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Imagining All 30 NBA Teams as Film Directors

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The preseason is almost over, so let's have a look at the last (and possibly worst) offseason thought experiment.

Movie directors direct movies. Basketball teams team up to basketball. But what if they were the same thing? What then? Let's see.

Atlanta Hawks - Christopher Nolan

So much noise here. Christopher Nolan’s overzealous embracement of film is the cinematic equivalent of your team playing "the right way" without actually winning anything for it. The hearts are all in the right place, but the results just aren’t really there. Both Nolan and the Hawks are much more fun than people give them credit for being, though. And you can’t prove that Hans Zimmer’s great, organ-heavy score for Interstellar wasn’t actually composed by Sir Foster.

Boston Celtics - DW Griffith

I mean, what even are their respective mediums without these guys? Griffith defined feature film storytelling in the same way that those early Celtics teams defined what it meant to be a great NBA franchise. But, well, it’s 2015. We should probably start talking about someone else. (Also, congrats, Boston! You are somehow the more politically correct member in this comparison.)

Brooklyn Nets - Joss Whedon

You do not honestly expect me to care about any of these people, do you?

Charlotte Hornets - Tim Burton

They were both a thing in the ‘90s, huh?

Chicago Bulls - David O. Russell

Have you ever tried to make a movie? If you have any appreciation for the movies you should really try to do it. It’s hard! Like, really hard! Like, it is a miracle that any movies are ever made at all, seriously it is so hard.

So, I don’t hope for the failure of any filmmakers. Except David O. Russell. What a jerk.

Cleveland Cavaliers - JJ Abrams

We really gave this guy the keys to everything, huh? Star Wars, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible. Three of our biggest and best film franchises. With the first two, Abrams has the power to make the entire cinema and Internet crumble, should he want to do so. And why? Because someone got sucked into an engine and exploded in the first episode of Lost? Because having Felicity cut her hair was an early test at viral marketing? I like Abrams fine enough (his movies are colorful and M:I III is so good), but doesn’t it feel like this guy doesn’t really deserve to be the most important (financially, at least) filmmaker in the world?

What I’m also saying is that Cleveland does not deserve LeBron.

Lucas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks - George Lucas

Mark Cuban owns Landmark Theaters, the nation’s largest chain of theaters devoted to presenting "independent" and "foreign" cinema. One of these theaters is Milwaukee’s beautiful Oriental Theatre. It mostly shows Godzilla and Star Wars movies whenever the film festival isn’t going on. I don’t like this part of Mark Cuban’s career. He has been as destructive to my ability to watch Real Cinema as George Lucas. Also the magic seems just about all the way gone for both of these guys.

Denver Nuggets - Michael Bay

A fast-paced mess.

Detroit Pistons - Terrence Malick

Two separate eras of unquestionable greatness. Both are going Bigger these days, but Bigger often really means Grandiose.

Golden State Soderbergh

Golden State Warriors - Steven Soderbergh

Knockout sleekness incarnate. Who ever knew efficiency could be so cool? Underappreciated by the general public. Overappreciated by dorks like me.

Houston Rockets - Judd Apatow

Behind all of the Rogen or Howard fart jokes, both are important innovators constantly verging too closely towards unwatchability.

Indiana Pacers - Warren Beatty

Warren Beatty probably hasn’t slept with 13,000 women, but his *ahem* romantic history will forever play a major part in if not overshadow the rest of his legacy. I see a lot of Warren Beatty in Paul George.

Los Angeles Clippers - Sofia Coppola

So much better than you’re probably giving them credit for. Often described as one-note, but that one-note is really good, and there are other notes there, and those notes are good, too. So much recent success but still forever in the shadow of their more famous siblings.

Los Angeles Lakers - Francis Ford Coppola

Kobe Bryant probably reads Heart of Darkness as an entirely positive portrayal of Francis Ford Coppola. Neither of these guys have known or will ever know the right moment to hang it up, but their list of progeny is almost as impressive as their unquestionably dominant runs.

Memphis Grizzlies - John Ford

If you think about it (please don’t think too hard), slow, studio system westerns were really the original grit ’n grind, and despite their long stretch of greatness, I don’t think anyone’s expecting the Grizzlies to make too much serious noise this year (much like John Ford, who is dead).

