Last week I detailed my formula for picking a team in an otherwise meaningless sporting event. You can read that here if you want, but the cliffnotes version is that I’m taking the city, or the team, that has gone longer without winning a title. With that in mind, I’ve ranked the eight remaining playoff teams based on who you should root for if your team is out:
1) Utah Jazz: The Jazz have never won a title, nor has the city of Salt Lake. Quin Snyder has his team back in the conference semifinals despite the loss of All-Star Gordon Hayward.
2) Toronto Raptors: Like the Jazz, the Raptors have never hoisted the trophy. Toronto has a rich championship history thanks in large part to 13 Maple Leafs titles, though the city has been without a championship since the Blue Jays in 1993.
3) New Orleans Pelicans: The Saints won the city’s lone title in 2010, but the Pelicans have never won. Sweeping the Blazers without DeMarcus Cousins was impressive, but can they beat Golden State?
4) Philadelphia 76ers: I know the Eagles just won the Super Bowl, but it’s been 35 years for the Sixers. Plus, something about the worst-to-first in two years story feels right, even if Philly does have awful human beings for sports fans.
5) Houston Rockets: The Astros just won the World Series, but the Rockets haven’t won in more than 20 years. They’re the team most likely to take down Golden State.
6) Boston Celtics: It’s hard to put two teams behind Boston given my distain for the city. But Brad Stevens has worked wonders without two All Stars, and the Celtics are fun to watch.
7) Cleveland Cavaliers: We’re all tired of seeing the Cavs run through the East unchallenged. So far in this playoffs, they’ve been challenged, which would make them getting through to the Finals feel a bit different.
8) Golden State Warriors: as entertaining as they are, basketball is better when there aren’t dynasties. The Warriors’ fall from grace would do the League wonders on a number of levels.