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Culture Watch: Playoffs Are Coming

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When you play the Game of Basketball, you win or you die. We take inspiration from P.J. Tucker and assign Game of Thrones characters to each Raptor.

Brooklyn Nets v Toronto Raptors - Game Five

Last week Reddit User 905UserNotFound created probably the most wonderful thing that has ever graced the Internet in his Raptors/The Office mash-up. The video even had the Sportsnet office playing along, sparking debate as to which character represents which Raptor.

On March 22nd, SLAM magazine debuted a new cover and feature, starring none other than DeMar DeRozan. The cover is unreal. A stone-faced DeMar standing in the foreground, with an icy Toronto in the background. Not everyone was a fan, though.

Former teammate P.J. Tucker took to Instagram to poke fun at DeMar, asking him if he thinks he’s Jon Snow. It’s unclear if DeRozan fancies himself as somewhat of a Jon Snow, or if he even has any idea who Jon Snow is. (In this — knowing nothing — they may be more alike than DeRozan realizes.)

This, coupled with The Office character association, got us thinking: If DeMar is Jon, then which Game of Thrones character is everyone else?

[WARNING: THIS POST IS DARK AND FULL OF SPOILERS.]

Kyle Lowry / Cersei Lannister

Wait, wait, wait. I know what you’re thinking. If DeMar is Jon, isn’t Kyle Daenerys? It would make sense. Everyone is rooting for Jon and Daenerys, and everyone is rooting for Kyle and DeMar. It’s true that Kyle and Khaleesi (Kyleesi, if you will, and yes I am available for comedy shows) possess similar character traits. Both are stubborn to a fault. Both were shipped off to places they didn’t want to be, with Kyle to Toronto for Gary Forbes, and Daenerys to the Dothraki in exchange for an army. Most importantly, both share a common goal: power, along with the determination to attain their goal by any means necessary.

Cersei’s ability to stay one step ahead of her enemies is the Game of Thrones equivalent of Kyle Lowry’s basketball IQ. Kyle knows the game, and so does Cersei. She knows that after she lends her armies to fight alongside Jon Snow and Daenerys to fight the White Walkers, Daenerys will try to take the iron throne for herself. Kyle knows that two jump ball violations results in a turnover. Sure, they may both lose their tempers from time to time, but they will both fight harder than anyone else to ensure they get what they want. This is why Kyle leads the league in charges, and Cersei didn’t crumble while being shamed naked through the streets of King’s Landing.

Masai Ujiri/Lord Varys

No one ever knows what Lord Varys and his “little birds” are plotting, nor does anyone ever know what tricks Masai has up his sleeve. Both Varys and Masai finessed their abilities by doing what they had to in order to be successful, with Masai paying his own airfare and sharing rooms with players as an unpaid scout in Orlando, and Lord Varys begging, stealing, and trading information in order to survive life in the streets of the City of Myr. Their shared secretive nature has become a trademark character trait of both the Raptors President and the Master of Whisperers.

Dwane Casey/Ned Stark

Both of these men are loyal to a fault — Ned to his family and to King Robert, and Dwane Casey to the Raptors and, though not as much as of late, his lineups. Both are also class acts;. Dwane Casey rarely speaks negatively about opposing teams of referees, and Ned abnegates the truth about Joffrey’s parentage in order to save his daughters. Both will go down in history as honourable men, and both are probably great huggers.

Jonas Valanciunas/Sansa Stark

Remember when Sansa was a silly young girl whose crush ultimately destroyed her family, and Raptors fans were begging to have JV traded for half a sandwich? Look at them now. Sansa is ruling Winterfell with grace, strength, and humility that viewers were sceptical she even possessed, and Jonas is shooting almost 45% from three-point range, and averaging almost 13 points and 9 rebounds. It took them a while, but they have both gotten to a point where everyone watching is rooting for them.

Serge Ibaka/Melisadre

Serge Ibaka is Melisandre. Not because he is beautiful, but because fans often wonder what the fuck he is doing. Both are so sure of their methods, but frequently fall short. Melisandre burned Stannis’ daughter at the stake, and Serge has, as of late, been bricking uncontested threes. This doesn’t mean either are completely awful though. The Red Woman did bring Jon back from the dead, and Serge did already have 27 dunks by mid January.

OG Anunoby/Grey Worm

Neither OG or Grey Worm are men of many words, but both are always ready to go to battle when needed. Grey Worm is not embarrassed by the name given to him before he was freed, just as OG is not embarrassed when his teammates make fun of his short shorts. Knee surgery ended OG’s sophomore season at Indiana University, but to much surprise. he returned better than ever, becoming and integral part of the Raptors starting lineup. It’s like how Grey Worm survived his attack from the Sons of the Harpy to later lead the Unsullied to victory in taking Casterly Rock.

Norman Powell/Jorah Mormont

Everyone wants Jorah to win, okay? Just like everyone is rooting for Norm to get his groove back. It’s not hard to understand why Jorah and Norm are similar, or why they are fan favourites. Both are loyal and hardworking. Jorah spearing a member of the Sons of the Harpy before he could stab Daenerys, even after she exiled him, is reminiscent of Norm’s game tying dunk in game five against the Pacers in the 2016 playoffs. Do not question me on this.

Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl/Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth

Pascal and Jakob are Jaime and Brienne, mainly because they should be together forever. If nothing comes of either the Raptors or Game of Thrones, fans will always have the bond between these two sets of soulmates. Unless George R.R. Martin kills one off, or one half of Jak and Skills get traded. Please, Universe, do not allow either of those things happen.

Lucas Nogueira/Tormund Giantsbane

Giant? Check. Hilarious? Check. A little bit wild? Check. Fierce in combat? Check. The only difference between these two is that one has tattoos on his face (and, ironically, it’s not the guy they call a Wildling). They should call Nogueira “Tormund Giantsbebe” instead.

C.J. Miles/Arya Stark

C.J. patiently honed his craft shooting threes, the same way Arya learned to be deadly with her sword. For a while, it looked like C.J. may not be able to find his three point shot again, but just like Arya was able to fight and claw her way back to Winterfell, C.J. found his shot.

Fred VanVleet/Tyrion Lannister

No, it is not because they are both “the little guys.” Fred and Tyrion are both players in their respective game who have proven time and time again that their sharp minds are more powerful than any army, or speed, or athleticism.

Tyrion was exiled from his family. Fred went undrafted. Both seemed like an odd fit on their teams, with fans wondering where exactly Tyrion would fit with Daenerys and Jon, and where Fred would fit in the Raptors lineup. But in crunch time, it is Fred and Tyrion who are always there to save their team’s ass.

Delon Wright/Podrick Payne

This one was probably the hardest. Delon is a remarkable player, but often forgotten. He isn’t a main part of the starting line up, but is a key component in the Raptors’ success. Could he be the Bran Stark of the group? No, he’s not annoying. Could he be Theon Greyjoy? Yeah right, Delon would never screw the Raptors like that. In his first year, Delon played the majority of his minutes in garbage time, but as the seasons went on, Delon saw the court more and more, often becoming a solid backup guard to both Kyle and DeMar. Podrick Payne had a similar start, beginning as a lowly squire; but his worth was realized when he saved Tyrion in the Battle of Blackwater. This, coupled with the way he balances the trio of Jaime and Brienne, makes him the Delon to Pascal and Jakob.

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This, of course, is all opinion. Some might agree, and some might want to rake me through the coals for even suggesting some of these comparisons. These character associations are based entirely off of the positive qualities of each person, and while they may not be unanimously agreed upon, like the Seven Kingdoms, we must agree on one thing: the playoffs are coming, and we need to prepare.