Fed up with the endless parade of needle-nosed NBA eggheads telling you which teams you need to have on #LeaguePassAlert? Wishing someone out there would have the guts to tell you what not to watch for a change?
Well, you are in luck. And by “in luck,” I mean “in for some really depressing s---.” Today, we unveil Year Two of The Cauldron’s Anti-League Pass Rankings — the 10 teams you, the sheltered NBA obsessive, should avoid like Band-Aids on a subway track.
Why? Because you, like me, see League Pass through a light not unlike that in which Bill Burroughs once described his favorite glassy-eyed pastime: “If God made anything better, he kept it for himself.”
Except for these teams. Don’t, under any circumstances, ever watch these teams. Ever.
10. Boston Celtics
What you’re watching: A slightly better version of '90s hip hop sensation Skee-Lo pounding the ball for 19 seconds every possession; half the members of the Power Forward Teamsters (PFT—as in, “Pft! Who has that many power forwards!"); Beer League-Era David Lee assuming his peak defensive incarnation: straight-up tripping dudes with kicks to the shins; a new species of fire-breathing earwigs spawning from Kelly Olynyk’s headband; Brad Stevens: human sinus infection.
What you’d rather watch: A four-hour YouTube video of actual sinus attacks; LARPer speed dating; raccoons mating in a dumpster; your own arm fed through a meat extruder and into sausage casings; surveillance video of a nursing home hallway; bananas rotting in a sewer by flashlight; any episode of True Blood.
9. Milwaukee Bucks
What you’re watching: An impossible web of intersecting limbs over which opposing players helplessly flail, never to be seen again; a point guard you wouldn’t trust to run a Pinewood Derby race, let alone an NBA offense; Jason Kidd becoming the first ever NBA coach to use furrowed brows to chew and swallow a player whole (Fun Fact: Tom Landry and Hollywood Henderson first achieved this feat in 1978!); the CTRL and 'V' keys on your laptop replaced 13 times in the course of a single season from having to cut and paste… They’re broken again. Anteqtakoompo. NAILED IT.
What you’d rather watch: Photos of an Ozarks family reunion developing in a darkroom; a fish tank with nothing but loaves of Wonder Bread inside it; your cavities being filled by a face-tatted supermax prisoner named Mortimer; a preschool Christmas play; Ted Cruz doing hot yoga in a dominatrix suit.
8. San Antonio Spurs
What you’re watching: You know that guy from the Community Outreach department who never calls in sick; who’s constantly being glad-handed by upper management with free lunches and $1,000 hookers; who wins any fantasy league he enters, but says yours would be "just one too many, man"; and who you’re convinced takes the Most Outstanding Team Player trophies he's won at every annual company picnic, drives home, and throws it in with the rest of them, in a pen labeled “trophies & compost for my award-winning organic garden”? That’s the Spurs. They are awful.
What you’d rather watch: A python eating three live goats bound together by rope (hind legs first); the Columbus Blue Jackets; an assembly line that makes scissors; static on an analog television through a storefront window that’s covered in ice and bird poop.
7. New Orleans Pelicans
What you’re watching: A team for which the term “injury bug” actually means “injury bubonic plague,” where being so much as breathed upon by someone with a jammed finger sends you immediately crumbling to the floor, body covered in boils; Alvin Gentry, Certified Offensive Genius, gradually entering the “Eff all y’all—I’m almost retired!” stage of his philosophical canon: Dump the ball into Anthony Davis while I order Gin Fizzes on the sidelines; Kendrick Perkins—lightly animated tower of dirt—becoming the first player in NBA history to record a -100 plus-minus in a playoff game. We call it the “Silt Chamberlain.”
What you’d rather watch: A telethon to benefit victims of gluten intolerance, co-hosted by Al Roker and Billy Bob Thornton; a jack-in-the-box with a randomized 24-hour timer and swarm of starving yellow jackets inside; a World Debt Clock while being hung upside down by your toenails; an ant farm with one ant, and that ant is dead.
6. New York Knicks
What you’re watching: By now you’ve doubtlessly heard, from many otherwise intelligent folks, that way too many people are “sleeping on” the Knicks—a team that won a franchise-low 17 games a season ago, or roughly 15 more than they deserved. Wrong. You should be sleeping on them. As in lying on top of them until they suffocate, before falling asleep to dream about actual basketball teams made up of actual basketball players. They are every ACME contraption ever made combined into a single, giant, nondescript box of backfired destruction handed to Wile E. Coyote after a two-week tequila bender.
