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Bay Area Unite: A side-by-side look at the Bay Area’s finest

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Ever wondered who Logan Couture reminded you of on the Warriors? Wonder no more, friends.

NHL: JAN 04 Sharks at Maple Leafs Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
cross·o·ver ˈ(/krôsˌōvər/)
noun
noun: crossover; plural noun: crossovers; noun: cross-over; plural noun: cross-overs; modifier noun: crossover; modifier noun: cross-over
1. a point or place of crossing from one side to the other.
- a short length of track joining two adjacent railroad lines.
2. the process of achieving success in a different field or style, especially in popular music.
“a jazz-classical crossover album”
3. a person who votes for a candidate in a different political party than the one they usually support.
“crossover votes”
4. relating to or denoting trials of medical treatment in which experimental subjects and control groups are exchanged after a set period.
“a crossover study”

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Google is missing a key definition in this list:

5. The act of rapidly moving the basketball from one hand to the other to change directions.
“Steph Curry just broke Kyrie Irving’s ankles with that crossover.”

Now this may seem weird on a hockey website, until you realize tonight’s game against the Arizona Coyotes is Golden State Warriors night at the Shark Tank! So in honor of the crossover night between the Sharks and Dubs, I will attempt to take the Warriors roster and find their Sharks compatriot. Everyone from Golden State of Mind, welcome to Fear the Fin. Let’s do this.

BENCH MOB

Damian Jones, C: He doesn’t play much. A total of 11 games over two seasons and minimal minutes in those games probably means he needs more work on his game. He is kind of just there, cheering on the bench.

COMPARABLE: Danny O’Regan. O’Regs also doesn’t do much. He also needs to work on his game more if he wants to stick with the big club.

These get better, I promise.

JaVale McGee, C: The 10-year vet doesn’t get a lot of playing time anymore. A true depth player at this point, he had a lot of promise once upon a time but has slowly seen his NBA role diminish over the past five seasons. He will still turn in a highlight randomly each month, but at this point, McGee is along for the ride. There is al— OMG HE HAS THE NICKNAME “BIG DADDY WOOKIE”?!?! This is incredible. I watch a lot of basketball and had zero idea this nickname existed.

COMPARABLE: Mikkel Boedker. It was very hard to resist just going Wookie to Big Daddy Wookie cross-comparison, but Boedker is far more apt. The Danish winger also showed promise once upon a time. Then he signed a contract to San Jose and promptly did nothing with that talent and is infuriating to Sharks fans, as McGee was once infuriating to his fans. Hot Boed seemingly just skates through games, but will randomly score or have a two-point game, getting everyone’s hopes up again — only to do nothing for 15 more games. Mikkel McGee is also a cool name if you smashed them together into one human.

Kevon Looney, PF/C: The third-year man out of UCLA plays sparingly, mostly because he lacks an NBA frame or NBA athleticism. His awkward frame doesn’t lend itself well to the grind of banging with other big men, thus forcing him to rely on hustle plays to gain most of his points and stats. He can space the floor and knock down some threes, but is no means a dead eye shooter. He is the most meh of the Warriors.

COMPARABLE: Chris Tierney how you doin’? The most meh Shark checks in, because let’s be honest with ourselves, Tierney works his ass off, but his ceiling seems to be capable third line center. This is equivalent to the rotation player in the NBA, which Looney probably tops out as. No one is mistaking these guys for world-beaters, but they can do good things in limited spots.

David West, PF: A classic veteran presence. There was once a time when David West was a premier power forward who was going to give you all you could handle for 35 minutes a game. West also cashed in two All-Star game appearances in his younger days. More recently, he decided to ring chase with San Antonio, then moved onto ring chasing in The Bay, which has worked out quite nicely. West will chip in a handful of minutes of a game, but his veteran leadership is what keeps him employed.

COMPARABLE: Paul Martin. The long time NHL D-man was once a legitimate shut-down option that would provide steady, high-level defense for his team. As with West, he was never the top of his position, but still in the upper portion of players. Recently, like West, his play has declined, but still adds a valuable veteran voice to the locker room. Both players will be able to add some on court/ice value in limited time, but the salad days of these guys are long gone. Great respect should be given to both men as they wind down their careers.

