Connect with us

Philadelphia 76ers

Perfect holiday gift for every NBA team: Warriors could use a workplace therapist; Celtics need vintage Gordon Hayward

Shopping during the holidays is tough, especially with everyone’s contrasting tastes and some being unsure of what they truly want. In the NBA, however, most teams have a pretty clear wish list — whether they want people to know it or not.  

In the League of Drama, there’s always something teams can improve upon. Even the NBA‘s best teams want for something, and we’re happy to help. 

We here at CBS Sports have taken it upon ourselves to find the perfect gift for every team this holiday season. 

Atlanta Hawks: A top lottery pick in next year’s draft

With Trae Young and John Collins, as well as Omari Spellman and Kevin Huerter, the Hawks have some pretty solid young players on their roster. But they still need way more talent, and the best way for them to get it at this point is through the draft. Another top lottery pick in 2019, along with the first-round pick they’re getting from the Mavericks, will help them continue their rebuild. — Jack Maloney

Boston Celtics: A healthy, confident and comfortable Gordon Hayward

I know that he has made strides physically since the start of the season, and I know that he has had a couple of high points, like his 30-point, nine-rebound, eight-assist game in Minnesota at the beginning of the month, but still. Let’s not forget how much more he can do. Hayward was one of the best wings in the league before his leg injury, and we shouldn’t settle for him being a helpful play-maker off the bench. No, Boston needs the real Hayward — the one who dunks on people, the one who can take over games — if it is going to reach its peak this season. The Celtics won’t get this gift on Dec. 25, but they’ll accept it anytime before the start of the playoffs. — James Herbert

Brooklyn Nets: Healing elixir for injured Caris LeVert

Seriously, the Nets have found their groove recently, and it came at just the right time because it looked like they were spiraling out of control for a minute there. Their winning streak, though, is camouflaging just how much they miss LeVert, who had clearly established himself as their best player early in the season. It is not just that he gives them another play-maker — it is that he could guard three positions and do a competent job against big, high-usage stars on the wing. It would be wonderful if Brooklyn’s good vibes were maintained by a magical, ankle-fixing elixir. — Herbert

Charlotte Hornets: The ability to win close games

For years now, this Hornets bunch has been abysmal in close games. Dating back to the 2016-17 season, the Hornets are 4-21 in games decided by three points or less, which honestly sounds almost impossible. This season alone they’re already 3-7 in those type of contests. With some better poise — and luck — in close games, they could be in the mix for home court in the first round instead of fighting for a playoff spot. — Maloney

Chicago Bulls: New management

The Bulls have cycled through coaches at a rapid rate in recent years, but the front office has remained intact. For an organization that hasn’t made an NBA Finals appearance since Michael Jordan was still suiting up — and has been mired in mediocrity for much of the time since — it might be time for a shakeup in the front office. — Michael Kaskey-Blomain

Cleveland Cavaliers: A nice lottery landing in 2019

With the [second] LeBron James era in Cleveland over, it is time for the organization to hit the reset button and build back up, and the best way to do so in the NBA is by striking gold in the lottery. The higher the pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the better for the Cavs. — Kaskey-Blomain

Dallas Mavericks: Making playoffs with a healthy Dirk

I can pinpoint this team’s weaknesses when it pertains to its lack of mid-range shooting and interior presence outside of DeAndre Jordan, but this is a much simpler gift. What better way for the Mavericks to transition into their new era than to have the greatest European basketball player ever (Dirk Nowitzki) hand the torch to the best young European player in the game today (Luka Doncic) during a surprising playoff season in 2018-19? — DJ Siddiqi

Denver Nuggets: A clean bill of health

The Denver Nuggets just need to get healthy. When they are, the team has arguably the deepest backcourt in the NBA. Denver signed Isaiah Thomas, but he has yet to play with his new team. In addition, Gary Harris is currently out of the lineup. — Chris Bengel

Detroit Pistons: Consistent perimeter play

The Pistons boast one of the more formidable frontcourts in the Eastern Conference, as they can count on solid production from both Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond on a nightly basis. However, they have issues when it comes to consistent perimeter production. Guys like Reggie Bullock, Luke Kennard, Stanley Johnson and Langston Galloway have all flashed potential, but none of them has truly stepped up like the Pistons would like to see. — Kaskey-Blomain

