A New Year’s resolution is a tradition where someone looks to continue good practices but change an undesired trait or behavior, accomplish a personal goal, or improve their overall life. As the days to 2020 are numbered, teams around the league are looking to 2021 to turn a new leaf. For the NBA team looking to change, accomplish, or improve, these New Year’s resolutions should be at the top of their list.
Atlanta Hawks: Show Some Maturity
Last season, Trae Young and John Collins showed promise that they can be the next superstar duo in the Eastern Conference. However, Collins was suspended for 25 games due to PEDs. Young made an All-Star game, but the Hawks won 20 games altogether. If the Hawks want to be serious contenders in the Eastern Conference, the younglings have to show some maturity. If that happens, the rest of the league should be very worried.
Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum Superstar Status
The Celtics have qualified for the Eastern Conference Finals three of the last four seasons without a true face of the franchise. Between Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, or Jayson Tatum, who is the face of this team? If the Celtics want to be NBA champions, Tatum needs to take this team over and be the true “killer.” That means the Celtics need Tatum to become a top-10 player in this league.
Brooklyn Nets: No Mood Swings
The direction of the franchise is based on the mood of Kyrie Irving. If Irving is happy, this team will go far. If he’s not? Well, ask the Celtics how that went down. Irving has shown displays of his former superstar self from his days with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It appears that the duo of Irving and Kevin Durant can be lethal. For now, the Nets are winning. What will happen if a losing streak happens?
Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball Three-Pointers
Breaking a rookie’s confidence in his shooting form is the worst thing that can happen to a young prospect. Take a look at what happened to former No. 1 overall picks, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz. Simmons rarely takes any shots from beyond the arc, while Fultz was so broken that he changed his entire shot. Ball had a rough season in Australia and has gotten off to a slow start to this year. The Hornets need to get Ball more shots and build that confidence.
Chicago Bulls: Coping Mechanisms
If the Bulls want to survive the 2021 season, their resolution should be to develop coping skills. This team is not very good. Lauri Markkanen is proving that has a bench piece. Wendell Carter is a backup center at best. Zach LaVine should be traded to a championship contender. The Bulls are going to lose a lot of games this season, so they need to be prepared to handle that.
Cleveland Cavaliers: A Conversation With Dan Gilbert
Isn’t there enough data out there to support that Gilbert is no good for Cleveland? The Cavaliers owner has pushed out every great asset in Cleveland. The only time the team has been relevant during his tenure was when LeBron James suited up and came back. Gilbert’s also a billionaire and cut wages from his employees to which Kevin Love helped pay for. He’s not the worst owner in sports, but he’s not the best. It’s time for a change.
Dallas Mavericks: Physical Training For Kristaps Porzingis
For someone who makes the money that Porzingis makes, he should have hired a personal trainer or physical therapist by now. Have that person on standby because he just can’t seem to be healthy. All in all, the Mavericks have a special team if the 7-foot-4 unicorn takes to the floor. He just can’t seem to stay healthy, so 2021 should be all about the precautions.
Denver Nuggets: James Harden
The team’s resolution should be making a splash for James Harden. Michael Porter Johnson, Gary Harris, and a few first rounders could be nice down the road. However, a combination of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Harden competes with the Lakers. Look at the Celtics. They never pulled the trigger and could have traded for Anthony Davis. They haven’t made the NBA Finals, while the Lakers are wearing rings.
Detroit Pistons: The No. 1 Overall Pick
This is the one team that shouldn’t change anything. Keep losing because getting the No. 1 overall pick is the only way this team is going to change their misfortunes. Overpaying Jerami Grant and Miles Plumlee looks ridiculous after losing three straight games. Blake Griffin is an overpaid commodity at this point. It’s going to be a long time before Detroit competes. Maybe, Cade Cunningham could change that, but it will only happen if the Pistons keep losing. Don’t change Detroit.
