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10 NBA New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

Ring in the new year with 10 resolutions for the NBA in 2015.

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Three! Two! One! It’s time to ring in the New Year with 10 resolutions for the NBA. From improvements to continued successes, injuries to breakouts, here is a list for teams and players as we enter 2015.

1. Kevin Durant to Get Healthy
The Oklahoma City Thunder entered the season poised as a title contender, but it is unrealistic to consider them one without Kevin Durant. The reigning MVP has appeared in just nine games this season due to a right foot fracture and sprained right ankle. The Thunder are dangerous when Durant (22.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists) is playing. It’s another story — one that doesn’t always have happy ending — when he isn’t.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers to Figure This Whole Thing Out
Well, this hasn’t gone as expected. The Cavs are a middle-of-the-pack team — in the East. Winning a championship in a team’s first year together is tough to accomplish (LeBron James knows this from the Miami HEAT), but the regular season has been more of a struggle than it seemed it would be. While the Cavs have faced injuries (losing Anderson Varejao is a huge hit) and it takes time to click, they have to become better than they are at this point.

3. Rajon Rondo to Make Free Throws
Things have gone awry for Rondo at the line this season. He shot 33.3 percent while on the Boston Celtics, and while there was the thought he would improve after a change of scenery, he is shooting only slightly better at 40 percent with the Dallas Mavericks. Even though Rondo has been criticized for his offense, this is a change from the norm. He has a career average 61.2 percent and shot 62.7 percent last season. Rondo is effective when he drives, and if teams believe they can foul him with little consequences at the line, he will have to make his shots to make them pay.

4. Atlanta Hawks to Continue Flying Under the Radar
A show of hands: How many people are aware of how well the Hawks are playing this season? This team has flown so far under the radar while putting together one of the best records in the league (23-8). They won nine straight games and went 14-2 in December. The Hawks aren’t receiving as much hype as they should, and that’s ok. They are doing just fine without it.

5. Derrick Rose to Stay on the Court
Another season, another saga of Derrick Rose uncertainty. The Chicago Bulls guard is cautious after a string of serious injuries that held him to a total of 49 games the previous two years. Three months into this season, he has already suffered multiple ankle and hamstring problems, limiting him to 22 games. The Bulls need him to be healthy, but they also need him on the floor.

6. Golden State Warriors to Keep the Momentum
The Warriors got off to a lightening fast start this season and hold the best record in the NBA (25-5). Now there is a target on their backs. The Warriors will be tasked with fighting off opponents that make it a point to get up for their game while keeping their momentum and staying healthy during the grind of the remainder of the season.

7. San Antonio Spurs to Maintain Veterans Health for Playoffs
The Spurs are faced with keeping their veterans fresh for the playoffs while utilizing them enough to succeed in the regular season. Gregg Popovich will have to pick and choose when to sit or limit the minutes of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker specifically. Winning in December is important, but having them healthy for the playoffs matters even more.

8. Damian Lillard Continue to Grow
Damian Lillard is one of the league’s brightest young stars. Only 24, he is leading the Portland Trail Blazers (26-7) in his third season. Last postseason, Lillard proved he can step up when it matters. This season he will have to do the same. The pressure is high for player with so few years of NBA experience.

9. Charlotte Hornets Fix the Lance Stephenson Conundrum
When Lance Stephenson hit free agency this summer, he was a highly sought after target with his grit and hustle. The Charlotte Hornets inked him, seemingly adding a piece that would push them into the next level after making the playoffs last season. Instead, the team is back toward the bottom of the standings at 10-22. Stephenson hasn’t been a fit and trade talks started up before he even unpacked his bags (at least it seemed that way). If Stephenson can’t help the Hornets, they will have to work out a move that gives them value in return.

10. Brooklyn Nets to Straighten Out Their Roster
The Brooklyn Nets stacked their roster with big contracts and fell short of meeting big expectations. Now Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are coming off the bench, a sign of how much the original design isn’t working out. The Nets will continue to pursue trades and their resolution should be to unload some of their salary eaters to open up flexibility to improve in the future.

Jessica Camerato is a bilingual reporter who has been covering the NBA since 2006. She has also covered MLB, NHL and MLS. A graduate of Quinnipiac University, Jessica is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association and the Association for Women in Sports Media.

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