I made a list and checked it twice.
After months of preparation I know exactly what the big man in red (Not Robin Lopez) needs to bring the NBA in 2018:
A Healthy 76ers Playoff Run
The Philadelphia 76ers are finally giving their fans the season they’ve been waiting over 3 years for. An energetic, young and talented roster is currently sitting just under .500 and 3 games out of the playoffs. Even with top draft pick Markelle Fultz out with a shoulder injury and star in the making Joel Embiid on a severe minutes restriction Philadelphia could very well make a push for the team’s first playoff appearance since 2012. All this plan needs to come to fruition is a little Christmas magic around Fultz’s shoulder and Embiid’s feet and the rest will work itself out. The only problem is that Santa will need to overlook some recent misunderstandings with with city of brotherly love as he certainly hasn’t forgotten when Eagles fans booed him in 2015.
The Return of Boris Diaw
It has been 229 days since Boris Diaw stepped foot on an NBA court and I for one will not take this a day longer. The 35 year old is currently playing professional basketball back in his home country of France but deserves a proper send off from the NBA. One of the leagues most underrated all around players during his tenure, Diaw was an exceptional passer, an above average defender and a guy that could put the ball in the basket (don’t believe me? See below). Come trade deadline I would love nothing more than a young team to add this experienced veteran to their rotation.
A Celtics vs Cavs Eastern Conference Finals
Revenge Series > Revenge Game
LeBron is having one of his all around best seasons and the upstart Celtics are playing above and beyond expectations but only one team can come out of the Eastern Conference. Even without All-Star forward Gordon Hayward Boston has set the curve in the East with tremendous play from rookie Jayson Tatum, sophomore Jaylen Brown and clutch Kyrie when need be. The Cavs on the other hand are being carried by their centerpiece LeBron in a way we haven’t seen since the King’s early days in Cleveland. Something’s going to have to give. Will experience or youth win out? We’ll have to wait and see. (If we’re extra nice maybe Santa might even make it a 7 game series!)
A Damian Lillard All-Star Nomination
NBA fans everywhere should be charged with three counts of robbery for not sending Dame Lillard to any of the last three NBA All-Star Games (he was elected as a injury replacement in 2015). Even in a stacked Western Conference Portland’s brightest star has done more than enough to earn his spot to play with the leagues best. Last season Lillard averaged over 25 points per game and in doing so became the first player since 1986 to average 25 points or more in back-to-back seasons and not be selected for either All-Star Games. The historic snub needs to stop here or there will be no more Christmas cheer in Portland I fear.
The Thunder Figure It Out
This summer Oklahoma City Thunder General Manager Sam Presti was hailed as a hero for turning Victor Oladipo and
More MV-Beasley In The Mecca
Much like bitcoin owners this past week I sheepishly fiddled with my Kristaps Porzingis for MVP stock, unsure of its inherent value after the Knicks star went 0-11 from the field in a game. Luckily for me however I found a willing partner and traded all my Porzingis stock for Michael Beasley stock. Beasley is having a mini career resurgence in his first season in New York with three games scoring 30 or more points. His hard work has not gone unnoticed by New Yorkers as he recently received M-V-P chants during a game and a standing ovation in another after fouling out. There’s a direct correlation between MVP chants and team success (I think?) so keep em coming Knicks fans.
More Attention On The Other Great Rookies
This year the NBA has been blessed with a very talented influx of rookie talent across the board from east to west. While a majority of the attention has been on Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball and Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons, its time for the media and fans to take a moment to appreciate the rest of the class. Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell is playing like a seasoned veteran with a 30 and 40 point game under his belt already, Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen is a bright spot on a sad Chicago team, and Jayson Tatum is contributing major minutes for a contender in Boston. Across the board rookies are making a mark on teams league wide and it’s time for us all to take note.
The End of a Dynasty
The NBA is much better when there is a villain (or Grinch) for everyone to root against. The Golden State Warriors are the current NBA’s evil empire with their three trips to the finals and two championships over the past three years. They changed the math on the NBA overnight with their willingness to shot more and more threes. But all good things must come to an end and it’s time for the evil empire to fall. The Houston Rockets have taken the Warriors model and improved on it by shooting 43 3-Pointers a game, the most in the NBA and 9 more than second place. The Rockets don’t need to stop their opponents they just need to outscore them, which so far has been quite successful. Let’s spread the wealth and have James Harden shine under the bright lights of the NBA Finals.