Making a List, Checking it Twice
We’re at 2020’s finish line. Halloween is over, Canadian Thanksgiving is behind us, and American Thanksgiving is on the way. Somehow, eight months passed by in the blink of an eye, and we’re eight weeks away from Christmas! To kick start the festivities, here is teams one through fifteen’s Christmas wish list. These are the burning questions, ideal moves, and absolute musts for each team.
Atlanta Hawks – Acquire 3-and-D Talent
Atlanta should be desperate to find talent to surround Trae Young. Specifically, they’re going to have to prioritize guys that can defend and assist in hiding Young on defence.
Acquiring a player that can guard the opposing team’s best player, and hit open threes would fit perfectly alongside the duo of Young and John Collins.
The Hawks should want to make a big splash, and they can do as they have a couple young players that hold value as prospects with considerable upside. With their best player still on a rookie-scale contract, Atlanta may just swing for the fences.
Boston Celtics – A Mobile, Interior Presence
The Celtics were so close to reaching the NBA Finals this past year. They were probably a piece away from potentially winning it all.
As admirable as Daniel Thesis was throughout the playoffs, especially during the Raptors series, he, and anyone on the Celtics roster, were no match for Bam Adebayo’s athleticism and physicality inside.
If the Celtics look to compete with the likes of Miami or the Lakers who feature mobile, talented bigs, they need to get upgrades at the centre position.
Brooklyn Nets – A Clean Bill of Health
This team is ready to win now. A coaching staff with big names, two superstar players, and a cast of great role players. The Nets are primed to win a title as early as next season, if they are healthy.
The question of how Kevin Durant will fare coming back from one of the most devastating injuries a basketball player can face will likely determine Brooklyn’s legitimacy as title contenders.
There’s only really one player in history that successfully came back from a torn achilles and still played at a prime level. The Nets are surely hoping Durant can follow Dominique Wilkins’ footsteps.
Charlotte Hornets – Hit a Homerun With Their Draft Pick
The Hornets haven’t had much to cheer for lately. They had couple playoff appearances here and there throughout the decade, saw a couple stars come to town, only to eventually leave (Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker), and a whole lot of mediocrity.
Charlotte needs a star to re-ignite the buzz around the team. Devonte Graham and P.J. Washington look promising as secondary contributors, but the Hornets need a bonafide talent that can effectively raise the floor of this team’s success.
With the third pick in the 2020 Draft, they can potentially do so.
Chicago Bulls – Get Lauri Markkanen Back On Track
Lauri Markkanen was one of the most promising rookies in the 2017 NBA Draft. He started his rookie year strong, but has regressed since then.
With Jim Boylen out of the picture, who arguably miss-used the Finnish Forward, the Bulls have to get this guy back on the right trajectory.
A seven-footer who can take the ball off the dribble a little and shoot the three is a hot commodity anywhere in the league, and if the Bulls want to take the first step back into contention, it starts with getting Markkanen to unlock his true potential.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Trade Kevin Love for Assets
Kevin Love has been in trade rumours ever since LeBron James left for the Lakers. It’s obvious that the Cavaliers are in the middle of a rebuild, and are looking to acquire assets and young players in return for Love.
Love would bring elite shooting and rebounding to any team that trades for him, and the Cavs would ideally prefer a package that includes a young player, and a future pick.
Dallas Mavericks – Improvements on the Defensive End
There’s not much Dallas could want anymore. Considering they have the future of the NBA in Luka Doncic, along with resident Unicorn Kristaps Porzingis they will be perennial contenders throughout the 2020s, if they can solve one glaring issue.
It’s no secret that the Mavericks have to get better on the other side of the ball. They had a historically efficient offence last season, but still got bounced out of the first round. The need for defenders across the roster is evident.
Denver Nuggets – Resign Jerami Grant
Jerami Grant should be the number one priority heading into the offseason for the Nuggets. He proved to be an invaluable member of the team, especially in the playoffs where he stepped up big amidst Paul Millsap’s struggles.
Grant will also be a coveted commodity in free agency, with many teams interested in acquiring the forward.
With Millsap also turning 36 next year, Denver should look to replace him with the young and talented Grant.
Detroit Pistons – Draft LaMelo Ball
Detroit needs star power. They haven’t really had a “superstar” talent in Detroit since the days of Isiah Thomas and the Bad Boy Pistons.
LaMelo Ball looks to be one of the prospects this year with the most upside. His passing and playmaking abilities are his most valuable skills as of now, and his jump shot and lack of defensive ability are the holes in his game that need patching up in order for him to emerge as a star.
If the Pistons land LaMelo, and he lives up to the hype, it just might be what the Pistons truly need to get back to relevancy in the NBA.
Golden State Warriors – Land Another Superstar
The Warriors are in the enviable position of having both win-now talent, while also housing young talent and assets in the organization.
The emergence of Eric Paschal, along with their second overall draft pick in this years draft, as well as Andrew Wiggins look to be key pieces the Warriors could package in a deal for another superstar player to pair alongside Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
It’s likely that the Warriors land some player via trade, considering there are a couple big names (Bradley Beal and Victor Oladipo) that could potentially be on the move soon. It also wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see the Warriors stand pat for one more season, draft a player this year, and package all their assets the following season where more superstars will be available.
Houston Rockets – Trade Westbrook
The Rockets should hope and pray that there’s a team out there willing to take on Russell Westbrook’s $40+ Million dollar contract over the next two-to-three years.
His fit alongside James Harden has been anything but perfect, and the Rockets took a considerable step back this season compared to the past years with Chris Paul.
While Westbrook is still a triple-double threat every night, his pairing alongside Harden will likely not produce a champion in Houston. If the Rockets can find someone take on Westbrook, it would certainly be a Christmas miracle.
Indiana Pacers – Sabonis or Turner
The Pacers are in somewhat of a transitional period. A new head coach in Nate Bjorkgren, their star player in Victor Oladipo potentially on his way out, along with their frontcourt continuing to be filled with two talented players that play the same position.
The Domantas Sabonis-Myles Turner frontcourt needs to be split up. Both are great players, but they both prefer to play the centre spot, and their fit alongside one another isn’t great.
Ideally, the Pacers would want to trade one of the two for a player that can space the floor alongside one of their centres they end up keeping. A name like Davis Betrans seems to fit the bill here.
Los Angeles Clippers – Reunion With Chris Paul
After flaming out in the second round, blowing a three-one-lead to the Denver Nuggets, one thing became blatantly clear for the Clippers.
They absolutely need an elite playmaker to be true contenders. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George cannot be the primary playmakers for this team to succeed, and it was very clear that Lou Williams and Patrick Beverly weren’t going to be the ones to step up either.
The Clippers need a true floor general. Someone that can run the offence, while also being that on-court coach to orchestrate and organize the defence. Chris Paul is likely the best available point guard, and would be the point guard at the top of Steve Ballmer’s Christmas wish list at this point.
The Clippers are probably wishing they still have enough to acquire the “Point God,” as they already spent all their assets last offseason.
Los Angeles Lakers – Trade For Bradley Beal
Is it greedy to say the Lakers need and want another superstar to pair alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis? For a team that just won the title, in mostly dominant fashion throughout the playoffs, you’d think the Lakers are just being plain greedy at this point.
The reality is, next season the competition around the league will only get stronger. With KD and Kyrie coming back next year, along with the re-emergence of the Golden State Warriors, the playing field across the association will likely even out.
A third superstar will likely push the Lakers to their 18th championship, and the move is also necessary to guarantee that it happens.