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NBA Power Rankings: Teams that totally confuse the singular-plural grammar rules for bloggerkind everywhere

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The Heat are awesome, or the Heat is awesome? These are the questions that vex the NBA Power Rankings.


Here lie the Juneau FrostDonkeys; long live the Juneau FrostDonkeys. We've pulled a late-season trade to send Seth Rosenthal back to the lab from NBA Power Rankings duty for a blogger to be named later. In the interim, I have been picked up off of waivers to complete the task this week. And so this week we address that which vexes all bloggers -- nay, all writers -- of a basketball bent: what is the proper grammar to use when talking about teams like the Heat and Thunder?

This week's Power Rankings ranks the teams that totally confuse the singular-plural grammar rules.

1. Miami Heat (44-14)
The Heat are a fantastic team, now having won 15 straight games. Ah, yes. That sentence makes sense. The Heat are playing well. The Heat are seven games up on the Pacers. Not the Heat is playing the Magic on Wednesday. Definitely plural. The Heat ARE doing things. I don't care if it makes me sound like a soccer writer. Err, football writer.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-16)
The Thunder are also really great, trailing the Spurs by three games for the best record in the NBA. One other problem posed by having all these confusing team names is the question of what to call the team's player. David West is a Pacer. Kobe Bryant is a Laker. Byron Mullens is a Bobcat. What is Russell Westbrook? A Thunder. A Thunderer. A Thunder player. (Yuck.) A Thund.

I think that we should ascertain what we would call a single unit of these weird nouns, or what we would call a practitioner of the noun. For the Thunder, I recommend that we deem the players Thunderbolts. Kevin Durant is a Thunderbolt. Serge Ibaka is a Thunderbolt. James Harden was once a Thunderbolt.

Mario Chalmers is a Heater. Mario Chalmers is a Heatman. Mario Chalmers is a Heating and Air Technician. Mario Chalmers is a Therm. Yes. Mario Chalmers is a Therm.

3. Utah Jazz (32-28)
Gordon Hayward is a Jazz song. Well, that won't work. Gordon Hayward is a Jazzman. Nope. Gordon Hayward is a Jazzician. Well ... Gordon Hayward is Jazz. There we go!

Note that the Jazz inspire the least amount of conjugation confusion because saying "the Jazz is" just sounds stupid. But when you think about it, applying Jazz as a plural noun is the most nonsensical of our four examples. If one says "I'm going to listen to jazz" they are basically abbreviating a sentence that would properly be "I'm going to listen to a jazz record" or "I'm going to listen to a jazz musician" or "I'm going to listen to some jazz music." There's no real example but basketball in which jazz/Jazz can be used as a plural noun by itself. The jazz played in New Orleans are wonderful! No. The jazz IS wonderful. And now we're back to square one.

Gordon Hayward is Jazz. The Jazz is Gordon Hayward.

4. Orlando Magic (17-44)
I'm starting to feel as if this are a lost cause. Wait, dammit. This is a lost cause. After this exercise the English language no longer makes sense. (That statement is erroneous because it implies the English language ever made sense.)

Gustavo Ayon is a Magicman. Wait, Gustavo Ayon is a Buck. Glen Davis is a Magicman. Glen Davis is a Magician. Glen Davis is a Unit of Magic. Glen Davis is a Spell. Yes, Glen Davis is a Spell. The Magic is a bad team. The Magic are a bad team.

Eh, both are true. Who cares about grammar anyway?

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