What can I say, we like fixing shit around here.

Well, that and maybe it’s safe to say we think we know everything. Either way, this felt like a better idea than wasting my words telling Celtic fans to calm down or whatever kind of knee-jerk piece I could write  five days into the season. Instead, I’d rather concentrate on what these teams should be aiming for in the New Year. Whether they’ll take the free advice is another story.

And now, all 30 teams, alphabetically.


Atlanta Hawks

Find a taker for Josh Smith. This team has peaked in it’s present incarnation. If they can turn Smith into a couple of solid pieces they might have some potential to grow. Joe Johnson and Al Horford are mainstays and Jeff Teague looks like a comer. Now is the time to cut the chord with Smith and take a chance at upward mobility.

Boston Celtics
Get ahold of the fountain of youth. Otherwise, this team is dust in the wind (you’re my boy Blue!) as far as any serious title hopes are concerned. The big question for Danny Ainge is if he wants to trade Rajon Rondo and try to take another stab at a title with the old guys, or start selling off the big three piece by piece and start the rebuilding project now.

Charlotte Bobcats

Figure out a way to keep the city interested in this stinky team. You have an owner who isn’t going to spend to be competitive and a roster full of players the average fan couldn’t pick out of a police lineup. I mean, we’re talking about a team that is built around Corey Maggette.

Let that sink in for a minute. Corey Maggette.

So yeah, Good luck with that, MJ.

Chicago Bulls

Getting someone to take Carlos Boozer’s contract off their hands. Sorry, couldn’t resist making the easy joke.

Seriously though, they are going to have to find a way to improve this team offensively. They simply can’t score enough to beat the elite teams. Period. Rip Hamilton as your fourth option, running thru screens like a madman isn’t going to be enough.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Avoid embarrassing themselves any further. First, it was Dan Gilbert’s batshit crazy spurned lover letter to LeBron. Then it was this embarrassingly whiny note to commissioner Stern in the wake of the torpedoed Chris Paul Dea. If Dan Gilbert can avoid making himself look any dumber, it can only help their cause.

Dallas Mavericks

To have a little patience. 0-3 start be damned, this team is gonna be just fine. Call it a championship hangover or whatever, but there is still too much talent to be worried. Whether they can repeat without Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea is another story, but let’s hold back on the rebuilding talk for now, eh?

Denver Nuggets

To make as many deals with the Knicks as possible. They should be sending a big ass holiday fruit basket to the Knicks for leaving them better than they were before the ‘Melo trade. Now they’ve got a loaded team and enough assets to fetch another star in a trade, should one become available.

Thanks, Jimmy Dolan!

Also, here’s a fun little fact. The Nuggets record on the day they traded Anthony was 32-25. They are 20-8 since then. The Knicks were 28-26 before Melo and are 15-16 since they got him.

Detroit Pistons

Take my guards, please! This team is doomed to mediocrity or worse for the foreseeable future unless they find a way to even things out even a little bit. Once upon a time, Joe Dumars was the architect of a Championship team that featured 5 really good players and no stars. Now, he’s hell-bent on building a deformed Mr. potato-head of a team and nobody can stop him.

Somebody really should try, though.

Golden State Warriors

Give Mark Jackson some time with this roster. Yeah, everyone says Monta Ellis and Steph Curry can’t play together and all that blah, but what does everyone know, really? The GSW’s have some real offensive firepower and now, thanks to Jackson, they actually try to guard the other team and stuff. Let this year play out before you decide to do anything drastic. I suspect this team is capable of a playoff birth and maybe more, and with any luck they’ll get that defensive center they tried so desperately to acquire this off-season.

Houston Rockets

Find a star, any star. Of course, for all the praise Daryl Morey draws in NBA circles, his stubborn insistance upon building the team around a star has proven to be his achilles heel. It’s what caused him to throw good money after bad at an over-the-hill T-Mac and trade for an empty-stat bum like Kevin Martin. Shit, if not for David Stern’s intervention, Morey would have broken the bank for a 31 year old Pau Gasol. I’m a fan of Morey’s, but I question the “we need a star player at all costs” philosophy.

Here’s a little prediction for you. Daryl Morey will Sign Kevin Love to a gross contract in a year and a half.

Indiana Pacers

Keep on building. The Pacers are almost all the way back to where they were in 2005, when they were poised to make a serious run at the Title before the Ron Artest melee sent the team into a complete tailspin. Six years later, they’ve got a deep exciting (and young) roster that is likely one piece away from making serious noise in the East. Of course, sometimes that last step is the hardest one to take.
Los Angeles Clippers

I think the obvious goal for the Clippers is to learn how to play with one another. All that talent can win you games, but it came together so quickly. Imagine them in a few months, when there is some chemistry. Imagine the lobs and all that being secondary to a synchronized group of players who know their respective tendencies. Part of what makes CP3 as good as he is his ability to get the most out of his teammates. He really doesn’t even know what he’s working with yet.

