Thanksgiving is here, which means that it’s the time of year to stuff our faces with lots of food, but also, to think about all the things that we’re thankful for in our lives. Since we each do this personally, we figured it’d be fun to take a guess at what some of our favorite professional sports teams are thankful for as well at this time of year. We’ll be rolling out lists for each of the four major sports that give thoughts on what each team should be thankful for right now.
(Ed. note: If you don’t get sarcasm, this may be the wrong post for you).
Boston Celtics- Kyrie Irving’s Mamba Mentality
Irving could have stayed in Cleveland, rode it out for another year with LeBron, probably made the Finals again, and then taken over the Cavs next year when LeBron likely leaves. Instead, he said, nah, I want to run my own team right now and that’s worked out pretty well for the team that traded for him. Boston hasn’t lost a game since starting 0-2.
Brooklyn Nets- At Least Caris Levert Is Healthy?
Things haven’t gone well for Nets backcourt players this season with Jeremy Lin, Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell all going down with injuries of varying severity. So, seeing LeVert out on the floor and producing is a plus right?
New York Knicks- The Full Fledged Emergence Of The Unicorn
Kristaps Porzingis is averaging 29 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks per game this season. All hail the unicorn king of MSG.
Philadelphia 76ers- The Next Step of “The Process”
Sixers fans sat through years of terrible basketball and their reward is a team that’s fun, young, brash, and actually not terrible at basketball.
Toronto Raptors- Embracing 2017 Basketball
The Raptors are jacking up 31.4 three point attempts per game. Last season, they averaged 24.3, which ranked 22nd in the league. Welcome the Raptors to new era basketball everybody! Took them long enough.
Chicago Bulls- Uhhh…..Lauri Markkanen?
For as much crap as the Bulls got for the return they got in the Jimmy Butler trade, Markkanen has actually been pretty good. Not good enough to distract from the whole Bobby Portis sending Niko Mirotic to the hospital thing, but still, small silver linings.
Cleveland Cavaliers- LeBron James
Yeah, hate to state the obvious here but, when you have LeBron James on your team, you’re pretty thankful for that. Considering having LeBron has guaranteed a Finals appearance for seven straight season.
Detroit Pistons- Andre Drummond’s New Free Throw Form
Let’s not jinx it Pistons fans. You know the stats, Drummond has been actually good from the line this year. Whatever prayers you’ve been offering, continue to do so.
Indiana Pacers- Trading Paul George?
We all laughed at the Pacers for the return they got for Paul George. Yet, during the early part of the season, Oladipo has been hugely productive and Domantas Sabonis unleashed next to Myles Turner has been fun as hell. Who knew?
Milwaukee Bucks- The Greek Freak’s Alien Abilities
Instead of writing anything here, I’m just going to post a few of his ridiculous plays. Enjoy.
Atlanta Hawks- Tan—I Mean “Rebuilding”
Look at this roster. Just look at it. Plenty of ping pong balls in this team’s future.
Charlotte Hornets- Kemba Walker Wizardry
Walker continues to amaze currently posting the highest offensive (121) rating of his career and averaging the most assists per game of his career thus far (6.3). The Hornets themselves are rather blah, but Kemba makes them fun with things like this.
Miami Heat- Erik Spoelstra
It’s really only because of Spoelstra that we all still have faith that the team will eventually turn things around this season. The roster itself reads as a list largely of cast-offs and still unfulfilled potential, yet, they went 30-11 down the stretch last year and just missed the playoffs.
Orlando Magic- Finally Playing Aaron Gordon At The Right Position
Aaron Gordon’s position has been largely amorphous since he came into the league. The Magic have tried to shoehorn him in at small forward. That didn’t exactly work out. This season, with the logjam in the front court cleared, Gordon’s having his best season yet, averaging 17.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
Washington Wizards- John Wall Signing An Extension
Things could’ve gone sideways for the Wizards quickly if they hadn’t been able to get the extension deal done with Wall. He, along with sidekick Bradley Beal, is the main reason this team is considered a contender in the East. Well done locking him up, and actually paying the luxury tax for the first time ever.
