NBA New Year's Resolution: 5 Teams Bound to Make 2011 a Success
In every sport, there are always teams that start the year slow and get better as the season progresses. This year, the NBA features several young teams on the rise as well as young teams just getting their feet wet.
We have seen teams with a lot of talent start the season with disappointing records this year. Even with this records, the talent level of team makes it an obvious prediction that the team will definitely get better. Its just a matter of time.
Here are a few teams that will not wait until next season to turn things around and become relevant in the standings in the NBA.
Enjoy reading and don't forget to voice your opinion in the comments section below!
5. Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry is all the Warriors need to be successful once again as they were at the start of the season. Since his return, they have won five of their last nine games with losses to the surging clippers, Orlando, Miami and Atlanta. Coming out with five wins there says a lot.
The Warriors are capable of playing above .500 for the rest of the season if they stay healthy. As of now, they are only four-and-a-half games out of the playoffs and will enjoy a pretty even schedule in the second half of the season regarding the talent level of opposing teams.
4. Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are making a lot of noise given their level of talent. The team does not have enough big men to match up against centers and even power forwards night in and night out. Also, the team missed their starting point guard Aaron Brooks for a while (he did not really come back until last night against Boston). Regardless, they have mustered 17 wins so far.
The Rockets are able to get down and dirty with any team in the league and actually have a positive differential in scoring against their opponents. With a healthier roster for the rest of the season, they should be able to make some noise in the bottom of the Western Conference standings and contend for a playoff spot.
Regardless of their standing at the end of the year, if the Rockets are able to improve in the second half of the season, it is safe to say they made strides this year with their young pieces and can only get better.
3. Memphis Grizzlies
So far through almost the first half of the season, the Grizzlies look just like they did last year. No improvements whatsoever can be taken from their performance. Regardless, the team has a legitimate change to make a splash in 2011.
Many things could be attributed to the team’s mediocre level of play. For instance, while they are an above average team getting to the line, they are one of the worst foul shooting teams which places them at pretty low in the free throws made category. It does not every get any easier than a free throw in a basketball game.
Also, the team although it has pretty darn good rebounders in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol is one of the worst rebounding team in the league. That’s not going to get you anywhere.
To be fair, the Grizzlies did have one of the worst schedules in the NBA playing a lot of their first 36 games against elite teams with more talent and experience. January and February feature plenty of winnable games in which the Grizzlies can capitalize and gain confidence and hopefully come out with at least a .500 record going into a very challenging month of March.
2. Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers have been a disappointment so far. While they were not expected to be a top team in the East, they were also not expected to start the year 3-13. Since then, they have actually picked up their play and are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference in a three-way tie with Milwaukee and Charlotte.
The 76ers are playing over .500 basketball and if they pick up the pace they can end up as high as seventh in their conference.
What is nice about this team is that they are playing solid team ball with or without Andre Iguodala. Their coach seems to have finally figured out a good rotation and game plan and has the team playing strong at both ends of the court.
If Philly is able to get some talent in town using Andre Iguodala in a trade or some of their expiring contracts like Jason Kapono, Philadelphia might even become a surprise playoff team the way Milwaukee did it last year.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers have won seven out of their last 10 games, including a pair of games against playoff teams like Denver and Chicago. Their losses have been to Utah, Atlanta and Houston who have all been playing solid basketball.
Their current record of 12 and 24 clearly does not represent the way this team has been playing as of late. If they keep up their winning ways, something that would not be completely farfetched, they could potentially have a winning record of over 44 wins by the end of the year. That could make them a playoff team.
Blake Griffin has his 23 double-double streak alive and he seems to be getting better and better with every game, Eric Gordon is having a fantastic year and the return of Baron Davis to the starting lineup have the Clippers rolling.
While Memphis, Houston and Golden State all have a legitimate shot at snatching one of the last two spots in the Western Conference it could not be argued that the Clippers are not right there in the mix as well.
Honorable Mention: Charlotte Bobcats
The Bobcats are coming back to relevance in the Eastern Conference as they just tied for the eight spot. The new coach seems to have found a way to win games as of late and the players are clearly responding.
Their current hot run is deceiving though, since they have actually beaten five of the worst teams in the league, but it is a start.
The honorable mention here is just a mere shout out for the recent success but the probability of the Bobcats being much better than what they are right now is slim. That, and the team might look completely different at the trade deadline.