I was watching "Mad Men" and it kind of just hit me that I wouldn't be able to do that much longer. The all-time great television drama is in the midst of its final run, and I guess it just never seemed real that it would actually end.
That's basically where we are with the Thunder right now, too. We knew it was possible it would end without the playoffs, but we didn't really take it seriously. Now, after the Spurs failed to help us out, we're suddenly stuck with that same feeling: "Shit, this is really the end, isn't it?"
It's bittersweet, because in some ways it's a relief to not go through the emotional roller coaster that the season takes you through. Still, the end means that the dream of a championship is dead. The only saving grace is that, unlike "Mad Men," there actually will be a next season for the Thunder - one that hopefully won't be filled with EVERYBODY getting hurt.
To bide my time though, I came up with some parallels between "Mad Men" characters and their Thunder counterparts and, well, there are more similarities then you may think. Then I called on the best Photoshop artist on the Internet, known around these parts as Bill Champion, and he made his usual magic. He then added some comments of his own.
Oh, and just in case you're thinking, "Pshh, "Game of Thrones" just started, "Mad Men" is old news, this is totally irrelevant." First of all, chill out man. Second, I thought about it, before realizing the 2014-15 Thunder is basically just every character that got their throats slashed or heads chopped off in the Red Wedding episode.
So, without further ado, we present: Thunder players as "Mad Men" characters.
Don Draper is Kevin Durant -
Chris: He's the leading man and you don't have a show without him. You're also never quite sure where his head is at. Is he going to go out and dominate his job like nothing we've ever seen? Or is he just biding his time, bored, and looking for a new fling? He always seems to hit his lowest point right after reaching his highest.
Bill: I’m mostly in agreement with this, but you could also make the argument for Westbrook being Draper. With Westbrook, you have the aspect of both him and Draper being listed as the second guy on the team. Draper has Sterling and Westbrook has Durant. There’s not arguing that Kevin Durant is one of the 5 best players in the NBA right now, but so is Westbrook. Ultimately, I’m okay with the Durant and Draper comparison given the all important question facing both guys. How’s it going to end? Will Don Draper jump out of a window? Will Kevin Durant leave the Thunder for Washington D.C.? I’m firmly "no" on one of the two and tentatively "no" on the other. However, this evening’s episode was kind of a downer is you’re going to place Durant with Draper.
Peggy Olsen is Russell Westbrook -
Chris: Both came onto the scene with loads of potential that we had no idea if they would actually tap into. They learned the ways of the game by following Don's lead, and they got so good at it you started to wonder if they were actually better than Don himself. Also, when everyone questioned the relationship between the two, they only grew stronger, constantly bringing out the best as they each fought for the other's respect.
Bill: I’m in full agreement here. Both individuals are imminently likable and both are completely capable of giving no "that word that starts with ‘F’" (thanks for the quote, Pete Campbell). Westbrook goes off on the Wizards and skips down the court. Peggy harpoons her hipster boyfriend because he’s annoying and the struggle is real. Then, last night, she tells Don she wants to be creative director. You don’t just go up to Don Draper and say things like that unless you’re a badass. I could go on at length as I’m a fan of both, but I won’t. Instead, I will continue to type and quietly hope that Peggy inadvertently harpoons Pima in the near future. I don’t like Pima, just like I don’t like Chaough’s Yosemite Sam mustache.
Bert Cooper is Sam Presti -
Chris: The mastermind behind it all. You don't realize how much of his fingerprints are all over the entire thing unless you look really closely. He's lovable and smart, but also distant enough to remain a mystery. He's proven himself, but he's still not above taking a shot at the moon to do what's best for the agency.
Bill: Like the Durant and Draper comparison, I’m mostly in agreement with this. My only issue is that Cooper came of as slightly off kilter from time to time while Same Presti, with the exception of Cole Aldrich, doesn’t do that. Of course, Cooper spotted a Rothko and bought it for a few million and people scoffed. What’s a Rothko going for now? Just shy of $90,000,000.00. Both men are geniuses.
Roger Sterling is Scott Brooks -
Chris: Is he in on the joke? Is he smarter than we all give him credit for? His successes as a leader come mostly from being loyal to Don and Peggy, but also by bullshitting with the clients (media) and making it seem like he's a mastermind behind the entire operation. It's possible he has known what he's doing all along, but it's also possible he just found himself in a great position with talented people and has done a good job keeping everyone just happy enough for them not to force the issue and push him out the door.
