top of page

10 signs a loved one is struggling with a mediocre franchise

1. The team's struggles are chalked up to the injury of a role player

The team can only be judged when fully healthy, even if the team's max players have missed no games. The player in question will usually be referred to as a "connector", or the "X Factor".

“Once [5th starter] comes back, it will all click into place”

2. Their recent lottery picks are all just about to turn the corner

None of the team's lottery picks are contributing to winning basketball, but they're just about to put it all together. They may wildly overestimate the return available for the player around the league - in severe cases they may describe them as 'untouchable'.

“[recent top-10 pick] has been killing it in the G-League lately’

3. The team is one hot streak away from being in the mix for the play-in

The best-case scenarios they describe are simultaneously unrealistically optimistic and yet somehow also uninspiring. They will rarely discuss the second round of the playoffs.

“We’re only 3.5 games back...from the 10th seed"

4. They cherry-pick stats when describing the team's potential

This will usually involve taking stretches of the season where their team outperformed, while neglecting the significantly longer portions of the season where the team was unwatchable. They will often extrapolate these small sample sizes out to a full season with no caveats.

"We went 7-5 to finish the season last year, you could just see the young guys starting to put it together."

5. They light up once the conversation moves away from on-court production

They will be quiet while discussion is centred around playoff basketball, award selections or advanced statistics, but will interject loudly on topics not directly related to high-quality basketball. They may be unreasonably fixated on trivia such as court or jersey design.

"I always say it's worth tuning in to (sub-.500 team) just to hear the broadcast team, they're an absolute delight"

6. None of their memorabilia is related to the current era

They will hunt on auction sites for throwback jerseys, usually with All-Stars who have long retired. None of the players featured in the posters hanging on their wall are still in the league. They will be able to name the 8-man rotation of the team that went to the second round of the playoffs in 2014, and will recall the key refereeing decisions that went against them during that run.

“My [player who retired 10 years ago] jersey arrived today”

“My [player who retired 10 years ago] jersey arrived today”

7. Their search history is mostly ESPN Trade Machine

They will spend their free time constructing 4-team trades that lands their team a young player on a team-friendly deal in return for negligible assets. This will be framed as 'a win for all sides'.

"[All Star ] for [ageing role player getting 10 minutes off the bench] and a protected first, who says no?"

8. This month/season doesn't count

The current stretch of basketball is not representative of the team's quality, due to a combination of injuries or external factors. They may claim to have known this in advance and are not disappointed or surprised.

"We have a lot of new players to integrate, we always knew the first half of the season would be a learning experience"

9. They are already talking about what next season’s team will look like

Next season's team will have shored up weaknesses and improved team chemistry. Key acquisitions will be made via free agency and trade, and their eyes will glaze over as they imagine how next season's team will play. The feasibility of the team from a salary cap perspective will not be discussed.

“We’ve got a lot of expiring contracts, free agency 2023 goes through us”

10. "Mainstream media" don't talk about their team enough

They may be unreasonably frustrated when their favourite podcast/blog does not devote a segment to their team. They will often be unable to provide a concrete reason the podcast/blog should cover them at this particular time, but will point to the omission as evidence that 'everyone' is rooting against them.

"No one ever talks about [11th seed in small market lacking young players or innovative play style]"


bottom of page