2. Kevin Durant — “Younger Us,” Japandroids
Kevin Durant is a kid. And Japandroids new album is basically theme music for the power of youth. If he seems demure at first, just wait for Durant to destroy you, because he will.
3. James Harden — “Big Beast,” Killer Mike ft. Bun B, T.I. and Trouble
Starts quiet, then explodes. Power: overwhelming. Goes: hard.
4. Russell Westbrook — “Heartbreaker,” The Walkmen
If you can’t see Russ Westbrook singing along to this song at home, then you’re brain is wrong. Also, Westbrook’s style of play has received a disproportionately high amount of criticism and scrutiny over the course of his young career, so he’s always down to break a few hearts.
5. Serge Ibaka — “Let Dem Guns Blam,” Waka Flocka Flame ft. Meek Mill
Like Waka, Serge Ibaka — rhyming names! — tends to operate with a physically dominating style, exerting his will on a game through brute force. But then he’ll execute a beautifully smooth pick and roll, just like Waka will unfurl a sharp and perceptive turn of phrase.
6. Kendrick Perkins — “Beez in the Trap,” Nicki Minaj
Kendrick Perkins is fairly maligned, but people can also forget his definite utility as a leader and glue guy. (Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop the Heat’s offense.) Like Perkins, Nicki Minaj’s new album was maligned, because most of it is terrible. But when Nicki goes in, she goes in. Also, Perk is mad as hell, and this song is pretty angry.
7. Rest of the team:
Thabo Sefolosha — “Psychotic,” Royal Headache. Thabo’s the fifth guy you worry about when playing the Thunder, and you think about how stupid that is when he’s raining threes and running the floor. Underappreciated Australian rockers Royal Headache know a little bit about that.
Derek Fisher — “This Summer,” Superchunk. They’ve been around forever, but they’re still just as good.
Nick Collison — “Same Damn Time,” Future. GETTING REBOUNDS, SCORING BASKETS / AT THE SAME DAMN TIME.
Daequan Cook — “Call Me Maybe,” Carly Rae Jepsen. Daequan Cook just sings this throughout the game until Coach Brooks puts him in.
8. LeBron James — “Goldie,” A$AP Rocky
The pressure is tremendous. The talent is there. Can they do it?
9. Dwyane Wade — “Tougher Colder Killer,” El-P ft. Killer Mike and Despot
Wade’s the only one of the Heat’s big three who has a ring. He’s a vet, like El-P, and like El-P, he raises his team to another level when he’s on. Despite having a rough time of things in Game 1, it’s pretty essential that Wade makes some progress during the rest of the series.
10. Chris Bosh — “Every Single Night,” Fiona Apple
Misunderstood, emotional, and unbelievably talented. It’s a match made in heaven.
11. Mario Chalmers — “I’ve Seen Footage,” Death Grips
Watching Mario Chalmers always makes me wonder about whether he’s really angry IRL. He’s just such an afterthought on that team. I bet you he plays in a hardcore band, and we just don’t know about it.
12. Udonis Haslem — “Sunshine in Chicago,” Sun Kil Moon
On a similar note, I suspect that Udonis Haslem is a peaceful and quiet soul off the court, sitting in his living room and strumming along to the newest Mark Kozalek albums with a wry sense of humor. Udonis Haslem appreciates delicacy.
13. Rest of the team:
Shane Battier — “Go Right Ahead,” The Hives. Man, these guys seem to have a lot of energy for people who seem like they’ve been around for a thousand days, don’t they?
Mike Miller — “Oblivion,” Grimes. Pretty sure oblivion is where Mike Miller spends most of these games.
Joel Anthony — “Boyfriend,” Justin Bieber. SWAGGY.