Bill: I can’t really argue with this one. He earned the spot he’s in, but he’s keeping his spot based on the production of others. This could apply to both, or it could be that they’re smarter than anyone takes them for. With both guys, I think it’s somewhere in-between the two.
Joan Harris is Nick Collison -
Chris: The temptation is to put Hasheem Thabeet here, just so Bennett has to make a photoshop of Hasheem Thabeet with crazy cleavage, but Collison makes more sense. He's been a pro's pro all along, using the intangibles to keep everything running smoothly. Scheduling meetings? Taking notes at those meetings? Yawn, but someone's gotta do it. There are grandiose moments when you realize just how much you've taken them for granted all along, but then stuff around them starts getting crazy and you go back to ignoring them.
Bill: First of, Hasheem Thabeet…never forget (https://youtu.be/nSz16ngdsG0)
Harry Crane is Serge Ibaka -
Chris: Arguably the most important cog in the entire machine. They'll never get a seat at the big boys' table, but just like you can't be a successful ad agency without a television specialist, you can't win in today's NBA without an elite rim protector (see: the past month of the Thunder's season). They're underpaid, and when you really think about it, they probably could go somewhere else and be way more appreciated than simply lurking in the shadows where they are now. Hopefully they don't realize that.
Bill: I’m going to have to disagree here. Harry Crane, while resourceful and a success, is a terrible human being. I would place Serge as Sally Draper. Both are largely overlooked unless they’re not in an episode/game. When that happens, you notice and think, "this isn’t as good as it should be". Other times, you absolutely notice them. I’m sold on the Serge and Sally comparison.
Pete Campbell is Dion Waiters -
Wants to be Don soooooo bad.
Betty Draper is James Harden -
Most likely better off without Don, but you can't help but wonder how much different it all would be had they just stayed together.
Ken Cosgrove is Reggie Jackson -
Chris: Never seemed totally sold on the job, but still gave his all and even lost his eye (OK, maybe that's just Cosgrove). The agency ultimately decided he was expendable, and now he seems intent on proving just what a mistake they made.
Bill: I like Ken Cosgrove, I think he’s great. I don’t like Reggie Jackson. If I had to compare Jackson to anyone, it would be creepy Glen. You know, creepy Glen that tried to get with Betty Draper when he was roughly ten years old. Glen is the worst and, as of Sunday night, he’s still trying to get with Betty Draper. I would place Perkins with Cosgrove. Both are underrated, both are or should be well liked, and now both are working for other teams. Also, I’m certain that Perk could rock the eyepatch. Finally, Glen is the worst.
Michael Ginsberg is Steven Adams -
Chris: This is based strictly on the mustache. Well, that and the fact that they may both be batshit crazy.
Bill: Nope. Nope, nope, nope. I can’t see Adams cutting his nipple off. The facial hair comparison is there, but I think Adams is more in line with Rizzo. I questioned both in the beginning, but now I’m a big fan of Adams and Rizzo. Also, Adams should try out a Rizzo beard.
Stan Rizzo is Enes Kanter -
Chris: It feels like he's really, really good, except there's something missing where you can't take him totally seriously. Like, he could do so much more! He works incredibly well with Peggy, but he may only go as far as she carries him.
Bill: I can see this, but since I have Adams paired with Rizzo I’ll place Kanter with Pete Campbell. Both are very good at one aspect of their job and very, very bad at another. Kanter can play offense, Pete can make deals. Kanter can’t play defense to save his life and Pete Campbell is an ass
Lou Avery is Derek Fisher -
Chris: He sucksssssssss, but he's still going to be there playing just as important a role in the agency as Don until he decides to call it quits. Ugh.
Bill: I like Fish, so I can’t agree with this one. Instead, I’ll go with Lane Pryce. I really liked Lane, he seemed like an okay guy. In the end, Lane hung himself and Fisher signed up to coach the Knicks. These things happen.
Ted Chaough is Perry Jones III -
Chris: He was really promising for like 3 episodes, then he sort of just faded to the back while the real stars took over.
Bill: I’d place Perry Jones III as Henry Francis. Who’s Henry Francis? Exactly.
Salvatore Romano is Jeremy Lamb -
Chris: Remember him? Is he still around? What ever happened to him?!
Bill: I can see this, but I’d place Lamb with Bobby Draper. I could go on, but that would be mean. I’m so sorry, Jeremy Lamb.