The All-Star break has passed and the regular season has resumed, which means that it is time for NBA take-season to intensify. Unfortunately, within the underbelly of the basketball discourse, an irresponsible, dangerous minority continue to wield their influence and power over innocent fans. In order to raise awareness of these reckless take-abusers and perhaps gain an understanding of their motives, I looked close to home and spoke to the Double Clutch team about their deepest, darkest takes.
Disclaimer: Some of the beyond-spicy takes in this article may contain sensitive information and could be triggering to some readers that intend to continue enjoying the game of basketball
Shockingly, details on these NSFW opinions were not hard to come by, in fact those behind them appeared chillingly forthcoming and confident when sharing with me. On Thursday morning, I sat at my computer, with my hope in humanity still intact; then I received a message from writer Tom Wade and my day turned upside down in theatrical fashion.
The ‘Anthony Davis wanted Phoenix all along’ take
After the inescapable chatter before the trade deadline went cold, New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis reheated the oven completely, by dispelling the narrative that he only wanted to move to a major market and making it clear that he was interested in every single team except, well, New Orleans.
While many onlookers – including myself – were still coping with the information, Wade pounced and shared the following take with a complete disregard for the consequences.
“So basically, Davis has said “I haven’t said the Celtics aren’t on the list”, then in a separate interview he was quoted saying “All 29 teams are on the list”. So with that, my take is that Devin Booker was the guy who convinced Anthony Davis to request a trade away from New Orleans. Here’s why: Booker said earlier in the season, ”I want to create a super team here in Phoenix.” Davis saw this and wanted it; he was waiting until the offseason to announce that he wasn’t going to take the super-max in New Orleans, but he could no longer hold in his excitement and effectively used the Lakers trade rumours as a perfect smokescreen for the real reason he wants out.”
Some would question The Brow’s priorities, should he willingly choose to play for the lowly Suns; others would consider Phoenix as unrealistic trade partners with the assets that they have available to them. Yet, despite that, Wade was steadfast in his take-conviction.
The ‘LeBron James is scared of one-on-one competition that could affect his brand’ take
The tides have changed in the GOAT debate in recent years, with more and more fans now at least humouring the notion that LeBron may have usurped the almighty Michael Jordan. At this point, James’ unquestionable greatness has made it difficult to call anything about his on-court activity into question. Enter serial take-merchant Nick Whitfield, who seriously believes that the Los Angeles Lakers star continuously ducks any one-on-one duels with his various almost-peers.
“As much as I love LeBron James and appreciate how good he is (#1 or #1A GOAT), I genuinely think he is scared of one-on-one competition with other top-tier players. I saw it when he was younger with Kobe, I watched him shy away from guarding Kevin Durant in the finals and he now insists on drafting KD in the All-Star Game every year to avoid the potential for one-on-one comparison/competition. Remember, this is a man that infamously confiscated and censored a tape of a (then high school-age) Jordan Crawford dunking on him at his own camp. Brand LeBron James conquers all.”
Of course, we live in an age of brand-building, bigger-than-sport athletes. Player-power is being celebrated more than ever before and guys are accruing an unbelievable amount of money through their off-court activity alone; this means that the fan (or more importantly, the consumer’s) perception of their ability means a great deal to them.
All of that considered, it’s shocking to see the brazen assurance with which Whitfield executed this take. Without considering that some fans would be caught off guard with such a tangy, rich opinion, he dropped the proverbial mic on one of the greatest athletes of all time without a care in the world.
The ‘Lakers will come up empty in the summer and LeBron will want out’ take
Worryingly but unsurprisingly, the LeBron takes didn’t end there. Double Clutch’s resident Scotsman Ross MacLeod deemed it appropriate to share something that almost set me ablaze – even more jarring as it wasn’t even Burns Night.
It’s unclear as to whether Ross had overdone it on his traditional sugary orange carbonated drink and irregularly-shaped meat goods* that night, but what followed was rather difficult to stomach – very much like haggis**.
“I think there will be a Lakers implosion as they fail to land any big free agents in summer or trade for anyone significant. LeBron will throw his toys out and demand to be traded. Subsequently, the Lakers will end up in a better position.”
Magic Johnson and his front office have positioned themselves to prepare huge trades packages in the summer and will likely be big players in free agency if possible, but the possibility of them coming up short is not completely inconceivable.
MacLeod’s claim that LeBron will then decide to leave Los Angeles just one year into his contract, even though he is widely believed to have moved there for lifestyles reasons above all-else, is wild enough. However, for him to consolidate his callous takes by then suggesting that the Lakers would become subjects of the ‘Ewing Theory’ and actually improve, is completely staggering.
*Irn Bru & Square Sausages
**Double Clutch wholeheartedly apologises to our Scottish readers for these tired generalisations and the offence that they may cause.
The ‘Draymond Green needs to go’ take
By all accounts, Huw Hopkins is somebody that I consider an absolute gentleman and a fine writer. However, on Friday morning my opinion was strained, I felt violated by a take that he sent in my direction. This isn’t because I necessarily disagree with any of it; I was just taken aback by the eviscerating nature of it.
The declining influence of Draymond Green on his historic Warriors team is not a fresh subject, but Hopkins had the gall to hit me with a comprehensive, atomic take-bomb on the matter.
“He is the reason the Warriors won the title. He is the reason small-ball has changed the way the basketball is played in the NBA. He is the reason every team is looking for a small center who can pass and run point. But Draymond Green is the worst thing to happen to Golden State.
The franchise was fooled in to thinking it couldn’t be competitive without Green. A laid back superstar in Stephen Curry and a ‘totally chill’ second fiddle meant that they needed a spark plug from somewhere, and they might still need it, but they don’t need him. Green’s production is nothing in comparison to what it was during the Warriors’ ascension, but he showed what a detriment to the team he can be during the year the Cleveland Cavaliers won the title. The following season, Kevin Durant arrived and covered up a lot of what he didn’t or couldn’t give the team, and his usefulness has decreased so much that at the start of this season Green almost derailed their title prospects. Since then, the addition of an All-Star in DeMarcus Cousins is the drawing all the attention away from the fact that Green is scoring just 7 points per game on 25% from three-point land and the lowest effective field goal percentage since 2013-2014, along with the lowest plus-minus since his rookie season when he averaged just 13 minutes per game. I said at the end of last season that with Green, the Warriors wouldn’t win another title. While I’m going to retract that slightly, because the addition of Boogie to the team is going to help them in the playoffs, if the franchise fails to re-sign Durant because of Green’s constantly challenging personality, and Cousins moves on (as has always been expected) the lack of emotional composure and production from Green could see the team that is light years ahead lament the past.”
Sure, the readers’ initial reaction to this article will be to wonder how the authors of the above takes are able to sleep at night, knowing the effect that their dangerous output can have on the basketball community. The apparent absence of human decency serves as a reminder to tread carefully when interacting with basketball fans and writers online, as all may not be as it seems.
This small sample size of obsessive NBA anoraks has raised an alarm for me personally, as I’ve learned a great deal about who I communicate with on a regular basis, but make no mistake in thinking these writers are the only ones – left-field, devastating take-smiths live among all of us and are willing to strike at any time. It is now our responsibility as a wider community to consider what may be festering underneath the surface of the generic, photoshopped-image-of-a-player-wearing-another-jersey avatars that we meet online every day.
Feature photo – NBAE/ Getty Images / Paul Sancya / Double Clutch illustration