The Raptors are re-branding, but not changing names. After countrywide contest for name submissions (did you know Toronto is called Hogtown? Canadian Bacon makes more sense to me now!) and a movement to rename them the Huskies, they remain an ongoing tribute to the power of 3D dinosaurs. While unsuccessful, this is just part of the recent movement to match NBA team name to local identity. The Pelicans are both the name of a New Orleans franchise and the Louisiana state bird. Charlotte's name will once again match its "nest of hornets"Revolutionary War reputation, rather than the felinization of their previous owner.
This got me thinking- what if the NBA shuffled every team name until they best matched the host city's identity? In this impossible world, the NBA decides the Lake Show belongs to a city whose lakes aren't tar, jazz isn't a helpful cultural suggestion and nets is something other than a half-ass attempt at alliterative and b-ball relevant.
Because it is the offseason and time exists to be wasted, here's my shot at a more sensible reorder:
Sacramento Nuggets- Hold your pitchforks! Kings is actually a sensible name for the capital city of the most powerful American state. However, the name didn't start with us- it started with Kansas City. Sacramento is the capital city of a state that came to be because of a gold rush- one that started just outside of the city. So while I love the Kings name, the Nuggets make more logical sense. And frankly, I'd root for the Sacramento Cows, the Sacramento Traffic Jams or the Sacramento Soiled Underoos as long as the name started with Sacramento. (Also considered- Sacramento Kings, Sacramento Grizzlies)
Los Angeles Magic- Orlando has Disneyworld, but LA has Hollywood, land of movie magic. Disneyland+Hollywood>Disneyworld
Los Angeles Wizards- What's more Hollywood than two near-identical entertainment products coming out at the same time? Plus, it makes wizard and magic puns all the more easier.
Phoenix Hawks- Sure Phoenix is scorching, but why rub in the sunburn when LA, San Antonio and others offer similar cancer risks? The Phoenix was a bird. Hawks are birds. Synergy!
San Francisco Clippers- How did you get to the California Gold Rush? Why, you took a clipper ship to San Francisco! This is jumping the gun on the franchise move, but in this impossible idea, the inevitable has happened.
San Antonio Spurs- Alliterative and alluding to Texas history. The name stays.
Houston Rockets- There's a NASA space center there. Astros aren't things, but they also conjure space thoughts. The Rockets fit.
New Orleans Pelicans- Jazz is an equal contender here, but jazz can be associated with other NBA cities. The Pelicans name is given weight by the state bird thing and would seem generic, if odd, about anywhere else. We're 4 for 4 for names in the Southwest (also considered- New Orleans Jazz)
Memphis Jazz- Memphis Blues would be more appropriate, but the Blues don't play in the NBA but there must be rules in nonsensical thought exercises. Blues give birth to jazz, "Memphis Blues" is a jazz standard and that's all the flimsy justification I need.
Utah Raptors: There was an actual Utah Raptor. Archaeologists dig in Utah to find dinosaurs. Perhaps the only city where this isn't a 90s mistake (possibly).
Denver Grizzles: Sure, there aren't grizzlies in Colorado, but they were there more recently than in the Bear Flag Republic. And grizzlies exist much closer to Denver than they do to Memphis. Sorry Colorado, but California's Gold Rush beats yours, so enjoy the bears.
Portland Trailblazers- There was an Oregon Trail, and pioneers did blaze a path there. Blaze on, Portland.
Oklahoma City Cavaliers- Cavalier is a carefree or disdainful attitude. Oklahoma settlers were cavalier in their rush to populate the state. Clay Bennett was cavalier in his rush to move the team to OKC (enjoy the freebie, Seattle.)
Chicago Bulls- Inspired by Chicago's meatpacking industry. Any city that wants to put its slaughterhouses front and center is a city I won't mess with.
Detroit Pistons- Bankrupt or not, Detroit lives and so does its auto industry.
Milwaukee Bucks- A friend of mine assures me bucks are plentiful in Wisconsin. Less reassuringly, he elaborated on how fun they are to shoot.
Cleveland Lakers- There may be 10,000 lakes in Minnesota. There's a big salt one in Utah. But Cleveland's is bigger and mattered more. Cleveland exists today because of trade off of Lake Erie in the 19th Century. Lake, set, match.
Orlando Thunder- Did you know Florida also has more thunderstorms than any other state? And that Orlando is one of the five stormiest cities in America? None of the top four have an NBA team, so Orlando gets the moniker.
Atlanta Heat- The city calls itself Hotlanta? (Atlanta is hard, you guys)
Washington Warriors- A tribute to the Pentagon's presence, or at least the 1.5 million American Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen it represents.
Charlotte Hornets- I'm jumping the gun for this one. Bring back the moniker and bring back the purple. Hell, let's even go ahead and bring back the teal.
Philadelphia 76ers- One of the best and more appropriate team names in American sports. I can't bear to move it.
Boston Celtics- There's Irish heritage everywhere in the U.S., but Boston's St. Patty's Day parade is pretty great.
Brooklyn Kings- Why does Brooklyn get the Kings name? Because they're in Kings County. That's about the only excuse I have for de-Kinging Sacramento.
Think this reorder is nuts? Have better ideas? Post 'em in the comments. 26 days until the season starts- what do you have to lose?