A Cerealized 2019-20 NBA Season Preview

By Sammy Bovitz

This is not your typical NBA Preview. I’ll make that clear from the start. I chose to describe each NBA team as a cereal for two reasons: one, I think it’d be interesting to see NBA teams in a fresh perspective and two, I’m hungry. 

The Atlanta Hawks are Peanut Butter Toast Crunch. 

The Atlanta Hawks seek to replicate the great model of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the Denver Nuggets. They are trying to build their team around sharpshooting point guard, Trae You, and versatile power forward, John Collins. It hasn’t worked to the same effect as it has for the Denver Nuggets, but there is hope for its future; just like there’s hope Peanut Butter Crunch. 

The Boston Celtics are Lucky Charms. 

Lucky Charms are known for their sweet marshmallows that so many kids can’t get enough of. Unfortunately, Lucky charms aren’t just marshmallows.

In translation to the Celtics, the team’s marshmallows are Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Enes Kanter. They are the best players on the team, but they are not the whole team. The rest of the cereal: Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis, Carsen Edwards, Romeo Langford, Robert Williams, and Semi Ojeleye, will never match the marshmallows. The Celtics are a great team, much like Lucky Charms is a great cereal, but the team’s overall makeup leaves the non-marshmallows as a problem. Essentially, the Celtics don’t have enough pieces off the bench and would be in trouble if two or more of their marshmallows players became injured, forcing the rest of the cereal into larger roles. 

The Brooklyn Nets are Reese’s Puffs. 

The Brooklyn Nets, much like Reese’s Puffs, is new to the NBA, but is finally becoming mainstream and has a real shot at winning the championship. The signings of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Garrett Temple, and Wilson Chandler, as well as the drafting of Nicolas Claxton, show that this team is now firmly on the map and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. This team will just be plain old fun, much like eating a cereal based on Reese’s. 

The Charlotte Hornets are Sour Patch Kids Cereal. 

Both The Charlotte Hornets and Sour Patch Kids Cereal are horrible on paper and horrible in practice. I’d talk about young, exciting small forward Miles Bridges and his potential, but this would ruin the analogy. 

The Chicago Bulls are Honeycomb.

Much like Honeycomb cereal, the Bulls have seen better days. They were at their height in the 80s and 90s, but have now become one of the worst teams in the NBA. In 2017, Honeycomb cereal’s recipe was changed and the response was almost entirely negative. Similarly In 2017, the Bulls changed their formula by trading away Jimmy Butler, signing Cristiano Felicio to an awful contract, and waiving both Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. However, they did get two good young pieces: Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine. Since its 2017 flop, Honeycomb is trying to revert back to its original formula and win back fans. The Bulls’ reset and building around LaVine and Markkanen is their way of trying to win back fans and make Chicago basketball-crazy once again.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are Honey Nut Cheerios. 

The honey here is power forward Kevin Love. While Cleveland is far from a good basketball team, Kevin Love is someone fans can root for and be a fan of long term. Love has just signed a 5-year extension that begins this year. Love helps keep Cavalier fans hopeful for the future of the team, as the soon to be drafted young stars will have  a versatile veteran to help lead them into battle.

The Dallas Mavericks are Special K. 

The K here stands for Kristaps Porzingis, a very special K indeed. Porzingis is a special player, and his being there is the element that the Mavericks need to contend. Luka Doncic is also a fantastic player, of course. But the Mavericks needed a second star to make this team work, so they traded for a very special K that could make this team the most special in a future NBA season. In other words, the team that wins a championship. 

The Denver Nuggets are Cinnamon Toast Crunch. 

This team has inspired many other teams in the NBA, much like Cinnamon Toast Crunch has inspired many spin-offs . The Denver Nuggets have a young, solid shooting point guard, Jamal Murray and a strong big man, Nikola Jokic. However, this team has the most talent at those positions, especially at center. Last year, Jokic averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists. That is ridiculous for a center, and it’s now been fully acknowledged.  NBA general managers voted him the very best center in the NBA. John Collins and Marvin Bagley III are good, sure, but neither of them can hold a candle to Jokic’s elite talent.

The Detroit Pistons are Chex.

Like Chex, the Detroit Pistons are a bit outdated and overrated. For a long time, having an offense centered around one or two good big men with no presence on the perimeter worked. But, the age of three-pointers began and one-dimensional big men soon became a thing of the past. The Pistons did not get this memo, as they continue to build around Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. For a while, Chex’s 82 year-old formula worked, but now they are not nearly as mainstream and popular as they once were. Same with the formula of sticking to  one-dimensional big men. Sure, an offense built around a center can work (see Denver, Minnesota, and Philly), but those centers are versatile players. Griffin and Drummond are not, or at least not to the extent that other centers are.  

