If Every Team had Three Wishes…

As the 2010-2011 NBA season kicks off, AGR has remained surprisingly quiet, taking in all the information that comes with the start of a new season. Between the live games and highlights, the box scores and recaps, and the plethora of analysis over the blogosphere, the NBA overload can be overwhelming. In addition, I went into a three-day coma after the Wizards’ horrific opening loss. I figured that given my depressed state and AGR’s relatively quiet start to the new season, I should give everyone reason to look forward to the upcoming season. Because everything for me has to do with Wizards, I chose three “wishes” fans may have for their teams this season. Start rubbing your basketballs, folks.

Atlanta: 1) Let Jeff Teague become a viable PG for the future. 2) Let Joe Johnson play at a high level and not drastically age or mail it in after his massive contract. 3) Let the fans attend the games in Atlanta, rain or shine, win or lose. Wait, that wish may be too unrealistic. Too late!

Boston: 1) Let Rondo break some record. Any record. His awesomeness deserves it. 2) Let Delonte West redeem himself as the unique sixth man he can be and pray that he stays away from teammates’ mothers. 3) Let the O’Neal brothers stay healthy and forceful once KG and Perkins inevitably get suspended for their accumulated technical fouls (the new rules suck, IMO).

Charlotte: 1) Let the offense score over 100 points more than once. 2) Let D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson develop into decent starter-caliber players as the Bobcats cement their position as a perennial fringe Eastern Conference playoff team. 3) Let Tyrus Thomas and Gerald Wallace do an alley-oop block (where one swats the ball cross-court to the other in spectacular fashion) before season’s end.

Chicago: 1) Let Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer coexist magically in the front court. 2) Let the squad hit at least one three pointer (excluding Kyle Korver). 3) Let Derrick Rose learn to get to the free throw line more, where he will become a more efficient player on offense. I always see him use his agility and body control to avoid contact…it’s almost as if he’s too athletic for his own good at times.

Cleveland: 1) Let the Cavs prove they can make the playoffs without LeBron Jams (and hope that LeBron James suffers 23 torn ACLs). 2) Let the Cavs forever retain the rookie Samardo Samuels, hereafter known as “SamSam.” 3) Let Big Z get cut and sign with the Cavs, just for ol’ times’ sake.

Dallas: 1) Let Jason Kidd continue to be one of the most productive and well-rounded point guards, despite his advancing age. Why does he seem to improve, on some level at least, every year? 2) Let the management cut DeShawn Stevenson already. Embarrassing. 3) Let the concept of Barea, Terry, and Beaubois as a three-headed scoring team of guards pay off. Each of those guys is incredible in his own right.

Denver: 1) Let one of the big men stay healthy. Nene, Kenyon, and the Birdman? That ain’t right. 2) Let either J.R. Smith, Al Harrington, or Melo learn to do something other than shoot. 3) Let Chauncey remain forever young, and if not, play Ty Lawson (aka Ty Awesome!)

Detroit: 1) Let the Pistons have more than three wins and/or fans, as it’s lookin’ pretty bleak in Detroit nowadays. 2) Let someone–other than Greg Monroe–learn how to pass. Seriously, look at their roster. 3) Let Ben Wallace do halftime shows with his RC cars. It’d be guaranteed entertainment, unlike Detroit home games.

Golden State: 1) Let Brandan Wright stay healthy so we can see how he plays in the uptempo Warrior offense, at the least to assuage everyone’s curiosity. 2) Let Jeremy Lin be the NBA’s first ever player-statistician. 3) Let the Warriors make the playoffs! They have exciting talent, sexy style, and an energized fan base.

Houston: 1) Let Luis Scola continue to blow minds. There is a reason he dominates in international basketball. 2) Let Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley make a surprise dual-comeback. Somehow, despite the impossibility of this, I still got excited thinking about it. 3) Let Yao stay healthy! Remember when Yao played 244 out of 246 games in his first three seasons? Neither do I, but let him stay healthy, goddamnit!

Indiana: 1) Let Darren Collison not be the product of the New Orleans system–the Pacers haven’t had a healthy and productive point guard since Mark Jackson. 2) Let Roy Hibbert do his thing. With confidence, he flourishes. 3) Let the Pacers trade James Posey to a dumb contender in exchange for prospects, money, or draft picks. What is he doing here?! ARGH!

Los Angeles Clippers: 1) Let the 22 year-old Eric Gordon and the 21 year-old Blake Griffin develop together and dunk together. Remember double-dunks in NBA Hang Time? I fully expect one per game. 2) Let Baron Davis do something helpful for the team. At this point, any overall positive production from the guy is a dangerous wish. 3) Let the Clips move back to San Diego. The Lakers cast an enormous shadow, but it’s not big enough to overcome that San Diego sunshine.

