Before I go over this "Wish List" scenario, let me just point out that the obvious wish of Deron Williams coming to Rip City would be more than welcomed by me. Deron Williams is certainly a top two or three point guard in the NBA today and he would bring more of everything to a team that in my opinion, needs a little more of everything to become a major contender in this league. That being said, I must point out (no pun intended) that Raymond Felton has been on top of his game since the shake up last month that led to the departure of Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby, and head coach Nate McMillan. That leads me to believe that a point guard may not be as important as I recently believed and while the Blazers may have lost a few very important pieces, they also gained a few.
First, let's address J.J. Hickson. This 23 year old former first round pick traded from Sacramento has literaly exploded into the Trailblazers rotation and has brought a tough, explosive presence that has so far, been a big difference in recent games. I expect the Blazers to lock him up in the offseason as soon as they possibly can. He has shown to be a very capable back up for Lamarcus and even posted "L-Train" numbers the first opportunity he had when starting in his spot scoring 29 points and grabbing 13 boards in a tough loss to the Clippers last Friday. Keeping Hickson next season is my first wish.
The next important piece we gained was the provisional 1st round pick from New Jersey. As long as New Jersey picks later than 3rd in the draft lottery, (they are expected to pick somewhere between 5th to 9th) The Blazers will get their pick. The Trailblazers may be looking at a top 15 pick themselves and a team with two top 15 selections in the first round may not only the potential to land some great talent, but may also have quite a bit of trade bait. Here's wishing for the 4th or 5th pick from the Nets as well as a top 15 for us.
Ok, so I have now let you in on my first two wishes. This third wish is a big stretch however, I feel the need to wish for it anyway. After all, we are wishing, aren't we?
For my last and most important wish, drum roll...Dwight Howard. Ok, so he says he's happy in Orlando and just signed an amendment to his contract with the Magic which keeps him there through 2013. The problem is, there are problems in Orlando. Big problems. For starters, he is in a fued with coach Stan Van Gundy and there is speculation that Van Gundy may soon be fired. The truth is, Howard is not happy in Orlando and I believe he will sign elsewhere after next season anyway so it may be in the Trailblazer's best interest to make a trade using both first round picks and maybe a player piece or two to land Howard in Portland. While it may seem unlikely, Stranger things have happened.
No matter what happens in the offseason, I believe that the Trailblazers are doing the right things to prepare for their future. After all the set backs the Blazers have endured, I believe they will soon again be the contenders they were once prospected to be and I must say that I am very excited to be a fan today, tomorrow, and beyond. RIP CITY!!