Resolution: Trade for Otto Porter Jr.
A trade for Otto Porter Jr. would benefit the financially-ailing Wizards as well as the Mavericks, who could be looking to make a very unexpected push into the playoffs. A potential deal could look like the expiring contract of at least Wesley Matthews for two years (and a player option) of Porter Jr. This would make the Wizards more financially flexible in the years to come instead of being locked into the big three they have. This deal works well for the Mavericks too, as they attempt to provide Luka Doncic with stability as his young career begins to blossom.
Resolution: Prove you belong
The top-seeded Denver Nuggets have three games remaining with Golden State Warriors, two with the Houston Rockets, and a game with the Thunder. Those six games will determine if the Nuggets are a legitimate contender or if they are on the cusp of being one. The Nuggets play their lone home game against Golden State on January 15, so we should get a fairly early taste of how they match up with the defending champions.
Golden State Warriors
Resolution: Plug up the holes
For the first time in a long time, the Warriors look vulnerable. Draymond Green is averaging just 7.3 ppg and Klay Thompson is converting just 34% of his three-point shots. Couple all of that with the drama between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant earlier in the year and you have a team that looks like it may need Durant and Curry to play like their MVP selves to regain the dominance that the Warriors have played with the past few years. Of course, if DeMarcus Cousins returns for the Warriors this season, it may not matter how many points the Warriors score or with what percentage they do it with.
Resolution: Figure out how to play offense
Depending on who you ask, James Harden is either the most electrifying or most boring player in the league. There is no doubt he made his mark on NBA history when he scored 400 points in just 10 games, but the Rockets offense is designed so he literally puts up 40 a game every night. The complaint with Harden is that all he does is take the ball in an isolation offense, step back, make a three-point shot, and repeat (sometimes, he even shoots free throws!). Mike D’Antoni is known for having high-scoring offenses, and it is disappointing that even he has fallen into the trap of just letting Harden play one-on-one every game. Maybe the Rockets are saving their offense for when Chris Paul comes back and/or for the playoffs.
Los Angeles Clippers
Resolution: Right the ship
The Clippers are 4-6 in their last ten games and got cold just as the rest of the Western Conference began to heat up. With no real star on the team, unless you count Tobias Harris, the Clippers had been wildly exceeding expectations to start the season and even boasted the second-best record in the West for a while. Hopefully, this is not a regression to where the Clippers talent indicates they should be and Doc Rivers can turn things around with a squad that has shown the ability to hang with some of the top teams in the league.
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