With the NBA season about a third of the way through a new year will arrive. A look back at 2017 could be a year some teams may want to forget about. Let’s just say the Cavaliers definitely do not want to look back at the summer of 2017. The Boston Celtics perhaps more or less Danny Angie may want a few decades to go by and hopefully then Isaiah Thomas has given some sort of forgiveness for the trade that sent him to Cleveland in return for Kyrie Irving. Time will tell if Oklahoma City Thunder’s GM Sam Presti is satisfied with his summer of 2017 as the Thunder acquired Paul George and Carmelo Anthony at the expense of young talent thriving in Indiana. Yes, Victor Oladipo.
Here is a look at some resolutions at few New Year’s Resolutions for the NBA.
Oklahoma City Thunder
2017 Overview: A slow start was expected as three All-Stars joined forces in Loud City. It was expected that the chemistry would take some time to gel, however, the questioning is now is this latest Presti experiment going to even work? The Thunder have hovered around a .500 record but finally hitting stride at the end of the year. The shooting of the big three saw early struggles as they became the worst shooters in the league alongside rookie Donovan Mitchell. For what it’s worth the Thunder have a win against a healthy Warriors team and recently a solid victory against the Rockets on Christmas Day, however, without Chris Paul playing. The expectation is for this team to be a top-four contender in a loaded Western Conference. The Thunder are riding a high note at the end of the year as they’ve won 6 straight games.
2018 Resolution: Paul George is an unrestricted free agent after this season and the Thunder locked up Russell Westbrook to the biggest contract extension this off-season. Carmelo Anthony is now riding the tail of his career and definitely not Lebron James efficient in year 15. Billy Donovan will need to solve the chemistry issues and find a way for his stars to have more efficient shooting nights. With a more questionable bench than the competition in the West, elevated play for Alex Abrines, Jerami Grant, and Josh Huestis would boost the Thunder’s depth. Russell Westbrook will be the motor but the biggest question mark of this season is verifying can he be efficient alongside two stars. Making his teammates and stars better could help persuade George to stay and take a short-term contract in hopes of a championship sooner than as a Los Angeles Laker. Maybe we are just panicking at the wrong time and by April this team will appear ready to combat the wild west. A deep playoff run and perhaps the first NBA Finals for PG13 and Melo could help too.
Solving the instant replay woes
2017 Overview: Adam Silver has my support as the most progressive Commissioner of all-time. Whenever there seems to be some doubt that the NBA isn’t in front of handling their issues he swoops in and slam dunks a solution. Case and point, teams were resting players and players requested more rest. Notice that the NBA season came just a tad bit earlier this year in mid-October? Thanks to Silver and a bit of finessing through scheduling ideas the NBA has reduced its back-to-back games, given more days off in between games, and also fewer games being played per week. Most importantly, the Commish also has been proactive in speeding up the total game time. This year teams only are able to call two timeouts in the last three minutes of games. Silver is also thinking about you players being traded during February. The trade deadline was moved up to the Thursday prior to All-Star weekend as this now gives those players an adjustment period to get themselves and families situated in a new city.
2018 Resolution: As we saw in the Christmas Day match-up against the Cavaliers and Warriors create controversy with the replay system let’s re-evaluate. LeBron James was clearly fouled by Kevin Durant according to the NBA’s last two-minute report. Instead of calling a foul the referees were able to review the play in which James clearly was the last player to touch the ball before it went out of bounds. A lose-lose situation for James and the Cavaliers as even with the ownership of the NBA admitting to their mistake, the books log the victory for Golden State still. Here is a resolution for the NBA Board of Governer’s: If you can review that a foul should have been called then give your referees the in-game ability to correct their ignorance. How about extending it to retract an offensive player throwing themselves into an innocent defender in the last two minutes? After all, didn’t Adam Silver want to make the game a bit more transparent? The idea is a bit far-fetched but hey at least making the reversal in-game than the day after without the ability to change the outcome is better or am I just dreaming?
2017 Overview: Chris Paul has missed about half of Houston’s games this season due to injuries. No have no fear as The Beard is used to playing without the All-Star guard and keeping the Rockets afloat in the West. It was all staying about the arms race for Rockets GM Daryl Morey this summer as he acquired Paul from the Clippers.
2018 Resolution: CP3 at his finest and healthiest. It would be a complete disaster and back to square one for Houston should they lose Paul long-term this season and/or for some of the post-season. Perhaps, most of the resting now is an over-exaggeration as the Rockets are sitting atop the West right with Golden State. Why rush back Paul when you’re still able to get the job done against most NBA teams with Harden at the helm? Makes sense to me if Morey is low key keeping his new All-Star for prime time in April. While James Harden is fully capable for making his teammates better and hit big shots in the stretch, what’s better than one All-Star? Two.
Progressing the G-League
2017 Overview: The NBA renamed the Development League (D-League) to the G-League for this season. The official sponsor is now Gatorade and the main focus is to promote player growth for a more direct route to the NBA. The rise of the league could grow even further as the NCAA scandal found Adidas executive James Gatto, multiple schools, and assistant coaches involved with money laundering, bribery, and wire fraud.
2018 Resolution: To make a better 2018 after the re-brand the NBA can push their resources to attract recruits and have them highlight the G-League instead. Maybe a concern from LaVar Ball’s end as he has announced his Big Baller League to disrupt the current process of the NCAA. Either way, both ideas sound great and its the best time to give future recruits an idea of getting paid plus development in the mix.
Lonzo Ball backs Father Ball
2017 Overview: From UCLA to the NBA Draft and now a Laker, Lonzo Ball has faced high expectations. Some aren’t expectations that he set forth for himself. His farther LaVar Ball has claimed quite a lot including that Zo is better than Stephen Curry. Father Ball has predicted that his first-born son would be drafted as Laker but lately, Zo has not lived up to much of the potential hype. While Curry was not as prolific as a shooter in his rookie season he still maintained shooting the ball 46-percent from the field and averaged 17 points and 6 assists a game. Zo is currently struggling to shoot the ball at 35-percent while only scoring 10 points a game and 7 assists per game.
2018 Resolution: Progress should be the keyword for Lonzo and his father. The Lakers will probably fall into another lottery pick and go into an off-season where they try to steal Paul George away from the Thunder. LaVar might promise the playoffs still but in a loaded Western Conference that may be a task too mighty for the Lakers this season. With Kyle Kuzma having a sensational rookie season this is definitely not a good look for the promises that LaVar has established his son to deliver on. Zo will need to hopefully give some more thoughts on taking better shots or focusing on his offensive strengths now until his jump shot arrives. A strong finish for the eldest Ball son could help bring more confidence to free agents looking at the Lakers this summer.
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