Miami Heat - John McTiernan

The NBA doesn’t get more throwback blockbuster than the Miami HEAT, and it’s really a crime that Pat Riley never played a villain in any of McTiernan’s action classics.

Milwaukee Bucks - Gore Verbinski

Wonky pacing, BLOAT, and tons of overwhelming sequences of pure virtuosity. The 2013-2014 Bucks were The Lone Ranger (Giannis was both the incredible train sequences and the totally awesome flesh-eating squirrels). The 2014-2015 Bucks were Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (way better than anyone really thought they’d be). Let’s hope the 2015-2016 Bucks are Rango.

Minnesota Timberwolves - Powell and Pressburger

Wolves Red Shoes

Ricky Rubio is prettier than the prettiest of Technicolor films.

New Orleans Pelicans - Edgar Wright

His movies are undeniably very silly, but there are very few directors as preternaturally talented as the Shaun of the Dead director. However, Hollywood hasn’t been able to provide him with the correct supporting cast just yet. Anthony Davis has a unibrow and is maybe the best basketball player in the whole world, but his entire team is hurt and also not that appealing even when healthy. Who cares, Scott Pilgrim was great.

New York Knicks - Spike Lee

He goes to all the games, and, like the Knicks, he’s not very good anymore. What? I don’t know. You try writing director comparisons for all 30 NBA teams. You have to phone some in.

Oklahoma City Thunder - Paul Thomas Anderson

Both of their stocks have sadly fallen off a bit recently, but dammit, Paul Thomas Anderson and the Oklahoma City Thunder are better than everyone else at their respective jobs. The innocence of the Harden era and Boogie Nights and Magnolia is gone, but these guys have grown into more refined and mature artists, and the world is better because of it. Now let’s finally reward them for it.

Orlando Magic - Kathryn Bigelow

There isn’t a more IN YOUR FACE director currently working than the woman responsible for Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker, and Point Break. Her movies uppercut your nose into your brain, something Scott Skiles wishes he could do to each and every single one of his players. Unlike Skiles, however, Bigelow has actually won something before.

Jackson Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers - Peter Jackson

Revolutions aren’t easy, whether tanking or shooting 48 FPS, and Philly’s last couple of seasons have been the only things as unwatchable as the Hobbit trilogy.

Phoenix Suns - Howard Hawks

Speed demons whose influence feels stronger every single day. So what if the Suns have never won a championship? Hawks didn’t win an Oscar, either.

Portland Trail Blazers - Wes Anderson

Both "Portland is for Hipsters" and "Wes Anderson is for Hipsters" have been common thoughts in the American public consciousness for so long that neither are true anymore. Portland’s mainstream cultural cachet keeps growing, and Wes Anderson’s movies make a ton of money and get nominated for Oscars now, but both of them are still pretty cool. Plus Meyers Leonard totally could have been one of the scouts in Moonrise Kingdom.

Sacramento Kings - David Fincher circa ‘92

Alien3 was David Fincher’s first film. The Sacramento Kings are Vivek Ranadivé’s first basketball team. The production of the former was so calamitous that the Oscar-nominated director nearly quit filmmaking. Calamitous does not begin to describe whatever is happening with the Sacramento Kings. I hope Vivek never quits. I’m sorry, Boogie.

San Antonio Spurs - Steven Spielberg

The old master is still learning new tricks, as are the old masters. Spielberg rightfully made his name on those early blockbusters, but I’ll take the early 2000s youthful rejuvenation (War of the Worlds, Munich, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, A.I.) over that medium-defining period. The Spurs’ reputation has been built on longevity and the heights of Duncan’s early years, but they didn’t really sing for me until Kawhi showed up, and now they have LaMarcus Aldridge.

Toronto Raptors - The Wachowskis

The only shit cooler than Bullet Time is that 3d logo the Raptors did.

Utah Jazz - Kelly Reichardt

Slow but explosive. Somehow still the future.

Washington Wizards - David Yates

David Yates directed some of the Harry Potter films. Goodnight!