NBA Teams We'd All Love If They Played in Bigger Markets
In the NBA, the teams in the big markets always get the headlines. Even if the teams in those respective cities aren't doing great, they somehow always make their way to the forefront.
A classic example is the Los Angeles Lakers. They are star-studded and full of intrigue, but the team is barely above .500. Put them in a smaller city like Portland and they wouldn't get nearly as many headlines.
Another example is Linsanity from last season. Had he emerged in Milwaukee, not many would pick up that story. But since he was a New York Knick, everyone ate it up. Yes, it helped that he was a rare Asian-American in the NBA, but it wouldn't get as much run if he helped the Bucks win seven straight games instead of the Knicks.
Which brings us to the smaller-market teams. They don't get as much publicity as the Lakers, Knicks or Bulls, but what if those franchises were in the big markets?
The following slideshow will have the top five teams that everyone would love had they played in big markets.
5. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies don't play a pretty brand of basketball, but it's not like this would be anything new in a market like the Big Apple. This team actually reminds fans of the bruising New York Knicks of the '90s. They are not as "in your face" as those Knicks teams (partly because of today's NBA rules) but these Grizzlies will beat you up.
Zach Randolph, ironically after stops in big markets like New York and Los Angeles, would be a beloved figure. The current Randolph has turned his career around in Memphis while maintaining his gaudy stats. Sometimes he can be unstoppable, as we witnessed in the 2011 NBA playoffs.
Marc Gasol would get as much pub as his brother, Pau, did in Los Angeles. Pau didn't get the spotlight in Memphis like he did in Los Angeles. Marc would be much appreciated by fans if national audiences got to see him more. Same with Mike Conley, who has become an underrated part of the squad.
The "grit-and-grind" mantra of the Grizzlies defense, led by Tony Allen, would get a spark, too. The Grizzlies would be feared even more simply because they have a broader audience.
4. Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers, like the Memphis Grizzlies, are bruisers on the defensive end. But they have guys that are potentially more charismatic than that Grizzlies team.
Roy Hibbert is very personable. He's made an appearance on the NBC TV show, Parks and Recreation. He did a Gangnam Style video at a mall. And he even was in an advertisement with Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney. If he can show that personality on a bigger market, he'd be a bigger name.
Paul George would be loved more. He is a star on the rise and is becoming one of the better two-way players in the league. In David West, his toughness would be appreciated even more. And, of course, there's Danny Granger. We all know he wants to build a batcave. How can we not love this team more?
It's just too bad they're in Indiana.
3. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets' style of play would endear to the late, great Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss. They run when they get the chance to and will try to beat you by outscoring everybody. And they have the horses to do it.
Ty Lawson makes the engine go and his brash personality would make a good quote anywhere. Andre Iguodala's professionalism would be appreciated even more in a bigger market. And Kenneth Faried's hair and personality would be a bigger draw in a bigger market. His Manimal nickname would be even more widespread.
And then there's JaVale McGee. He's already a regular on the bloopers side. And if he were in Hollywood, he can expand from there. McGee seems made for that spotlight on and off the court.
But best of all, they would be another reincarnation of Showtime if they were in a bigger market. The Nuggets do that bit quite well; they are the second-fastest team in terms of pace and are third in scoring at 105.7 points.
*Stats provided by ESPN.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
Of course, we would put the Oklahoma City Thunder in this list. Kevin Durant is already one of the most popular players in the league; imagine if he played under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden or Staples Center.
Russell Westbrook is a relentless player who will always come across as volatile. By design, Westbrook attacks for nearly the entire game. The media always wants to create a rift between Durant and Westbrook. Imagine if this was in New York or Los Angeles.
But this is about teams that we would like more if they're in a bigger market. And, yes, this would be another high-powered offense that big markets would like. Not only that, but they have the international flavor in Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha. Plus Kendrick Perkins would be appreciated more because of his enforcer role. Those roles don't get enough credit these days.
Kevin Durant in a big city, though? A marketing dream come true.
1. San Antonio Spurs
Believe it or not, the San Antonio Spurs are not boring. They are fourth in scoring at 103.7 points per game and are first in assists at 25.1 per.
Would that put you to sleep?
The Spurs' offensive execution is a treat to watch. But because they're stuck in San Antonio and labeled as "boring," the casual fans don't want to see them.
Tim Duncan has always been professional and doesn't show much emotion. However, he would be appreciated more for his play in a bigger market and would probably even come across as likable because of his mysterious personality. Or maybe it would be exposed even more and we would like him because of that. The paparazzi has its way of prying.
Tony Parker was involved with a Hollywood wife; he'd probably get more involved if he played for a big market. Manu Ginobili would be appreciated more, too. And with other characters like Stephen Jackson, Tiago Splitter and sandwich-hunter Matt Bonner, this team would be way more endearing in a big market.
We hadn't even mentioned snarky coach Gregg Popovich, too. He'd be iconic if he were in a bigger market.
And no, we haven't forgotten this about the Spurs: RINGZZZZZZZZ.
*Stats provided by ESPN.