It’s official! 2020 is done and 2021 is here!
And to start off the year, here is the second part of the New Year wishes and resolutions of every NBA team this year.
If you haven’t read the first one, be sure to check it out right here.
#15. Cleveland Cavaliers – SexLand emerges
Since LeBron James left Cleveland for the second time back in 2018, Cleveland has once again been in rebuilding mode after tasting glory for four years.
The Cavaliers may be back to the rebuilding mode again but this time, they’ve got gems that could help them in the next few years.
Aside from the young talents in the likes of Kevin Porter Jr, Dante Exum, Cedi Osman along with rookies Isaac Okoro and Dyland Windler as well as veterans like Kevin Love, Andre Drummond and JaVale McGee.
Cleveland also has a potential star duo in their roster in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.
The duo have been showing brilliance in the early part of the season with Sexton averaging 25.8 points, and 3.8 rebounds while Garland is putting up 18.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.8 assists. and helping the Cavaliers have a good start.
Heading into 2021, with the SexLand duo leading the way, Cleveland could compete for a playoff spot. But in the end, it will only happen if their new duo play on an even higher level.
#14. Sacramento Kings – Experienced young Kings
Last season, Sacramento came very close into making their first playoff appearance since the Ron Artest-led 2005-06 season.
This year, with their young core still intact, the Kings are looking to finally make it.
With the likes of De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III along with the addition of talented but seemingly troubled big-man Hassan Whiteside and rookie Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento has the talent needed to be on the hunt for a playoff spot.
Last season, the main dilemma of the Kings were their inexperienced young stars. Despite being talented, there were games where it’s evident that they’re missing that veteran leadership that can get them over the hump.
This season, heading into 2021, Sacramento has to be hoping that their young stars finally get that experience they need to finally get back into the playoff picture.
#13. Indiana Pacers – Be healthy
I’m sure no one will argue when I say that Indiana have the potential to be one of the most dangerous teams out in the East.
Despite having a lowkey line-up, they managed to have stellar success in the past few years.
However, their biggest problem is health.
Last season, Pacers’ main guy Victor Oladipo only played 19 games, the season before that he only played 36 games. Second star Domantas Sabonis only played 62 games last season.
Starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon only played 54 games too, 10 less than his final season with Milwaukee.
This season, although the trio have been playing well, Indiana is still missing multiple players due to injury.
T.J Warren, Jeremy Lamb, Brian Bowen II and Goga Bitadze are all yet to make their debut this season,
Heading into 2021, I’m sure they would want to finally be healthy and have a complete run this year.
#12. Utah Jazz – Productive role players
Utah has been one of the more fun teams in the league, thanks to the stellar and consistent development of leading man Donovan Mitchell.
Backed up by defensive star big-man Rudy Gobert, the Jazz have become one of the regular playoff teams in the West.
In the last three years, Utah reached the West semis once back in 2018, but failed to make it in the last two seasons.
This was partly because of a lack of experience but a big chunk of it is the lack of productivity from the role players.
Last season was supposed to be the year where they could have a big playoff run but despite having a classic series against Denver, they still failed to advance in the second round mainly because of the lack of help from veteran players like Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic.
Now, heading into 2021 with Conley and Bogdanovic along with Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors and Jordan Clarkson, Utah is surely hoping that these role players will make enough impact to make it in the West Finals at the very least.
#11. Atlanta Hawks – Growth of the young stars
Atlanta has built a great, talented and young line-up through the draft.
Taking the likes of Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, the Hawks went from an impact-less team to one of the future contenders of the NBA.
This season, Atlanta decided that it’s now time to take the next step and decided to bring in veteran players.
Last season, Clint Capela became part of the Hawks via trade and in the offseason, they brought in guys like Rajon Rondo, Danilo Gallanari and Solomon Hill as well as young veteran, talented scorer in Bogdan Bogdanovic.
The addition of players is not only in hopes to make it in the playoffs but also to help develop these young stars.
Especially Young, who now has a mentor in the likes of multiple-time champion Rondo. While Rondo’s not going to be teaching Young a lot about scoring, he can certainly teach him a lot about defense, concentration, and hard work when it matters in the playoffs.
#10. Minnesota Timberwolves – Successful run of their new Big 3
Minnesota has been nothing but disappointing for the last decade.
However, this decade looks like it is the start of a new era in the house of the Timberwolves.
Minnesota is looking like a they will have a big intro this decade because of their promising core.
Heading into 2021, with the trio of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and first overall pick Anthony Edwards all ready to play, Minnesota is hoping that this is the year that they once again reach the Playoffs since 2018.
#9. Philadelphia 76ers – Simmons’ Jumper
Last season, Philadelphia was one of the most disappointing teams in the league. This year, they are looking like a team that is focused on bouncing back.
During the offseason, the 76ers added the likes of Danny Green, Dwight Howard and Seth Curry. Three veteran players that has proven their productivity.
Undoubtedly, on paper, Philly is looking very promising this season.
However, I strongly believe their success will still depend on whether Ben Simmons can finally develop a reliable jump shot.
Despite being surrounded by shooters, Simmons would still need to have that jumped added to his arsenal as his current style can be easily controlled especially in the playoffs.
The 76ers are currently at the top of the standings in the East and need to stay near there.
