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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Kazaam (ok maybe not Kazaam) Grants Wishes for the 2012 Offseason

(note: I am sorry for the above video but when you think of genies of course you think of Shaq)

So we move into the offseason after a topsy-turvy, quirky, wierd but never dull 2011-2012 season. With a full offseason including my guilty pleasure, NBA Summer League, teams will be able to have players at facility, talk trades, free agency and all of that other fun stuff that hoop nerds like me need to survive. With all the metrics, smartphones, and just pure knowledge, you figured most teams would scoff at a genie. However, genies are great (especially 7ft 300lb ones with bad lyrics). You ask for something, they snap fingers. You get what you want. So we grant wishes or at least grant quality advice to the 2012 NBA Playoff teams

Eastern Conference

1. Chicago:  See "What Now for the Bulls"

2. Miami:    Size Matters. Bosh's injury forced the Heat to go with Lebron James at the four and some combination of bad between Udonis Haslem/Joel Anthony/Dexter Pittman at center. When Bosh returned, he became the team's center. It worked for the playoffs  but can it be done over 82?  Eddy Curry, Dexter Pittman and Juwan Howard all will be gone or should be gone. With the Chip in place, the Heat should draft a young big man (Fab melo?) and sign another to step in (Ian Mahinmi, Marcus Camby). The most intriguing option probably will not play in 2012-2013: Greg Oden

3. Indiana:  Who is your best player?  The Pacers were a good story but the reality is don't tell me about your depth when you your best player (Danny Granger) may not be your best player. My wish for the Indiana Pacers is an obvious one. Send Granger (he is from N.O) to the Hornets for Eric Gordon (from Indy). Gordon becomes option #1 immediately for a team that lacked a real go to guy

4. Atlanta:  Something Has to Give.  My wish for the Hawks is the management being willing to do something big for its fans that despite reports do support the team. The Joe Johnson/Josh Smith duo has to be broken up and like most things the dude making the most $$ is the one that should go and is hardest to move. Johnson is not at "amnesty" level yet and it would be tough to swallow but moving him should be priority.. Johnson is a guy who when not #1 option can be very effective and is one of the better clutch players in the NBA (My guy SuperNavaho is rolling his eyes right now). Whether its Joe or J-Smoove, something or someone has to give

5. Boston:  A Champion for a Champion. Ray Allen's days with Boston are all but over. So bring in another veteran scorer to give you the punch so desperately needed, The Jet  Jason Terry.  The return of Avery Bradley will give the Celtics the best defensive backcourt in the league but the C's need one more shot creator and maker. My wish for the the C's: Jason Terry

6. Orlando:  Grow Some. My simple wish for new Magic Gm Rob Hennigan is to be ballsy enough to call Dwight Howard on his b.s and trade him. Yes its easy for me to say but for a team like Orlando you can no longer play the "woe is us small market room" (OKC and San Antonio certainly arent). I am all for players controlling their own show but Dwight isnt in control of his and too wishy washy. Make the Decision for him, get the best package of players regardless of location

7. New York: Don't Pay , Jeremy Lin.  Linsanity was fun for about 9 minutes but it all turned the other way when a knee "injury" kept Lin out at the times when he was needed most including the entire first round vs the Heat. Lin as a 15-18 minute a game point guard is all well and good but the Knicks need not overpay for it. Yeah he can sell shirts but he can't be your general. My wish: common sense overcomes dollars and cents

8. Philadelphia:  Variety is the Spice of Life.  The Sixers have a lot of the same player, in order to make another jump under Doug Collins, The Sixers will need to break up that mix, a shot blocker and defender would be preferred  (camby, javale mcgee -RFA) would help a team that struggled with interior defense or a low post scorer. Lou Williams opting out does help matters for the Sixers. My wish: an anchor in the middle

Western Conference

1. San Antonio:  Just do what you do. The Spurs formula will work from now until Duncan/Popovich call it quits and that looks to be at least two more years away for Duncan. For the Spurs, its about tweaking and developing another young talent (Nando De Colo on the way?). My wish: drafting another guard wouldnt hurt matters especially if Captain Jack doesnt return

2. Oklahoma City:  Another summer, another year of maturity. The disappointing end to the season for the young Thunder reminded us of how young they were. The combined ages of their three best players isn't seventy years old  and with Presti pushing the buttons , this Thunder team is here for the now and the future. The bad play of James Harden in the Finals will start the calls for trading him but not so fast. Losing one of your three best players isnt the move. Growing up, maturing, and toughening up is. My wish: Captain Jack. D-Fisher is likely gone so this teams needs an old head. Bringing in Captain Jack would help this team in immensely

3.  Los Angeles Lakers:  Chicken or the Egg?   The trade for Ramon Sessions paid little dividends and Steve Blake is what he is. The calls for the Lakers to bring in a point guard will start again but there is that whole Kobe thing. Bringing in a tradition PG does what when the ball still goes through Kobe?  Bring in Steve Nash for what, to become Steve Kerr?  My wish for the Lakers:  Someone with more pull to tell Kobe he isnt wearing #8 anymore and the offense to be more equally distributed to their bigs. Hint: that someone isn't Mike Brown

4. Memphis:  The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight.  A summer to get Z-bo healthy will be great for the Grizzlies. The Z-bo/Marc combo can be as devastating as Gasol/Bynum but the problem with the Grizzlies is they are a grind it out team in a spread him out league, they are running the wing t in a league playing run and shoot. OJ Mayo likely is gone and Agent Zero was a zero. Mike Conley despite his career number is a streak shooter at best.  My wish: Ray Allen. The Grizzlies need a deadeye marksman from the stripe. If not Allen, the son of Ray's ex coach would be a nice fit: Austin Rivers

5. Los Angeles Clippers:  Lob City was one of the stories of the league with the Clippers being the winner of the Chris Paul sweepstakes (yes it was a sweepstakes). The Clippers first round win was a bigger deal  in the bigger picture because it got Vinny Del Negro an extra year (they will be sorry) . Resigining Eric Bledsoe is a top priority regardlesss of Chauncey Billlups health. My wish: Someone sneak behind Donald Sterling's back and tear up VDN's deal and offer the full boat to Phil Jackson

6. Denver: Think of this team as Indiana Pacers West. They are fun, good young talent but no closer. While this George Karl's type of team with plenty of diversity and versatility, they have no bell cow. My wish for the Nuggets: Danilo Galinari grows up. He is clearly their most talented offensive player but too often is a liability, its time for Galinari to become that 20 point scorer his skill level says he should be

7.  Dallas:  Must be the  Money. With the 2011 championship ring to show, the Mavericks bit the bullet and fell down to earth  in a subtle version of playing for next year. Simply put, the Mavericks have to land hometown boy Deron Williams.  My wish:  cuban's brinks truck pulls up at D-Will's house dumbs all the money on his lawn and one way ticket from NY to Dallas

8. Utah:  Going through puberty. The Jazz were swept by the Spurs expectedly but for a team that could have easily been Lottery bound making the playoffs meant something. The challenge for the Jazz will be coming up with another gem in the draft to go with (milsap, jefferson, hayward and favors). This summer is very important for Enes Kanter, he has to start to become what high Lottery pick big men are supposed to be. My wish for the Jazz: draft a point guard and find a taker for Devin Harris

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