jason Kidd could become the 15th person to win a championship as both a player and a coach and the sixth to do so for the same team (but just the second that wasn’t a Celtic or Laker). Dallas is one of the few teams that isn’t a so-called superteam, they have one superstar and surround him with complementary role players like Jalen Brunson and Maxi Kleber. Fan-favorite player Boban Marjanovic is on the team.
Reasons to root against them: Kidd isn’t necessarily the most likable head coach out there. People who also root for the Cowboys might be happy and we don’t want that happening. Doncic may become too powerful for the next decade if he wins the title (he’ll just need an MVP award and then he will be like Thanos with all the Infinity Stones). You’re not a fan of Davis Bertans and the heist he pulled on the Wizards when he signed with them in free agency. Mark Cuban may annoy you.
Reasons to root for them: Chris Paul finally getting to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy. Monty Williams is one of the best coaches in the game and also seems like a genuinely nice guy. You are a fan of the best basketball team in the league ending the season as the best basketball team in the league. It would be the first NBA Championship in franchise history. They would get to avenge their loss in last year’s finals. Devin Booker would complete his ascent to the top of the league and be set up to take over the team and become one of the biggest superstars of the next generation. Fan-favorite player JaVale McGee is on the team and will almost certainly drop the trophy if he gets a chance to hold it.
Reasons to root against them: They were the easy pick to win it all at the start of the season and the start of the playoffs and you like it when crazier stuff happens. You don’t like Chris Paul (which I’ve heard is something that people actually feel). You like Scott Foster and he doesn’t like Chris Paul. You don’t like the Kardashians and Kendall Jenner is dating Devin Booker (I might have created a lot of Devin Booker haters there). You picked Arizona to win March Madness when Deandre Ayton was there and they lost in the first round.
Reasons to root for them: Ja Morant is a top two most entertaining player in the league (and he’s not number two). They are nicknamed Grit City and play like it. Memphis is one of the smallest markets in the NBA so this would be a big win for the little guys. You feel like the teams made up of Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Tony Allen, and crew got robbed by never winning a title and this would almost make up for that. It may turn Taylor Jenkins into a household name as a head coach, and he deserves it after the job he’s done. They have developed non-lottery players such as Desmond Bane, Brandon Clarke, Dillon Brooks, and Xavier Tillman into legit rotational pieces, which is a forgotten art in today’s game.
Reasons to root against them: They are the only team currently losing their series so you would be likely setting yourself up for disappointment if you root for them. You don’t believe in a young team overachieving and winning a championship that nobody thought they were ready for, you’re more of a build a superteam through trades and free agency type of guy. You hate barbeque food (psycho). You are a Marvel fan and don’t want to see someone from the DC Universe (Aquaman, aka Steven Adams) succeed. You’re mad that the Grizzlies aren’t giving John Konchar more minutes.
Reasons to root for them: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are two of the brightest young stars in the game. You support Tatum’s bid to become the face of the next generation and want to see him lead his team to a title to go along with the first-team All-NBA nod he is surely going to receive. You love defense, and this team plays defense better than any other team left in the field. You have always been a Marcus Smart fan, you knew he had Defensive Player of the Year potential even when everybody else didn’t know how he would fit in the NBA as a guard that couldn’t shoot or play the point. Ime Udoka had one of the best in-season turnarounds in recent memory and has earned this championship as a first-year head coach. You agree that Timelord is one of the coolest nicknames in the NBA. You feel bad for the way Nik Stauskas’s career played out and feel like he deserves something good to happen to him.
Reasons to root against them: Boston fans might be the most annoying set of fans in existence, and you don’t need for them to have anything else to brag about. They have already won 17 championships; do they really need another one? Smart has hurt or almost hurt one of your favorite players at one point in his career (I would be surprised if this wasn’t the case). You just got done watching Winning Time on HBO Max and are still in the mindset that the Celtics are the bad guys.