Zaza Pachulia, C: If you have never watched the Warriors, Google this man. He has the largest head I have ever seen. When the Warriors won the title, his championship hat didn’t fit and he had to leave it unsnapped and kind of squish it onto his head. It is extremely high on the unintentional comedy scale and will never cease to make me laugh when I see pictures of this extremely happy man who can’t wear a hat properly.

COMPARABLE: Joel Ward. Not because he has a particularly large noggin, but because he is older and slow and doesn’t play much. The game has passed Zaza by due to it evolving, and the NHL has passed Ward by due to him physically declining as he gets older. Honestly though, Zaza has a massive cranium and I can’t stop thinking about it.

ROTATION PLAYERS

Jordan Bell, C: The rookie pivot came into camp with high upside and immediately made the most of it. Bell has earned himself a spot firmly in the rotation, grabbing 15 minutes a game and providing energy off the bench. If Bell continues to improve like he should, the Dubs are in for a steal at 38th overall. Side note; were the Bulls drunk when they sold Bell for three million dollars? Even though I know the Bulls are notoriously cheap, it still blows my mind that they did this.

COMPARABLE: Joakim Ryan. The rookie was given a shot with the Sharks this season and has run with it. He may not be making a score sheet impact on offense yet, but his defensive game has helped shore up an okay Sharks defense and turn it into the teams’ major strength. Much like Bell, if he continues to improve, the Sharks are sitting pretty.

Shaun Livingston, G: The thing about Livingston is that he was selected fourth overall and showed immense promise. He then blew out his knee in one of the more horrific injuries I have seen on the court. He was never the same, but morphed into a steady hand off the bench who wasn’t going to be a negative, but wasn’t going to blow you away, either. He has found a home on the Warriors for the last four years, and it’s definitely great to see him have a career after his knee injury.

COMPARIBLE: Jannik Hansen. Honestly, there isn’t a Shark who has had a similar career arc to Livingston, but Hansen is basically just a steady player who never really lived up to expectations in San Jose. I got nothing here.

Patrick McCaw, SG: Originally, I thought McCaw was coming off the bench and leading the second unit charge. Upon looking into his stats I realize, that is uh, not true. Even though the second year guard is getting about 15 minutes a game, he is throwing up four points a game, an assist and a board, which is not that great.

COMPARABLE: Barclay Goodrow. Both of these guys are young and are still developing. Goodrow has seen himself take control of the fourth line center job, which means he is working hard and contributing when he can. Like McCaw, he isn’t burning the world down when he’s playing, but is a reliable guy to throw out there and eat up minutes and give you a steady performance.

Omri Casspi, F: Since breaking into the league in 2009, Casspi has bounced around teams, but has always had the rep of a good signing. Casspi has the talent to contribute not only on the score sheet, but also on the glass. Omri plays solid backup minutes and can even slide into some more defensive lineups. Casspi is always the guy you go, “Oh, Casspi is on this team? I hope he doesn’t get hot tonight.” He could light you up, but is generally just a very solid rotation guy.

COMPARABLE: Brenden Dillon. He has shown glimpses of a talent that is in there, much like Casspi can get hot for a game or two. Dillon is usually fairly steady as a third pair guy and this season he has shown the ability to potentially step into a second pair role. Neither guy is going to blow you away on a consistent basis, but both are guys you need to win a title. Dilly, Dilly!

Swaggy P, SG: One time, in an actual NBA game, Young took a three point shot. Mid-flight Swaggy decided he liked the way the ball was flying toward the hoop. So in classic Swaggy P fashion, he decided he needed to raise his arms in triumph and turn away from the basket to walk back to his own end, fully confident that ball was a swish. It decidedly was not. Nevertheless, Swaggy will continue to chuck, because as the old adage states, “Shooters shoot.” Uncle P may be frustrating as ever on the court with his glimpses of god-given talent, but off the court, he is a king. From his high profile relationship with Iggy Azalea, to his interviews where he sounds like your stoner roommate at two a.m., Swaggy never stops.

