Ranking the NBA from worst to first, along with 2011 New Year’s resolutions…
30. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-26)
Mo Williams resolves to find a way out of this mess. So does Antawn Jamison. And J.J. Hickson. And Jamario Moon. And Byron Scott. The Cavs have lost 17 of their last 18 games, and if they don’t keep tabs on their guys, Manny Harris is going to be the best player on the team before you know it.
29. Sacramento Kings (7-24)
Tyreke Evans and the Kings medical staff resolve to be smart about managing Tyreke’s foot problems. There’s no need to run the future of your franchise into the ground during a rebuilding season.
28. New Jersey Nets (9-25)
Kris Humphries resolves to accept the reality that his dating a Kardashian won’t lead to a championship. If Lamar Odom and Reggie Bush are the rule, Kris is the exception.
27. Washington Wizards (8-24)
Nick Young resolves to only eat and sleep buckets. He must turn his breathing attention to another activity.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-25)
Kevin Love resolves to let somebody else get a rebound occasionally. He’s been quite the ball-hog this season.
25. Los Angeles Clippers (10-24)
Blake Griffin resolves to not physically kill anybody with one of his dunks. At least that should be his resolution. Blake (21.7 ppg, 12.5 rpg) is playing like he doesn’t care how bad somebody gets hurt.
24. Toronto Raptors (11-20)
DeMar DeRozan resolves to live up to the inevitable Vince Carter comparisons. He dropped 37 points on Houston on New Year’s Eve, then followed it up by scoring 27 on Boston.
23. Detroit Pistons (11-22)
Tracy McGrady resolves to give some team a reason to sign him next summer. When he gets burn, T-Mac has produced lately for Detroit. He had 21 points and 8 assists in the win over Boston last week, and had 17 points, 7 boards and 7 dimes to help beat Toronto.
22. Charlotte Bobcats (11-20)
Paul Silas resolves to remove “interim” from his job title. The Bobcats have gone 2-1 since he took over for Larry Brown, and are one Stephen Jackson buzzer-beating miss from being 3-0.
21. Philadelphia 76ers (13-20)
Jrue Holiday resolves to strap up defensively this week, as he faces Chris Paul, John Wall and Derrick Rose head-to-head. Since a 45-point loss to Chicago on Dec. 21, the Sixers have beaten Denver and Phoenix and competed in close losses to Boston and the Lakers.
20. Golden State Warriors (13-20)
Stephen Curry resolves to keep his ankles upright and off the floor for the rest of the season. When he’s not hobbling, Curry is averaging 18.8 points and 6.1 assists.
19. Indiana Pacers (14-18)
Roy Hibbert resolves to fly in Bill Walton for a weekend refresher course. Whatever worked from last summer’s tutoring session has appeared to wear off over the last couple of weeks, as the slumping Hibbert — who was taken out of the starting lineup before Sunday’s loss to New York — needs to get his swagger back.
18. Phoenix Suns (14-18)
Goran Dragic resolves to be more than a one-hit wonder. His production and playing time has been steadily dropping, and he needs another breakout performance. That San Antonio game was a long time ago now.
17. Milwaukee Bucks (13-18)
Michael Redd resolves to play basketball again. Remember him? The guy was dropping 20 points a night and was one of the best shooters in the world before tearing up his left knee twice. He hasn’t played since January 2010, but he’s only 31 years old and is targeting a February return.
16. Memphis Grizzlies (15-19)
Tony Allen resolves to start some trade rumors about himself. The Celtics are plagued with injuries, and the Grizzlies are in the sub-.500 club. Just act like this summer never happened and bring TA back home.
15. Houston Rockets (16-17)
Kevin Martin resolves to be OK with never getting the respect and recognition he deserves. K-Mart is 11th in the League in scoring (23.0 ppg) and isn’t even mentioned in All-Star talk.
14. New York Knicks (19-14)
The Knicks resolve to make it through this week (vs. Spurs, at Suns, at Lakers) without giving up a combined 360 points.
13. Portland Trail Blazers (18-16)
Brandon Roy resolves to make the right decision for his long-term future. No competitor wants to shut himself down for the season, but the reality is that Portland isn’t winning a championship this year anyway, and B-Roy could have more years ahead of him to take a legit crack at a title if he’s healthy.
12. Atlanta Hawks (22-14)
Jamal Crawford resolves to regain his Sixth Man of the Year form. After an up-and-down first two months, he’s dropped 25 points per in his last two games.
11. New Orleans Hornets (20-12)
Emeka Okafor resolves to give the Western Conference a legit, deserving true center in the All-Star Game. In his last two games he’s averaged 17.5 points, 14.0 boards and 1.5 blocks.
10. Denver Nuggets (19-13)
Carmelo Anthony resolves to figure out where all these distracting trade rumors are coming from, since he obviously had nothing to do with them. Right around the same time O.J. finds the real killers.
9. Oklahoma City Thunder (23-12)
Russell Westbrook (21.9 ppg, 7.9 apg, 2.1 spg) resolves to somehow make the All-Star team without taking league MVP votes away from Kevin Durant.
8. Utah Jazz (23-11)
Gordon Hayward resolves to remind everyone why he was a Top-10 pick. After a quiet first couple months of the season (3.4 ppg), Hayward’s first game of 2011 saw him score 13 points off the bench and deliver a couple of poster dunks on the Grizzlies.
7. Dallas Mavericks (25-8)
Caron Butler resolves to perform knee surgery on himself. Without anesthetic. Just because he can.
6. Chicago Bulls (22-10)
Luol Deng resolves to make it impossible for his name to pop up in any trade rumors as the February deadline approaches. The Bulls, who are 13-2 in their last 15 games, wouldn’t be where they are without Deng, who is averaging 17.8 points and 6.1 rebounds.
5. Los Angeles Lakers (23-11)
Ron Artest resolves to call the experts from “Hoarders” for help clearing out his cluttered mind to relocate the confidence in his jump shot.
4. Boston Celtics (25-7)
Paul Pierce resolves to try something new and hit at least one game-winner going to his left. The C’s had lost three of their last four games before getting Rajon Rondo back in the lineup on Sunday.
3. Orlando Magic (21-12)
Brandon Bass resolves to extend his free-throw routine past 10 seconds to see if anybody notices or cares. After a four-game losing streak around the time of their two big trades, Orlando has since rolled off five wins in a row, including W’s over the Spurs and Celtics.
2. Miami Heat (26-9)
Chris Bosh resolves to make a sneaker commercial that somebody will remember. D-Wade has Kevin Hart and a James Bond theme; LeBron has Don Johnson and frosted donuts. Bosh will have to enlist Antoine Dodson and half-naked video vixens to make his mark. Miami has won 17 of their last 18, and the lone loss was by two points to the Mavericks.
1. San Antonio Spurs (29-4)
Tim Duncan resolves to continue muddling the arguments of people who expect elite athletes to go 110% at all times but also agree with aging superstars pacing themselves for the postseason. From Dec. 3 to Jan. 3, the Spurs have gone 14-1.