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Evaluating the NBA Uniform Redesigns We’ve Seen so Far

The new jerseys are starting to trickle in, and we have some thoughts

Los Angeles Clippers jersey Getty Images

Starting this 2017-18 season, the NBA will allow the home team to pick which jersey it prefers for that particular game, so there are no more home and away kits. With the switch to Nike, we now have “icon” and “association” uniformswhich means we might need to get used to seeing a neon-green Wolves jersey. Here’s the guide to the outfits that have come out so far, from the revamped and reinvigorated to the rejects.

Note: This post has been updated with the Clippers, Suns, Rockets, Grizzlies, and Timberwolves. We’ll continue to update this post as new jerseys get unveiled.

The Ones That Don’t Look Different or Didn’t Change at All

Charlotte Hornets

Haley O’Shaughnessy: Virtually nothing changed in the Hornets’ design (the side stripes are a tad thinner) apart from one crucial substitution. The franchise will be the only team in the league to feature the Jumpman logo in place of the Nike swoosh, a unique benefit that comes with being owned by Michael Jordan. The Hornets don’t have a sponsor on their jersey, but the Nike brand might as well count for this owner; you teach MJ to fish, and he’ll slap a Jumpman logo on the scales.

Washington Wizards

Paolo Uggetti: Still the same. Still pretty good.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Uggetti: Still the same. Still pretty bad.

Others: Warriors, Bulls, Pistons

The One That Looks Like It Was Made in 2K

Denver Nuggets

Uggetti: Never. Get. Rid. Of. Powder. Blue. Just don’t do it. Being aesthetically unique is such a rare quality among uniforms nowadays that squandering the last threads of it for a dull navy-blue-and-gold ensemble that only another million teams offer is disappointing. (Similarly, the Chargers, who should wear their powder blues exclusively, are wearing them only twice this season.) In their all-powder-blue and white-and-powder-blue unis, the Nuggets had something special, something different. Now, they just look like a more generic version of the Pacers.

The Ones That Look Better

Los Angeles Clippers

O’Shaughnessy: The Clippers—home of this Turducken logo and to this mascot—don’t always make solid brand choices. But their new Nike jerseys are appealing: clean, blue (!), and best of all, simple. Blake Griffin’s PR (I refuse to believe Blake actually spoke these words) said the uniforms captured the “essence of the team and city.” The picture breakdown explains what Blake, a.k.a. Clips PR, was referring to by plain white and blue jerseys representing the “essence” of a city—the “nautical heritage,” most highlighted by a stripe down the side of the shorts. Which, you know, is also known as a stripe. No need to overcomplicate it here, Blake—simplicity is already a huge upgrade.

Phoenix Suns

O’Shaughnessy: Phoenix switches up its jersey design often, but the most memorable are the ‘90s Charles Barkley–era digs with a large sunburst shooting across the entire chest. The Suns brought elements of that jersey back in recent seasons, donning a less ’90s-esque version, but the new Nike designs went fully modern. The sunburst is still there, though, both on the waistband and on the side of the shorts, a nod to the original uniforms, which featured the greatest bottoms in the history of the NBA.

Houston Rockets

Uggetti: I always wondered what the Rockets were trying to do with the double lines on the shoulders. Was it some kind of outer-space effect they were going for? Was it just because they wanted to be different? I never figured it out, but it seems like Houston didn’t either. Their new look gets rid of the double shoulder lines and keeps it simple with the single, bolded outline in both the red and white unis. The shorts, and the side paneling, still feature that double arc, but it actually looks right there.

Indiana Pacers

Uggetti: Speaking of the Pacers, this is how you do a redesign. When in doubt? Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. Indy went from predictable to minimalistic while harkening back to the classics. The rounded “Indiana Pacers” on the front surrounding the number alludes to the shape of a basketball, while their shorts feature the state’s shape on the front. I’m not sure how I feel about the slashed side panels, but it’s a small price to pay for what is largely a seamless look. I can’t go as far as to say that this is the silver lining after losing Paul George, but hey, it’s a perfect fresh start.

