Written by: Mike Ryan
2018 is upon us and were at the near point of the NBA season. In this edition of the Power Rankings, let’s change it up a bit and focus on a New Years resolution each team should set out to accomplish to make their franchise better. Here’s how the teams rank as 2018 begins.
30. Orlando Magic – record 12-26
Remember when the Magic were 8-4? Well they are 4-22 since. That’s awful. Their approach for the remainder of 2018 should be moving Evan Fournier for a first rond pick. He’ll have suitors and since the Magic have yet to draft a stud in the 6 years since Howard left (Aaron Gordon is on his way but not there yet) it’ll be smart to accumulate as much picks as possible.
29. Los Angeles Lakers – record 11-25
Enough is enough. The Lakers young assets really are not good. The media loves to talk these guys up yet the Lakers are sitting with the second worst record in the entire league. It’s pathetic how bad the franchise has become in the past five seasons. Lakers fans and the front office are holding out the delusion that two max free agents are going to sign in the offseason (Not going to happen) but if they want to act this way, it’s time to trade Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. Problem is, there not going to get the value they seek as they need to trade them for nothing just to free up cap space. The Lakers new year resolution should just be to stop sucking.
28. Atlanta Hawks – record 10-26
The Hawks had a plan to tank and the tank is fully on. Sitting with the worst record in the league and currently having the best odds to land a top 3 pick, the Hawks are right where they want to be. Hawks fans should spend 2018 watching Marvin Bagley, Luka Doncic and Deandre Ayton cause one of those guys will be the next foundational piece going forward.
27. Memphis Grizzlies – record 12-25
New Years resolution should be simple here…. Move on from Marc Gasol! Get rid of his horrid contract and start the rebuild.
26. Sacramento Kings – record 12-24
Another simple resolution here for the Kings. It’s time to start giving more extended minutes to Frank Mason, Justin Jackson, Skal Labissiere, Malchi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannias. Anyone under 25 should play big minutes. Pretty sure Kings fans do not want to wacth George Hill, Garrett Temple and Kosta Koufous start games anymore when the team is in a full rebuild.
25. Charlotte Hornets – record 13-23
Another simple one here and that’s a find a taker for Nicholas Batum and Marvin Williams. Doesn’t matter what they get, it’s time to rebuild again and get younger.
24. Phoenix Suns – record 14-24
The Suns only new years goal is to find a way to make sure the relationship between the front office and Devin Booker is perfect and that Booker will sign a 5 year extension when the offseaon hits. Booker is the key to the franchise.
23. Chicago Bulls – record 13-24
The Bulls need to start losing again in 2018. They ended 2017 on a high note going 10-4 after a 3-20 start. The Bulls roster is not a playoff team and they are going to need a top 5 pick to help accelerate their rebuild. Trading Mirotic while his value is high should be priority one.
22. Brooklyn Nets – record – 14-23
The Nets still refuse to play Okafor so I’ll remain under the impression that he sucks until he actually plays a freaking minute. What the Nets really need to do in 2018? Start Caris Levert. The 23 year old has shown a ton of promise in December averaging 14.3 points and 5.3 assists in 28 minutes of action. Time for him to start games.
21. Dallas Mavericks – record 13-25
The Mavericks have four in a row against teams with a record over .500. Pretty impressive as the team was doing nothing 10 days ago. The Mavs new year plan should be to move Wesley Matthews, JJ Barea and Nerlens Noel for draft picks if the offers present itself.
20. Utah Jazz – record 16-21
New Years resolution in Utah? Get Rudy Gobert healthy. The leagues best rim protector is desperately needed for the Utah team. Utah is only 2.5 back from a playoff spot, so there’s still time for them if their all defensive center could get back to the lineup.
19. Los Angles Clippers – record 16-19
New years resolution for the Clippers is that they should blow it up and start from scratch. Blake Griffin is so injury prone it’ll be hard to build a contending team around him. With Deandre Jordan a pending free agent, now is the time to blow it up. Oh and they can fire Doc too. Time to completely move on and start fresh..
18. Philadelphia 76ers – record 17-19
Complete the Process… Make the playoffs and finish what Embiid has been talking about for the past four seasons. (Whispers, Ben Simmons should be shooting right handed and looks way smoother with his shot as a right handed player than a left handed one).