What you’d rather watch: Either the North Korean equivalent of C-SPAN or the North Korean equivalent of Faces of Death, although these are most likely the same thing; a cattle auction run by Kevin Hart on 70 hours of no sleep; live frogs thrown in a fryolator; an Idaho cable-access show featuring two yokels—both cross-eyed scions of local potato royalty—screaming in each other’s ears for a full hour at as high a volume as your speakers will allow.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
What you’re watching: Mean Girls, but with giant, bearded high-school chicks instead of normal-sized, non-bearded ones; an increasingly bloodshot-eyed and homeless-looking Kevin Love flailing and yelling “LEBRON ME ME ME LEBRON ME ME!” so manically in the corner that security is forced to tranquilize and remove him from the court; Matthew Dellavedova abandoning all pretense and straight up gnawing a dude’s foot off in a loose-ball scrum; scientists from the Large Hadron Collider confirming that the bags beneath David Blatt’s eyes have, in fact, spawned no fewer than nine black holes.
What you’d rather watch:
4. Houston Rockets
What you’re watching: James Harden falling over like he just rode a copper skateboard over live electrical wire; James Harden falling over like his legs suddenly decided they were cornstalks; James Harden falling over like Indiana Jones seeing the vile of antidote vanishing across the floor; James Harden falling over like the lone Reb bolting into the field without a gun after pre-gaming Pickett’s Charge with a canteen full of grain alcohol; Kevin McHale signaling to his players by gyrating his index finger in vaguely circular directions.
What you’d rather watch: Liquid methane collecting in a bucket at the bottom of a three-mile coal shaft; Endless loops of Ron Popeil stuffing olives into pork loins with my eyes latched open like A Clockwork Orange; Penn Gillette pumping $50 worth of quarters into a claw machine full of live vipers; the Pro Bowl.
3. Brooklyn Nets
What you’re watching: Mikhail Prokhorov’s eyes so dilated with rage you can see the image of a Kamchatkan torture basement reflecting off his brain; Joe Johnson playing HORSE with himself; Lionel Hollins visibly running through the most promising scenarios for making Brook Lopez disappear without looking like a suspect; $200 million being plunged down a cresting Bonnaroo Porta-John an hour after a four-set performance by Gov’t Mule.
What you’d rather watch: NCIS dubbed over in Portuguese; a marine archeologist excavating the bottom of the Gowanus Canal using nothing but a spade and a sand-castle bucket; army ants killing, and then consuming, an entire wild boar; Jack White delivering an August lecture from inside a non-air-conditioned fourth-floor classroom at the University of Southern Mississippi on 17th century Swedish-Protestant mountain hymns of Outer Appalachia.
- MORE NBA: 70 reasons to watch the NBA in 2015-16
2. Golden State Warriors
What you’re watching: A group of grown-ass men throwing around the “disrespect” card like someone just pooped in their Jacuzzi; Steph Curry taking the next step in his inevitable arc from loveable underdog to puffin-clubbing super-villain when he responds profanely to an interview request by David Aldridge; A vaguely Spursian-Stalinist offensive approach, only with fewer six-pass-pinball-dimes and more Draymond Green winning offensive rebounds by macing dudes with tiny squirt guns that fire from his armpits whenever he jumps.
What you’d rather watch: A cluster of Oreo-sized spiders crawling up my leg and into my wet bathing suit; two grandmothers purse-fighting over a package of smoked salmon; a flock of vultures circling a carcass pile from another, dead flock of vultures; Jon Gruden giving the best man speech at Aaron Rodgers’ wedding.
1a. Los Angeles Clippers
What you’re watching: When I was around 10 years old, my mother took me antiquing for the first time. She promised there would be all sorts of cool stuff—swords, games, dead hand grenades, snuff boxes. Then, when I got there, all I found was three-ton furniture, rusted horseshoes, and incredibly offensive children’s books. That is, in essence, what it’s like watching the Los Angeles Clippers: a cripplingly unsatisfying letdown, only with Chris Paul constantly falling like he’s just been hit in the stomach with a harpoon, instead of actual harpoons.
What you’d rather watch: A spinoff of Will It Blend? called Will It Transform Into a Worm In Less Than a Year?; Fran Drescher doing the Darth Vader voice into a broken box fan; a one-armed nun weaving a wicker basket; Chris Christie Slip ‘N Sliding above a ruptured septic tank.
1b. Los Angeles Lakers
What you’re watching: Byron Scott conjuring new ways to flagrantly undermine prevailing basketball wisdom (“Listen, guys. Instead of these lame-ass 15-foot free throws all these math professors want us taking, we’re gonna start shootin' 'em 79 feet towards our basket. That way we’ll already be back on defense when we go for the rebound!); a Kobe Bryant so insane with rage, his Staples Center statue winds up being a skeleton engulfed in flames, because that’s all people remember; D'Angelo Russell missing three-quarters of the season with two broken hands, which the rookie phenom claims were smashed by a mysterious, ski mask-clad assailant who would only identify himself as “Brian Cook ... Kobe didn’t send me.”
What you’d rather watch: Take it away, Twitter.