Washington Post columnist Mike Wise offered his thoughts on who he's rooting for after the Washington Wizards were eliminated from the 2014 NBA Playoffs and made the case for Oklahoma City as the clear underdog remaining, including the following excerpt:
The Spurs are not even the smallest market in the conference finals. Miami-Fort Lauderdale (the 16th-largest U.S. television market) and Indianapolis (25th) are larger than San Antonio (37th), but the Spurs come in eight cities ahead of Oklahoma City (45th), meaning that the Thunder theoretically has less available TV revenue to pay its players’ salaries.
It’s hard not to root for a team that came within seconds of stunning the Heat a year ago. But the Spurs with Duncan have won four titles already, more than anyone but the Lakers and the Bulls in the past 20 years. Oklahoma City hasn’t won yet. The Thunder is in that Sacramento-Minnesota boat of more than a decade ago — a window with a great team that may eventually be pulled apart by bigger markets who want their stars...LeBron needs a real rival, someone to consistently challenge his greatness in the Finals like Magic and Larry had each other. K.D. has that potential.
Obviously the San Antonio Spurs have the appeal of playing outstanding basketball, the Miami Heat have LeBron, and maybe the Indiana Pacers are such a major underdog that they're worth rooting for as well but the Thunder have a MVP who had the best acceptance speech ever. And I'd probably add that I'm personally so tired of the lazy attacks on Russell Westbrook that it adds to the appeal of the Thunder, but Wise offers a few more rational reasons to root for the Thunder.
So who are you rooting for? And how excited are you about getting to hear Mark Jackson call today's Eastern Conference Finals game (ABC, 12:30 p.m. PST)?
Vote in the poll below and discuss in the comments.