I’ve never gotten ahead of myself when it comes to this team. The first thing is to establish regular success as something to be expected. That’d be quite the feat, considering who we’re talking about here. Get that down first, and then we can talk about bigger fish.

Los Angeles Lakers

How about getting some guards or some depth or some shit?

As the non-Laker fan guy on the site, I see things from the outside. Ultimately, though, my opinion doesn’t really differ from Hollywood Hathwell’s. They’re significantly lacking on the perimeter, and it will cost them if they can’t find a fix. Bynum has looked great in his first few back, and the McRoberts/Murphy additions have their merits. However, as feared, fatigue might play a major part in this team’s future. We watched Kobe play one of his worst games in, well, EVER, in the second of a back-to-back with Denver. It’d be kinda nice if they had a guy who could really take the pressure off… like maybe Chris Paul or something (or a certain Magic center).

It doesn’t look great, but the Lakers have a shot. 2012 will only be a success, though, if they make a move – whether it’s something a little under the radar, or a massive shakeup.

Memphis Grizzlies

 To pick up where they left off. The Grizz caught lightning in a bottle at the end of last season and had their best postseason ever, all without their supposed star Rudy Gay. So far, they look a bit hungover en route to a 1-3 start. Maybe the expression “addition by subtraction” applies here?

Miami Heat

Keep it up there, (eventual) champ.

The Heat look to be the authentic article this year, either blowing teams away or letting inferior teams hang around for a while, only to beat them at the very end. Not much to say, but if I have to advise something, it would be for D-Wade to stop making Superman gestures and/or posing after every big block, dunk, shot, steal, screen, timeout call, etc. Or, continue to do all that, I guess, but don’t go crying when people celebrate your misfortunes – you dig your own, buddy.

I’d give some advice to Lebron, but he just waits to see what Dwayne does and then does that, so it’d be a waste of my time and his. 

Milwaukee Bucks

To become relevant, even a little bit. I asked Wes The other main writer for this blog) to write a paragraph on the Bucks and Here is what he sent me:

Man you just asked me to write about MILWAUKEE. Outta slap the taste out your mouth. The Bucks – don’t know a thing about the Bucks. Wouldn’t watch the Bucks if they paid me. Don’t even know if Brandon Jennings is good. Is Bogut ever healthy? Please.

That says it all, don’t it?

Minnesota Wolves

Seriously, I’m not gonna waste my time on these bums. This team is totally beyond help as long as the present brain trust (ha!) is in place. Fuck it.

Alot of people have this team ticketed for a decent year, and well, alot of people are wrong. This is still a team with a horribly ill-concieved roster, no chemistry and a total leadership vacuum. Mark my words, they’ll be lucky to avoid finishing dead last in the West. Sure, they’ve got a some talented players, but that doesn’t mean their team is any good. Trust me, it’s not.

New Jersey Nets
To make the move to Brooklyn in style. So far, it’s been nothing but near-misses since Mikhail Prokhorov took over the team last year. They are going to need to win the Dwight Howard sweepstakes if they want to do that. Without Howard, they’ll also face an uphill battle to re-sign Deron Williams. Otherwise, that’s a pretty dreadful  team they’ll be walking into New York with.

New Orleans Hornets

Send David Stern a christmas card. Let him know you are so thankful that he decided to save you from yourselves. Now, you’ve got a star player in Eric Gordon, alot more payroll flexibility and a future draft pick that will likely be top 5.

If not for his meddling, things would be alot worse.

New York Knicks

Here we go.

Seriously, pray to who you pray to that Amar’e somehow makes it through 2012 unscathed. Depth was not exactly the top priority when the squad was put together, and I cringe every time I see Stoudemire out there. It’s just waiting to happen, especially with all of the back-to-backs. I like the Knicks in any close game, but keeping it close can be an issue. Baron Davis may very well come back motivated, but if you’re counting on that to be the saving grace, that’s not good.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Get out of your own way.

For all the talent and youth, the Thunder are never going to get all the way there unless they stop the in-fighting and start focusing on winning. Russell Westbrook needs to get with it. Nobody doubts his talent and his desire, but for the love of God, the guy’s outbursts and “shoot-you-out-of-a-game” performances aren’t helping. “He’s only 23.” What’s your point? It’s not like he’s 12 or something and, furthermore, he’s a professional who is getting paid big money. Learn from your mistakes. The Thunder have gotten through it so far (thanks, Kev!), but you’re a fool if you think that type of stuff won’t cost them when it counts.