COMPARABLE: Brent Burns. This man wears a “lifestyle” beard and has a veritable zoo of reptiles at his house. Burnzie wears outrageous suits, is known to give some great interviews, and has a larger than life personality on and off the ice. Burns may not be insane like Swaggy, but in terms of personality, nobody beats Burns on the Sharks. I guess if you want playing comparisons, they are both fairly disinterested in defense. They also both shoot, a lot. Maybe Burns should be Swaggy B from now on?

STARTERS, aka THE DEATH LINEUP

Andre Iguodala, F: Iggy is an integral part of the Warriors championship teams. The former 76er, who was once a top tier wing in the NBA and face of the Sixers, came to the Warriors “nearing the end of his career.” That turned out to be very wrong, as Iggy morphed into a defensive stalwart and big moment gamer. Iggy has knocked down big time threes, shown up in important games, and went out and won the 2015 Finals MVP. The fifth man behind the four stars Golden State employs, he is often overlooked, but will immediately make you pay. The veteran leader has enjoyed an incredible late career resurgence and one that may help him sniff around the Hall of Fame.

COMPARABLE: Joe Pavelski. The Sharks’ current success over the past half-decade has coincided with the rise of Pavs. Often times, Pavelski will be looked at as the sidekick to Thornton, and someone who owes his success to the passing prowess of Jumbo Joe. That is not entirely true, as Pavelski, much like Iguodala, has filled a need in order for the Sharks to compete. Little Joe is a reliable first line wing for Jumbo Joe, someone he can trust and has great chemistry with. Much the same way Iggy fits into the star heavy lineup and filled out the championship puzzle, Pavs fits into his role as goal scorer and steady influence on the first line and fills out the top six. Pavs gets into the lane to tip pucks past goalies and will get into the corners to retrieve pucks. Iggy is asked to do a lot of different things for the warriors, from being tasked to shutting down LeBron, to being a knock down corner three guy. Pavelski is the USA hockey team’s Swiss Army Knife and is also asked to do a lot of things. Both guys are instrumental to the success of their squads.

Draymond Green, SF/PF/C: Coming into the NBA with a chip on his shoulder and vengeance in his mind, Green has become a defensive monster. Green is barely taller than myself, if at all, and doesn’t seem to have the prototypical NBA body. None of this matters as he guards everyone and anyone. A six-foot-four slashing wing? Bring it. A six-foot-eight spread the floor shooter? Why not. A seven-foot behemoth that is going to batter you for 30 minutes? Hell yeah. Dray will shut each and every one of those guys down while also grabbing all the boards, blocking way more shots than he should, and jumping into lanes and snagging tons of steals. The reigning defensive player of the year is as important as anyone on this team, as his suspension turned the tide of the 2016 Finals, to the point the Warriors lost to the Cavs in seven. Green is also a world-class trash talker, which is the best way to ball.

COMPARABLE: Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Everything I said about Draymond being a defensive titan? That’s Pickles. Vlasic has been a top line, shut-down defenseman for the better part of a decade now. Year in and year out, Vlasic plays the toughest minutes and his only job is to prevent goals. Vlasic is one half of the shut down pairing for Team Canada, if you needed anymore resume validation. A few years ago, Vlasic was recklessly hit in the head and missed the back half of a playoff series against L.A. Naturally, the Sharks fell apart because their defensive ace was no longer there. Although Vlasic may not be an on-ice trash talker, Pickles has become quite outspoken off the ice from topics ranging from Olympic participation to animal rights in his home province of Quebec. The best part of this entire comparison, if it wasn’t already perfect? Neither guy can shoot a lick either.