Los Angeles Lakers: 1) Let Shannon Brown fly. Seriously. It’s not the most unrealistic wish suggested in this article. 2) Let Kobe Bryant and Matt Barnes videotape a 1v1 match-up. Obviously, Kobe should win, but that the game would likely devolve into a scrappy fist fight intrigues me. 3) Let some information leak out of some Laker’s (my gut tells me Luke Walton’s or Ron Artest’s) use of medicinal marijuana. I am curious as to how the league, media, players, and public would respond to such an issue. My guess is not too nicely.

Memphis: 1) Let Rudy Gay become an elite rebounder at the SF position. At the FIBA World Championships he hit the boards markedly better than in the past–can this translate to his NBA game? 2) Let Mike Conley earn his extension and continue to play at the high level he is (unlike in the past, when he was a below average point guard). A productive Conley fits in perfectly with the Grizzlies’ young core. 3) Let the cut and jacked newcomer, Tony Allen, transfer his muscles to Hasheem Thabeet.

Miami: 1) Let Mike Miller make at least fifteen three-pointers in a single game. 2) Let Pat Riley come back to help the players. On the hardwood. If you want your team to truly be epic, Pat, then man up, put on your jock strap, and make it happen. 3) Let this team full of talent and veterans play an aesthetically pleasing and game-reinventing style of basketball. They don’t have to win, they only have to make it look cool, man.

Milwaukee: 1) Let us have reason to Fear the Deer! With Jennings, Bogut, and an athletic and versatile group of role players (scorers and defenders), there is reason to watch and hope for this team. I didn’t feel like that with Michael Redd as their most important player. 2) Let Jennings improve…like a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I thought last year that he should have been a three-way co-ROY winner along with ‘Reke and Steph Curry. He’s a good pure shooter, defender, and passer. Once he learns to finish at the rim, his passing lanes will open up, and the southpaw will be among the league’s top PGs. Jennings is impressive as is, but his visible potential and smooth and speedy style is mouth-watering. 3) Let Michael Redd play and play well. He can have a role on this team, even if it’s just as a floor-spacer, as Redd shoots better than either Corey Maggette or John Salmons. Good luck, fellow USA Gold Medalist (I bet you can’t guess which medal I won…)

Minnesota: 1) Let Darko release his inner rage. No more Al Jefferson means more Darko. Sweet, dude. Now let’s hope that Darko turns into “Dank-bro Militant.” 2) Let Michael Beasley be who we thought he would be three years ago–an unguardable and dominant multi-talent. He’s still only 22…there’s still time left, B-Easy! This wish is apart of a bigger wish for players to fulfill their potential–Johnny Flynn, Mike Beasley, Wes Johnson, Anthony Tolliver, Corey Brewer, Ricky Rubio, and others owe the T’Wolves and their fans some growth and development considering the team isn’t contending this year. 3) Let David Kahn vanish. I don’t wish him ill will, and thus I hope he vanishes into a space of pure happiness, but sadly and incredibly he is more inept than his predecessor Kevin McHale.

New Jersey: 1) Let this team grow. Lopez, Favors, Morrow, Travis Outlaw, and Devin Harris as starters (with Terrence Williams coming of the bench) sounds like it will be a force of a lineup in 3 or 4 years and the talent could jell soon in New Jersey, but please, 2) Let it happen in Brooklyn. Airlift the stadium, preferably during a Justin Bieber concert, and just plop it in Brooklyn. 3) Let Devin Harris be healthy and exciting again. He’s the playmaker they need now and for the future. Brooklyn needs ya, brah.

New Orleans: 1) Let Chris Paul remind the world why he is not only arguably the NBA’s #1 point guard, but arguably the NBA’s #1 player, period. He’s that good, folks. (Side note: I am going to the Heat-Hornets game. Greatness in person!) 2) Let Jerryd Bayless be something more than 2007 Jannero Pargo. 3) Let David West and Emeka Okafor merge body and mind to become a super-forward. What current PF would be better?

New York: 1) Let The Knicks do the unthinkable. The impossible. The NBA playoffs. I’m sick of New Yorkers whining, and so is everyone else. And to be honest, given the large Knicks fan base, making the playoffs would make more people happy than if another team was making the playoffs. Therefore, in the most utilitarian sense, the Knicks making the playoffs will make the most people happy, fans and non-fans alike, albeit for different reasons. 2) Let Wilson Chandler be a badass SF. He has the tools for success and excitement and he’s delivered thus far. 3) Let this team run and gun in true D’Antoni fashion. PG: Felton SG: (Insert Shooter) F: Chandler F: Gallinari C: Amar’e. Sounds fun.

Oklahoma City: 1) Let James Harden be the real SG needed to push this team to the next level. 2) Let Serge Ibaka be the inside defensive presence (with the necessary minutes) needed to push this team to the next level. 3) Let Russell Westbrook learn to shoot and protect the ball as needed to push this team to the next level. And just think, I didn’t even get into Jeff Green’s weaknesses!

