New Year’s Resolution for Each of the 30 NBA Teams
Let’s get right into it.
It’s 2019 and the holiday season is pretty much over, meaning no more drinking, no more partying, and back to work. The second half of the season is nearing its start and NBA teams are all focusing on getting better in their own respective ways. Like us common folks, even NBA teams need some New Year’s resolutions.
Fear not, Kemba Walker, for I have just the right resolution for the Charlotte Hornets and each one of the 30 NBA teams!
Atlanta Hawks – Trade Everything, Acquire Draft Picks
Kent Bazemore, Vince Carter, Joe Shmoe, whoever.
Trae Young may not be the next Stephen Curry, but between him and rookie Kevin Huerter, the Hawks have a budding lite version of the ‘Splash Brothers’. Taurean Prince, Omari Spellman, and John Collins are three great young pieces in the front court who provide some shooting and some interior toughness.
As for everything else?
It has to go. Acquire as many draft picks as humanly possible, hell see if you can grab a second round pick for Carter who just became the oldest player in NBA history to drop a 20-piece. Doesn’t hurt to try at the very least.
Boston Celtics – Fix the Monotony
Gordon Hayward’s contract is near impossible to move at this point, but between Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have a ton of players who do just about the same thing. The Celtics need to build an attractive package around someone to bring in some more star power, or at the very least, some shooting to surround Kyrie Irving.
Hayward’s staying put, so will it be Brown or Tatum?
Brooklyn Nets – Bring a Star to Brooklyn
No, not another Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce.
A legitimate star entering or in his prime. The Brooklyn Nets are a big market team that has both cap space and finally, some upside. Caris LaVert will be back, while Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, and D’Angelo Russell have all shown some future potential, but if the team wants to take the next big step forward, it’s time to go out and find a star.
Charlotte Hornets – Move Batum’s Contract
The Hornets seem to be focused on re-signing Kemba Walker in free agency.
Well, before they get there, they have to figure out this brutal Nicholas Batum contract. Batum is still owed around $33-million past this year and will not be a free agent until the summer of 2021. To gain any sort of commitment from Walker, the Hornets must show their star point guard commitment to getting better and consistently being in the playoff picture.
The Hornets need to give Walker some help and that starts with shedding cap and bringing in the necessary players to take the Hornets to the next level.
Chicago Bulls – Find a Legit Coach
Fred Hoidberg is gone and clearly, the Jim Boylen experiment is not working.
The Chicago Bulls are a young team that needs time to mature and develop. More importantly, they need a coach that the players will respect and trust. Chicago is in full rebuild mode and it will take some time until the Bulls get back into the playoff picture. They need a head coach who can stick it out for the long run and help the young Bulls grow.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Move on from Big Contracts
The Cleveland Cavaliers are going young and Colin Sexton will look to lead the team’s youth movement.
This means a decision will have to be made on Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. Whichever genius decided to ink Love to a massive extension is going to have to find a way to move a couple of massive contracts as the Cavs begin the long road back to not only contending, but just being competitive on a nightly basis.
Dallas Mavericks – Don’t Give up on Smith just yet
There are rumours out there suggesting the Dallas Mavericks are shopping Dennis Smith Jr.
With a little over 30 games under Luka Doncic’s belt, it’s become pretty clear that the kid is on his way to becoming a star and will undoubtedly become the next face of the franchise after Dirk Nowitzki retires. That being said, Smith is still young, he is still extremely explosive and before moving on from the former lottery pick not even midway through the season deeming the on-court connection between him and Doncic is unfixable, give it more of a chance.
Last thing the Mavs need to see is Smith becoming a star else where due to their own impatience.
Denver Nuggets – Force Jokic to be More Aggressive
Have him play Call of Duty, some other super gory shooting game, or send him to the next live UFC event near Denver.
Nikola Jokic has very quickly ascended into one of the premier big man in the NBA, and one of the League’s best players. He is a great rebounder, quite possibly the best passing big man in the history of the sport, and a player who can score both close to the basket and on the perimeter.
Yet, he has one very noticeable flaw.
As the Nuggets’ best player, Jokic tends to be very passive at times and when I say passive, I mean this dude just stops shooting the basketball. He took one shot against the Memphis Grizzlies in 26 minutes last month and has taken less than 10 shots in seven of 35 games. He’s shooting close to 50% from the field – Joker, shoot the ball!
Detroit Pistons – Time to Move Drummond
A front court which was supposed to dominate the East is struggling to consistently hold onto a playoff spot.
