Under Pressure

Thought this would be too long as a comment as I take up way too much real estate in comments section is. I thought I would cue up David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and make a comment about teams under the most pressure. Every team has pressure build after every season except one that wins it all gets to hit the release valve. The bucks probably were the team in the NBA that accumulated what I would call a sort of critical mass with a 50 year championship drought and a generational superstar talent on the brink of leaving with underwhelming post seasons and choking the top record in the league back to back years. I think they joy a fan base has from that kind of pressure being released is why the first title is often the sweetest for a player and a majority of the fan base. I just wanted to do this exercise as a way of maybe guessing which teams are going to be the most desperate. I think a lot of times we go how the f*ck did he get traded for that, well oh yeah that team hadn't won a title in 50 years and your 25 year old superstar hasn't signed the largest contract in NBA history. I fall victim to dismissing lopsided looking trades but there is that unseen pressure element you don't account for and a GM/Coach is not caring about the future problems when they might get fired in the now.

I look West and there are a ton of teams I'd say need to win a title. The warriors, Lakers and Spurs have pretty much dominated the West the past 2 decades as finals representatives. I think the only other franchise who can claim a title in the past could decades is, Dallas? So I really am leaving those teams off my list.

Utah has got to make a move. Their team needs to make changes and shake things up. I don't actually think the problems are basketball concerns with Mitchell and Gobert but the pieces they surrounded them with have been bad. They needed a CP3 instead of a mike Conley. Both their stars are individual very high end talent but with flaws. Mitchell doesn't feel efficient, I don't find him to be anything special as a playmaker and seems indifferent or incapable towards defense. Gobert is just slow and offers no shooting but probably can be put on any team in the league and make them one of the best in the regular season. They fired their coach, it seems like desperation is at an time high as this could be yet another dynamic duo in Utah with no championship hardware to show for it.

Phoenix could have the greatest variance in the outcome of their season that I wouldn't really blink about hearing the results. They looked like the deepest team in the NBA all season and then couldn't beat the Mavs who seem like the biggest one man show in the NBA. COVID struck them at the worst time as well so there is that thing in the back of my mind where I won't condemn them to fraud status. Depth was the name of the game for the best playoffs performers but was this past year the start of a trend or a blip? Depth used to be the dirty word you used when you didn't have star power. I think the warriors had best of both worlds and would have beaten the suns, but idk the matchups and a turned ankle could break a series like that either way. But they sit as a franchise that hasn't won anything, had this meteoric rise the season before from non playoff team to NBA finalist, and then was the best team definitively in the regular season. But is the window closed or closing as fast as it was opened? Ayton seems to be done with them and they have an aging point guard they lean on heavily that's becoming a liability on defense that is a problem. Is Booker a for real franchise superstar? He was 2 wins away from proving he could be the best player on a title team but you need to get him some help. They could trade CP3 and I wouldn't be shocked at all if they determined if they feel this current roster iteration s run it's course.

The nuggets haven't maybe ever won a title and definitely not since the 3 point line has existed haha. They are dealing with an almost identical scenario to the bucks had. A few nice playoff runs, getting as far as the conference finals, a generational superstar 2xMVP talent and you come away feeling that the team failed to put a team around him to win a title. Jokic is not the supreme defensive talent Giannis is but he definitely is much more of a threat on the perimeter than Giannis on offense. I value Giannis more but it's hard to argue that any other players more positively impact their teams than these guys the past 4 seasons. I mean what the hell is actually going on in Denver? It feels like the have this big war chest of attractive assets but they are acting like they don't want to go all in for their superstar. I know Jamal Murray injury has hurt but I mean when was he elevated to the status of definite championship level second fiddle. The guy also probably isn't going to be better than he was before the injury and definitely not on the defensive end. Aaron Gordon? Bones Hyland? They have attractive assets but they only help you if you use them. Think of the players that have come available over the years that I seriously question how the nuggets would have lost out on had they went all in for them. Shit even CJ McCollum would have helped.

The Clippers are just the franchise of losers. I mean they spend a lot, made a ton of noise, got maybe the premier two way wings in the NBA and HOF coaches and front office people and nothing to show for it. The best thing to happen to the clippers and Kawhi is the nets. Hey clippers you went all in on a guy who has no problem with not playing basketball. The spurs showed that along with him working part time in Toronto. So now this is coming into year 4 and the amount of finals appearances remains 0 for the clippers. There is all this criticism on every other superstar in the league but somehow Kawhi escapes it all but I think this year that would change if we no longer have the nets to talk about.

The Nets I don't really want to talk about them but yeah that's a ticking time bomb of all the pressure and inside of a burning dumpster in a shit factory.

The sixers have a very very very high pressure situation. The sixers feel strongly like the Ewing Knicks. Maybe the 80's bucks, just another oh yeah that team was also good in the East but could never make sufficient noise in the playoffs. To not have an ECF birth is pretty crazy. It's not like other top seeds that have their post season cut short because oh yeah we got as far as LeBron. They are losing to 19 year old Tatum, Trae young, and Jimmy Butler with clearly the best player in the series on their roster. They have an elite MVP caliber player and heading down the 40+ year title drought road.

These are the really big crazy enough to do anything franchises I feel. Not to say other franchises don't have high pressure too, these just are the ones I go, yeah I see why they went all in for that, etc. I think that this could be a crazy off season potentially or if these franchises are fine being also rans again like the past half century at least for most it could be biz as usual.

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