I’m sure there exist the unicorn fans of the Detroit Pistons, fans so incredibly die hard that once the Pistons’ season is done the NBA is dead to them until the Summer League rolls around.
God help those poor fools To each his own.
I still want more NBA.
It’s been fun to watch such competitive NBA basketball as compared to the regular season: intensity, packed arenas, and all the stories that surround the games themselves. We asked our guys their views on a few early storylines, which teams they were rooting for, and which players and/or teams have surprised and which have disappointed.
Here we go.
1. Which story from the past week did you find most affected its team directly afterward: David Fizdale's "TAKE THAT FOR DATA!", Rondo's thumb injury, or Paul George calling out his teammates?
Jordan Bellant: Most affected his team is clearly Rondo's thumb. I still like the Bulls to make this a 6 or 7 game series. My favorite story, however... TAKE THAT FOR DATA!
Justin Lambregtse: I guess I would have to go with the Rondo injury because that is the only storyline I think actually had an impact. I think Memphis' win was a bit of a fluke and they will lose the next two and get knocked out. Paul George calling out his teammates did nothing because they blew a 26 point lead.
Ben Quagliata: Rondo has been surprisingly effective for Chicago in running their offense so his absence will be a huge loss for the efficiency of their team.
Kenneth Wallace: I think Rondo's thumb injury is the biggest story, because he has played really well, and without him the Bulls may not be able to close out the Celtics.
Ryan Pravato: Rondo's thumb injury -- because without him the Bulls are trotting out the likes of Jerian Grant, Michael Carter-Williams and maybe even Cameron Payne (he could get a chance). By the way, Rondo should be suspended for that blatant trip attempt on Crowder.
Steve Hinson: The Grizzlies went from being blown out in the first two games against the Spurs to winning the next two. They've also had only one fewer free throw attempt than the Spurs since Fizdale's rant. It's energized the Grizzlies, possibly shored up a huge Spurs advantage in getting to the line, and brought this one back to a competitive series.
2. Which team from each conference are you secretly rooting for now that Detroit is no longer playing?
Jordan Bellant: I want to see San Antonio and Washington in the Finals. Small markets and teams I have rooted for all season. It wouldn't get big ratings and many would consider it a disappointment. But I would love to see it.
Justin Lambregtse: Eastern Conference: Cleveland Cavaliers (I have mentioned many times they are my second favorite team behind the Pistons). Western Conference: Utah Jazz.
Ben Quagliata: Definitely the Bucks in the East. Delly and Thon helps, but I find them so easy to watch with their length, athleticism and atmosphere at the Bradley Center. Out West it’s Utah purely because of Joe Ingles and Dante Exum, plus they have two Butler alums.
Kenneth Wallace: In the East I can't help root for the Bucks, who at least have some quality ex-Pistons on their squad. In the West, I'm for the Grizzlies at the moment, though I don't think they can top the Spurs.
Ryan Pravato: I want the Bulls to beat the Celtics and the Jazz to beat the Clippers. The Jazz are putting up quite a fight without Gobert; they need him back though to win the series however. It's a pity Hood is hampered a bit too. But now the news of Griffin being out -- I do feel bad for the Clips.
Steve Hinson: It's no secret, I'm rooting for the Raptors. Despite a couple of ugly games so far in the first round, I still think they'll be the Eastern Conference team in the Finals.
3. Which player so far has been the biggest pleasant surprise? Biggest disappointment?
Jordan Bellant: I'm pleasantly surprised by the entire Bucks team! This is a team that is one shooter away from being dangerous in the East. My biggest disappointment is the entire Thunder supporting cast! It's Westbrook vs. the World.
Justin Lambregtse: Pleasant surprise: there hasn't been too many surprises for me, so I will shout out Kawhi Leonard going super saiyan.
Disappointment: Myles Turner. Cavs-Pacers is the one series I have watched the most, and the dude looks completely lost out there.
Ben Quagliata: Most surprising: How Milwaukee has handled the playoffs and how they’re getting the most out of fringe guys like Brogdon, Maker, Snell and Delly. Also, Playoff Monroe is a thing and I am here for it.
Most disappointing: DeRozan and Lowry. Below average in game one and downright awful in game three. They haven’t pulled it together yet and if they’re not careful Milwaukee will run right over the top of them.
Kenneth Wallace: I think Rondo has been the biggest surprise, and for disappointment I'd say Kyrie Irving - with Isaiah Thomas second.
Ryan Pravato: Most pleasant surprise for me is Greg Monroe finally in the playoffs and seeing him as a key cog for an up and coming franchise that may go seven with Toronto. As for “disappointment,” I guess I'll go with Lillard, considering he said Blazers in six ;)
Steve Hinson: Surprise: Mike Conley has quietly been one of the best players of the first round, putting up 24 points per game on a 48/48/82 shooting line, dishing out 8 assists, and playing some terrific defense. Disappointment: The Raptors really need more out of Kyle Lowry if they're going to avoid another disappointing postseason appearance.
What are your thoughts? Did you think “TAKE THAT FOR DATA!” got the short shrift? Rooting for a team not mentioned above got love or hate for performances so far? Let us know you know where.