In Blake Griffin’s defense, he has been able to make the requisite adjustments to his game to contend against his decrease in athleticism. He has improved his ball-handling, his outside shot, and has even become a better passer. Surely on his way to another All-Star selection, Griffin has averaged 24.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists while shooting 46.7-percent from the field and a career best 36.3-percent from long range.
Meanwhile, Drummond is still that same dude. A guy who rebounds and a guy who dunks. And while rebounds are important, having a diverse skillset is pretty necessary as well and quite frankly, Drummond has not gotten much better as he has continued to coast through his prime.
The Pistons need more spacing and consistency, and they will not get it from Drummond. It’s a tough contract to move, but the first step to get something to work is to put on a forward-thinking attitude and shoot your shot.
Golden State Warriors – Stop fighting
When healthy (yeah, that means having DeMarcus Cousins on the floor) and focused, the Golden State Warriors cannot be beat in four of seven games.
They’re just so much better than any other team in basketball, and quite frankly, it’s not even close.
As cliché as this may sound, the Warriors number one enemy is themselves. That being said, Draymond Green must behave, Kevin Durant must stay locked in, and the Warriors, for the love of everything good in the Silicon Valley, please play nice.
Signed, Warriors fanbase (From 2013 and onward)
Houston Rockets – Bubble Wrap Chris Paul
James Harden is unstoppable and quite simply the best offensive player in today’s NBA.
It’s incredible how he is able to slow the game down and make the most skilled level of basketball in the world look so pedestrian when he is on the floor. With that in mind, no matter how good he has been, The Beard will need help and it must come in the form of future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul who just so happens to be hurt again.
Although it was primarily the inability to make three point shots that killed the Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, having Paul available would be really, really nice. Bubble wrap the guy, invest in more cryotherapy, rest Paul on back-to-backs.
If you haven’t guessed by now, the Rockets main goal right now is to keep Paul healthy at all cost.
Indiana Pacers – Improve Overall Consistency
Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis have really been bright spots for the Indiana Pacers, but on a team that will rely very heavily on its depth moving into the playoffs, the Pacers will need more consistency from everyone else.
Don’t worry Victor Oladipo, I’m not talking about you.
The Pacers are a small market team and don’t have the luxury of going out and bringing in stars. Therefore, it is time for the likes of Tyreke Evans and Darren Collison to just play better and more consistently. Streakiness will not be what provides the Pacers with postseason success.
Los Angeles Clippers – Don’t Look too Far Ahead
The Clippers are salivating over the possibility of adding Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard to the fold in free agency.
That’s all neat and all, but the season is still happen and even once free agency hits, the Clippers can’t lose all focus on their current team while attempting to lure in two superstar players who will be wanted by essentially everyone else. Tobias Harris has ascended into a star calibre player. There are other players out there and the Clippers must not look too far ahead or they will see themselves starting back at square one next Fall.
Also, Doc Rivers should play Boban Marjanovic more often.
Why? Cause he’s awesome!
Los Angeles Lakers – Forget The Brow, Go After Klay Thompson
The Los Angeles Lakers are in no position to move half their roster for Anthony Davis.
But what has been shown to benefit teams built around LeBron James is shooting – something the Lakers very much lack. Klay Thompson isn’t the biggest name set to hit free agency this offseason, but he’s an All-Star in his own right and one of the greatest shooters in the history of the league (he can also defend which is an added bonus).
Going out and adding a player like Thompson in free agency is the first step to building a super team in LA. That is what needs to happen before the Lakers even make a run at The Brow.
Memphis Grizzlies – Move on from Conley, Gasol, Parson
The Grizzlies have tried and now they’re back outside of the playoff picture looking in.
It all goes back to the fact that the Western Conference is just too good for the current Grizzlies. Conley has been playing like an All-Star this year and more importantly has been healthy. The prime years of Marc Gasol are for the most part behind him. Meanwhile, guys like Jaren Jackson and Dillon Brooks are the future of this team.
Some teams just don’t know when to let go and the Grizzlies had to let go a long time ago.
Buying out Chandler Parson should be something the team should consider and moreover it is time to move on from Gasol and Conley in an effort to get younger and more athletic. I’m sorry Justin Timberlake, the grind era of the Grizz is over.
Miami Heat – Find a Way to Move Bad Contracts
If you want to find a team with a whole host of bad contracts, look no further than the Miami Heat.
