NBA: A Black Friday Shopping List for 10 Teams
It is important to get those hot deals in more than just retail.
That is why some teams in the NBA need to get up bright and early to do some "shopping," in honor of the special, crazy, and most psycho-driven day of the year, Black Friday.
Unfortunately, some teams have shown that to compete in the coming months, some changes have to be made.
Here is a look at five teams from each conference and their most pressing need.
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Need: Scoring Depth
Remember when John Salmons was supposed to be a link to the Bucks capturing the Central division? Corey Maggette taking pressure off the sometimes-fragile Andrew Bogut?
Yeah, it is not there. Salmons is reverting to his pre-trade deadline mediocrity, and the rest of the supporting cast has been hit or miss.
Fortunately for Milwaukee, there are plenty of scorers on bad teams. Players like Stephen Jackson, Gilbert Arenas and Rip Hamilton could be made available. Yes, two of the three are ticking time bombs, but a change of scenery, especially in Arenas' case, could lead to great things.
New York Knicks
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At 8-8 (as of Thanksgiving), this team is on the cusp of being a legit team in an up-and-down Eastern Conference. The team has received scoring from numerous sources, including a breakout season from Ray Felton.
Now, what goes well with solid offense, a shred of defense.
An early gift for the Knicks at no expense will be the return of Kelenna Azubuike, one of, if not the team's best defender. He will also help shore up a spot at the 2-guard that has not been a strong point. If others pick up their d, then 41 or so wins may be possible.
Then again, this team is coached by Mike D'Antoni, so best bet is to go after a strong guard or forward like the aforementioned Hamilton, or Andre Iguodala.
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The All-IR team, aka the Portland Trailblazers, are living up to their usual expectations: losing as many players to injury as games won.
Brandon Roy and Greg Oden top the list of losses early this season. Just imagine what this team could be if they were healthy for one season.
At this point, firing the training staff may be the only resolution.
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Need: A Redo Button
The Joe Johnson signing is proving to be a bad decision. His 17.5 points per game is on par with his career output. How do you justify his massive contract? Could 20 points a game be too much of a stretch.
The Hawks needed to add some pop to their lineup in the off-season, and put all their eggs in the JJ basket. 9-7 looks good now, but a better spread of the money over a few positions (PG, SF), would look a lot better than someone deemed a must-have....averaging 17 points.
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Need: Youth Revolt
Courtney Lee, Jordan Hill, Aaron Brooks, and company have a world of talent that is not showing. Already six games under .500, the Rockets cannot expect improvement without their younger players showing their skills.
Once Brooks is healthy, everyone else will get better. Veterans like Brad Miller, Luis Scola, and Yao Ming need pressure off of them (and their feet) with consistency from their guards. Brooks is a MIP winner for a reason.
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The Suns is one of the shallowest teams in the paint. Steve Nash is having a hard time playing his physical game with no bigs clearing the paint. Even when Robin Lopez is healthy he cannot do it by himself. Who would have thought a no-defense playing Amare Stoudemire would be missed this badly?
A big may be a target if Phoenix realizes its playoff hopes rest on size and Nash's health.
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Need: Shooting Guard
The Chicago Bulls have played exceptionally well without Carlos Boozer. Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Omer Asik have covered any gaps Boozer's absence may have caused to this point. Luol Deng is playing like he is actually earning his money, and Derrick Rose is really, really fast.
The one not-so-solid position is shooting guard. Ronnie Brewer is starting to come around, and Keith Bogans is a veteran leader (Kyle Korver is being put at the three for this slide). If the two is solidified, the Bulls could cause major damage in the east. Orlando has not changed a lot, Miami is faltering enough for the Bulls to get some cushioning, and Boston is the head of the class.
Rip Hamilton needs to be acquired. His leadership, shooting, and good defense could really go a long way in keeping Brewer fresh and completely exposed on offense.
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Need: A Trade
Yes...any trade. Trade Carmelo, followed by Chauncey Billups. On the flip side, trade for someone and try to convince Melo to stick around.
Denver has some major talent that still has room to grow. Teams in the west like the Lakers and Spurs are not getting any younger, and outside of Oklahoma City, no other team could be a short and long term threat. Younger players like Ty Lawson and J.R. Smith have the talent to play on winners. If the rich creamies can get a little younger in the paint, a long run could be in the cards come May.
If not...there is always Danilo or Luol.
San Antonio Spurs
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Need: Fountain of Youth
13-1 is mighty impressive for the elderly Spurs. What they are also showing is how team chemistry is important (take note Miami).
This clean bill of health is not going to last all season, and benching your best for stretches will cause losses that may not be easy to get once the stretch run comes in the spring. It is already being whispered that Manu Ginobili is playing through some major pains.
A little help from DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, and George Hill could go a long way.
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Three pretty good players do not constitute a team. Worse than that is two of those three have yet to develop an ounce of chemistry to this point.
It is also easy to defend three players when the other two on the court (and four or so on the bench) are no threat. Miami may have something going for them in the future, but depending on Erick Dampier, Jamaal Magloire, Joel Anthony, Eddie House, Mario Chamlers, and Big Z is a recipe for disaster.
Eddie House is the team's fourth best player, and he was traded away by the Eastern Conference champs just nine months ago....and sat on a bottom feeder's bench.