The Golden State Warriors are Cocoa Krispies. 

Below I will explain why the Spurs are Rice Krispies, which connects to why the Warriors are Cocoa Krispies. Rice Krispies is a tried-and-true formula that’s great but often does not get altered. The Spurs were a machine of dominance, a tried-and-true model that does not get replicated or upgraded. Cocoa Krispies improved upon the Rice Krispies model and made it more fun. The Warriors did the exact same thing, and like the Krispies family, their run of dominance may not be done yet with the addition of new guard D’Angelo Russell. 

The Houston Rockets are Apple Jacks. 

A cereal that’s probably overrated, just like the Houston Rockets. Sure, point guard Russell Westbrook and shooting guard James Harden will be a tandem with a fantastic ceiling, but probably won’t reach said ceiling. Apple Jacks are limited because the concept of apple-flavored cereal can only get you so far. The Rockets are likewise limited by the fact that they have two stars used to having the ball in their hands all the time, which is  their strategy to contend for a championship in today’s NBA. Like Apple Jacks, the Rockets won’t quite get to that point, especially with their current model.  

The Indiana Pacers are Corn Flakes. 

Unlike the Bucks, who have one element setting it apart in the frost, the Pacers do not have the Star to make them championship contenders. The Pacers have a collection of solid pieces, but with Victor Oladipo out, this team doesn’t have a star that can lead them. Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner, and Domantas Sabonis cannot lead this team. They need Oladipo, and with him out, this team becomes simple and bland, just like Corn Flakes. 

The L.A. Clippers are Fruity Pebbles, and the L.A. Lakers are Cocoa Pebbles. 

Some of you may have seen this analogy coming. The biggest team vs. team debate in L.A. this year will constantly be that of who is superior: the L.A. Clippers or the L.A. Lakers . Similarly, the Fruity Pebbles vs. Cocoa Pebbles has been a big debate among cereal enthusiasts. The Clippers and Lakers both have two central stars, and while some argue the Clippers are better on defense or are deeper, others argue the Lakers’ offensive potential outweighs all of that. Either way, this is a debate that will have relatively even sides and no clear resolution. Just like the Fruity vs. Cocoa Pebbles debate. Only time will tell which cereal or team reigns supreme. 

The Memphis Grizzlies are Multigrain Cheerios. 

Similar to the Cavaliers, the Grizzlies have sweetened and upgraded the Knicks’ old, no longer good formula. This team could also be another Cinnamon Toast Crunch derivative, but, besides the fact that I already used both on other teams, this team also doesn’t have the pieces to be close to contention quite yet, just like Multigrain Cheerios. The cereal is good, but it isn’t for everyone and definitely isn’t one of the best. The Grizzlies need time, then they will step into a Toast Crunch slot.

The Miami Heat are Frosted Mini Wheats.

The frost in Frosted Mini Wheats isn’t the thing that  elevates it to the next level, It’s what keeps it from falling apart. Jimmy Butler is the one thing, the one star, that Miami has to keep it from a lottery berth. There are solid pieces around him (Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic), but it’s Butler that keeps this team from the lottery. This was by design, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good design. Not in the slightest.

The Milwaukee Bucks are Frosted Flakes.

The Milwaukee Bucks are extremely good, but take away one crucial element and this team  doesn’t work as well. Giannis Antentokounmpo is the reason this team works, and while the flakes around him are solid and helpful, he is what brings the team to its elite and championship contending status. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves are Cap’N Crunch. 

This team needs a captain, a leader, in order to start its climb to the Western Conference ladder. Karl-Anthony Towns is that captain that can lead this team by dominating each and every night. Look for him to be a sleeper MVP candidate. 

The New Orleans Pelicans are Oreo O’s. 

Oreo O’s are relatively new on the scene, with a good concept, but people are unsure of its execution and whether their strategy will actually work and be good. The Pelicans should be sweet and excite people of their potential. The jury is out, just like with Oreo O’s, about whether it works and whether it will work. Eventually, the perception of both the cereal and the team will be finalized. 

The New York Knicks are Cheerios. 

A team that’s seen better days.This squad has memories of the past and remembers a time when the Knicks were both great and loved. But they’re simply not great nor loved, and it showed this summer when all major free agents passed on them. 

