N.B.A. Wishlist

2008-09 NBA starts from October 28. Everyone has a lot of expectations and excitement sure is building up. This is a wish list for this season. To see the fully loaded Lakers offence in full swing – A bigger, stronger and healthier Andrew Bynum teams up with Kobe, Pau, Odom and the best second unit in the league. Throw in the greatest coach at getting the best out of a super talented side. I am looking forward to watching the Lakers just mow down the opposition – an offensive juggernaut which is a throwback to the great NBA sides of the 80s. A title for Kobe will be a bonus. It will shut up Shaq for good. Go Lakers

To see some dignity restored in New York – I loved the Knicks in the Van Gundy years – a bunch of tough guys who never gave up. Therefore, watching the diametrically opposite class of 06-07 and 07-08 was particularly painful – never saw a more dysfunctional collection of players. But now Isiah is gone and the hand picked pair of Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni is in place. Things can only get better now – and I hope they are far better. Heck even Starbury seems to be interested in playing now. Go Knicks

To see the young tykes of Portland start to take wing – In Kevin Pritchard, Paul Allen finally found a guy who knew how to make his owners money count. And now Portland has an abundance of young talent at every position – with absolutely no character issues. There is no way one cannot fall in love with these guys – Unless you loved the jail blazers more. They have been on the playoff fringes in a tough western conference. Now with Dallas and Denver reeling and Oden healthy the Blazers are all set to make a big splash. Go Blazers

To finally see Tracy McGrady get the playoff monkey off his back – Tracy’s a great guy – far more selfless than his cousin Vince Carter and someone who’s time and again carried the offensive load for the Rockets on his damaged back. He’s gets a lot of heat for never having made the second round of the playoffs – and a lot of it is uncalled for. Now he’s found an ally in Ron Artest – who will bring toughness and offense – in the regular season as well as the playoffs – where the Rockets and Mc Grady really need it. 2007-8 brought redemption for Kevin and 2008-09 should be the year for T-Mac . Go Tracy

To finally see LeBron get a reliable side-kick – I am sorry Kobe but King James is the best player in the league. Therefore, while it’s been amazing to see James single-handedly carry a lacklustre Cleveland side, it’s also been extremely frustrating – If only the Cavs had held onto Boozer or if Larry Hughes had been half the player that he was in Washington. Now there seems to be some hope with Mo Williams. This guy can handle the ball and create his own offence forcing the opposition to stop playing 5 on 1 defense on Lebron. And if Lebron can get some space hell will break loose on the other side. I want to see this hell. Go Mo Williams

To see normalcy restored in Atlanta – 2008-09 was a watershed for the Hawks – they made the playoffs, scared the hell out of the Celtics and even managed to get a few sell out crowds. I think the gods conspired to give them this great season as compensation for the Michael Vick fiasco. But one season is enough. We can’t let this become a regular feature. How good is an NBA season without the Hawks’ jokes? We need them. And the Hawks are also playing along – by letting Josh Childress go to Greece. The order of the Universe will be restored soon. Don’t go Hawks

To see no more of the Pistons and the Spurs in the conference finals – Enough is enough. Give the other guys a chance. You’ve had too much success over the last few years. We don’t want either of you in the conference finals this year – unless you move away from your dull and dreary ways and start entertaining us. I hope the defeats last year were a precursor of worse things to come. Don’t go Spurs and Pistons

To see Shaquille O’Neal become the worst contract in the league – I am sick of his big mouth. And I think it was unfair that a selfish Kobe got all the heat for the Kobe – Shaq break-up while an equally greedy Shaquille got away scot-free and got a title as well. Its time the big guy got to face some music. And what better way than becoming the butt of bad contract jokes. He has competition from the likes of Stephon Marbury and Jason Kidd. But I am hoping that the Suns falter enough his year to get on O’Neal’s nerves and bring out his worst behaviour and performance. I am hoping for an entire book from Bill Simmons on bad contracts centred around Shaquille O’Neal. Don’t go Shaq
And finally there is one more. But this one is so unlikely that I thought I will add it as a separate point towards the end.

To see some joy for Mark Cuban – I love this guy. He is so involved, unlike many of the other owners. And he wants to win – is ready to roll the dice to get a title. The last three years have been very hard on him. He lost the NBA final from a seemingly unbeatable position. Then it got worse when Don Nelson ran his all conquering side off the court. Nelson Senior then rubbed salt in Cuban’s wounds by winning his court case against the Mavericks – forcing Cuban to pay up the remainder of his old contract. And then Cuban’s bold move of adding Kidd at cost of millions of luxury cost dollars ended horribly. And if that wasn’t enough Josh Howard started doing drugs and making fun of the national Flag. I pray to god to bring better luck for Mark Cuban this NBA season. Coz if that doesn’t happen this guy might just seell the Mavs and move on. And that would be a real sad thing. So if there’s one magical thing that I want this season, I want a great season for Mark Cuban. Go Mavs.

Avnish Anand

[Image source:http://flickr.com/photos/londonsteel/1544293737/]