Dallas Mavericks- Mark Cuban’s Public Feuds
Cuban has gone for the “publicly overshadow my team’s play by getting into beefs with everybody” strategy and I’ll be damned if it’s not working. The Mavs are 3-15. Yet I had no idea that was true until I went and looked at the standings page.
Houston Rockets- James Harden
After a near-MVP season last year, Harden is somehow putting up even better statistics this season averaging over 31 points and just under 10 assists in leading the Rockets while Chris Paul has been out with injury.
Memphis Grizzlies- Tyreke Evans’ Newfound Accuracy From Deep
Evans has been in the league for nine seasons now and largely hasn’t changed much since he entered the league. However, this year in Memphis, he has added something to his game, a more accurate three-pointer. Evans is shooting over 41 percent from deep this year on the most attempts per game of his career (4.3).
New Orleans Pelicans- Good Boogie Cousins!!!!
Cousins is averaging career highs in rebounds and assists and he’s largely stayed away from outbursts that lead to technical fouls. That’s truly something to be thankful for Pelicans fans.
San Antonio Spurs- Continued, Droning Excellence
Ho-hum, another year, and the Spurs find themselves humming along at 9-6, 4th in the West, despite not having star forward Kawhi Leonard, who’s still recovering from an ankle injury. We could literally just swap out the record and name and have this same paragraph every season.
Denver Nuggets- Emmanuel Mudiay Figuring Out A Jump Shot?
Mudiay has famously had a broken, or some would say didn’t have, a jump shot since entering the league. Prior to this year, he had never shot better than 31.9 percent from three. This season? 45.5% on 2.6 attempts per game. Is 45.5 sustainable? Probably not. But it could be a sign of a young player figuring out his shot.
Minnesota Timberwolves- Living Up To Preseason Expectations…So Far
The T-Wolves were beloved by many in the preseason after adding Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague to a young core of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. So far, they’re living up to those lofty predictions sitting in playoff position in the West. That should help Wolves fans forget the disaster that is the team’s defense for a little while.
Oklahoma City Thunder- Hoodie Melo And Everything That Comes With It
The Thunder are still figuring things out on the court, but off the court? Man, Melo’s influencing Russell Westbrook’s interview attire now.
Portland Trailblazers- Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum Scoring Binges
The Trailblazers are off to a good start to the season and one of the more entertaining things about this team is watching their two young guards explode on any given night.
Utah Jazz- Good ski resorts?
Gordon Hayward left in free agency, Dante Exum is out for an extended period of time with an injury again, Rudy Gobert suffered a bone bruise on a dirty play by Dion Waiters and Joe Johnson is out. That’s why I say, at least you live in a state known for it’s ski resort getaways. You may need them later in the season.
Golden State Warriors- Really? You’re Really Going To Ask This?
Steph Curry. Kevin Durant. Klay Thompson. Draymond Green. 2 titles in three years. Warriors fans are the dude at Thanksgiving on his third plate of turkey before everyone else is through their first.
Los Angeles Clippers- Point Forward Blake Griffin
Handed the keys to the car with Chris Paul in Houston, Griffin has not only kept the car from crashing, but has elevated it.
Los Angeles Lakers- Kyle Kuzma
Kuzma is currently doing his best to help Lakers fans ignore the fact that Lonzo Ball still can’t really shoot and doesn’t seem overly interested in scoring. Oh, and Kuzma’s performance can somewhat drown out LaVar Ball. Somewhat.
Phoenix Suns- Tanka—-Young Guys Playing A Lot!
The Suns aren’t good. They weren’t ever really going to be good. But, man, they’re playing the young guys and saying damn the results. As a Sixers fan, I respect it.
Sacramento Kings- The Presence of the Lakers and Suns
Having those two teams in the same division has distracted most NBA people from the fact that Sacramento is 4-13 with an average point differential of -12. But, hey, De’Aaron Fox is fun.