Golden State Warriors: A Partner For Andrew Wiggins
Remember when the Warriors were supposed to be a playoff team even though Klay Thompson was out? In reality, the experiment has gotten off to a slow start. Wiggins was mentioned in trade rumors throughout the offseason. Instead, the Warriors never made a move for James Harden or Bradley Beal. Wiggins still has value being only 25 and averages around 20 points a game. Their change should be a new location for the former No. 1 overall pick.
Houston Rockets: Therapy With James Harden
This relationship is so broken that it feels awkward reading the headlines from the other side of the United States. Harden’s play hasn’t slipped, having dropped games of 44 and 34 points, but he hasn’t lifted his demands for a trade. Three more teams have been added to his shortlist. The Rockets have a potential “Big 3” in Harden, John Wall, and DeMarcus Cousins. However, it won’t matter if Harden doesn’t want to play for the team.
Indiana Pacers: A Change Of Heart With Victor Oladipo
Oladipo is one great success story in Indiana. He was traded to the Pacers for Paul George. He made an All-Star team. He is one of the best defensive players in the league. However, the Pacers should see the writing on the wall. Oladiipo is not going to stay in Indiana and if he does, it will be worth money that will strap the franchise for the future. Just like the Pacers did with George, the team should trade Oladipo.
Los Angeles Clippers: A Championship Culture
Can Kawhil Leonard lead a championship culture? Right now, the answer is no. In San Antonio, he had Tim Duncan and Tony Parker as the leaders. In Toronto, Kyle Lowry was the leader of that team. Leonard just had to go out and play basketball, which is pretty good at doing. The Clippers don’t have a leader that can set the tone for this type of culture. That needs to change if the Clippers want to get over the hump.
Los Angeles Lakers: Bring Back Showtime
LeBron James wants that fifth overall championship in his career and he has a great cast in L.A. to help him get there. With that said, the Lakers should break back out the “Showtime” brand. Led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the team relied on fast breaks and won five NBA championships. That brand lives on today. With LeBron, Anthony Davis, and others, this brand would suit this team.
Memphis Grizzlies: A Healthy Team
This is easier said than done, but the Grizzlies can’t seem to stay healthy. Jaren Jackson Jr. is out with a knee injury. Ja Morant could be out for the season. The team has two potential young superstars in the league. However, nobody can stay on the court long enough to display their talent.
Miami Heat: Continue To Fly Under The Radar
This almost feels like last year. The Heat quietly won the Eastern Conference and made the NBA Finals this past season. The Heat brought back the same team with minimum upgrades. All of the attention is around the Bucks, Lakers, Clippers, and Rockets. The Heat should be able to slide by without any pressure once again.
Milwaukee Bucks: Win The East
Giannis Antetokounmpo has won back-to-back MVPs but has not postseason accolades in his career. There is growing doubt that Giannis can lead a franchise to the promised land. To those people, they have a solid argument that Giannis can’t win a championship, especially after getting bounced in the second round of the playoffs to Miami in October. Start with small goals, like making the NBA Finals. After that, anything is possible.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Better Shooting From D’Angelo Russell
The 24-year old has to have higher shooting performances for Minnesota. The Timberwolves are already considered underdogs in most of their games. With teams narrowing in on Karl-Anthony Towns, Russell will need to pick up the slack. Shooting anything below 40% will significantly hurt the team’s chances of competing in games.
New Orleans Pelicans: A Full Season Of Zion Williamson
On Christmas, Zion Williamson displayed glimpses of LeBron James. However, many analysts refuse to put him in the same category as “The King.” To be fair, we don’t have the sample size. Williamson was hurt most of last season. In 24 games, Williamson averaged 22.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. Through three games, Williamson is averaging a double-double. Let’s see what the kid can do.
