New Year Resolutions: Eastern Conference
It’s the beginning of a new year and many people are making their annual resolutions. It’s a time to start fresh, to improve, to get better at something, anything.
Let’s take a look at the Association, starting in the East, and see one specific area where they could improve. Your NBA new year’s resolutions:
Stats and figures as of Saturday, Jan 4th.
Atlanta Hawks (7-28, 15th in East) Resolution: Find a way to win games against the Central Division.
The Hawks are not having a good season, to put it lightly. A big reason why is how much they have struggled against the Central Division, where they have a 2-10 record. With three games against the Cavaliers remaining on the schedule alone, Atlanta needs to make an effort to take advantage of easy games on the schedule.
Boston Celtics (24-8, 2nd in East) Resolution: Share the ball more
Shout out to fellow OTGs Cam T and Justin Q for this resolution. For one of the best teams in the league, the Celtics sure don’t play like they have much confidence in each other. Boston ranks 19th in assists per game. Sharing the ball more equals better movement, which usually ends up in better shots and easier wins.
Brooklyn Nets (16-18, 7th in East) Resolution: Find a way to win games against the West
It’s a good thing the Nets play in the East or they might have a much worse record. Against teams in the East, Brooklyn has a 10-9 record. Against teams in the West, that record is just 6-9.
Charlotte Hornets (14-23, 9th in East)
Resolution: Stop opponent ball movement
The Hornets offense is, well, not above average. Therefore, in order to climb in the ranks and maybe sneak into the playoffs, Charlotte will need to improve its defense.
One way to start would be to NOT allow the most assists per game (26.9). Charlotte’s opponents also own the 3rd best field goal percentage in the league (47.7%).
Chicago Bulls (13-22, 10th in East) Resolution: Fix Lauri Markkanen
Even though the Bulls have not had the best start, they only sit about 3 games out of the eight seed. However, to get to the postseason, Chicago needs to find a way to get young Lauri Markkanen going; when he’s on, the Bulls tend to fare much better.
When Markkanen scores at least 20 points, blocks at least 2 shots, or gets a double-double, Chicago is 9-5. When he doesn’t, the team is just 4-17.
Cleveland Cavaliers (10-24, 13th in East) Resolution: Win against the Atlantic Division
There’s a lot wrong with the Cavaliers. Obviously they need to find another home for veteran All-Star Kevin Love, who is visibly fed up.
But, if Cleveland is going to win from within, it starts with better play against the Atlantic as they’re 1-10 in those games.
Detroit Pistons (12-23, 11th in East) Resolution: Crash the glass
Despite Andre Drummond leading the league in rebounds with 15.8 boards per game, the Pistons are one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA. They rank 24th in offensive rebounds, 27th in defensive rebounds, and 27th in total rebounds per game.
Indiana Pacers (22-13, 5th in East) Resolution: Find a way to win more against the Central Division
The Pacers are one of the best teams in the league, even without star Victor Oladipo. It’s a good thing they don’t play the Central Division every night because they would not have the record they do. They’re 3-6 in those games, compared to 19-7 in all other matchups.
Miami Heat (25-10, 3rd in East) Resolution: Win on the road
The Heat are also one of the best teams in the league. But it’s a good thing they play half their games at home because they really struggle when they’re not in their own gym. Miami is 16-1 at home, but only 9-9 away from South Beach.
Milwaukee Bucks (31-5, 1st in East) Resolution: Make your free throws
Led by the phenomenon that is the Greek Freak, the Bucks are the best team in the East. They win and they win without question, with the largest point differential in the league. However, every team has something they can improve on.
For Milwaukee, the free-throw line has been an issue. Getting the 5th most attempts (24.4 per game) doesn’t help much when you make them at the 3rd worst clip (72.4%).
New York Knicks (10-25, 14th in East) Resolution: Seriously consider Mike Miller as the new full-time head coach
The Knicks started the season with a 4-18 record before firing David Fizdale. New York promoted Mike Miller to interim head coach, and he’s shown why he should get strong consideration for the full-time gig.
Since Miller took over, New York has a 6-7 record. Also, “prize” free agent Julius Randle has upped his production from 16.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game under Fizdale to 21.8 points and 10.2 rebounds.
Orlando Magic (16-20, 8th in East) Resolution: Win against the Northwest Division
The Magic, despite their woes, are right in the mix for the playoffs at this point. Health is another good resolution here as All-Star center Nikola Vucevic missed a good chunk of time and now Jonathan Isaac, who was in the midst of a break-out season, is set to miss time as well. But, if Orlando is going to keep fighting, they need to start beating the Northwest Division (0-6).
Philadelphia 76ers (23-14, 6th in East) Resolution: Play more consistently
You might recall Philly being the last undefeated team in the league, starting 6-0 the season. The Sixers lost their next three games.
After posting a 20-7, Brett Brown’s club is 3-7 in their last 10 games. This team could be special, but it can’t just do that at the right time. The 76ers need to consistently show their strength.
Toronto Raptors (24-12, 4th in East) Resolution: Stay healthy
Shout out to fellow OTG Ebrahimi on this one. Despite losing Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors have not let up, and are racing back to the playoffs.
However, they need a healthy squad when they get there. Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Fred Van Vleet, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol have already missed a combined 47 games.
Washington Wizards (10-24, 12th in East) Resolution: Play some defense
Not much was expected from the Washington misfits and Bradley Beal this season. However, they have found a way to erupt on the offensive end, scoring the 4th most points per game.
If the Wizards can find a way to play something like decent defense the team could actually win a few games. Allowing the most points per game in the entire NBA is not going to lead to many wins.