New Year’s Resolutions are great in theory but for most these hopes and aspirations fall short throughout the year — and it’s no different in sport.
We’ve already had a look at a very honest NFL New Year’s resolutions list for all 32 teams and now it’s time to do the same for the NBA’s 30 franchises.
The reality is, 2024 won’t be kind to everyone. Some will go on a magical deep playoff run, others will have their hearts broken by elimination, injury or just plain old poor form, and some from January 1 will already looking ahead to the next offseason to see what they can achieve through trades and draft picks.
It’s important to focus on what can be controlled moving forward; the next move, the next decision, that’s what’s important now.
So on that note, here’s what we expect every NBA franchise New Year’s resolutions to look like for 2024.
Every NBA team’s New Year’s resolution for 2024
Find some help for Trae
When you have an incredible talent like Trae Young on your roster, you need to do everything in your power to surround him with players who are going to deliver — and that’s not the case in Atlanta right now.
The Hawks have been perpetually average, with back-to-back first-round exits in the playoffs after being a lower-ranked side in the top eight.
For things to change, Atlanta needs to bring in a second All-Star calibre player, which may mean trading Dejounte Murray and whatever else to get a deal across the line.
Stop falling at the final hurdle
To this date, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s careers have been full of deep playoff runs, including a trip to the NBA Finals — but when are they going to clear the final hurdle?
The Celtics franchise has won just one championship in the past 37 years, and this current side has shown glimpses of adding banner number 18 for half a decade.
But as we’ve been saying for the last few years, this Celtics roster is the strongest in the league and if they can’t jump over the final hurdle and secure a championship, then questions need to be made about the roster’s future.
Build around Bridges and Thomas
After a failed big three experiment of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, the Brooklyn Nets have put together a great roster that has allowed Mikal Bridges to thrive and young star Cam Thomas to shine.
There are some great role players littered amongst the roster, but in order to take that next step towards a potential second-round playoff appearance, the Nets need to trade — the simple solution being Ben Simmons, but does anyone want that?
Stay patient Nets fans. This team looks like if they can keep the nucleus together, with some additional pieces, they can achieve greatness.
Tank and get a high draft pick
Charlotte currently holds the longest active playoffs drought in the NBA and things just don’t look like changing unless they give in to being terrible.
Tanking is frowned upon in sports, but when things are as dire as they are in Charlotte, you can understand why supporters will have this at the top of their New Year’s Resolutions list.
LaMelo Ball – who’s already an All-Star – was their last best high draft pick and Brandon Miller looks promising. So another top-three draft pick could be the long-term solution to their ongoing poor form.
Find some health
In an 82-game regular season, there’s bound to be some injuries but Chicago seems to have dealt with more than the league average year-on-year.
Lonzo Ball, who’s meant to be the starting point guard, has missed 124 straight games entering the 2023-24 season and has confirmed he’ll miss all of the season taking the total up to 206.
Nikola Vucevic, Alex Caruso, Zach LaVine and even Demar DeRozen have missed extended periods of time due to injury so we know Bulls fans are wishing for some luck health-wise with their 2024 New Year’s Resolutions.
Extend Donovan Mitchell
Finding a way to keep Donovan Mitchell is at the top of Cleveland’s New Year’s resolutions, with the superstar guard stating in October that he wouldn’t sign an extension this season but possibly in the 2024-25 season.
Mitchell is signed through to the end of next season with a player option for 2025-26 worth $37 million USD.
Cleveland has built a great squad around Mitchell and would be losing a few year’s worth of investing in him if they were to eventually see him leave.
The exact opposite of what they’re doing now
The Pistons have finished 2023 in style, winning only their third game of the season after losing 28 consecutive games.
With no real star player besides a third-year Cade Cunningham and 10-year vet in Bojan Bogdanovic, how can the Pistons expect anything better?
The 2023-24 season is a complete write-off for them, and it’s time for Detroit to start looking at who they are going to draft with their first pick come August.
Trade for a second star
Tyrese Haliburton is close to a perfect offensive player as you’re going to find. He scores at a high volume, can shoot the three, and most importantly, loves to set up his teammates.
At either the trade deadline in February or at the end of the season, the Pacers should look to trade some of their emerging players who have been decent for a second star — preferably a wing player.
If somewhat of a ‘big three’ can be built between Haliburton, Myles Turner and that second star, the Pacers could become a top-four Eastern Conference team by as early as next season.
Despite losing a few key role players that helped take them to the NBA Finals last season, the Heat have been rejuvenated and look set for another deep playoff run.
However, keeping this side healthy in the past has been a challenge, and with Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo all playing at an All-Star level, it’s more important than ever to keep them on the court.
Even their role players Duncan Robinson and Jaime Jaquez Jr are vital to their success and cannot get injured if Miami wants to secure the title that has been eluding them for the past four seasons.
