With the advent of real, actual NBA preseason basketball, fans get to flip their calendars to the 2017-2018 season and start gearing up for one of the more anticipated campaigns of the last decade. As always, at Knicks at Night, we look ahead and break down the upcoming year, not by the quality of each team’s roster, but by how entertaining each should be to watch on a nightly basis. With nearly half the league’s All-Stars changing homes over the summer, there’s a lot more variability in these rankings and a lot of exciting, new situations to monitor. There’s never been a better time to plunk down that 100 bucks or so for the league’s premier subscription service, but also never a harder time choosing who to watch on a given night. To help answer that question… here are your Fourth Annual League Pass Watchability Rankings!
Three straight seasons of 67+ wins and there is literally no over-under that seems appropriate for this team. Of course, they may end up winning a few less than that just as they rest players and prepare for their third championship parade in four years. But if the regular season mattered? And if this team really wanted to go for it? I’d say they could get to 80.
What is there really to say about this team? These guys effortlessly incorporated a top-2 player a season after winning 72 games. They have four All-Stars (and top 3 players at their respective positions) in their primes and locked up under contract for the next 2 seasons. They have current players taking discounts to keep the team together and players from all over the league flocking to the Bay on minimum deals to build one of the deepest benches imaginable. The highlight for these guys is going to have to be the night that Kevin Durant sits out with a lightly sprained ankle and Nick Young explodes for 45, destroying the internet in the process.
This is also, shockingly, a team that has a surprising amount of young, top-flight talent. The departure of Ian Clark should open up significantly more minutes for Patrick McCaw (last seen getting roasted by Kyrie in the Finals) while the entire league was enraged with the Bulls for selling their 2nd rounder so that Golden State could draft Jordan Bell. Bell is supposed to be a Draymond Green-lite smallball center who crushed Summer League this year with a rare 5x5x5x5 game while McCaw offers the kind of length and quick decisionmaking that could make him one of the switchable, three and D wings the league has come to value so highly. A trend started by the Warriors, of course.
I don’t care about Michael Jordan and the ’95-’96 Bulls. This is the best basketball team ever constructed and they should slaughter the rest of the league. Watching this team play is going to be like watching the perfect evolution of the sport; the Knicks’ play last year made it seem like there were two entirely different games called basketball. The presence of both Curry and Durant might mean neither of the two will ever win a regular season MVP ever again, but make no mistake, these two will be donning their snowboarding goggles and spraying champagne all over the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.
Where’s the fun in all of this? Sure, there’s going to be 5 or 6 incredible highlight reel plays every single night as this team steamrolls through the rest of the league. And yes, Curry and Durant are two of the most entertaining, can’t-tear-your-eyes-away athletes of the last 15 years. And fine, I’ll admit as a fan of basketball there’s something to be said for watching the perfect platonic ideal of ball movement and shotmaking play out on your screen in a truly generational way. But at what point is it fun to watch a team demolish every opponent while a stadium filled with yellow-clad, rich assholes goes crazy? If there was a backlash when KD joined the team, it should only continue to get worse as more and more free agents flock out West to ring chase with the Warriors on minimum deals. It’s the kind of trend that made you wish that there were more guys like David West out there, staying tough and gritting it out and acting as enforcers for all the softies of the league. But then you remember, David West is on the Warriors.
Enjoy the season Bay Area fans. Enjoy the championship and Joe Lacob bragging in the New York Times again. And for the rest of us, get together and call it out “Save Basketball, Cancel the Warriors.”