Between Hassan Whiteside, James and Tyler Johnson, and Goran Dragic, the Heat have a lot of money owed to players who won’t put this team over the edge. In fact, these are all players who at the very best may help the Heat squeak into the final playoff seed just to be slapped by a top ranked Eastern Conference foe.
Dwyane Wade is retiring after this season, which will force the Heat to try to find a new identity. The Heat are in sporting limbo where they are not bad enough to select a star prospect in the lottery, nor are they good enough to compete in the post season.
This is probably the last thing 73-year old Pat Riley wants to deal with at this stage of his executive career.
Milwaukee Bucks – Go Out and Bring Giannis Shooters
The Milwaukee Bucks are hoisting a ton of three point shots, which is good.
They’re taking the second most three point shots per game and making the second most three point shots per game (second behind the Houston Rockets in both cases). While that is all fine and dandy, the three-point shooting percentage is what is concerning. A 34.7% mark places the Bucks at 20th in the League at shooting percentage.
Currently, they hold the best record in the NBA so let’s assume for the sake of nothing that they will reach the NBA Finals where they will most likely meet up with the Warriors. Shooting will be pretty important at that point and with a little over a month until the trade deadline, it’s time to go out and get it.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Grow Up
As an individual with a Canadian passport it hurts me to look squarely at fellow Canuck, Andrew Wiggins.
Billed as one of the better prospects of the 21st century, Wiggins has majorly failed to live up to his hype and moreover his lack of maturity has stunted his growth as well. Between him and Karl-Anthony Towns, this team’s key players need to just grow up and mature or this team is not going to get any better.
I’m sure it’s difficult to play with a personality in Jimmy Butler, but there must’ve have been some truth behind his side of the story.
This is a grown man’s game and this Timberwolves need to grow up – plain and simple.
New Orleans Pelicans – Roll the Dice
Many people would suggest that it’s time to listen to offers.
The Pelicans are not in a playoff spot and multiple people within League circles are anticipating Davis to decline the super-max offer New Orleans will undoubtedly drop on his lap. Again, I understand why people are quick to pressure the Pelicans to move Davis and chances are, he will look towards greener pastures in free agency, but when you’re a small market team and you have a generational piece like an Anthony Davis, you have to do everything you can to compete now.
Roll the dice, New Orleans, because you never know when another Anthony Davis will come rolling down Louisiana.
… Realistically, probably not for a while.
New York Knicks – Go All in on KD
What’s tampering to one of the wealthiest franchises in all of sports?
Kristaps Porzingis is expected to be healthy for next season and Kevin Knox is coming off a very impress Rookie of the Month winning December. The Knicks have length, youth, and athleticism in both big men. Adding a Kevin Durant to the fray will instantly turn the Knicks into a matchup nightmare and must-see television.
The NBA is better when there are meaningful games being played at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks need a big, franchise-altering star to come to The Mecca. That star must be Durant.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Subtly Listen to Offers on Westbrook
Don’t get too distracted by Russell Westbrook averaging another triple-double.
Fact is, Westbrook has been having a rough time this season, primarily with shooting the ball. He is 29-years old and will be making a ton of money up until 2023 when he will be 34-years old. The athleticism has to decline at some point and with the miles adding up under his belt, it is fair to assume that Westbrook will begin to decline quickly in his early 30’s.
Why do I say quickly?
When athleticism and speed fades, a player must have something to fall back on. That something has to be some sort of semblance of a jump shot. Westbrook cannot shoot and at this point, he’s not even the best player on the Thunder – Paul George is. I’ll even go as far as to say that the Thunder may be more efficient with Westbrook and his 4-500 shooting nights on the bench.
It’s decision time for the Thunder and sometimes, general managers are forced to make incredibly difficult calls.
Orlando Magic – Rob a Team with Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic is a borderline All-Star who is playing like a superstar.
With the abundance of young bigs on the team, the Orlando Magic must make a decision. Do they want to roll with the younger kids – Aaron Gordon, Mo Bamba, and Jonathan Isaac – or do they see a future with Vucevic. I don’t know about the Magic, but I don’t. I’m more in favour of the younger, really athletic dudes who can run teams out the building and use their length to create matchup problems.
The Magic are not competing any time soon and Vucevic can help a team in “win now” mode you know, win.
It’s time to make a trade and use Vucevic to strip a team of all their worth.
Philadelphia 76ers – Trade Ben Simmons in the Offseason
Now, I still am a fan of Ben Simmons and I think he is a very useful player.
