Premier League v The NBA
With the Premier League and NBA seasons soon upon us, we decided to have a go at pairing the 20 teams from the world’s best football league with 20 counterparts from world’s best basketball league.
Liverpool – Boston Celtics
Big city, bigger clubs…historically.
Liverpool and the Celtics dominated their respective eras like it was no one’s business. The Celtics dominated the NBA in the 60s while Liverpool were on top of English football in the 80s. Even though these weren’t their only winning phases, they were by far the most dominant ones.
Apart from their winning histories, both teams have reputations for being well supported teams from big cities. Despite signs of a resurgence, it’s evident that the rebuilding process is still ongoing. The 2016-17 season was much improved for both organizations. Some recent transactions suggest that they’re heading in the right direction.
Manchester United – LA Lakers
Of course. The biggest rivals of the historically famed, the next greatest hype and the team you love to hate.
Chances are, you’re on either side of the spectrum. Either you’re boldly flaunting United’s or the Lakers’ success in the faces of others or you’re unequivocally condemning the organisations and their fans.
Manchester United presently hold a numerical advantage in trophy haul over their rivals. The Lakers are yet to overtake theirs. Both have been going through rebuilding phases of their own recently. However, both these teams have seen more recent success than their greatest rivals.
Arsenal – Philadelphia 76ers
Former champions who in recent years have pulled on the heart strings of their collective fan bases on numerous occasions. Since their last great runs at championships, they’ve become synonymous with fostering great young talent; a philosophy that has yielded no major success. A wide array of talent is available, but injuries plague these teams season after season. Through all this, their management claims still to have ‘the belief’ and asks you to ‘trust the process’.
Chelsea – San Antonio Spurs
The Modern Day Dynasties.
There hasn’t been much success for either of these teams historically, but the new era has ushered positive change. Both teams since winning their first championship in the modern era have gone on to win 4 more. Both organizations are best known for their defensive stability, with some equally adept offensive talent. Oh and let’s not forget how much Mourinho and Popovich LOVE the media.
Tottenham Hotspur – Milwaukee Bucks
A small measure of success in the past defines both these organizations. They’ve also both been the home to some of the greatest players to grace their respective leagues. In more recent seasons, both have seen improvements in their playing style and overall league position. Though possessing some of the best cores of young and extremely talented individuals, it was evident that both teams still lacked the overall experience to get over the final hump. By overall appearances however, both should be expected to grow from strength to strength.
Manchester City – LA Clippers
Yes, the obvious disparity here is that one team wins and the other doesn’t. There are more similarities than that one glaring difference though.
Both Man City and the Clippers who spent the bulk of their existence as the second best team of the city, have in recent years, taken over as their cities’ top dogs. They possess some of the highest payrolls in their respective leagues and attract some of the biggest stars. Even though they’ve both parted ways with some of their more experienced players in the off season, they have no intentions of going back to playing second fiddle anytime soon.
Everton – Chicago Bulls
The fallen giants.
Their names are no longer mentioned as title contenders, but these organizations have several championships attached to their names. Recently, they’ve placed a heavy emphasis on a more youthful team with a few veterans added to provide some guidance.
Leicester City – Cleveland Cavaliers
The first timers.
One Championship. Won in 2015-16. In spectacular fashion.
Noteworthy: Neither team entered the 2016-17 seasons as favorites to retain their title.
Watford – Sacramento Kings
These big city boys share the same recruitment process. Their squads consist of players young and old who have all been unsuccessful at a bigger stage. So far this method has yielded nothing but low squad cohesion and overall team instability, all being manifested in the league position at the end of the season.
Burnley – Memphis Grizzlies
Defensive solidity is the name of their game.
Even though they’re both far from being title contenders, neither of these cities is an easy place to get a result. Don’t look to either of these clubs for an aesthetic display of attacking prowess, but be prepared to fight for a result on their turf – sometimes almost literally.
