Even the richest man in the world wants something else. And when an opportunity like Christmas pops up on the calendar, that rich man isnít shy about asking. And if that rich man has an influential role in running an NBA franchise, now is the time to turn those requests into results.
As the season reaches the two-month mark, the haves are distancing themselves from the have-nots, and yet all of them need something. Here are five NBA teams whose wish lists to Santa Claus have been revealed:
New York Knicks ó Anthony Randolph-Man action figure (replacement)
Clearly the one Donnie Walsh had shipped express from Oakland is defective. The instructions said youíre supposed to give Randolph-Man a fresh start and watch him dominate, but so far this shiny new toy has been a bust (2.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 8.0 mpg). But thatís why youíre supposed to keep the receipt. So Iím sure as soon as the Knicks get their replacement model, the Stretch Armstrong look-alike with springs in his legs and special fly-swatting hand action will be the Shawn Marion of this Ď06-07 Phoenix Suns formula New York is trying to put together.
Detroit Pistons ó George Blaha ďMeasures and MakesĒ Chemistry Set
While the Pistons have depth, coach John Kuester doesnít seem to have any idea how to use it effectively, and the players arenít doing him any favors with their resistance to buy into a team concept. Five Pistons ó Rodney Stuckey, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon ó are averaging double figures in scoring, and just as many Pistons (if not more) are the victims of inconsistent playing time and uncertainty about their roles. The team has talent, but if they donít get it together, itís going to be another Lottery season.
Los Angeles Lakers ó 2 tickets, Gary Payton Basketball Camp
Not for any of the Lakersí players, but for GM Mitch Kupchak and coach Phil Jackson. Maybe they can scour the campís roster of Gloves-in-training and find somebody capable of defending a point guard.
Cleveland Cavaliers ó Winning Lottery ticket
Iím pretty sure the Cavs arenít trying to tank this season, if only because (1) owner Dan Gilbert is still under the delusion he can hand LeBron James his comeuppance, and (2) there isnít a future superstar on LeBronís level waiting for them in the 2011 NBA Draft. That said, the Cavs wouldnít mind if some Lís now translate to Dukeís Kyrie Irving, UNCís Harrison Barnes or Baylorís Perry Jones later. Maybe even hometown hero Jared Sullinger of Ohio State. But maybe we donít wanna go down that road again.
Oklahoma City Thunder ó Roy Hibbert
As much as you have to admire GM Sam Prestiís patient approach to building a contender, at some point you have to strike while the iron is hot and capitalize on the prime years of your superstars. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are each only 22 years old, but donít assume they have 10 years of bright future ahead: Once upon a time Shaq and Penny Hardaway were each only 23 years old, and the Orlando Magic are still looking for that championship they were supposed to win together. OKC has almost all the pieces for a legit title run, most notable missing a center who can score, defend the paint and go head-up with guys like Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan and not get embarrassed. I usually donít advocate trades that hurt my favorite team, but Roy Hibbert just seems like a perfect fit for OKC. Would the Pacers ever go for a trade with any of the pieces OKC has to offer? Hell no. But what is Christmas about if not asking for things youíre probably not going to get?
What does your favorite team need from Santa Claus?