Golden State Warriors: A workplace therapist

The well-publicized quarrel between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green and the subsequent fallout could ultimately spell the end of this Warriors dynasty, but the frenemies can go a long way toward mending the rift by winning another title this season. In order to do that, however, they’ll need someone that can get at the core of whatever issues Durant and Green have (which clearly go beyond Green not passing Durant the ball that one time), and there’s no better way to do that than sitting down with a workplace therapist to discuss your problems — maybe looking at some inkblots or role playing with puppets. They might want to keep him or her on retainer as well, with DeMarcus Cousins‘ return right around the corner. — Colin Ward-Henninger

Houston Rockets: Better shooting inside the arc

Hidden behind that recent five-game winning streak and magnificent performances by James Harden is the fact that this team still needs a perimeter defensive player, but also someone who can actually make shots inside the arc. The Rockets rank 27th in defensive rating but perhaps more concerning is that they rank 22nd in field-goal percentage. This is in large part due to the fact that they rank 27th in two-point field goal percentage — pretty puzzling considering their emphasis on good looks in the paint. — Siddiqi

Indiana Pacers: Some national recognition

If you listened to a lot of the national coverage of the NBA, you would think that the top of the Eastern Conference is a four-team race featuring the Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. However, a third of the way through the season the Pacers are right there with those other four teams, they’re just receiving (far) less attention. That needs to change in a hurry. — Kaskey-Blomain

Los Angeles Clippers: A secret handshake from a superstar

The Clippers have surprised everyone this season — except themselves, presumably — by riding a strong mix of above-average-to-good players into Western Conference playoff position. It’s a feel-good, “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” story that would make an eighth-grade basketball coach swoon, but we all know you can’t win anything of significance in the NBA without at least one bona fide superstar — probably more. The Clippers aren’t exactly hiding the fact that they want to be at the forefront of the Kevin Durant-Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes next summer, and after all that franchise has been through, one of them sending a wink-wink agreement for next summer in Steve Ballmer’s direction would be the ultimate holiday gift. — Ward-Henninger

Los Angeles Lakers: A fountain of maturity

While some NBA teams long for a pathway to Ponce de León’s mythical fountain of youth to bring their players back to their glory days, the Lakers find themselves with the opposite problem. LeBron James is ready to win now, and he has proven he can lead this group to a playoff berth, but is his cherubic supporting cast — most of which has never seen the postseason — ready for the intensity and rigor of a deep playoff run? If only there were some magical elixir that Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart could sip to suddenly transport them into their primes. In this league youth is often a blessing, but in the Lakers’ case, for this season at least, it could end up being a curse. — Ward-Henninger

Memphis Grizzlies: A deadly 3-point shooter

Grit-N-Grind worked at the beginning of the season, but it has since quickly fizzled as the Grizzlies have lost seven of their past nine contests. For as stout as they are defensively — second in the league on defense — they rank 29th in points and 25th in 3-pointers made. — Siddiqi

Miami Heat: Health

Heading into the weekend before Christmas, Heat players had already lost over 80 cumulative games to injury, which puts them among the league leaders in that unfortunate category. That won’t get any better either, as Goran Dragic recently underwent knee surgery and will be out for up to two months. If they can stay healthy, the Heat have more than enough talent to lock up a playoff spot — especially in the East. — Maloney 

Milwaukee Bucks: An MVP award for Giannis

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been having a career year for Milwaukee, and he has been downright dominant for large chunks of the season. The Bucks, back in action on Christmas Day against the Knicks (12 p.m. ET — watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension), haven’t had an NBA MVP since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1974, but if Antetokounmpo keeps playing and producing at the level he has — and the Bucks continue to win at a decent clip — he will find his name in the conversation, maybe even leading it, at the end of the season. — Kaskey-Blomain

Minnesota Timberwolves: Having a happy Jimmy Butler on their roster

The Timberwolves would’ve loved not to have to trade Jimmy Butler. The franchise made a huge move when acquiring Butler just over a year ago and was barely able to see the move through. — Bengel

New Orleans Pelicans: A defensive stopper

Acquiring such a player by the trade deadline might be a difficult task considering the team doesn’t have many assets outside of Anthony Davis, but this is a squad that excels on offense and absolutely fails on defense. The Pelicans rank 26th in points allowed and 22nd in defensive rating. — Siddiqi

New York Knicks: A gift card for lottery luck

Let’s be honest: Regardless of how all their players on one-year contracts perform this season, regardless of how Kristaps Porzingis looks when he returns in mid-February or whenever they finally clear him, the most important thing for the Knicks is that they don’t screw up the tank job. They have won 32, 31 and 29 games since drafting Porzingis, and their reward for all that losing has been No. 8 pick Frank Ntilikina in 2017 and No. 9 pick Kevin Knox this past June. (In 2016, they didn’t have a pick thanks to the Andrea Bargnani trade — yikes.) Every New York fan wants a higher selection this time. — Herbert 

