It’s become part of the modern NBA lexicon. Listen to enough basketball podcasts, and you’ll hear the term at least once a week. It usually goes like this: “I was watching the Kings play the Pistons last night, and man did I love how 21-year-old Harry Giles matched up against 30-year-old journeyman Jon Leuer. You wanna talk about an intriguing team, it’s Sacramento. They’re a real League Pass Team.” When you hear that, it usually means the person flipped the game on momentarily until a better matchup came on, then the guy flipped back to it at the end of the game and watched the rest of the it via an extended highlights package. Then there are guys who could conceivably watch the game and break down film, because it’s what they do. So when ESPN’s Zach Lowe announced the Sixers as the #1 NBA League Pass team -albeit with the Bill Simmons model in mind- it intrigued me, because Lowe not only knows his stuff, but also named them the Top NBA League Pass Team a year ago.
Per Lowe, the criteria for determining each NBA team’s League Pass rating includes giving a point value from 1-10 on the following five criteria:
- Zeitgeist: That is to say, whether or not casual fans or the layman cares about the team.
- Highlight potential: Is there a player on the team who can, to quote Marc Zumoff, turn garbage into gold?
- Syle: An aesthetically-pleasing team game vs. iso-ball.
- League Pass minutiae: This includes the team’s uniforms, various court interfaces, and announce team.
- Unintentional comedy: This can include variables that one could deem as a curiosity, like Markelle Fultz’s jumpshot.