This week’s Fanalyst Rankings take a look at New Year's resolutions for the best teams in the East to improve in 2013.
There are two sides to every NBA Power Ranking: the Fanalytical and the Fanatical. As a Miami HEAT blogger living on the east coast, MHI plays the fanalyst for the Eastern Conference. As a Denver Nuggets fan living west of the Mississippi River, Mrs. NBA plays the fan and provides the slander. The roles are reversed for the Western Conference.
1. Miami HEAT (21-8, prev. rank: 1)
MHI: The HEAT’s New Year’s resolution is consistency. They were the 7th most inconsistent team this season because LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh struggled to provide the high level of effort and energy needed every night for Coach Erik Spoelstra’s Pace & Space offense, trapping defense and small lineups. If they bring that energy consistently this week, they should go 3-0 in home games vs. Mavs, Bulls and Wizards.
Mrs. NBA: My New Year's resolution for Miami is to acknowledge that even though LeBron James is the best player in the universe, the team still has consistency issues.
2. New York Knicks (21-9, prev. rank: 2)
MHI: The Knicks New Year’s resolution is to keep Carmelo Anthony healthy. He ranks 1st on the team in minutes per game but just 8th in games played. The Knicks were 3-3 in games without Melo in 2012 this season. If Melo plays in every game this week, then he should be able to lead them to a 3-0 record vs. Blazers, Spurs and @Magic.
Mrs. NBA: My New Year's resolution for New York is understanding that they just might be f'real.
3. Atlanta Hawks (19-10, prev. rank: 4)
MHI: The Hawks New Year’s resolution is to prove they can remain a top-4 team in the East against a tougher schedule. Atlanta ranked 29th in strength of schedule in 2012 this season, according to nbastuffer.com. Schedule gets a little tougher right away with 2 road games and 2 back-to-backs @Hornets, @Pistons and vs. Celtics. If they’re for real, then they’ll go 2-1 this week.
Mrs. NBA: My New Year's resolution for Atlanta is still not to give a damn.
4. Indiana Pacers (18-13, prev. rank: 5)
MHI: The Pacers New Year’s resolution is for Roy Hibbert to make a higher percentage of his shots than a volume-shooting point guard like Brandon Jennings. The Pacers’ max contract will have to prove himself against 2 top 10 teams in defending the center position this week with Wizards (10th), @Celtics (29th) and Bucks (3rd). Improved shooting from Hibbert could carry the Pacers to a 3-0 record in 2013.
Mrs. NBA: My New Year's resolution for Indiana is to lay off Roy Hibbert just a tad and hope his shooting woes begin to rectify this year.
5. Chicago Bulls (16-13, prev. rank: 3)
MHI: The Bulls New Year’s resolution is to find something that resembles a competent NBA offense. Last year they ranked 5th in offensive efficiency but this year they’re tied with the Charlotte Bobcats at 23rd in offensive efficiency - the same Bobcats that ended their 18-game losing streak by beating the Bulls in Chicago on New Year’s Eve. Don’t expect the offense to be much better with games @Magic and @HEAT this week. It will be an 0-2 start for the Bulls in 2013.
Mrs. NBA: My New Year's resolution for Chicago is to hope they find a solution and not a band-aid to their issues.
6. Brooklyn Nets (16-15, prev. rank: 7)
MHI: The Nets New Year’s resolution is to play defense after the man who stressed defense, Avery Johnson, was fired. In 2012 this season, they ranked 21st in defensive efficiency and were below average in opponent shooting percentage at every position except point guard. This week the defense faces the NBA’s best offense in OKC, the NBA’s worst offense in Washington and an average Kings’ offense in Brooklyn on the second night of a back-to-back. Looks like a 1-2 start to 2013 for the Nets.
Mrs. NBA: My New Year's resolution for Brooklyn is for Deron Williams to finally admit to himself his elite playing ability was left in Utah and Brooklyn is only a trend.
7. Milwaukee Bucks (16-13, prev. rank: N/A)
MHI: The Bucks New Year’s resolution is to find a rotation that improves the offense. The team ranks 27th in offensive efficiency because only 2 of the Bucks’ 5 best players in offensive rating also rank in the top 5 for minutes per game. If the Bucks don’t immediately fix the offense, they’ll start 2013 0-3 against 3 above average teams in defensive efficiency : Spurs (4th), Rockets (15th) and @Pacers (2nd).
Mrs. NBA: My New Year's resolution is to still not give one fuck about Milwaukee until they beat +.500 teams on a consistent basis.
8. Boston Celtics (14-16, prev. rank: 6)
MHI: The Celtics New Year’s resolution is to crash the glass. Their offense ranks 22nd in the NBA and they rank 30th in offensive rebounding, the only area of the 4 Factors where they’re below average. They’ll struggle on the glass and on the court this week against 2 top 10 defensive rebounding teams: Grizzlies (19th), Pacers (6th) and @Hawks (10th).
Mrs. NBA: My New Year's resolution for Boston is to give them the #TrollTreatment that I have given the Lakers this season. Celtics' fans can have all the excuses in the world, but Boston blows.