I promise I had this idea on my own and before I saw Paolo’s post and that impressively deep article. My list is much less deep and much less impressive, but here you have it – NBA playoff teams as superheros and one villain.
Spurs – Batman
Not the biggest or the fastest or the strongest, but always the superior strategist and a flawless executor. You never feel like the Spurs walk into a game without knowing exactly where they want the fight to end up. They surgically attack weakness and pick apart their opponents with Kasperovian precision and planning. At the end of the day they are just a man with clever plans and the tools he needs to execute them. If their gadgets break, it they hesitate or over commit, if they miscalculate or lose focus for even an instant they will find themselves outclassed physically. Can their aging and all too mortal bodies withstand the punishment about to be brought upon them? Can they continue to walk the razor’s edge?
Lakers – Captain America
Often overlooked in favor of flashier and newer characters, yet never really in danger of being forgotten. It seems they are always waiting to take the center stage and display the heroics even their enemies are forced to admit are an inseparable part of them. I would say don’t underestimate them, but you never would. Even if they rode into the playoffs as an 8 seed with a 20 game losing streak, they are the champions, they are the team to watch. If they step forward the league will notice and step back.
Mavericks – Dr Doom
There are schemes afoot. The Mavericks have quietly won 55 games yet again and they have finally built a team with a legit center. They are losing a few games now and their playoff run is already being talked about in the past tense, but I am not confident it is not some ploy I cannot yet understand. Much like Dr. von Doom, the Mavericks are ugly to watch. A combination of unexciting basketball and genuinely unattractive players leaves them banished to Latveria by the national media. Beneath the unpleasant exterior there is still genius in Dallas, and they are scheming. With all likelihood they will be foiled, for the good of us all, but until then, all other teams need to keep both eyes on their hideous visage.
Thunder – Wolverine
Toughness has arrived at the center of the Thunder in the form of an adamantium core that binds together the bones of a fearsome attacker and creates a nearly indestructible warrior. They can slash, they can slug, they are quick and powerful and they are legitimately deadly. While in many ways they are not the most impressive team in the league on paper, they are a team no one wants to battle. If they can hold their mind together, they are one of the toughest outs in the league and a nightmare for anyone not ready to put their own healing powers to the test.
Nuggets – The Flash
This Nuggets team personifies the violence of action. They are playing that brand of basketball that sometimes takes over street courts and makes you reconsider your afternoon plans. They are playing the way you wish your team could play, they have the inspiration that every leader dreams of giving their teammates, and the unstoppable energy that all young men secretly believe lies deep within them. Word on the street is Steve Nash doesn’t watch porn anymore, he watches the Nuggets play.
Portland – Deadpool
A monstrosity, a disaster, a dead man walking, fighting, winning, and mocking the world that has done everything it can to destroy him. But it can’t. Adversity has become a meaningless word to them. They don’t have good or bad luck, they have wins and losses, they have endless struggle, and they refuse to stop. They are too good to ever be completely beaten and that is their curse. They will fight on and somehow they will remain entertaining and at times even grotesquely joyful.
New Orleans – Cyclops
A one trick pony, whose trick is a fucking laser beam. With Paul goes New Orleans’ playoffs, their season, and at this point basketball in New Orleans altogether. It is incredibly hard to be a successful team while relying so heavily on one player, but if I had to rely on one player night in and night out it would be Paul. He, like laser beam eyeballs, is the kind of phenomenon you have to consider a little to realize how unbelievably bad ass it is, how nearly unstoppable it makes you, and how well it would compliment a secondary force.
Memphis – Colossus
A heavy, but not a great one. They will bang, they will bruise, but in the end they will be just the second strongest guy in the fight. That guy whose main role in the plot was to convince you of the strength of the enemy he faced. All Memphis will do this year is show us the strength of the other combatants, give us a preview of oncoming destruction, and excite us about the enormity of it all.
Chicago – Spiderman
Flexible, clever, strong, fast, versatile, supremely balanced. There is no single place where they exile over all others, but there is no true weakness. They rely on their ever shifting advantages: speed against the slow, strength against the weak, cunning against the dull. This would be a near impossible task without a guiding force that paces the sidelines and forever keeps them one-step ahead of their opponent.
Boston – Professor Charles Xavier
Once Boston is in your mind, you are lost. They break down mental barriers and expose the demons that live in much more powerful teams, transforming them from juggernauts to frightened children. Unfortunately, Boston has lost their legs. In the very literal interpretation, Boston is old and breaking down. In the much more spiritual, mental, and emotional sense, they lost Perkins. They lost the belief in themselves, they lost their edge, they lost a piece of the core that carried them, stumbling but never faltering, through the last 3 years.
Heat – Superman
Superman expects to triumph because he is the superior force in every confrontation. His raw abilities are unquestioned, he has forgotten more powers than the rest of the universe will ever have. This isn’t to say that I think the Heat will hoist the trophy. That is the beauty of Superman, he gets beat all the time. He was murdered, he was fried, he was banished. His overabundance of power makes him a target and I believe it makes him soft. He never sees it coming, never honestly believes he is anything less than invincible. Fun fact: Batman has beaten him, and I believe Batman could beat him again.
Magic – Hulk
I’m pretty sure this goes beyond Dwight being as physically close to the Hulk as any living human being. When they are hitting on all cylinders they are an unstoppable force. Take them off of their game and they become irrational and confused. They take wild shots and begin to destroy the things they love. If they make any noise in these playoffs it will be because even in these wild moments they are near impenetrable. Opponents throw rocks, tanks, and missiles at them but to no avail. Each projectile deflects harmlessly out of bounds.
Hawks – Hawkeye
How did they get on the Avengers with such a flawed weapon of choice? This team is poorly designed and yet they seem to be constantly involved in the happenings around them. Sure, every now and then they show flashes of brilliance, but they are trying to be a legit super hero/NBA playoff team for Christ’s sake, flashes of brilliance should be par for the course.
Knicks – Human Torch
The Knicks are a team that is cocky without ever having been the best. Sure, they have done great things when surrounded by others but what can they accomplish on their own? The Knicks are flashy and brazen, they attack with unrelenting intensity and possess an impressive amount of offensive firepower, but they don’t have the balance, defense, or consistency needed to be a legit threat. The Knicks’ issues all stem from their foundation of players who need to take the step from talented attacker on an impressive team to being a stand alone force.
Philadelphia – Daredevil
The handicapped superheros, nothing comes easy for this team. Without a recognized star or a player averaging over 20 points, 7 assists, or 10 rebounds per game. The 76ers are exactly average on offense, second to last in getting to the line, and 23rd in offensive rebound rate. They make up for it with hustle, heart, and guts. Andre Iguodala is quietly having a great year, though he is talked about primarily by the type of people who discuss which players are underrated in fantasy basketball, and Elton Brand is playing like he is worth half his contract. The 76ers have given it their all through work, fearlessness, and talent they have overcome their lack of a big time scorer to become a team well worthy of its place in the playoffs.
Pacers – Green Lantern
I do not think they are any good, but I am too ignorant of what it is they do to be sure. I cannot say I have watched a Pacers game this year, or even in recent memory. I know they are out there, periodically making noise and defeating teams I know and respect. They are an X-factor in my playoff analysis, too talented (Granger, Collison and Hibbert) to be ignored, but too inconsistent and bizarre (Granger, Collison and Hibbert), to ever be considered much more than an oddity I will never attempt to fully understand.