#8. Portland Trailblazers – MVP Time for Lillard
In the past few years, Portland have been falling short in the playoffs.
However, it is not because of the lack of effort.
This season, their hopes to make a deep run are still very possible with their line-up.
In order to do so, Damian Lillard would have to play on an MVP level and make an impact not just in his individual numbers but in his team as well.
Last season, he averaged 30.0 points, 8.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds but only reached the first round of the playoffs. This year, he will have to play even greater than that to win the MVP title and have a deep run in the playoffs.
#7. New Orleans Pelicans – A breakout season for Zion and Lonzo
New Orleans has the potential to be the breakout team of this decade.
However, one has to start somewhere and Pelicans fans are hoping that this is the year that Zion Williamson and Lonzo Ball will put up All-Star performances.
Ball has been mediocre in his first three seasons in the league. Although, he has shown great leadership last season, it’s still not what fans expected from him after all the hype.
Williamson only played 24 games last season but impressed everyone with his athleticism, raw power, and surprisingly decent three pointer.
Brandon Ingram has already been showing what he can do, so if he can get backed up by Williamson and Ball, then the Pelicans are going to be a fearsome opponent for any squad.
#6. Phoenix Suns – CP3 magic repeats
Last season, Chris Paul proved that he is still one of the best players in the league by helping the young and star-less Oklahoma City Thunder secure the fifth seed and reach the playoffs in the West.
The 15-year-veteran also helped develop Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to a potential All-Star this year.
Now, as part of Phoenix, the Phoenix franchise and the fanbase are hoping that the same could happen to their team.
With better young players on the team like all-star Devin Booker and high potential big-man Deandre Ayton, Paul’s impact could help these two become even greater.
Suns fans are hoping that this year would be the year where they could once again see playoff basketball and hopefully make Booker happy enough to stay longer.
So far, Phoenix is off to a great start and are at the top of the league.
#5. Boston Celtics – Better playoff performance
Last season Boston looked like they had a great shot of making the NBA Finals, especially after Milwaukee lost to Miami.
Fans and critics were favoring Boston to come out of the East. Instead, multiple meltdowns and bad performances against a supremely focused Miami Heat squad in the Eastern Conference Finals ended that dream.
The core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker failed to step up and play big under the brightest spotlight.
There is no doubt that the Celtics will reach the playoffs but with the addition of veterans like Jeff Teague and Tristan Thompson, greater expectations and greater hopes are now what Boston is facing.
#4. Brooklyn Nets – Healthy KD and Kyrie
Brooklyn is one of the favorites to win it all this season.
Despite the fact that their two main guys are only playing together for the first time this season, fans are still looking at this Nets team as the team that could dethrone LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers.
However, Brooklyn knows how fragile these two are since both of them are coming off injuries.
KD from his ruptured right Achilles tendon and Kyrie from multiple upper and lower body injuries.
This season, the biggest thing that the Nets franchise are hoping for is that their new stars would be healthy from the first game until the very last. They are especially mindful of this now thanks to Spencer Dinwiddie’s ACL injury.
A healthy KD and Uncle Drew backed up by Caris LaVert, Joe Harris, DeAndre Jordan, and Jarrett Allen is certainly a line-up that could win the title.
#3. LA Clippers – Team Chemistry/Cure for Pandemic P.
The Clippers were nothing short of a disappointment last season.
Things were so rough that a coaching change happened and Montrezl Harrell decided to move to the Lakers.
Despite the talents of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Lou Williams, they won’t make the Finals without fixing team chemistry.
Last season, the Clippers didn’t have that dominant aura that fans expected as they failed to close out Denver in the West Semis despite having a 3-1 lead in the series.
Another wish Clippers fans have is to finally see George activate Playoff P and finally put the Pandemic P to rest.
The talent is there but the Clippers have to get through their baggage to win a title.
#2. Milwaukee Bucks – Greek Freak steps up in the playoffs
Milwaukee now has an actual championship roster. With the addition of Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis as well as the mainstays in Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, they are again built to make a run at the title.
Despite how good the role players are, Giannis Antetokounmpo will need to pull off a Hall of Fame worthy performance this year.
A third MVP title isn’t enough. He needs his team reached the NBA Finals.
Antetokounmpo signed a $228.2 million contract earlier this year, the biggest contract in NBA history.
And now that both the Bucks and the Greek Freak have gotten what they want, he will have to show up and prove that he’s worthy of it not just because of his individual plays but because he can consistently bring his team to the NBA Finals.
If there is a perfect time to win a title, it’s this year. Antetokounmpo will have to step-up as the Bucks’ title hopes are all in his hands now.
#1. LA Lakers – Back-to-Back titles
The LA Lakers finally broke the 10-year title curse last season.
Now, with a new crew, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and this year’s Lakers squad are looking to pull off a feat that the late great Kobe Bryant did during his playing days, leading a team to win back-to-back titles.
The purple and gold squad has everything they need to win.
Talents, experience and team chemistry are all in the bag for this squad.
After their successful run last season, their team became even better with the addition of Dennis Schröder, Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol.
Back-to-back is the only thing that matters and the only things that LA and its fans are wishing.
Anything less than that is just a consolation prize.
Who do you think will have a big run in 2021? Sound off in the comment section.