Let me tell you a secret: even though the Pistons have lost to them twice this year, I actually really like the Jazz. I'm still a Memo Okur fan, and watching Andrei Kirilenko is just plain fun. Plus, I love Jerry Sloan's old school approach, and his teams always play hard.
And while most fans will say the Pacers are our biggest rival, I can't muster up the energy to care about them now that Ron Artest is gone. I'll even go so far as to say that I like Jermaine O'Neal, and I admit that if you really look at the tape, he was probably justified for KO'ing that fan on the court last year.
But the Nets? Holy crap do those guys annoy me.
Richard Jefferson always seems to be overrated just because he can jump high. Plus, he's a bit too cocky considering his team never actually does anything. And Vince Carter is, well, Vince Carter. Sure, Rob Babcock deserved to be fired in Toronto for trading Carter, but Carter should be forced to give back paychecks (or would that be paycheques?) for dogging it as much as he did to prompt that trade. And even though he's no longer with the team, Kenyon Martin is a thug, and the rest of their big men like Jason Collins and Nenad Krstic are guilty by association -- even if the only way they're actually still associated is in my head. As for coach Lawrence Frank, Doogie Howser jokes aside, I don't like how he got the job. Byron Scott didn't deserve to be fired in 2004 -- the Nets were 22-20 (one win fewer than they have now), and even though the team obviously responded to the change by going 25-15 the rest of that season, in the back of my mind I feel like Frank pushed out a quality coach.
But here's the thing: of all my beefs with New Jersey, the only one that's actually valid is with Carter. The numbers prove that Jefferson is actually a quality player, Collins and Krstic have nothing to do with Martin's thuggery and Frank probably had absolutely nothing to do with Scott losing his job. And when did I suddenly get an affinity for former Laker guards in the first place?
I think what's really going on here is that I just don't like the franchise, and I constantly make up reasons to reinforce that opinion. Why? I have no clue, but it may have something to do with the fact that Detroit lost to New Jersey in the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals. Heck, maybe it dates back earlier than that, maybe the jealousy I felt in 1993 when Chuck Daly left Detroit to coach Kenny Anderson and Derrick Coleman has been simmering all these years and has been distilled into pure, 100% disdain. Whatever it is, I'm able to objectively realize that it's almost completely irrational without actually changing the way I feel.
What about you? Am I the only one that hates the Nets? Are there any players out there that make you want to throw a brick at your TV? Which teams get under your skin the most? Tell us in the comments.