Cheerios are the same way. When you ask older generations about Cheerios, they’ll probably have fond memories about them. But if you asked a member of a younger generation or cereal free agent (a term which here means they are undecided on what cereal they want to eat regularly), Cheerios wouldn’t be their first choice. 

The Oklahoma City Thunder are Weetabix. 

Weetabix is a cereal that comes in blocks and only becomes individual pieces of cereal when milk is added. It needs someone to assemble it. The Thunder are the same way. Sure, point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has lots of potential and the Thunder got a ridiculous number of picks from the Clippers, but they need to assemble those draft picks, along with their own, to create a functional team. GM Sam Presti needs to add the milk to this team and assemble it. Over time, this young, talented team could eventually become  a contender. 

The Orlando Magic are Life. 

Most of the time, we forget this cereal exists. The Magic are the exact same way. If you’re an NBA fan, think about how many times you’ve talked about the Magic this past year. If the answer is a lot, you’re a real Magic fan. If not, you’re a fan of basically any other NBA team. 

This is about the cereal Life, not actual life. Thought I’d just throw that out there. 

The Philadelphia 76ers are Froot Loops.

A team that’s great, but one that may be a bit too much for its own good. The Sixers’ gigantic lineup of Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, and Joel Embiid is great, but lacks a sharpshooter like the one they had before in JJ Redick. It will likely be a great season for them but the team’s four tall, driving and/or post scoring players in the starting lineup may be too much for the team to handle. Just like eating Froot Loops on more than an occasional basis. They need to tone everything down just a bit for this team to work and win a championship.

The Phoenix Suns are Gorilla Munch. 

This is another one where I cheated a little bit. The Suns’ mascot, for some reason, is a gorilla. 

The Portland Trail Blazers are Oatmeal Squares. 

A cereal and team that’s very underappreciated. Oatmeal Squares is a cereal that is subtle in its sweetness. The Trail Blazers’ strategy for using Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, orchestrated by Terry Stotts, is a feat of subtle, simple genius. There is barely any time where one of the two is not on the floor. When they’re together, they dominate. When only one is on the court, that person leads the offense. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the basic outline, and it works to perfection. It worked especially well last year during a showdown with the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. 

The Sacramento Kings are French Toast Crunch.

The Sacramento Kings are another team that’s a version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but is much more successful than Peanut Butter Toast Crunch. The Fox-Bagley pairing is one of tremendous potential and they could even sneak into the playoffs this year. I made the Kings the more successful Cinnamon Toast Crunch derivative for a reason- they are and will be more successful in the future. 

The San Antonio Spurs are Rice Krispies. 

Much like Cocoa Krispies we’re an upgraded version of the old formula of Rice Krispies, the Warriors used the Spurs’ method for consistent success and improved upon it. Currently, Rice Krispies and the Spurs are not as good or as classic as they once were. The Spurs’ once-beautiful offense has been ruined by the midrange-heavy games of DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldrige. No more Kawhi, no more Tony Parker, no more Manu Ginobili, and, of course, no more Tim Duncan. The analogy still holds up, though. A cereal and team that’s past its prime and has been upgraded (see the Warriors).  

The Toronto Raptors are Wheaties. 

Wheaties is the breakfast of champions, though the Raptors probably won’t be Wheaties by this time next year. 

The Utah Jazz are Raisin Bran. 

Much like Raisin Bran, the Jazz are an underrated team. Donovan Mitchell and Co. got a huge boost this summer with the addition of point guard Mike Conley to run this offense. If I haven’t said it 1000 times, I’ll say it again. It cannot be overstated how much of an upgrade Conley is over Ricky Rubio, who simply couldn’t distribute the ball or make plays, two things Conley’s excellent at. The addition of Bojan Bogdanovic also adds another underrated weapon to this sneakily good offense. Losing Derrick Favors hurts, but this team’s offense will be good enough with the addition of Mike Conley  . Their defense, in this case being the bran, is not as strong, but still gets the job done. Don’t be surprised if the Jazz make a deep run in this gauntlet of a Western Conference. 

The Washington Wizards are Cookie Crisp.                                                                        

Forget the Sixers, this team is way too sweet for its own good. Not in the sense of talent, though. In the sense of contracts. In the 2022-2023 season, the player options of John Wall and Bradley Beal combine for $84,629,060. That is absolutely ridiculous for a team that most think won’t even make the playoffs. 

To all, enjoy the NBA season, and maybe grab a bowl of your team’s cereal to enjoy along the way. May the best cereal win.