You can’t trade Westbrook because it’s highly unlikely you’ll get what you deserve in return, so it’s on the coaching staff to help him understand. That, however, may be an issue, because I’m not convinced that Scott Brooks and company have what it takes when you need some strategy of any sort. They certainly didn’t show it in the postseason last year, and Durant can only bail you out so much. Time will tell…

Orlando Magic

Trade Dwight. Get it done. It already takes over as the overwhelming storyline every time you watch a Magic game. Imagine what will happen when they start playing teams worth a damn and losing (thus far, they’ve battled OKC, Jersey, Houston, Toronto, and Charlotte… take a wild guess which one handed them their one loss).

Philadelphia 76ers

Take the next step. It’s there if you want it.

The division (and conference, as a whole) is loaded with open slots. So far, Philly looks as we thought they would. They’re more than capable of hanging with anyone, yet they might not have the maturity to be considered a legit player (see: losing a game they should have won to Utah). It’s too early to tell, obviously.

Regardless, someone needs to become the guy. Collins can coach and motivate all he wants, but they need a certified go-to-guy to emerge. Lou Williams wants it, that’s for sure. However, if this team of young guns wants to succeed, I think they need strong statements from either or Elton Brand or Andre Igoudola. Veteran guys who can make a mark.

Phoenix Suns

If you love someone, set ’em free. Well, that should be their resolution, anyway. Steve Nash has done everything for this team over the last five years. Now he’s pushing 38 and this team is in absolute shambles. If ever there was a pro athlete who deserved a favor, it’s him. Send him to a team with a chance at winning and start over. 

Portland Trail Blazers

Make peace with the gods. No franchise in Basketball has had worse luck with the injury bug than the Blazers. From the sad saga of Bill Walton’s brittle feet to Sam Bowie poor knees to the recent tragedies befalling Greg Oden and the now-retired (at 26 years old!) Brandon Roy, the Blazers have never been able to catch a break.

Actually , they have. That’s the problem.

Sacramento Kings

Set the deadwood adrift. Believe or not, they’ve actually got some young, exciting talent on this team and for now, they still have a passionate fan base that will accept whatever they get. Too bad their franchise is built around two of the larger knuckleheads in the league. If they are gonna have any shot at a winner here, it’s gonna have to start with finding takers for Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins while they still have some value. Listen, the track record for teams that tried to win in the NBA with a roster full of head cases is dismal, at best. Ship ’em out now and get some guys that will buy in.

San Antonio Spurs

To go out in a blaze of glory. Yeah, it hurt to lose to Memphis in the first round of the playoffs after cruising to the best regular season record, but coming up short was more a product of running into the wrong team at the wrong time.

With Tim Duncan past his prime and the rest of the team being held together with masking tape and glue, this should be the last run for them as presently constituted. Let’s hope it’s a good one.

Toronto Raptors

Do us all a favor and secede from the NBA.

Nah, I don’t know. Just get those wins where you can and try and have some fun.

Utah Jazz

Get a clue.

 Ok, that’s a little harsh. Get an identity is more like it. You’ve got some decent talent here but where is the leadership? Who is the go-to guy? Watch this bunch on the average offensive possession and they basically look like a really expensive pick-up team.

Listen, when you have teams loaded with good (but not great) players, there’s usually only two ways they can go. If you’re lucky, the depth will inspire competition and camaraderie, as it has in Denver and Portland. If you’re not, it produces a team full of selfish, semi-motivated players who care about their own stats and little else. Well, that’s Utah right now. Time to ship some of the excess out and get a focus.

Washington Wizards

If I had to guess, I’d say it’s “try to put together the most useless, lethargic band of Basketball mercenaries “since the 1980 San Diego Clippers.

 That Clipper team had a crippled Bill Walton, Jelly Bean Bryant (Kobe’s dad), Marvin “Bad News” Barnes (he was indeed), Sindey Wicks, whose NBA claim to fame was being beaten up by Calvin Murphy, who was a full foot shorter than him, and World B. Free who was alot like Metta World Peace, only balder.

The Wizards have the legendary Andray Blatche, (best known for fake triple-doubles and hosting strip club parties and getting shot),  Javale McGee, Nick Young and Jordan Crawford. If they can find a way to swing a trade for the recently banished DeMarcus Cousins, they’ll be in the hunt.

-John Hathwell & Wes Lilliman

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