Reasons to root for them: Giannis Antetokounmpo is not only the best player in the world but also one of the most likable. The Greek Freak would cement himself as one of the best players in NBA history with a second NBA title. Khris Middleton is one of the best examples of working from a bench player that nobody knew to an All-Star and NBA champ, you gotta root for him at least a little bit. Jrue Holiday is one of the most underrated players in recent memory. Bobby Portis has orchestrated a nice character rebuild from a guy who punches teammates on the Bulls to a fan favorite in Milwaukee. You feel bad for Bucks fans that also root for the Packers and have to deal with Aaron Rodgers.
Reasons to root against them: They just won the thing last year and you like a little variety in your life. Grayson Allen is on the team. Antetokounmpo already has everything going right for him in his life and he really doesn’t need this too. It wouldn’t really feel right for Mike Budenholzer to be one of the 15 head coaches that have won multiple NBA Championships. You’re scared of the way Brook Lopez talks. Grayson Allen is on the team.
Reasons to root for them: Heat culture, baby! (whatever that actually means). Jimmy Butler seems like the type of player that has worked way too hard to not end up with a championship ring. Erik Spoelstra is one of the best coaches in the game and has been so for a while now, maybe this will help him get the respect he deserves. Bam Adebayo is a very fun player to watch and could use a title to launch himself into superstardom. You feel like Kyle Lowry has taken way too much of a beating in his career to have won just one title. They have found ways to turn players such as Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, and Gabe Vincent from people nobody has ever heard of into capable players on a championship-level team. You are a Jack Harlow fan and he has a song called Tyler Herro so you like whatever team he is on.
Reasons to root against them: Butler has a way of rubbing some people the wrong way (like the Bulls, Timberwolves, and 76ers) and you don’t like him. They don’t really have any likable players because Butler and Lowry are divisive and Adebayo and the others haven’t done enough to become well-known around the league. You are still mad at the franchise over arguably starting the superteam era and ruining basketball for a few years when they put Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh together. You’re an Orlando Magic fan that is mad that Victor Oladipo couldn’t have played any of his good basketball when he was on your team so you don’t want to see him succeed.
Reasons to root for them: They are just a fun team to watch play basketball. You recognize the greatness that is Steph Curry, the greatest shooter to ever live, and think he deserves to finally win a Finals MVP. The path back for Klay Thompson has been insane and capping it off with a title would be the perfect finish for a very likable player. The emergence of Jordan Poole has been one of the best stories of the season and playoffs (he got robbed of Most Improved Player by the way). You are a fan of Draymond Green and respect what he has done as a player and overlook the more controversial stuff. Gary Payton II winning a championship might be the closest thing we will get to the Sonics winning a title for quite some time.
Reasons to root against them: They are the biggest basketball dynasty of this century so rooting for them would be the same as wanting Facebook to succeed. Your favorite player has been kicked below the belt by Green at some point (that probably accounts for a lot of people). Andrew Wiggins does not deserve to get anywhere near an NBA Championship, even playing in the finals would be too close. You’re just not an Under Armour guy and you don’t understand why Curry chose them for his shoes. They are the one team that refuses to put a city or state in its name, why are you so much better than the rest of the league?
Reasons to root for them: Joel Embiid deserves it, he is one of the best players in the league and should get something to show for it. You believe that James Harden deserves more respect than he gets and winning a title would maybe get some of his haters to shut up for a bit. Tyrese Maxey is on his way to becoming a star in the league and a good performance in the finals would help him get there. You remember Georges Niang from back when he was at Iowa State and you would always pick them to go far in March Madness (but maybe that’s just me). You just don’t like Ben Simmons and feel like this would be a good way to stick it to him.
Reasons to root against them: They are the closest team to a superteam left after the whole Harden trade thing. You don’t want Embiid to have any claim to being the best big man in the game over Nikola Jokic. Tobias Harris is way too overpaid to deserve a ring. DeAndre Jordan also does not deserve a ring because he barely belongs on an NBA court anymore. You wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of backing a team with Doc Rivers as the head coach given his propensity to choke hard in the playoffs. Any of the numerous reasons that exist to not like James Harden as a person or player.