NBA League Pass is adopting a new format this season, which is a little bit of a bummer. In the previous iteration, you had two options. You either purchased the option which gave you access to every team's games (unless they were blacked out due to regional restrictions or on national television), or you picked five teams that you either cheered for or were interested in.
The full league option will remain this season, but gone is the ability to choose five teams. Instead, you pick one and that's your team. If you're a Cavs fan living in, say, Chicago, single-team League Pass makes a lot of sense. If you are a fan of the league in general, the five team option was fun and set up debate for who the most exciting teams would be. Trying to pick your five teams was part of the fun of making the purchase in the first place.
Well, I'm not giving it up. If I could pick five teams to get on League Pass, which five would they be? The Cavs are out because they are in my region. I get their games on basic cable. Same with the Detroit Pistons. First, we have to think of what criteria I'd be looking for. Is the team on national television all the time? If so, there might not be much need to select a team. Are they an up and coming team? Will they play an entertaining style? Do they have young players worth monitoring? Will they play important games?
Let's take a look at what I'd go with.
The Grizzlies aren't exactly a sexy choice, but it's an easy one for me. Mike Conley is a former Buckeye, and I'll always enjoy watching him play. The Grizzlies are a lock to make the playoffs in a tough Western Conference, and so they'll play a lot of important regular season games. Because they play in a small market, it's one of the few really good teams that won't be on national television very often. It's a team worth tracking, and getting them on League Pass is one of the few ways to do it.
Karl Towns! Andrew Wiggins! Kevin Garnett's last ride! Ricky Rubio should be healthy!
Minnesota should struggle to score, even if Rubio is doing all the fun things Rubio does. I'm not sure they'll win many games. But seeing Wiggins take a step or two forward, and starting to gauge what Towns may be will be fun. I think. Trolling our William Bohl about it will be even better. Hopefully the Wolves start finding shooters to put around Wiggins. He needs to be able to move with some space. Watching Kyrie Irving try and operate without shooters was frustrating. I don't want Wiggins to have to deal with the same issues.
No I'm just kidding. (But I do love me some Nerlens Noel)
Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook's last ride together? I don't necessarily think that's actually the case, but it adds a level of intrigue to this team. They've been snake-bit by injuries the last few years, and it's been a bummer. They have three top-30 NBA players that fit pretty darn well together. It's a shame they haven't all been able to peak at the same time.
Adding to the star power is the presence of Dion Waiters and Enes Kanter. It's a make or break year for the Thunder, and they are counting on these guys. That seems crazy to me, but these guys are talented. Maybe they put it all together this season. Waiters is fighting for survival in the league, and Kanter has a brand new contract that very few people think makes any sense.
This is the easiest call of the bunch. They don't have a functional point guard right now, but Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert is very good. They have intriguing pieces around those three, and it should be enough to challenge for a playoff spot. The Jazz are never on national television, but they are fun and good and get to grow up together. With League Pass going to the full league or one team, I might just go with one team and watch the Jazz all year.
New York Knicks
I needed one more team, and I'll admit this one is kind of crazy. The Bucks don't excite me with their lack of shooting, the Celtics are pretty meh. The Pelicans should be fun and interesting, but they'll be on national television a bit. The Knicks will have Carmelo Anthony healthy, and I continue to enjoy watching him play even as the rest of the world seems to have moved on. Robin Lopez is a nice fit at center next to him at the small ball four. I have know idea what they will get from their draft, but Arron Afflalo is a nice perimeter piece. If things really go south, perhaps Melo ends up on the trade market. But perhaps the Knicks make a bid towards relevance this year.
In the comments, let us know who you would have gone with.