New Year’s Resolutions: Western Conference

The calendar has turned to 2016, and “resolution season” is in full swing. The theme is no different for multiple teams across the NBA, especially in the Western Conference, as teams look to finish the first half of the regular season in strong fashion.

So, what resolutions should some of those teams make? We break it all down below:


Golden State Warriors: Be safe 

While Golden State will be fine if it doesn’t change a thing in the new year, the Warriors might want to consider playing it safe with Stephen Curry and company. While getting to 70 wins would be amazing, what’s most important is that the entire roster is healthy for the playoffs. Records are cool, but back-to-back titles are even cooler.

Dallas Mavericks: Stay in the moment 

Not many saw Dallas starting the season with a record of 19-13. While the Mavericks may have dropped their last two games, the point remains: this team has overachieved and needs to stay focused if it wants to keep it up. So, simply put, stay in the moment. Enjoy an aging Dirk Nowitzki. Delight in an explosive Wesley Matthews. Marvel at what J.J. Barea has done lately. The Mavs are playing with house money at this point, and that could make for a fun final few months.

Photo by Jerome Miron -USA TODAY Sports

Photo by Jerome Miron -USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers: Keep it simple 

Just as they did in the 2013-’14 and 2014-’15 seasons, Los Angeles is using the same steady and consistent attack that has produced a couple of good (but not great) campaigns. When we reach playoff time, that’s when Doc Rivers should worry about mixing up the formula he uses, because that formula has led to elimination in the Western Conference semis in each of the past two years. For now, the Clippers should just keep rolling along. With an elite offensive attack and good-enough defense, a top four finish in the West seems likely.

New Orleans Pelicans: Blow it up

The time has come for New Orleans to rebuild this lackluster roster. The problems started with the premature firing of head coach Monty Williams, and continued when the Pelicans gave Omer Asik a five-year, $58 million deal this summer. Williams is now the heart of an all-star staff in Oklahoma City, while Asik is averaging fewer than 3 points per game. Anthony Davis is struggling on the defensive end of the floor, and the Pelicans have the third-worst record in the West. It’s time for a rebuild.

Even Davis Has Had His Share Of Struggles This Season (credit: Derick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports)

Even Davis Has Had His Share Of Struggles This Season (credit: Derick E. Hingle – USA TODAY Sports)

Oklahoma City Thunder: Woo Durant 

This one is almost too easy, but it is also the most important. Oklahoma City’s top resolution/goal/ambition in 2016 should be to re-sign its star forward. Durant will be the most sought-after free agent this summer, but the Thunder figure to have the inside track at signing him. He is currently averaging 26.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game for the West’s No. 3 team.

Utah Jazz: Take it easy with Favors 

Derrick Favors has sat out the last five games with a back injury, but that is perfectly fine. The power forward had a superb 2015, and that will continue in the new year as long as he is allowed to take his time coming back. Back injuries can linger, and it is important that he is fully healthy for the stretch run as Utah tries to snag one of those last couple of playoff spots.

Portland Trail Blazers: No sense in tanking now

While it appeared in the offseason that Portland was setting up a rebuild project focused on obtaining a prized draft pick, that plan fizzled when the Trail Blazers started to play much better than expected. A young roster headlined by Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum gelled quickly, racing out to a 4-2 record and most recently winning three straight games without the services of Lillard. They are currently just two games out of the playoffs, and with no real benefit in picking in that 12-14 range this June, there is no sense in tanking throughout the second half of the season.

About Connor Pelton

Connor Pelton writes about all levels of basketball for Crossover Chronicles and SB Nation. You can follow him on Twitter at @ConnorPelton28.