Under new head coach, Adrian Griffin, the Bucks seem to have lost their way on the defensive end, which had previously been a staple of their game.
The loss of Jrue Holiday plays a significant role in their defensive demise, but all Bucks supporters will have ‘fixing their defence’ at the top of their New Year’s resolutions list come January 1.
New York Knicks
Pray that the Barrett trade works
Jalen Brunson has taken this Knicks team to new heights the past couple of seasons but New York continue to have short playoff runs — bowing out in the second round last season.
However, the Knicks front office as clearly marked RJ Barrett as one of the reasons for their shortcomings, shipping him off to Toronto along with Sixth-man of the Year candidate Immanuel Quickley, for OG Anunoby and a couple of role players.
The Knicks lose two of their top five scorers in this deal, so New York supporters New Years resolutions will be that they want this trade to help them come the postseason, cause if not, there’s more to players to blame now than just Barrett.
Keep young core intact
Orlando has come from nowhere to start the season as a top-six side in the Eastern Conference, all thanks to a young core that are all on the same page.
The challenge for the Magic will be keeping them together, as players search for the best contract they can get, and other teams come to scavenge on their roster.
Don’t mess with the Embiid-Maxey combo
Across the league, there always seems to be a need to add a third star to every team, but what Philadelphia has between Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey can’t be messed around with.
After James Harden forced his way to the Clippers, everyone wrote the 76ers off as title contenders, but the dynamic duo of Embiid and Maxey is arguably the best one-two punch in the league right now.
76ers fans will want this to flourish into a potential championship, and it feels like if they add another ball-dominant player, things are going to go back to how they were with Harden — good but not great.
Look towards the future
The Raptors look stuck at the moment between a team that lacks direction and a team that on any given night can beat the best in the league — but can they win a championship? I don’t think so.
Toronto and its fans, if they’re being serious, will know that this team can’t beat a number of Eastern Conference rivals in a seven-game series. But potentially the addition of some youth in RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, could indicate that the front office is looking towards the future.
Scootie Barnes is clearly the future franchise player there, so the Raptors could do worse than flipping other star Pascal Siakam while he’s still valuable because it could hurt Toronto in the long run if they stay put.
Dig yourselves out of the hole you put yourself in
Trading Chris Paul for Jordan Poole as of the end of December is looking like a huge mistake, as Poole continues to be one of the most inconsistent players in the entire league.
Paul had shown how he could nurture a young side with his stint in OKC, but after opting for Poole who was the third splash brother in Golden State, things are looking extremely dire.
The combination of Poole and Kyle Kuzma hasn’t worked and if they were smart, they would trade Poole this offseason for some more reliable role players to piece around Kuzma for the short-term.
Find some help for Luka
At times you can see Luka Doncic growing more and more frustrated with the lack of help he has in Dallas, but there’s no way they’re letting him leave.
So now the Mavericks have to find more support for Doncic — Irving is a great start but finding a reliable big who can score is the next move.
If they can find this help for Doncic, all Mavs fans’ New Year’s resolutions will come true, and we could see a deep playoff run for Dallas as soon as this season.
Keep doing what you’re doing
In the ‘Mile High City’, things are going as well as possible for a defending champion, with star Nikola Jokic playing at an MVP level, Jamal Murray fit and healthy, and their ever-reliable role players delivering on a nightly basis.
Denver looks on track for a high seeding come playoff time, which is crucial and such an advantage for a team like the Nuggets, whose home court is one of the hardest to play at due to the elevation.
Golden State Warriors
Make it work now or blow it up
After winning the NBA championship in 2022, it’s been a turbulent time for Golden State who have both on-court and off-court issues that have hurt their progression.
The biggest one has been Draymond Green’s antics, which have seen him punch a teammate, step on an opponent’s chest, choke out Rudy Gobert, and most recently, hit Jusuf Nurkic for an unknown reason.
If they can’t make things work with Green, or even Klay Thompson, who has been extremely inconsistent performance-wise, then it may be time to break up the band and look at a world post-dynasty and post-Steph Curry.
Green shoots are appearing under Ime Udoka’s tutelage in Houston, with a young core of players pushing the Rockets into serious playoff contention.
But we urge Houston fans just to remain patient and maybe expect this side to slowly fade as this season progresses because there’s some strong competition in the West.
Alperen Sengun and Jalen Green along with playoff-experienced guys such as Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks, have created a team that is so enjoyable to watch, but still need another couple of years before we can call them contenders.
Hope that the gamble pays off
It seemed initially that the blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to the Clippers wasn’t going to work, with the side losing multiple games in a row to start the new era. But how quickly things change in the NBA.
The Clippers now look like a lower-level championship contender, striking a great rotation system that has meant at least two out of the four superstars – Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook – are on the court at a time.
