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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Los Angeles Lakers
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.
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 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.
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…
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).
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.
Nah, I don’t know. Just get those wins where you can and try and have some fun.
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.
-John Hathwell & Wes Lilliman
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