Oklahoma City Thunder: A healthy Andre Roberson back in the lineup

The Thunder‘s gift request is fairly simple. The team has really missed Andre Roberson as their starting two-guard since he was lost for last season in January. Roberson obviously doesn’t provide a ton on the offensive end, but he’s one of the top defenders that the league has to offer. His return — hopefully by this January — can’t come soon enough.  — Bengel

Orlando Magic: Continued development for Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba

Orlando got out to a nice start this season, and might still end up making the playoffs in the East. However, whether the Magic do matters little for their long-term outlook. The best thing for their future will be continued development for their two young big men, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba. Whether those two reach their potential will play a large part in determining where the Magic go not only the rest of this season, but moving forward. — Maloney

Philadelphia 76ers: A merry buyout season

Last year, the Sixers signed Marco Belinelli in mid-February and Ersan Ilyasova a couple weeks later, and, as every NBA analyst has pointed out since, the two of them were instrumental to the team’s strong finish. I’m not sure that they need the same types of players this time around — while more shooting would be good, two-way wings would be great — but it is obvious that they aren’t as deep as they need to be. The state of Markelle Fultz, the Zhaire Smith situation and the Nemanja Bjelica debacle were not the front office’s fault, but all of this stuff has consequences. — Herbert

Phoenix Suns: More lottery luck

It’s rare for a team to get back-to-back No. 1 overall draft picks, but the Suns are doing their darndest to make it happen. After seemingly making an attempt to transition into basketball relevance this offseason, the Suns are right back at the forefront of the tankapalooza in which they’ve been featured so prominently over the past few seasons. This is a top-heavy draft, with huge prizes like Duke studs Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett there for the taking, so how about one more top lottery pick to give the starving Suns fans a bit of basketball sustenance? — Ward-Henninger

Portland Trail Blazers: Postseason success

The Trail Blazers just want a little postseason success under their tree. Portland has been a tremendous team during the regular season, but has often struggled when the lights are the brightest. Last season’s first-round exit was a prime example. — Bengel

Sacramento Kings: Coupon for one drama-free year

It truly is a Christmas miracle! The Kings are 18-15 — ahead of the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz in the Western Conference. Considered to be one of the worst teams in the league entering the season, Sacramento has already surpassed even the wildest of expectations. Of course, in true Kings fashion, the success hasn’t come without controversy. Coach Dave Joerger was reportedly on the hot seat earlier this season for the way he was handling the team’s young players, and recently Joerger’s praise of Rookie of the Year favorite Luka Doncic — who the Kings passed on to select Marvin Bagley III with the No. 2 overall pick — gained notoriety as a perceived slight toward the font office. The Kings really do have a good thing going for once, so here’s to a full year of drama-free basketball, something the city of Sacramento has truly earned. — Ward-Henninger

San Antonio Spurs: Shooters taking more 3s

The Spurs are on the heels of a three-game winning streak where they’ve won each of their games by at least 27 points. And guess what? They’re actually taking 3-pointers, going 40 of 75 (53.3 percent) from beyond the arc. Believe it or not, this is a team that leads the league in 3-point percentage — but ranks second-to-last in actual attempts. — Siddiqi

Toronto Raptors: More consistent 3-point shooting

This team is generally crushing it, and it has an elite offensive rating despite this glaring flaw, but I’m getting dizzy thinking about Toronto losing a playoff game at home and the players lamenting that it’s a “make or miss league.” I’ll bet Kyle Lowry‘s 3-point percentage rises once he returns from injury, but it’s a concern that so many of the Raptors’ rotation players have been inconsistent from deep. I’m not sure, for example, if O.G. Anunoby really demands defensive attention on the perimeter, and that could be a problem in the postseason. At the very least, Toronto deserves to get the 2016-17 version of C.J. Miles for the holidays. — Herbert 

Utah Jazz: More 3-point shooters

The Jazz could use some 3-point shooting to add to their roster. Utah did add Kyle Korver, but the team still ranks 25th in the NBA with just a 34 percent average from beyond the arc. That’s certainly an area that needs to improve if this team has playoff aspirations. — Bengel

Washington Wizards: Consistency

More than perhaps any other team in the league, you have no idea what you’re going to get from the Wizards on a night-to-night basis. One night they’ll run the Lakers out of the gym, the next they’ll lose to the Hawks. This is already a lost season in terms of the Wizards contending, but with a more consistent effort, they could at least stabilize things enough to get back in the playoff mix. — Maloney



Source Link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Philadelphia 76ers