But Joel Embiid is the face of the franchise and there seems to be mutual interest between Jimmy Butler and the team on working towards a long-term extension. If that is to happen, the Sixers need to get more spacing and more shooting – neither of which Simmons can do, but both of which Simmons can fetch in a trade.
Since Butler joined the Sixers, sure, they’ve been good, but things will get interesting in the postseason when defense tightens and teams are better and more prepared for their opposition. That is when the Sixers will realize that they will have to choose between Butler and Simmons.
Based on what the 76ers gave up to acquire Butler, it seems like they are all in on Jimmy Buckets.
Phoenix Suns – Trust the Process
It really really sucks to be a Suns fan right about now, I know.
But if you are a Suns fan looking for solace, look at where the Sixers were just a little under a decade ago.
They sucked – a lot.
Now, Josh Jackson hasn’t really been working, but it seems like the Suns have found a thing in DeAndre Ayton and obviously Devin Booker is a stud. Moreover, since the Suns moved Mikal Bridges into the starting rotation over Josh Jackson, the Villanova Wildcat has shown quite a bit of promise as well.
Scouting and drafting the right pieces through the draft is what will help the Suns get better and with the top heavy class coming this June, the Suns will be need to make a correct decision in finding another Ayton and not another Jackson.
Portland Trailblazers – Don’t Experiment Any Further
C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard are both very good basketball players.
Lillard, in fact, is a superstar.
But at the end of the day, the two players kinda do the same thing – just Lillard does it slightly better. They’re both undersized, they’re both scrappy, and they both can score. This isn’t Splash Brothers 2.0 because Klay Thompson is 6-foot-7 and can defend, while Stephen Curry is the best shooter in the history of the league.
The Blazers look to be one of the dark horses of the playoffs last season, just to be swept and utterly destroyed by the Cousins-less Pelicans. If this whole McCollum-Lillard experiment doesn’t work again this year, it may be time to move C.J. out of Oregon.
Sacramento Kings – Get Rid of ZBo
The Sacramento Kings are fun again!
De’Aaron Fox looks like a star (I may have said that he is the best player in the 2017 Draft back a year and a half ago) and Marvin Bagley, although no Doncic, looks like a solid piece for the future. Buddy Hield is enjoying a coming out party and Willie Cauley-Stein deserves a standing ovation for his greatly improved level of play this year.
After a rough summer off the court, Zach Randolph is receiving the Los Angeles-Luol Deng treatment, which is honestly dumb and the Kings should not even bother with it.
The solution is really quite clear – it’s time to look to trade ZBo.
San Antonio Spurs – Stop Running from Reality
An obliteration of the short-handed Toronto Raptors will only force Gregg Popovich and the Spurs to cover their eyes to reality.
The days of the Spurs being competitive is over.
Instead of looking at rebuilding and acquiring young pieces and draft picks for Kawhi Leonard, they traded for a 10-year veteran who’s style of play does not fit the current NBA. Derrick White and Lonnie Walker are nice players, but they aren’t the key pieces of this team’s future – not that that even matters anymore.
The Spurs seem content will just going to the playoffs year in and year out, hoping Coach Pop’s magic can somehow guide them back into contending for a championship.
It’s not going to happen. So Spurs, enjoy paying for DeMar DeRozan’s and LaMarcus Aldridge’s contracts as they play into their 30’s.
Toronto Raptors – Add Shooters
The Raptors may very well be the best team in the Eastern Conference on nights when they’re healthy and focused, but there’s something that continues to hurt them.
Lack of shooting.
This team cannot shoot .
C.J. Miles has not been getting it done and the fact that the Raptors even came into the season with one legitimate “three-point shooting specialist” is ludicrous.
It’s 2019! Look at the Warriors! Look at the Rockets.
The Raptors are ranked 25th in the League in three-point percentage. Considering they are ninth in the NBA at attempts, that means they miss a whole lot of shots. Time to add some much needed shooting before the deadline.
Utah Jazz – Help Donovan Mitchell Out
Donovan Mitchell has struggled mightily with shooting the basketball in his sophomore season.
Nevertheless, he remains one of the more explosive and loveable players in the entire NBA and the centrepiece of the Jazz’s future. Sophomore slumps are common and players do struggle with their shot. But Mitchell is still a budding star in this league and the Jazz should do everything in their power to help Mitchell remain confident.
Keep shooting the ball, young blood!
Washington Wizards – Blow it All Up ASAP
Yeah, that pretty much sums it all up quite nicely.