For a lot of us Nets fans, tomorrow will be a pretty big day in our year - Christmas! It means the anticipation of gifts, the disappointment of gifts we either didn't want or like, and of course, eating. Personally, the latter is what I like the best about the holiday, but I'm fat, so it makes sense. However, to get more in the spirit of things, I'll put forth a few Christmas gifts I'd like to see the Nets and their fans receive, be it immediately or eventually.
Without question, the one gift Nets fan want most is the resolution of the Carmelo Anthony drama. The latest trade rumor has Melo coming over with other players since he allegedly doesn't want to come over as some sort of "savior" to a Nets team lacking the talent to win. Of course, it's funny that in order to get him, the Nets would have to trade the talent that would most likely help the team win. In any case, there have been arguments made for and against the trade and to some degree, they are all valid points. Personally, I would love to build on a Brook Lopez/Derrick Favors frontline, but that doesn't seem likely the way things are sounding.
Trade talks by the Denver Nuggets have stalled for now out of respect for Anthony who is away from the team to be with his family as his sister very recently passed on. Condolences to Melo. So, we'll have to wait a little longer to see if anything pans out for the Nets or if another team comes swooping in to grab Anthony. Whatever may happen, I and I'll assume the rest of you want this trade for Melo situation to conclude.
The next Christmas gift without question is having the old Lopez back. You know, the one that showed the promise to average 20-10 every night while shooting an excellent percentage from the floor. Sure the scoring average (19.2 PPG) is up from last season (18.8 PPG), but the shooting (44.9 FG%) is way down from the previous two seasons (53.1% and 49.9%, respectively). The obvious culprit is Lopez settling for jumpers and not establishing position deeper in the post. However the first gift request above ends up, this second one is the most important to the Nets' future.
The third Christmas gift wish is dependent on the first, but I'd love to watch Favors develop in this league in a Nets uniform. Watching him as the youngest player in the NBA flashing great potential and being at the very least serviceable every time he steps on the hardwood has been a joy. At this point in his career, he's not very aggressive and I usually yell at the TV when Favors establishes position in the post, but the ball swings to the other side of the court. He's all about setting picks, rolling, and not getting looks. However, I know all of that will change and Favors will start mauling and smashing rims. The question is, will he be on the Nets at the time? My wish is that he will be.
I wish that the Nets players continue to see that what Avery Johnson is doing is a good thing despite the lack of Ws. It was all about changing the culture first and that's happening. It's obvious that Avery has a lot of pull with the front office and my other wish is that that pull doesn't get out of control and Johnson is too stubborn in his ways not to be flexible at times. For the most part, I see the Nets putting in constant effort and we all know that wasn't the case last season.
Another wish is for the Nets to be able to close out games. They've diminished double-digit leads and come back from double-digit deficits only to lose at the end of those games. Sure, Melo would definitely help in these situations as he is by metrics, a clutch shooter. It's about the only thing I'll give credit to Melo for that's indisputable. Hopefully a closer evolves from the current roster and I think we'd all like that to be Brook. Devin Harris has that ability to penetrate and get to the free-throw line numerous times, but he needs to stay healthy (and on this team), which hasn't always been easy for him. So, there's another wish right there.
I wish that Travis Outlaw can become a great bench player as he has been for most of his career. It stinks that he hasn't panned out and it doesn't appear to be that he'll ever be a consistent and effective starter, so playing well off the pine is probably the most we can all hope for.
If he's still on the team, I wish Kris Humphries continues to put up double-deuces, even if he eventually comes off the bench for the starting Favors. Another wish is that if he continues to put up double-digits and points/rebounds that the Nets don't sign him during the offseason to a ridiculous contract that the team and their fans will regret.
Now that Sasha Vujacic is now in tow, I wish that The Machine and Anthony Morrow both go nuts from beyond the arch on the regular, which will help unclog the middle for Brook and hopefully keep him down in the post more often (see second wish above). Both Vujacic and Morrow have the ability to hit the moneyball, so let's see it rain on the court when they're on it.
My final Christmas wish is that Nets fans keep hope alive. Sure the team kind of (meaning "definitely") stinks right now, but I feel in my heart that things will change... be it with Melo or not. Keep the faith and have an awesome and safe holiday!