After bringing you part 1 on Friday, now it is time for part 2 of ‘The AFL fan guide to choosing your NBA team’.
If you’re still undecided on who you should support heading into the 2016/17 NBA season, never fear – we have you covered.
Hawthorn Hawks are the Golden State Warriors
Hawthorn have already cemented their legacy by winning back-to-back-to-back Premierships from 2013-2015. Now, the Golden State Warriors are trying to do similar things.
Both of these teams cop a lot of hate because of the figures they have in their teams; Draymond Green and Sam Mitchell aren’t exactly the most liked players in the business. Add to the fact that Kevin Durant is now public enemy #1 after running away to Golden State to join Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Green, and we have perhaps the most hated teams in their respective leagues.
Their success is also a massive factor in why they are hated. Winning is all that these teams care about and they relish the hate that comes their way. Hawthorn fans are used to copping hate, so they might as well jump on the Golden State bandwagon and win plenty more games.
Geelong Cats are the Portland Trail Blazers
Whilst Geelong are a couple of years ahead of Portland in their development, one thing stands out with both teams. Two players are consistently relied upon to perform and will need some help from teammates to go deeper into the Playoffs and Finals.
Damian Lillard and C. J. McCollum are the fast and furious backcourt that lead the Blazers night in, night out. Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood stood up in most games for Geelong, but it is abundantly clear that they need others to step up and help them if they are going to win it all.
Gold Coast Suns are the Phoenix Suns
Apart from the obvious connection with their names, these two teams have other similarities too.
Both have had some lean years in recent memory (in Gold Coast’s case, every year), but they do have a couple of players with bright futures, especially those that can score.
Tom Lynch is still only 23 and a scoring machine; 66 goals in 2016 is a great effort in a pretty poor team. For Phoenix, Devin Booker is just 19-years old and there is no doubt he is the future of the Suns. In his rookie season last year, he set the league alight, scoring 30+ points on multiple occasions and earning All-Rookie First Team honours.
West Coast Eagles are the Los Angeles Clippers
Both teams are situated on the West Coast, have had some controversies in recent years (Ben Cousins & Co. and Donald Sterling) and whilst other teams have claims to this too, they have both choked in recent seasons.
The 2015 AFL Grand Final was a day to forget for West Coast fans, after being thumped by Hawthorn and never really being in the contest. They were once again blown out of the water by the Bulldogs in the Elimination Final this season. The Clippers have a history of choking when it matters most (yes, the 2015/16 Golden State Warriors and OKC Thunder choked too).
In the 2015 Playoffs, the Clippers jumped out to a 3-1 series lead against the Rockets, and in Game 6 at home, they were leading by 19-points in the second half, but lost as the Rockets finished the game on a 31-7 run. They then went on to lose Game 7 at Houston, of course.
They have both choked in recent years, but they do have great players and will once again be challenging in 2017.
St Kilda Saints are the Utah Jazz
Both are young, up and coming teams with some great vets still around keeping the young guys on the right course.
The Utah Jazz have assembled a great young core with Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood, Trey Lyles and Aussie Dante Exum. Mixed together with the veteran presence of Joe Johnson, George Hill, Boris Diaw and Joe Ingles, the Jazz are building a force.
The Saints finished season 2016 off very nicely and almost pushed North Melbourne out of the Finals. They have young guns aplenty; Jack Steven, Maverick Weller, Jack Newnes, Paddy McCartin and don’t forget Jake Carlisle. Just like Utah, they have the veterans too, in Nick Riewoldt, Leigh Montagna, Jarryn Geary and Sam Fisher.
Essendon Bombers are the Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia and Essendon have been somewhat controversial over the last couple of seasons, to say the least. With Essendon, everyone knows the story there. The 76ers have been in the midst of ‘The Process’ – tanking or not tanking – they have been the worst team in the league for quite a while a now.
Both teams finished with the worst record in their respective leagues in 2016, but for the first time in a while, the future is pretty darn bright.
With Essedon’s suspended players coming back in 2017, and their young guns showing plenty of promise this past season, wins should come much easier next year. The 76ers finally have something that resembles an NBA roster, just a very young one at that. Aussie Ben Simmons may sit on the sidelines for the entire season, but we will finally get to see Joel Embiid and Dario Saric on an NBA court.
North Melbourne Kangaroos are the Chicago Bulls
Both of these teams have a heap of question marks heading into the season. They have ageing lists; the Bulls signed Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo over the off-season and it is well documented just how old the Kangaroos are. Although the Kangaroos have already dumped 4 veterans, including Brent Harvey, they still have plenty of work to do to get their list in good shape going forward.
Many saw 2016 as the all-in year for the Kangaroos, and after starting off hot they died out very quickly and just scraped in for a quick exit in the Finals. This coming season for the Bulls will be interesting, can Jimmy Butler, Wade and Rondo return this team to the Playoffs and make some noise?
Collingwood Magpies are the New York Knicks
These are two massive clubs that under performed in 2016. Whilst injuries decimated both teams, the excuses are starting to wear thin and next season is vital for both.
The Knicks have completely turned over their roster, with the acquisitions of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings. They simply must make the Playoffs in 2017. If they don’t, Carmelo Anthony or another star may be on the way out, as Travis Cloke is at Collingwood.
The Magpies have talent all over the ground, but once again failed to make the Finals in 2016. Yes, injuries played a massive role in that, but at some point those lesser known names need to stand up and help Scott Pendlebury, Adam Trealor and Steele Sidebottom.
Carlton Blues are the Orlando Magic
After some very lean seasons, both the Orlando Magic and Carlton Blues may finally start to see some light at the end of the tunnel next season.
Both have new coaches in 2016, with the Blues being led by Brendon Bolton and the Magic being taken over Frank Vogel. Both of these guys can coach.
The Magic have some young guns on their roster, with the likes of Nikola Vucevic, Elfrid Payton, Bismack Biyombo and Aaron Gordon all possessing serious talent. The Blues do too, with Patrick Cripps, Jacob Weitering and Sam Docherty all having bright futures.