What will be at the top of Clippers fans’ New Years resolutions is hoping that this ‘big four’ is able to make the conference finals at least, with best case scenario obviously being winning a championship.
Los Angeles Lakers
Find a way to get Zach LaVine
The Lakers, as always when you have LeBron James, are title contenders but have been lacking some reliable offensive options outside of James and Anthony Davis.
Zach LaVine’s name has been linked to the franchise for some time now, and with rumours building as we approach the trade deadline, this could be a realistic move.
Keep Ja Morant under control
After serving a 25-game suspension at the start of the season in relation to an Instagram Live video that saw him holding a gun, Morant has returned better than ever, leading the Grizzlies to four-straight losses.
However, he’s already done a celebration on the court that seemed to mimic a rocket launcher, which begs the question as to whether he’s learnt his lesson.
It’s so vital that the Grizzlies keep him under control because during his absence the team held a 6-19 record and were ranked 30th in points-per-game.
So Grizzlies fans one wish for 2024 through their New Year’s resolutions is for no Morant-based interruptions to their season.
Capitalise on a strong regular season
Entering the New Year, Minnesota sits atop the Western Conference, having a blindingly good regular season.
But with proof of how good they can be, now it’s time to see them execute in the playoffs. The last two seasons they’ve bowed out in the first round, but maybe home-court advantage due to being a higher-ranked team could be the key to them progressing.
New Orleans Pelicans
This Pelicans team has dealt with their fair share of injuries, with Zion Williamson constantly missing games, Brandon Ingram having his issues, and many other cast members struggling at times to stay on the court.
Every team needs to avoid injuries but when this Pelicans team is healthy, they are a force to be reckoned with; great defence, elite shooting, strong interior players, and experience.
A lot is made of Zion’s weight in the media – which holds plenty of merit – but he can’t carry this team with his skillset, the whole New Orleans team has to be fit and ready to play come crunch time.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Trade some of those draft picks and go all in
There were high hopes for Oklahoma City entering this year that could be in the play-in tournament, or just sneak into the top six, but entering 2024, OKC sits second in the West and is destined to play past April.
With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander playing at an MVP level and other young players emerging as future stars alongside him, it looks like it’s finally time to open up that treasure trove of draft picks and cash in on an unwanted star.
The last thing the Thunder need now is more rookies. The play would be to package some draft picks and most likely Josh Giddey, for someone like Pascal Siakam or Lauri Markkanen.
Find some consistency
At the top of every Phoenix Suns fan’s New Year’s resolutions list is to finally find some consistency in a side that is stacked with All-Star talent.
Injuries have plagued the Suns to start the 2023-24 season, so a part of their New Year’s resolution wish for consistency would include improving the health of the side; the Suns’ big three (Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal) have played less than a handful of games all together.
Once they find consistency, the Suns will be true championship contenders, as their star-studded roster just cannot be ignored.
Portland Trail Blazers
Finish the campaign unscathed
Portland needs to make sure they launch into next season with their developing, young nucleus fit and firing, ready to take a big step forward.
It’s been a shaky start for the number three overall pick in the 2023 draft Scoot Henderson, who has been electric in parts and practically invisible in others.
But there’s no denying that Portland has some serious talent in their roster it’s just about nurturing and staying patient for now, before looking towards any silverware.
Win a playoff series
It was only last season that Sacramento ended their 16-year playoff drought, making it to a game-seven against Golden State which unfortunately for them, they lost.
But with De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis playing at an All-Star level and their teammates chipping in around the board, the Kings look a threat come the postseason.
So with 2023 giving Kings fans some hope of ending that playoff drought, hopefully, 2024 will provide them with their next New Year’s resolution; winning a playoff series.
San Antonio Spurs
Get Wembanyama the ball!
It’s been mind-boggling to watch the Spurs draft the unicorn Victor Wembanyama and not use the 7-foot-4 centre more often.
Wembanyama has the most elite talent for someone his size that the NBA has ever seen, and over the past month, a lot has been made of viral clips showing the Frenchman wide open calling for the ball but being ignored.
Obviously, coach Greg Popovich is trying to not place so much reliability on a rookie, but when you’re projected to be a generational talent, like LeBron James, who uses him every chance you get. So on behalf of all San Antonio Spurs fans and their New Year’s resolutions, GET WEMBANYAMA THE BALL!!
Look towards the future
Similar to the Thunder, Utah is sitting on a well of first-round draft picks, but unlike OKC, they desperately need them.
The Jazz have lost a lot of talent over the past few years – Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Bojan Bogdanovic – and need to start again surrounding Lauri Markkanen.
Looking to the future can be a serious waiting game for the organisation, as sometimes you never draft the exact right talent – like the Knicks – but sometimes you get it just right, like the Thunder a couple of times.