17. Indiana Pacers – record – 19-18
The Pacers are in free fall having lose four in a row and Oladpio continues to miss time with a knee injury. Their resolution should be to get Oladipo healthy so he can continue his All Star campaign and to surpass every preseason prediction by making the playoffs.
16. New Orleans Pelicans – record 18-18
New Years goal should be to stop being average. Their’s way to much talent in the back court and front court to be a meddling .500 team. The Pelicans need to go out and get a scoring wing. They need a small forward desperately so go out and make a trade to give the team a chance to be good.
15. New York Knicks – record 18-18
New Years resolution: Win ROAD GAMES!!! The Knicks are 3-12 away from MSG. Simply not going to cut it if they want to make a playoff run. The team needs TIm Hardaway back in the lineup to help give a strong secondary scoring option. Hardaway has missed 15 games already this season.
14. Denver Nuggets – record 19-17
The Nuggets should continue on the trek of developing the young stars they have. Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic all need to show out and have a big second halves to carry the team to the postseason. The Nuggets also need to figure out if they could deal Emmanuel Mudiay and Kenneth Faried if possible.
13. Miami Heat – record 19-17
New Years resolution for the Heat should be signing a star come free agency. The Heat have been close in year’s past but could not come out on top. Expect Pat Riley to continue to be aggressive. It would not be surprising to see the Heat target Demarcus Cosuins and move Hassan Whiteside for another piece.
12. Portland Trailblazers – record 19-17
The Blazers are kind of in a weird spot. There’s enough talent to be a playoff team but not enough to make a serious play off run. The Blazers should consider moving McCullom in the hopes of landing young assets. Would a Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric and a future pick for McCollum trade work? Very well could.
11. Milwaukee Bucks – record 19-16
The Bucks resolution should be A) getting Jabari Parker back from injury and B) ridding themselves of Jason Kidd if they continue to underachieve.
10. Oklahoma City Thunder – record 20-17
The Thunder’s resolution should be convincing Paul George to sign an extension. Now, that could be a loss cause because no one knows what George will do as a free agent but if the Thunder could lock him up and continue to add prices they’ll be a legitimate contender.
9. Washington Wizards – record 21-16
The Wizards should have the goal of upgrading their bench as priority one. John Wall and Bradley Beal are going to be all stars and a legit bench could help the Wizards make a run to the East finals. Players like Courtney Lee, Nikola Mirotic, Marco Bellinelli, Wes Matthews and Zach Randolph could be legit help to the Wizards.
8. Detroit Pistons – record 20-15
The Pistons have been overachievers all season and looked primed for a playoff appearance. Like the Wizards, the Pistons should consider being buyers at the deadline. A move or two to upgrade the small forward and the bench could go a long way for the Pistons.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves – record 24-14
This is simple. Thibs needs to learn to trust his bench more and give the starters a rest. Every starter is averaging over 33.6 minutes per game. Easily the most of any team in the league.
6. Houston Rockets – record 26-9
The Rockets are this low due to Harden missing the next two weeks with a hamstring injury. Rockets need to focus on Harden being 100% and not play around with the injury. Rockets need to prioritize health first and foremost.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – record 24-12
The Cavs have two ways to improve. One is Isaiah Thomas being fully healthy and giving the Cavs the second play maker they need. Two is dangling that Brooklyn Pick and Tristian Thompson for an All Star level type talent to add to their roster. It’ll be interesting to see how the Cavs operate moving forward.
4. San Antonio Spurs – record – 25-12
The Harden injury opens the door for the Spurs to catch the Rockets for the 2 seed in the West. Like the Rockets though, the Spurs need to prioritize the health of Kawhi Leonard and make sure he’s 100% good to go for the second half. The Spurs hardly make a big move at the deadline so it’d be awesome see them become a serious buyer.
3. Toronto Raptors – record 25-10
The Raptors should have one goal. Already on pace for their best season in franchise history, the goal should be the East Finals. If Derozan continues to play like he has the best two weeks, the Raptors will have a shot.
2. Boston Celtics – record 30-10
The 2018 goal for the Celtics should be the NBA finals. Resolution? Really go nuts and change the coarse of the franchise by trading for Anthony Davis. Just imagine a core of Kyrie – Hayward – Davis for years to come.
1 Golden State Warriors – record 29-8
Same year… same goal.., repeat and win their third title in four years. It’s the Warriors NBA and everyone else is just playing in it.