Migs Bustos’ 2017 NBA wish list
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) scores over Charlotte Hornets' Cody Zeller (40) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
A new year is upon us, and with a new year comes new things. At the same time though, it’s equally interesting to see the return, or even just a call-back to some great moments from the past.
With all of that in mind, here’s what I want to see for the Association this year:
1) The continued upward trajectory of the Slam Dunk Contest
Last year’s dunk contest, with the final between Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, was the best one in recent years. It was a return to a few decades ago, when dunks were simply feats of athleticism and creativity. There had been stretches in the past decade and a half where there were too much gimmicks and showmanship involved, that detracted from the overall product.
Some might say that as each year passes, there’s just less for dunkers to do to really wow a crowd that has seen it all. However, LaVine and Gordon showed that there’s still plenty of creative space if you look hard enough, and nothing can trump sheer athleticism. Hopefully in New Orleans this year, the latest batch of dunkers will wow the world with some top-quality throwdowns.
2) No to the '4-point’ line
Blame it on Stephen Curry for shooting so far beyond the line. The reigning back-to-back MVP can literally hit from anywhere on the court, and it’s inevitable that people, both amateurs and pros, are now shooting three’s from WAYYYYYYY beyond the three-point line.
As a result of this change though, speculation among fans of a possible “four-point line” has bubbled up again. However, I hope this doesn’t ever push through. It would be such a bad sight to see a team add tons of “hail mary” plays to their arsenal.
3) The next Tim Duncan
The five-time NBA champion is perhaps the best big man to play his position in the past 20 years. In the wake of his retirement, there needs to be someone to pick up the baton from “The Big Fundamental.” While the current era of hoops stars “stretch-4’s,” big men who are better splashing from downtown compared to battling in the post, I hope the traditional big man will always have a place in the game.
My pick to be the next Tim Duncan would be another San Antonio Spur - LaMarcus Aldridge. He’s the closest to a back-to-the-basket big man, but has the bonus of a slick turnaround jumper that he’s made into his trademark. I believe he can be a better version of TD, and continue what Duncan has done in San Antonio. He just needs to start winning rings though.
4) Upsets, upsets, and more upsets.
Every fan wants to witness a Cinderella story. Last season, the Golden State Warriors seemed poised to go the distance after winning a record 73 regular season wins. But despite being down 1-3, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended the “golden season” of the Dubs, writing a storybook ending by finally bringing a title to The Land.
Wouldn’t it be thrilling to be a part of more historic moments like that in the NBA? I’d be the first to raise my hand to more shocking upsets like that!
5) LeBron James gets another ring
LeBron James deserves as many rings as he can get. The only current active superstar that can come close to the accomplishments of Michael Jordan, James is on track to carve out his own place in the history books. Ultimately, he will likely go down as one of the best to ever play the game, and if he picks up championship #4 this season, that will be another step towards chasing “The Chicago Ghost.”
Even though the world is divided into LeBron fans and his devoted haters, the basketball world deserves to witness further greatness.
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