With 2021 finally upon us, NBA franchises will like to fare better than they did last year. On that note, here are five New Year resolutions certain NBA franchises could have for the year.
#1 LA Clippers - Make the Western Conference Finals
Last season, the LA Clippers were favorites to win the 2020 NBA championship. However, the team almost floundered in the first round before exiting the bubble in the second.
There were reasons for their disappointing postseason run during the last campaign, which they will like to keep at bay this year.
The LA Clippers have more than enough talent to make the 2021 NBA Finals and build up the chemistry in the roster. However, with the LA Lakers looking like the team to beat in the West, the Clippers certainly have their task cut out. Nevertheless, making the Western Conference finals needs to be a realistic goal for the franchise.
#2 Philadelphia 76ers - Keep the team healthy
The Philadelphia 76ers may be one of the few teams in the NBA where the star players do not hesitate to share the workload.
After Daryl Morey came in and worked his magic, the franchise has looked rejuvenated and has the best record (4-1) in the East this season. The 76ers do have the wherewithal to ruffle the feathers of the stronger teams in their conference. However, for that to happen, Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid need to stay healthy.
The 76ers will need to ensure that both their superstars are in tip-top shape this time when the postseason rolls around. That could be crucial for the Philadelphia 76ers' chances of going all the way this season.
#3 Miami Heat - Make a deep postseason run
It may only have been a few months since the 2020 NBA Finals, but most fans are counting on the Miami Heat for another deep postseason run.
The East may be more competitive now, but the Heat are still among the best in the conference and deserve a lot more respect than what they get.
To prove their naysayers wrong, the Miami Heat need to build on their impressive run in the Orlando Bubble last year, and at the very least, need to make the Conference finals once again.
The Miami Heat have the talent and the coach to achieve this goal, even in a stacked Eastern Conference. If they are able to do that, it would augur well for their young roster's future and pedigree in the competition.
#4 New Orleans Pelicans - Make the 2021 NBA Playoffs
Last year, the New Orleans Pelicans tantalisingly missed out on the NBA Playoffs. However, there were a few reasons for it like Zion Williamson's poor conditioning and the underwhelming form of Lonzo Ball.
However, this year the franchise has come out all guns blazing. Despite facing some of the better teams in the NBA, the team boasts the joint third-best record (3-2) in the West.
Brandon Ingram has looked like an All-Star; Lonzo Ball has improved massively, and Zion Williamson looks ready to week havoc on the league. Couple that with the fact that the franchise's bench has looked impressive, the Pelicans seem to have all bases covered.
Considering the talent at their disposal, barring any major injuries, the New Orleans Pelicans not reaching the 2021 NBA Playoffs would be a massive disappointment.
LA Lakers - Keep LeBron James healthy
The LA Lakers are undoubtedly one of the strongest teams in the NBA right now, and a key reason for that is the presence of a certain LeBron James.
The 36-year-old continues to play at an All-NBA level and is arguably one of the best players in the league, possibly the best ever.
However, considering his age, the player could be more injury-prone, which would have an adverse effect on his performances, and in turn the fortunes of the LA Lakers. Hence, the franchise must do anything in their power to keep James healthy.
There has reportedly been a lot of talk about possible load management for the NBA's superstar. While it may not be a very glamorous proposition, the LA Lakers need to keep their prized asset in optimum physical condition to remain in contention for a successful title defense.
Published 01 Jan 2021, 18:52 IST