Christmas Day is the unofficial start to the NBA season. It’s great exposure for the league, as each game has a popular team or a superstar player. This has been the case this year before, but 2021 is different.
Many star players are in health and safety protocols due to COVID, which jeopardizes their accessibility to Christmas games. These stars include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic and Trae Young. As appetizing as a match between Cam Thomas and Isaiah Thomas could be, I, along with the rest of the world, would like to see LeBron James fight Kevin Durant.
Either way, the season will (hopefully) continue and each team needs something for Christmas – good health, more shots, stars to play, etc. Luckily for these organizations, I’m here to write their wish lists.
Boston Celtics: 1) The “Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown Can’t Play Together” story ends. 2) A point guard who can shoot.
Brooklyn Nets: 1) Kevin Durant stays healthy. 2) Kyrie Irving plays basketball.
New York Knicks: 1) Swap for another ball dealer with Derrick Rose out for 6-8 weeks. 2) Switch to a real playmaker who can create his own shot. 3) Evan Fournier will play defense. 4) Ask that a star wants to get to the Knicks through trade or free agency at some point. 5) Play defense like the team did last year. I have many more wishes, but I have to save you for now.
Philadelphia 76ers: 1) Find out the Ben Simmons saga. Either swap him or play him.
Toronto Raptors: 1) Realize that Scottie Barnes, not Pascal Siakam, is the player to be built around. 2) Swap or buy Goran Dragic.
Chicago Bulls: 1) Continue their warm start. 2) Switch to another large. Maybe Jerami Grant?
Cleveland Cavaliers: 1) Go to the playoffs. 2) Protect Evan Mobley at all costs.
Detroit Pistons: 1) Compete on a nightly basis, but lose (many) games. 2) Win the draw.
Indiana Pacers: 1) Replace Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis. (Or swap both?)
Milwaukee Bucks: 1) Protect Giannis at all costs.
Atlanta Hawks: 1) To remember that they reached the Eastern Conference Finals last year. 2) Start playing as if they reached the Eastern Conference Finals last year. 3) They have too many rotating guys, so swap one like Cam Reddish.
Charlotte Hornets: 1) Try to pry Myles Turner away from the Pacers. 2) Let LaMelo cook.
Miami heat: 1) Load control Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler. 2) Get a healthy Bam Adebayo. 3) Explore the trade or buyout market for another great man.
Orlando Magic: 1) Keep playing the young guys. 2) See if a candidate is interested in Robin Lopez.
Washington Wizards: 1) Face the reality that Bradley Beal needs to be traded.
Denver Nuggets: 1) Get the Joker help. 2) Speak yourself off the ledge after signing Michael Porter Jr. for a maximum extension.
Minnesota Timberwolves: 1) Give Anthony Edwards the keys to the offense. 2) Leaked to Woj or Shams that Karl-Anthony Towns or D’Angelo Russell might want out of Minnesota just to see what their market could be.
Oklahoma City Thunder: 1) Assure Shai Gilgeous-Alexander that the team will explore trading with an all-star in the offseason. (Ex. Paul George deal in 2017.) 2) Try your very best to move Derrick Favors.
Portland Trail Blazers: 1) Do what Damian Lillard wants. 2) Tap the NBA Trade Machine every day to see potential returns in a trade with Lillard.
Utah Jazz: 1) Identify issues after the season (e.g. how to defend a small-ball lineup without Rudy Gobert) now and try to implement solutions during the regular season.
Golden State Warriors: 1) Get Klay Thompson back. 2) Evaluate James Wiseman. 3) Consider packing Wiseman and some other players or picks for an all-star caliber player. Looking at you, Sabonis.
Los Angeles Clippers: 1) Talk to Kawhi Leonard. That is it. I’m not convinced the Clippers talk to Kawhi daily (look no further than last year’s playoffs after Kawhi’s injury) and that’s very worrying.
Los Angeles Lakers: 1) Find out what kind of team you are in now before it’s too late. Is it a big team? Do they need to be a team of LeBron and shooters? 2) Somehow, bring in a wing that can defend. (Bottom-breaking stuff.) 3) Mind Anthony Davis that he’s an All-NBA First Team member and should start playing like that when he returns from an injury. 4) Stay around 0.500 until AD comes back. Then accept the reality that the Play-In game could become their destiny again.
Phoenix Suns: 1) Keep Chris Paul healthy. 2) Explore the trade / buy-out market for another “3 and D” wing.
Dallas Mavericks: 1) Work with Luka Doncic to get in better shape. 2) Get another ball dealer like Goran Dragic or Kemba Walker.
Houston Rockets: 1) Keep losing weight. 2) See if a team wants Christian Wood.
Memphis Grizzlies: 1) Go out and get more shooting. (15. and 3-point%)
New Orleans Pelicans: 1) Have a long and hard talk with Zion Williamson about the importance of staying healthy.
San Antonio Spurs: 1) Keep driving everything through Dejounte Murray.
Each team: 1) Avoid COVID.
Have a nice vacation!
Do you agree or disagree with my wish lists? Leave your answers in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.