When Derrick Rose was about seven years old, the only thing he asked for from Santa Claus was a yo-yo. He didn’t get one, though. Instead, he got several of them, and while he once joked that those yo-yos were the most excited he ever got over a childhood Christmas gift, he also admitted that he broke every single one of them the first day he got them.
Chances are pretty good that the types of gifts he’s getting as an adult are considerably more complex and expensive, but that a former league MVP and nine-figure earner could have been so tickled at one point over the magic of a yo-yo (and that he would be so excited to talk about it during a pregame interview once upon a time) shows just how fantastic the holiday season can be.
In a lot of ways, the NBA season “really starts” on Christmas day, where we get a great slate of marquee matchups, some truly lovely alternate holiday uniforms and a shift away from football season to the time of year when basketball truly is king.
We’ll get those great games, but the Basketball Insiders crew decided to ask for just a little bit more from the Hoops Gods this holiday season. Here’s a quick rundown of our writing staff’s NBA Christmas wish lists:
“My Christmas wish is for the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers to face off in the playoffs. It’s extremely unlikely to happen, but it would be fun to finally get the Hallway Series. The Lakers feature a lot of young talent and are managed by a young, energetic coach in Luke Walton, and the purple and gold would obviously be severe underdogs. Still, it would be fun to match these teams up against one another for a seven-game series.”
“More than anything else, I’d like to see the Sacramento Kings bite the bullet and trade both Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins. Gay would probably play a good role in Oklahoma City next to Russell Westbrook, so long as he controlled his shot selection. Westbrook needs more firepower on that team and landing Gay would probably give the Thunder a shot at matching up with the Warriors in the playoffs. I know… it’s not that likely, but it’s called a Christmas WISH list for a reason. And while we’re at it, can we just have the Kings send DeMarcus Cousins to the Wizards for Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and a pick? Does that trade make way too much sense to not happen? They’d have to match salaries, yes, but I’m sure Vlade and Grunfeld could figure that part out. It’s why they’re paid the big bucks.”
“Things are going sour for Nerlens Noel in Philly, it’s time for a trade.
I hope he gets more playing time, takes those braids out and brings back the fade.
I wish Blake Griffin gets healthy and gets over what ails his knee.
If he doesn’t, it will be season 12 and no Conference Finals for CP3.
Father Time is undefeated, look what he’s doing to Luol Deng.
At season’s end I want nothing more to see if Steph and Durant can take out the “Kang.”
-Lang “Clement Clarke Moore” Greene
“One thing I want for Christmas: the Blazers making a run at a rim protector. They entered the year with a team built on continuity and youth. Most were expecting the Blazers to be better defensively, due to the simple fact that they’d had success in the playoffs and were bound to improve, as they were very young. Unfortunately, they’ve regressed. Over the offseason, the team went out and tried to get Dwight Howard, Hassan Whiteside and others, but they fell short on landing the big rim protector that was needed. Now, there are reports that Festus Ezeli is unlikely to play this year due to ongoing issues with his knee. If there was one thing I’d like to see, it would be a Trail Blazers trade involving a rim-protecting center. It’s not likely, and not even something I’d necessarily agree with. But I’d like to see how much better they could potentially be after that kind of move.”
“What I most want for Christmas is for Russell Westbrook to remain 100 percent healthy for the entire season. If anything happens – minor or otherwise – the Thunder are in a huge heap o’ trouble! Let’s not even think about that scenario and just continue with how things have been going. And if it’s not too much to ask… maybe have the remaining Thunder players show some real and lasting improvement right before the playoffs begin.”
“Can a brother just get a nice slate of games for Christmas Day? I’m not asking for much… I promise. Can I get 40 points from Kristaps Porzingis in a barn-burner against the Boston Celtics at MSG, Finals Game 8 from Golden State-Cleveland, a showdown (on both sides of the court) between Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard, an all-out track meet from Oklahoma City-Minnesota and a double-OT thriller from the L.A. Clippers and L.A. Lakers? That’s not too much to ask for, is it?”
“The one thing I’d like to have for Christmas this year is for Joel Embiid and Jeremy Lin to remain on the court the rest of the season. Embiid makes every Sixers game a must-watch despite the team’s woeful record. He’s showing why he drew comparisons to a young Hakeem Olajuwon, and it’s been a joy to watch his individual progress. Meanwhile, Lin makes Brooklyn a more competitive team. I want to see what he can do as a full-time starter with coach Kenny Atkinson, the man who helped develop ‘Linsanity’ in New York.”
“I would love to see the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder matched up in the first round of the playoffs. As of this writing, Golden State is the No. 1 seed and Oklahoma City is the No. 7 seed, so it may actually be one of the more realistic items on this wish list. I just want to watch a full series of Super Saiyan Russell Westbrook against his former teammate, Kevin Durant. Who doesn’t want to see that?”
“To be perfectly honest, I’ve already gotten my NBA Christmas wish, which was to cover All-Star Weekend in New Orleans this winter. I’ve actually never been to the Big Easy before but have been obsessed with it since binging Treme a couple of years ago. The food and the music would be worth the trip alone, but all the NBA action and a weekend with Steve Kyler and Moke Hamilton? Feel free to tweet me your envy. Since that one’s already granted, I want to watch a dunk contest that features Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, Larry Nance, Jr. and Aaron Gordon. While it doesn’t sound like Wiggins will ever compete in it, the other three absolutely could go at it this February. If not Wiggins, I’d settle for one last go at it from Vince Carter. Can you imagine? Also, I’d like Stance to send me one pair of every single sock they make. I don’t ask for much, but I do ask for all of the socks. And anyway, what’s Christmas without stockings?”
What are your NBA holiday wishes? Feel free to leave any of them in the comments section below or tweet at any of us with some more ideas. Hopefully it leads to some fun hoops chat so we can stay positive ahead of Christmas. We’ll save the heated Reddit debates for sometime in early 2017.
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