Swansea City – Toronto Raptors
New kids on the block.
Hailing from across the border, both of these organizations are new additions to the leagues in the modern era. A measure of consistency has been attained since their arrival, enough to keep their fans and owners happy. Even after hitting a rough patch they were able to bounce back and keep themselves in the thick of the action.
Bournemouth – Minnesota Timberwolves
The Silent Movers.
Two clubs that are also relatively new to their leagues, The Cherries and Wolves have spent their last few years vastly improving. This is due in part to their excellent recruitment, which has allowed them to assemble some more than capable local talent. Their last 2-3 seasons in particular, have seen them acquire some impressive names that can only fill the fans with unbridled optimism for the seasons ahead.
West Ham United – Brooklyn Nets
There’s no place like home.
Maybe the relocation of their homes affected their results? Either way, both teams still hail from two of the largest and most magnificent sporting cities in their respective countries. Through all this, their support base has been unwavering. In recent seasons, they’ve become a stepping stone for some of the sports greats who’ve gone way past their prime, but aren’t quite ready to call it quits.
Southampton – Oklahoma City Thunder
It seems like year after year, the gang splits up. A scan around their leagues would reveal many talented individuals who laid their foundations at these organizations. There were some feeble attempts made in an effort to hold onto the nucleus of their teams. Most of these cases proved an exercise in futility. But even with the annual loss of key players and repetitive transitional periods, both have managed to keep enough talent to remain consistent. In mathematical terms, Southampton and the Thunder are a & b in the equation: ax + b = 0.
Stoke City – New Orleans Pelicans
After recruiting some explosive offensive talent, both teams lack the consistency that they hoped those youthful talents would foster on the field/court. Neither team is underestimated on a game by game basis by their opponents. Usually though, by season’s end you’ll find these clubs around the middle of the pack with nothing to show.
Crystal Palace – New York Knicks
How did they manage?
Two tactically inept and enigmatic clubs which should be performing better. Their squads are packed with capable personnel, but team cohesion is low. Their current recruitment process focuses heavily on mixing foreign and homegrown talent. However, mismanagement has axiomatically hindered the growth of the teams. At present, there are high expectations of a new era. This after some warranted managerial changes since the conclusion of the last season.
West Bromwich Albion – Utah Jazz
Pragmatism and defensive structure are prevalent here. Neither West Brom nor the Jazz are the most attractive teams, but they have been getting the job done. Focused mainly on a sturdy defense, they offer little in the way of offensive ability. Their conservative approaches have paid off in recent years culminating in a visibly improved 2016-17 season.
Newcastle United – Detroit Pistons
The wait for these clubs to return to their glory days continues. It’s been a few years well since they’ve been title contenders or even anything close to it. Truthfully, it’ll be even longer before they are again.
Huddersfield Town – Atlanta Hawks
In the era of Netflix, Huddersfield and the Hawks are Blockbuster. Both of these teams share storied pasts. These past champions were household names in the older era of their sport. Over the years whilst transitioning into the modern era, they have endured a myriad of changes leading instability and ultimately decline. There is not even the slightest chance of a resurrection back to greatness in the near future. In the meantime, we can bask in the ambiance of two great pieces of history.
Brighton & Hove Albion – Phoenix Suns
Brighton & Hove Albion are indeed themselves a proverbial phoenix. Their story is nothing short of miraculous. The Seagulls, were languishing in the lowest level of professional English football and on the verge of liquidation just 20 years ago. The club was subsequently bought over and slowly but surely worked their way up through the tiers of English football.
In the 2016-17 season, they achieved the ultimate ascension: promotion to the Premier League. This will be their first English top flight appearance in the Premier League era. The Suns themselves have also endured a choppy tenure during their NBA existence, frequently fluctuating between championship calibre and also-ran. Both organizations currently are making calculated adjustments in order to avoid finishing at the bottom of the pile in the upcoming season.