From LeBron to Linsanity, from Dwight Howard’s move to LA to the Nets move to Brooklyn, 2012 was a memorable year in the NBA. But it’s time to flip the calendar over to a new day, a new month, a new year. Even though the new season is already two months old, perhaps 2013 can offer a fresh start of sorts for teams and players across the league hoping to change their fortunes.
Some of us need to start exercising more, some promise to start spending more time with family, some hope to learn a new instrument. New Year’s Resolutions come in all shapes and sizes. Here are the top resolutions for 2013 that could be made in the NBA:
1. The Minnesota Timberwolves: Escape the Injury Curse
Injuries have plagued several teams around the league, but no one has suffered as much as the Timberwolves. Just 27 games into the season, the Timberwolves have already lost Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, JJ Barea, Josh Howard, and Malcolm Lee to a various slew of injuries. As the new year begins, the T-Wolves have been forced to wave Josh Howard, while Brandon Roy finds himself mulling retirement again and Chase Budinger finds himself out for the whole year. Love is back but is taking a lot time to find his stride again while Rubio’s slow recovery is keeping his minutes limited. Despite all this, Minnesota still holds a 14-13 record and have a shot at making the playoffs for the first time in half a decade. They have the talent to do so, but in 2013, they will need health to be on their side.
2. Derrick Rose: A 2013 that Matches 2011, not 2012
Two years ago, Derrick Rose was one of the best players in the NBA, and his MVP season led the Bulls to the NBA’s best record. Even though they lost in the Conference Finals to Miami, the future was bright for the young star. Unfortunately, 2012 was a nightmare year for the Young Bull. Rose only played 39 games last year in an injury plagued season, and in the very first game of the playoffs versus the 76ers, a left knee injury ruled him out of action. He’s been away from basketball ever since and finally made his return to practice with the Bulls
as the year ended. Chicago have penciled him in for a return in February. If he can return with the same talent and hunger as two years ago, he could have a memorable year in 2013!
3. Brooklyn Nets: Hire a New Coach
The Nets, who fired head coach Avery Johnson a few days ago, are in desperate need a new leader at the helm to lead their roster. New Jersey had a bright start to the season, but poor form over December meant that the axe was given to their Coach. In the market are names like their own interim PJ Carlesimo to Jeff Van Gundy and even the Zen Master, Phil Jackson. With Deron Williams and Joe Johnson in the backcourt and Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace up top, this team should be better than they are. The Nets have moved to a new city and a new arena, but this new year sees him hunting for a new coach to usher in successful days again.
4. DeMarcus Cousins: Stay Out of Trouble
Still only 22, Cousins is a brilliant but troubled talent, a 6’11 young man with the potential of becoming the best offensive big man in the league but with a streak of instability that has seen him clash with coaches in the past and already face three suspensions in this short season. Cousins is leading the Kings in points and rebounds and has shown flashes of brilliance in the last two seasons. If he can get focused on cleaning up his act there will be rapid improvements in his game, and thus, improvements in the Kings’ standings in the Western Conference.
5. Dwight Howard: Work Harder on His Free Throw Lessons
The Lakers’ new upgrade in the middle, Howard is leading the team with an impressive 56.3 percent of field goals made. Unfortunately, he is one of the rare players in the league whose free throw percentage (51.3) is lower than his field goal percentage, since most of his shots are close to the basket. In close games, opposing teams are playing ‘Hack-A-Dwight’ to get Howard to the line in hope that he will continue to miss shots and keep the Lakers struggling. The Lakers are outside the playoff picture at this point, and there is a lot more to blame for that than just Dwight’s struggles from the line. But the superstar Center would have to take the effort to make this improvement in his game individually while the rest of the team also continues to figure out their issues.
6. Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire: Learn to Play Together
They are two offensive forces but the two Knicks forwards have found it impossible to find success playing together. It’s no secret: both Anthony and Stoudemire have played their best basketball for the Knicks when one of them has been off the court. The Knicks have had a surprising start to the season with Stoudemire on the sidelines behind some stellar play by ‘Melo. Stoudemire returned to the Knicks lineup on New Year’s Day. In 2013, the two stars will hope to get the most out of their talents – instead of cancelling each other out – if the Knicks want to get deep into the playoffs.
7. Los Angeles Clippers: Just Keep on Doing What They’re Doing
Sometimes the best resolution is no resolution. Before their loss on the 1st to the Nuggets, the Clippers won a franchise-best 17 games in a row, including going undefeated for the entire month of December. This incredible streak has put them on top of the league, and if LA’s ‘other team’ want to make history this year, they’ll hope that December 2012 happens all year in 2013.