New York Knicks: A Balanced Tom Thibodeau
This is Year 1 of the “Thibs” regime. Those who have seen Thibodeau coach in Chicago and Minnesota have seen the same patterns. He gets his team to play hard and they play hard for him. He doesn’t accept excuses or below-average play. The problem is that the Knicks have a below-average roster. Thibodeau can’t be over the top and break the confidence of these players. He signed a five-year deal, so he is sticking around. He needs to keep his relationships intact while the team is losing.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Al Horford And George Hill Trades
Moving Horford will be hard with the money left on his contract at the age of 34. Averaging 7.0 points and 9.0 rebounds aren’t flattering either. However, Horford is a proven leader in NBA locker rooms and could help a young contending team down the stretch. George Hill has played in multiple NBA Finals. Both players could get OKC draft compensation, salary relief, and provide opposing teams seasoned veterans down the final stretch of the season.
Orlando Magic: A Direction Of The Franchise
When you think of the Orlando Magic, do you think contender, pretender, or you just don’t know. If you have an idea, let us know because the Magic are stuck in purgatory. The team is good enough to make the back end of the playoffs, but not good enough to contend. Hopefully, someone in management figures out if this team will rebuild or make a move.
Philadelphia 76ers: James Harden
Yes, the 76ers have the same resolution as the Nuggets, but sometimes great minds think alike. The 76ers were on Harden’s shortlist, but the 76ers pulled out of negotiations. Somebody needs to sit down and talk about opening back up the talks. A combination of James Harden, Joel Embiid, and Tobias Harris could be good enough to make a run in the East. If it cost Ben Simmons, a few first-round picks, and an extra player or two, it would be worth it to bring a banner to Philly.
Phoenix Suns: Fountain Of Youth
Chris Paul turns 36 in May. Last year, Paul averaged 17.6 points and 6.7 assists, which was the lowest assist count in his career. Paul is going to make the Hall of Fame one day, but the Suns used a first-round pick to get him. The team believes that Paul can help Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton lead this team to the playoffs. If the Suns want to compete, Paul is going to have to find a way to play like his youthful days.
Portland Trail Blazers: Carmelo Turns Back The Clock
The Trail Blazers are in a similar boat. Carmelo Anthony has scored over 20 points per game since he played for the New York Knicks in 2016. We have seen a steady decline from the 36-year old since that season. Now, Portland doesn’t need him to average 20 points, but they do need him to average more than the 10.0 he currently has.
Sacramento Kings: A Playoff Berth
The city of Sacramento needs something to bring them joy. It has been since 2006 that the Kings have hosted a playoff series. The team hasn’t won a playoff series since 2004. It just feels like the drought is never going to end. With young stars in De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III, the team is hopeful that 2021 can be a year that the Kings can make the No. 8 seed or higher.
San Antonio Spurs: A Warning From Gregg Popovich
We have no idea if “Pop” is going to retire after this season or not. Popovich is not somebody that likes to have a lot of attention, so having a farewell tour is unlikely. As a fan, we would love to see him off. Many players in the league respect him as one of the best coaches in league history. After his wife tragically died, we thought he would step away but he kept going. This year could be the final season given the state of the rebuilding Spurs. Hopefully, he gives us a hint, so he can receive a proper goodbye.
Toronto Raptors: A Bench
During their championship run, the Raptors bench was a spectacle. Serge Ibaka and Norman Powell were great producers. Fred VanVleet was the sixth man shooter everyone wanted. Today, Ibaka is with the Clippers, while VanVleet has to start. Outside of Powell, there isn’t much there. There is simply just a lack of depth with this team. The Raptors could be on a rebuild here soon.
Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell & Rudy Gobert Friendship
Even though both players have made it public they are professional with each other, doesn’t it still feel awkward. Mitchell and Gobert both had COVID-19, while Gobert was roasted for his antics when he touched the microphones and scoffed at the pandemic. Mitchell and Gobert are going to be in Utah with each other for a very long time after signing five-year extensions. Can we all just get along?
Washington Wizards: Vintage Russell Westbrook
Westbrook won an MVP in 2017 when he averaged a triple-double for the season. Over the last couple of seasons, Westbrook has regressed compared to his old standards. Since the start of the season, Westbrook has averaged 18.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 13.5 assists. Granted, these stats are not going to hold up for the long haul of the year, but this feels like Westbrook is back to his roots. That makes Washington dangerous but keeps us fans glued to the TV.