Though they have the son of an Olympic triple jump gold medalist; two elite defenders — one of whom officially christened the defensive player of the year recently — anchoring the league’s stingiest defense; and a man whose resemblance to Eddie Winslow is so uncanny it’s shattered the internet world, the Memphis Grizzlies have fallen behind 3-0 to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
In the history of this magnificent league, 127 teams have fallen behind 3-0. All 127 of them lost the series.
Ergo, we must conclude that the Memphis Grizzlies’ will lose this series, despite basketball hipsters such as myself, Marv, Grantland’s Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons, and Henry Abott of True Hoop concurrently predicting otherwise a week ago.
In hindsight, this outcome should have been obvious. Tim Duncan is the best player of our generation, in the midst of a renaissance season. Tony Parker is at the peak of his powers and a Most Valuable Player candidate. Manu Ginobili is one of the five finest caucasian basketball players in the history of the National Basketball Association. Gregg Popovich sits alone in the basketball coaching pantheon.
We, basketball hipsters, chose Memphis for a myriad of reasons, such as “favorable matchups,” “team defensive rankings,” “points per possession”, and “momentum.”
Who, or what, are basketball hipsters? We are a new breed of fans, borne of the internet age. We are a group that possess the following traits:
— Respect for the game. We are serious fans, whether it’s a mid-November regular season game or a playoff game.
— Self-awarely-objective. We do not root for teams based on a frivolous criteria like team proximity to our residence. Instead, we root for teams based on quality of series, cohesiveness of the starting unit, selflessness and humility of the team’s star, and story lines that add to the NBA’s lore.
— Over awareness of the league’s business/marketing machination. While a casual fan may root for a player based on his ability to dunk a basketball over a car or his race, we take into account whether or not a player’s paid, marketed, and rated properly. To us, the biggest sin of an NBA player is to be overpaid, overhyped, and overrated.
–Historical awareness. We are constantly judging elite players by comparing them to past greats, putting their performances in historical context. We care about a great player’s eventual ranking on the all-time rankings.
–Efficiency is good. “Oh Corey Maggette scored 22? He probably did it on 21 shots. Eh.” Efficiency matters to us. Perhaps a little too much. A guard shooting 50% gives us metaphorical basketball-erections.
We are basketball hipsters, vis-a-vis, we listen to Bon Iver and Tame Impala.
Unfortunately, the San Antonio Spurs have proven us wrong this time. We over-thought ourselves while predicting this series. Lost in our advanced metrics sessions and handcraft bazaars and fair-trade coffee sipping was the fact that in the NBA, stars win.
Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are laughing at us.