Klay Thompson, SF: The most underrated of the Warriors stars. Klay is a premier shooting guard both on offense and defense. If Klay isn’t killing you from long range, he is locking you up on defense. Thompson often will not get his due, as Curry understandably gets the offensive attention, while Dray gets the defensive attention. With the addition of Durant, Klay has drifted even more into the overlooked category. This doesn’t seem to faze him, as he is a human microwave, and will put up video game numbers like an NBA record 37 points in one quarter or a 60 point outburst. Despite his offensive mastery, my favorite Klay thing might be this hilarious quote. When asked about his usage of marijuana for a Sports Illustrated shoot, Klay quoted an old anti-drug ad saying, “I don’t smoke weed, I smoke clowns like you on the b-ball court.” This will always make me laugh. Long live Klay.

COMPARABLE: Tomas Hertl. I routinely feel like Hertl is the most underrated star on the Sharks. A younger player who burst onto the scene a few years ago with a four-goal game, he is often not spoken about like his counterparts in Thornton, Couture, Burns etc. This is of course very silly, as Hertl has asserted himself this season as arguably the second best Shark. He is a special offensive talent, both at center and wing, not to mention that he is surprisingly good in his own end. He uses his big frame and skating ability to impose his will on the game, and when he is rolling, he is unstoppable. Just like Klay, my favorite Hertl thing might be a quote. Hertl is from Czech Republic, so his handle on English when he came to the Bay Area was poor at best. After a game, he was asked about his performance and what not, and dropped this gem of a quote, “Fun must be always.” Long live Hertl.

Kevin Durant, PF: The best player on the Warriors right now. He has risen to a level where he is the front-runner for defensive player of the year in 2018 and is an all world scorer. He is a force when he is at the height of his powers and allows the Warriors to achieve whatever goals they want. The Warriors are still good without him, but the path becomes much tougher. KD also has a weird injury history, where he has had some seriously bad injuries. The Slim Reaper can do what he wants, when he wants.

COMPARABLE: Logan Couture. The best player on each team makes for an easy comparison. Couture has been the best player on the Sharks and they have slowly become his team as the torch is passed. Like Durant, Couture is a gifted offensive talent, who seemingly gets hot and becomes unstoppable for days and weeks. Couture is also routinely tasked with being the shut down center and draws difficult match ups. Weirdly, Couture has a horrible injury history just like Durant. Both guys have had devastating injuries they have returned from, seemingly no worse for wear. A couple times a season, Couture will go down with an injury and fans will hold their breath. The Sharks are still good, but without Logan, the path is that much harder.

Steph Curry, PG: Steph Curry straight up broke basketball. He holds basically every single season three point record and by the time he is done, he will hold virtually all the shooting records. You cannot give him even an inch of space, because as soon as you do, he crosses half court. Curry single-handedly ushered in a new era of basketball in the NBA. There isn’t really any one good way of stopping Chef Curry, because if you play him too tight he will go to the hole, and if you lay off the ball he is finding net seemingly every time. Curry is probably (definitely?) the greatest shooter to ever touch a basketball. The heart, soul, and leader of the Golden State Warriors, Curry has no peers in what he does.

COMPARABLE: None. There isn’t a Shark who transformed the sport or played it in such a way that it has never been seen before. BUT, I would like to put out Joe Thornton. Now I am not talking about current Joe, as current Joe is old and nearing the end of an illustrious career. However, Prime Joe Thornton was an absolute animal. In one particular skill, both men are legendary figures. Curry shoots the basketball like no other, and Thornton is on the short list of all time passers. Prime Thornton made average guys like Jonathan Cheechoo into award-winning snipers. When Joe got the puck, there was no getting it back from him until he purposefully lets it leave his stick. Thornton was and still is the heart, soul, and leader of the Sharks and much like Curry, has become the face of an entire franchise.

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There we have it, 15 Warriors and their Sharks counterparts. That was much harder than I thought it was going to be, as the Warriors are such a unique team. Nonetheless, I did my best for every one at Golden State of Mind and Fear the Fin, so that next time you tune in you can imagine Joe Thornton throwing down windmills or Draymond Green unloading clappers from the point. Either way, if you’re looking to give a new sport a try, this might give you a frame of reference to start.

Once you’re a fan of one Bay Area sport, you’ll claim them all. #BayAreaUnite