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NBA Summer Vacation Watch: Western Conference Edition

Despite their on-court dominance, the Western Conference struggled to get it done on Summer Vacation. We still found the diamonds in the rough.
Images via Instagram/@swaggyp1 and @troydaniels30 and Twitter/@NBA

No doubt you were starting to panic about where you were going to get your NBA summer vacation news from. All the signs were there: clammy hands, general malaise, the inexorable urge to always be swimming, your skin paling as if winter had set in and the color was seeping from your skin, even though it's still the beginning of August. Well, rest easy and put those cutoffs back on, friend, because NBA Summer Vacation Watch (SVW) is back.


We pick up at the obvious yin to the last edition's yang, the Western Conference. But I'm afraid I've got some bad news: the NBA's Western Conference is terrible at summer vacations. I mean really bad. For a supposed juggernaut and the alleged superior conference, you'd think these guys might understand the concept of work hard, play harder. Alas, the majority of the golden West's All-Stars appear to be allergic to saying adios to the gym and aloha to an ocean sunset. I know no such allergy, so I soldier on.

Kevin Durant

Might as well start as strong as possible: Durant went to India! Technically this was a work trip but I'll let it slide, mostly because Kevin Durant deserves to do the funny pose of looking serious while pretending to pluck up the palace from a distance. There's something to be said about the entire UNESCO World Heritage site being under construction, like the scaffolding around the Western Conference as it strains to have a good time, but that has nothing to do with Durant and does not belong here.

Rating: According to the UNESCO rating system, Durant has saved his conference's SVW status from 'Delisted' to 'In Danger'—bonus for the protective slippers complementing Kevin's shoes.

Russell Westbrook

You can always count on Russell! The Brodie, a new dad, went to Cabo with his family. Please scroll through so as to drink in his bucket hat on a boat, his ability to get a quick game of two-ball pickup in without making it "a thing," and pockets-out swim trunks, because he is so relaxed. Hashtag WhyNot.


Rating: An elevated Cabo experience with nary a Señor Frog's in sight.

JaVale McGee

JaVale may very well be in his own living room here but I could have sworn it was the OR, for how my heart exploded!!!

Rating: Cardiac arrest!

DeAndre Jordan

A tarp-off DeAndre partied with Diplo—an automatic deficit—but my friend ran into him a few days ago in Venice Beach and said he was nice. He also had a lot of bracelets on, a sure signal that he's got his mind in the game (summer vacation).

Rating: Dubstep over a Jimmy Buffett song.

Nick Young

Swaggy P met a dolphin and wasn't into it but gave it another shot in the spirit of summer vacation and cetacean relations.

Rating: Couple rapid clicks and a few shrill squeaks.

Paul George

Remember Paul George, back at the beginning of the summer in the first edition of NBA SVW, fishing alone? Our dude certainly chilled right out as soon as the ink on his OKC contract started to dry. Amsterdam, Ibiza—I like this because it shows me Paul has friends but I love this because, in his own words, he's become "one hell of a jeu de boules player now."

Rating: Euro Trece seems chill.

Karl Anthony Townes

The big KAT met some kittens!

Rating: Two lil' lions and a timber wolf—we basically bought a zoo.

Dirk Nowitzki

Can someone tell Dirk there are actual new bikes now that are made to look just like the one he's clearly stolen from an old farm shed? And that they can be properly sized to his body?


Rating: A case of sore knees or a possession of stolen property case.

Andre Iguodala

Golf is a boring way to spend any time off, let alone summer vacation, but I'm taking what I can get here because Andre is barefoot in sand with some water up to his ankles.

Rating: A double bogey on a poor substitute for a beach.

C.J. McCollum

C.J. watered a hole in Johannesburg and looked very happy about it.

No, C.J. helped to build houses in his downtime around the NBA Africa game and shows us that sometimes it's important to use your downtime to help others, even if the rest of your conference colleagues are completely blowing their summers.

Rating: Heaven just now confirmed they are missing one angel.

Marc Gasol

Oh, interesting, all the Brothers Gasol topless and water-adjacent but with a convenient crop so we can never know if they are wearing socks or not, as is their wont.

Rating: I'm going to go ahead and guarantee this a six dripping wet tubesocks out of six.

Troy Daniels

Troy Daniels caught a big fish on his birthday, maybe the biggest fish. This is a great opportunity for my longstanding nickname for Troy to finally catch on: "The Not Really Old Man and the Deep Three."

Rating: One point for every shade of blue you can count on Troy and his helpers, double points for his double-width bucket hat, tripled by the fact that it's his birthday, so roughly a rating of 84—the water temperature of Playa Del Carmen in August.


Patty Mills

As loyal readers know, we've already leaned heavily on Patty Mills this vacation season and will clearly continue to need to do so as long as the majority of the Western Conference cast stays lousy at summer vacation. Patty is simply incredible at summer vacation. If he keeps this up, he might even single-handedly reverse my stance on Australia and going there.

Rating: Throw another gigantic, ancient crustacean on the barbie, brumby. We're all comin' to Oz!