It’s early April in the NBA, and that means that only a handful of teams have a handful of games that really mean anything. The majority of the playoff spots have been filled, with only six teams realistically competing for four remaining slots.
But that doesn’t mean that the 12 teams that have been eliminated have nothing to play for. Well, actually it does, but that’s not stopping them from still finding ways to make the end of the season matter. From the Sacramento Bee:
The Kings nicknamed themselves “The Spoilers” for their last trip, a 4-1 swing that included victories over three teams either already qualified for the playoffs or in position to reach the postseason with a late push. [...]
“The Spoilers” hope to make it tough on their hosts.
“Basically ruin their season,” Kings rookie forward-center DeMarcus Cousins said. “If we can’t play for the playoffs, why let somebody else?”
Terribly obvious nickname aside — choosing “The Spoilers” right now is the same as choosing “A Basketball Team” at any other time of the year — I really like this spiteful approach to wrecking other teams’ seasons. Not only does it keep the games somewhat interesting during the last two weeks of the season, there’s also a chance that something like this could breed contempt somewhere down the line.
At the very least, a team embracing their role as spoilers is certainly more interesting and honorable than a team tanking. Plus, you can’t help but think that beating playoff teams is going to pay dividends eventually. Maybe the wins are meaningless this season, but if the Kings keep knocking off good teams, sooner or later they’ll realize that they have the ability to win games that matter. That’s big, and it’s a huge part of why a team like the Kings isn’t just going to play out the season. Leave that to a team like the Pistons, who obviously couldn’t care less about being better.
So yeah, definitely on-board with “The Spoilers.” The nickname still sucks, but the concept is great.