Portland Trail Blazers

O’Shaughnessy: It would’ve been on-brand for the Blazers to put out something they couldn’t defend, but these are great. The Portland unis barely changed, but they’re slicked up with Nike magic, modernizing the font while staying simple and clean enough to add “RIP CITY” to the belt.

The One That—Wait, Is the Dress Black and Blue or White and Gold?

Cleveland Cavaliers

Haley O’Shaughnessy: Cleveland’s new jerseys are the same kind of eye test that the Dress was — subjective, but not really. (Anyone who saw white and gold, you’re still lying!) On one level, it all matches, at least — the Goodyear logo planted top-right uses the same goldish-yellow that is featured throughout — but taking a step back, there’s no believing that these uniforms are better than last year’s. The dated “Cleveland” font is nearly the same, but accompanied now by “CAVS” printed on the belt, added like a frantic, last-second garnish of green-bottle parmesan cheese on a dish that called for the real thing.

LeBron James’s new red Cavaliers jerseys with yellow and blue accents @RealGM Twitter/NBA

The One Where the Small Tweaks Matter

Memphis Grizzlies

Uggetti: The Grizzlies’ tweaks to their new uniforms are sleek. They’re out here to prove that minimalism can be done exquisitely. Memphis removed a very out-of-place golden stamp from the neck collar, and opted for a thicker, white-and-blue line that gives the uniform some depth without making it tacky. They removed the team’s grizzly logo from the bottom of their shorts and, though I love the logo, I can’t say I blame them. There’s no need to overcrowd when keeping it clean is the move. Oh, and thank you, Grizzlies, for salvaging the powder blue and placing it prominently on the side piping. Take note, Denver.

Philadelphia 76ers

Uggetti: Give me a red, white, and blue color scheme, and I’ll give you a masterpiece. The Sixers uniforms since the Iverson era have been clean. Their refresh going into next season isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s also better in the details. My favorite part? The red outlining shadow around the “PHILA” lettering and the numbers. It adds something that makes the jersey feel whole, like adding guac to your Chipotle bowl. There’s also the subtle “Brotherly Love” addition to the bottom of the jerseys in gold, cursive font, and the more defined white piping all around. Great job, Philly.

Utah Jazz

O’Shaughnessy: In place of last year’s two stripes on the collar, the Utah uniforms now have only one, which is simple and nice—

—and there’s no longer a butt logo, which is great. Bravo, Utah, for getting rid of the only tramp stamp in your state.

The Ones Where You Gotta Respect the Boldness

Minnesota Timberwolves

Uggetti [UPDATED]: The Wolves released their uniforms Thursday and I’m torn. There are times when I look at them and admire the different style, with the highly placed team name and thick horizontal lines. There are other times when I look and see the Mavericks’ color scheme, and think, “There’s not enough green.” I know that one of the unreleased alternate jerseys will probably sport that bold, bright green, but it feels like the Wolves missed a shot to incorporate it deftly into these threads. I think this ensemble would have benefited from a splash of color, like the Grizzlies’ powder-blue piping.

The Ones With Loud Sponsors

Brooklyn Nets

O’Shaughnessy: Upon first unveiling, the Brooklyn jerseys looked like this—

A black Brooklyn jersey with white writing and a white Brooklyn jersey with black writing. Both have red advertisements in the top-right corner NBA

—with what looked like a giant red STOP sign in the upper right, serving as a gentle reminder when you’re ordering it online to, um, stop. But the Nets had the good sense to alter its sponsor’s coloring to match:

Sacramento Kings

O’Shaughnessy: The Kings didn’t adjust the coloring of their sponsor’s logo to match, though. Sacramento (or SAC, which the team insists on going with for another year) stuck a tiny but garish patch of blue in the upper-right in a sea of purple.