First things first: Happy New Year to the roundball-obsessed! We hope you enjoyed ringing in 2013 and that you continue to enjoy our work here at Sheridan Hoops throughout the year.
To begin 2013, we have compiled resolutions for 8 teams.
Without further ado, here are some adjustments/subtle changes teams will need to make to build upon the first two months of the 2012-13 season.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Figure out backup PG slot: Following the James Harden/Kevin Martin swap, the Thunder have been humming and clicking on pretty much all cylinders so far in the 2012-13 season.
They’re averaging 105.7 points, good for first in the NBA thus far, and their defensive pressure has been excellent all season long.
That being said, there isn’t much to complain about down in the heartland… However, if you’d like to nitpick (and we do), the Thunder are still trying to figure out how to distribute minutes to their backup point guards; Eric Maynor is playing just 12.5 mpg and is averaging a mediocre 7.7 points on 31% shooting so far this year while second-year guard Reggie Jackson appears to be trying to cease the opportunity that Maynor’s degression has created for him.
In the Thunder’s last four games, Jackson doubled his regular playing time from 8 mpg to 16 mpg. Though his production hasn’t been off the charts, these minutes could become more of a regularity for Jackson as the season continues because the Thunder likely want to know who their most reliable backup lead guard is as they head into the Western Conference gauntlet.
Miami Heat – Defense, Defense, Defense: It’s no secret that following Miami’s championship campaign in 2012, they’ve had a major letdown (as major as a 20-8 record can indicate) defensively to begin this season.
The Heat are 17th in opponents’ scoring average, letting up 97.8 ppg this season, compared to finishing fourth in that same category at 92.5 last season.
Granted, Miami has upped its offensive potency this year, as they’re fifth in scoring at 102.7 ppg, up from seventh at 98.5 ppg in 2011-12 … but as LeBron James and Co. surely know, they can’t rely on simply outscoring their opponents if they’re to repeat.
They’re 29th in rebounding at 39 per game this season, compared to 21st at 41.6 per game last season, which isn’t the biggest difference, especially for a team that negates rebounding advantages with their ability to turn a turnover into two points as quickly as any team in league history. For Miami to repeat their success in 2013, they’ll need to shore up their defensive rotations by concentrating more at that end on a consistent basis. It’s scary but with the talent that Pat Riley’s stocked up in South Beach, it’s that simple.
New York Knicks – Keep Morale High: If you Google “Amar’e Stoudemire bench,” you’ll see a variety of statements from Stoudemire and the coaching staff, opinions from beat writers and so on. The New York media is thirsty for storylines, and Amar’e and his $20 million dollar contract coming off the bench for any amount of time will generate more than enough for the media to take note of.
Heading into 2013, New York must continue to ignore all of the outside comments and concerns while continuing down the winning, high-morale path from November and December.
With Raymond Felton out nursing an injured finger, Carmelo Anthony constantly on the day-to-day list thanks to nagging injuries, Rasheed Wallace in and out of the lineup and Iman Shumpert and Stoudemire still having to be worked back into the equation, there are going to be a lot of things for coach Mike Woodson to manage.