As you've probably noticed this off-season, the SB Nation crew of NBA bloggers have collaborated on a number of interesting topics.
We've looked at the best trades in our respective franchise histories, discussed the cult followings of various franchise players, looked at historical disappointments, and even rolled out a league-wide 3-on-3 tournament.
Today's topic is a bit different.
Our network rolled out a "word association" exercise where each blogger was asked to fire off the first word that came to mind for each NBA team. The results were very interesting, and I've broken them down below into a few categories:
There wasn't much to choose from unfortunately to put in this category.
"Canada is nice," while not an individual word, would qualify, as would the response "nice city."
Intriguing though was the lone true "good" response, the rest unfortunately falling into one of the next two categories.
The neutral responses provided some comedy, including the obvious "eh" and Europop. It's interesting to see Vince Carter still pop up as a first thought regarding the team, and I'm guessing roller skates refers to the infamous Raptors' mascot GIF.
Don't ask me about 10 AM.
While you could argue that some of these like foreign, Europe and repetition are neutral, I think they skew on the negative side here. (Especially repetition, my choice, indicating the constant "swing for the fences, remain mostly mediocre" mentality of the club through the bulk of its history.)
Ineffective, lottery, losers, misfit pieces, scraps; these are all unfortunately quite true in terms of descriptions of the club and while extinct and bad mascot I'd argue are off-base, you certainly get get the idea here.
Really, this wasn't supposed to be a scientific exercise of any sort, but more of a litmus test of team opinion around the blogosphere. It's no surprise the Raptors' results weren't great considering their on-court record over the franchise's history, but it is interesting to see various stigmas still associated with the team, including "European." I haven't run the numbers but I'd guess that there are a number of teams that now have as many or more foreign players than the Dinos.
On a macro level too, I bet if this exercise was extrapolated over a larger sample of NBA fans, we'd see many similar responses, perhaps even more negative in scope.
It just shows how much work this franchise has to do not just on the court, but in the public opinion column as well.