Orlando: 1) Let Orlando win the Larry O’Brien Trophy with Dwight Howard winning both regular season and Finals MVP awards. This is the goal, and it all could happen. If D12 translates his singing skills into free throw shooting ability, the Magic are unquestionable favorites. 2) Let Jameer Nelson come back! Vince has had his day. Rashard and Quentin too. But Jameer flashed his unbelievable quickness, shooting, and savvy for but a moment, and it seems like eons ago. He’s 28 years-old, slightly past the prime age for quick point guards…let’s just hope he’s still got it. 3) Let Orlando get Gilbert Arenas in a trade. He would fit in perfectly! Shooting and slashing! Otis Smith! (I say all of this totally and unashamedly as a Wizards fan.)

Philadelphia: 1) Let wishful thinking turn into reality. I’m lookin’ at PG: Jrue Holiday SG: Evan Turner SF: Thaddeus Young PF: Marreese Speights C: (Insert a non-Spencer Hawes center). That could be, like a legit group of chillers at some point. Eh? How many minutes will they all get? I hope a lot–I’ve seen enough Tony Battie and Darius Songaila in my day. Bee tee dubz, I didn’t have Andre Iguodala in that lineup because I think the Sixers should 2) Let Iggy-Hop leave. He’s wasting his prime away in the wasteland that is Philly basketball. It would be best for both parties. 3) Let Chris Webber somehow come back and form a badass veteran 2000’s PF duo with Elton Brand.

Phoenix: 1) Let Hakim Warrick replace all the Amar’e posterizations that Phoenix will come to be nostalgic for. I’d suggest Earl Clark as a likely candidate to assist in such a task, but he might be beyond anybody’s strongest wishes. 2) Let someone—anyone—play defense. It’s been years since anyone on the Suns has excelled on that end of the floor. Come on, guys. 3) Let the Suns the playoffs, just to prove Steve Nash wrong and to hear his inevitably hilarious reaction.

Portland: 1) Let Greg Oden stay healthy and prove that he is productive on the floor. 2) Let the Blazers trade for a point guard on the rise…then they’d be unstoppable! Do they need three starting-quality centers in Oden, Przybilla, and Camby? 3) Let Brandon Roy be the surprise of the year and win MVP as the Blazers become “the best in the West.” Anything is possible, right?

Sacramento: 1) Let Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins become a bigger and badder version of Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin for NBA Basketball: California Edition. 2) Let Omri Casspi be a cornerstone forward as the Kings approach playoff-level basketball. 3) Let Kevin Johnson make an NBA comeback from his mayoral position. They need a dynamic point guard and everyone loves KJ!

San Antonio: 1) Let the Big 3 stay healthy and productive for at least one more year. As much as they “bore” fans, we’ll miss them when they’re gone. For fun, let’s wish the same for Richard Jefferson, who deserves a bounce back after his reported hard work this summer. 2) Let DeJuan Blair get the respect he deserves, in the form of playing time. 3) Let Tiago Splitter stay on the team, stay in the US, and stay good at basketball. He has flirted with the NBA for years—finally we get the chance to see Splitter on a team that promises to use him well.

Toronto: 1) Let this team cook for me. Literally. A Brazilian, an Italian, a Spaniard, an Australian, and a Lithuanian would definitely cook up somethin’ funky. Plus they play in Toronto (which is in a different country than the US, right…?) They’d probably get reeeaaalll weeeiiirrrddd with it. (The players referenced are, in order, Leandro Barbosa, Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, David Andersen, and Linuas Kleiza, in case you were wondering). 2) Let Reggie Evans have at least one game with 20 rebounds and zero points. His stat-lines are entertaining, he’s truly a rare breed. Or maybe I just like rebounders. 3) Let DeMar DeRozan turn into the athletic presence that Toronto needs. Without Vince, T-Mac, or Jamario Moon, Raps fans need encouragement on the wings in the form of monstrous dunks.

Utah: 1) Let Paul Millsap be the All-Star he deserves to be. I have a bias towards rebounders, what can I say. 2) Let Kirilenko re-learn how to block shots and rebound. Gosh, I really am obsessed with rebounding. 3) Let the Jazz trade back Al Jefferson for Boozer. Boozer is simply better (at least from a rebounding perspective). Crap! I did it again! I LOVE REBOUNDS.

Washington: I have about three thousand wishes for the Wizards. But my top three are: 1) Let John Wall immediately become a version of Chris Paul laced with a little bit of LeBron James. 2) Let Yi Jianlian find his 2010 summer form. He was a machine for China (especially on the glass! Still obsessed!). 3) Let the Wizards make a midseason switch to “The Bullets” and start playing all their games in the Capitol building. We have to spice up the place to make up for Tuesday’s results!

So, for all you NBA fans out there, pray to the NBA Wizard (screw Genies, brah) for your wishes to come true. As long as none of them result in a lockout!

Have other NBA wishes you’d like to share? Comment on the article or e-mail us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook.

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