The NBA is roughly 40 percent through it’s regular season and in the words of Kyrie Irving: “the hoopla of christmas” is nearly over, we’re about to enter the dead air of the season that is only alleviated by large scoring nights, and All-Star voting debates. In preparation for your desperate need for content, The “Deep Thoughts with Mascots” crew – Sam Folk & Aleg Rugeyo – has put together an extensive list of New Year’s resolutions for every single NBA team. Try not to take them too seriously, and let’s enjoy ourselves. Happy New Year.
Aleg Rugeyo: Give Taurean Prince more of the ball to boost my fantasy team production. – Don’t actually give him more of the ball, he operates best as an off-ball threat, and the higher his usage percentage, the worse the Hawks perform offensively and defensively. Though, he is a tremendous three-point shooter shooting 42 percent, a ten percent improvement from last year, along with very impressive 54 percent from the corner. The three point shot is highly valuable in fantasy basketball, with injuries plaguing my team, I’ll need the Hawks to find more looks for Taurean Prince. FYI, I have the second best record in my league.
Sam Folk: Make Quavo the Head Coach of the Hawks effective immediately. – Dennis Schroder on December 23rd: “Quavo told me last night on the phone, ‘you’ve got to get 30 points when I’m coming.’” That’s the night Schroder poured in 33 points – a career high – obviously this means that anything Quavo says, the players have to do, it’s one of the powers of being Huncho.
Sam Folk: Al Horford has to tell his sister to stop stanning him on twitter. – Al Horford’s sister Anna, is notoriously defensive of her brother on twitter. Be careful, if you critique him online, she comes with the heat.
Aleg Rugeyo: Take a team trip to NASA. – Kyrie has to hear from the intellectuals at NASA before he decides he’s smarter than them.
Sam Folk: When D’angelo Russell is finally back healthy, let him wear supreme a sleeve anywhere on his body. – When Kelly Oubre Jr. brought out the red Supreme leg sleeve, JR Smith followed suit with a black sleeve in Cleveland. ‘Dloading’ seems like the logical player to carry the torch for the highly sought after street wear brand
Aleg Rugeyo: Recruit Spencer Dinwiddie to star in the reboot of Netflix’s “The Get Down”. – The Netflix original was recently discontinued. However, with the addition of Dinwiddie as a local Brooklyn Magnate, the series could find success
Sam Folk: Start a gofundme for Dwight Howard’s child support payments, because he won’t get another big contract in his career. – At least 5 kids, with 5 different women. 5 payments minimum per month.
Aleg Rugeyo: Give Nicolas Batum rest for his elbow before he turns into the second coming of Landry Fields. – Batum missed 6 weeks with a torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament, and is still dealing with ailments, and the possibility of nerve damage. – On December 10th, Batum: “Every contact: I grab someone, or someone grabs me, or someone hits me. I get (pain) every game. The last game (teammate) Mangok (Matiang) asked me, ‘Are you OK?’ I tried to hide it, because it’s the fourth (quarter) and I’m trying to get through it. I know it’s going to be like that all year long.” Don’t let history repeat itself.
Aleg Rugeyo: Have Bobby Portis and Mirotic star in a joint anti-violence/anti-bullying ad to build on-court chemistry. – Portis infamously sent Mirotic to the hospital on the eve of the NBA season when he punched him in the face. These two have also arguably been the Bulls best two players, the road ahead is blurry at best. It’s also evident that other members of the Bulls team will benefit from the making of the anti-bullying ad, namely Robin Lopez.
Sam Folk: Make this the last year that Robin Lopez terrorizes mascots. – With Aleg and I being the hosts of “Deep Thoughts with Mascots” we’re tired of being bullied.
Aleg Rugeyo: Passive aggressively hold Lebron James accountable for his lacklustre effort on defense. – LeBron is still the King in the Association, putting up the league’s best BPM (Box Score Plus-Minus), the biggest difference is that the offensive side comprises almost all of what he offers to the Cavs, as opposed to his years with the Heat, where he often challenged for DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year).
Sam Folk: Give Derrick Rose a DNP-CD (Did not Play – Coach’s Decision) every game for the rest of the year. – He’s a garbage person, and a garbage player
Sam Folk: Dedicate the the Mavericks Instagram account to pictures of Dirk Nowitzki and his wife. – They’re a beautiful power-couple, just can’t get enough.
Aleg Rugeyo: Dennis Smith Jr. and the Mavs training staff should watch Derrick Rose tapes, and treat them as gospel. – Dennis Smith Jr. and Derrick Rose are very similar athletically and are accompanied with similar problems. Being able to be strong enough to sustain that athleticism without straining the tendons over the course of his career is a hard feat. but not impossible, especially considering their paychecks. So, Smith Jr. better get in the lab.
Aleg Rugeyo: Start measuring no-look passes and see the mastery that Will Barton and Nikola Jokic displays on the court.- Will Barton is a low-key good passer and the added flair is what convinces me. I would love to see a comparison of no-look pass rates from Jokic and Barton.
Sam Folk: Less pick and roll ball handling for Jamal Murray. – In the 2nd year of the Jamal Murray combo guard experiment, the early returns suggest heavily that he be a reactionary player, rather than one who instigates. The Nuggets have shoehorned him into this role because Mudiay has been awful, they have some front office work that needs to be done.
Aleg Rugeyo: Have Andre Drummond make a tutorial video on how to shoot a free throw. – His free throw shooting improvement has been one of my favourite success stories of the year, now shooting 62 percent compared to last year’s 34 percent. A motivational or instructional video on how he improved should surely be in order; especially to monetize it, and sell it to his peers. Issa capitalist world.
Sam Folk: Have Reggie Jackson start making parody videos of Bobby Shmurda. – I don’t know that Jackson and Shmurda have ever been seen in the same place, at the same time.
Golden State Warriors:
Sam Folk: In the only resolution that is applicable to everyday people, Kevin Durant should try and go on social media a little less. – Durant is second in the NBA in blocks per game, but he’s first in the world in blocks on twitter (BOT). ‘KD’ loves bots.
Aleg Rugeyo: Convince Steph Curry to twist his hair into locs for good, and watch the Rastafarian spirit promote his health. – Stephen Curry has been toying with his hair for some time now; from the espys to the regular season, teasing us by twisting his hair and detangling them sporadically.
I think he should listen to his wife and join the loc journey, not only to please her, but because the rastafarian spirit will bless him with a long and healthy career and life (I know this is complete nonsense but I’d appreciate if you rolled with it, thank you).
Aleg Rugeyo: Reunite Chris Paul and Deandre Jordan for one night to compete against James Harden and Clint Capela, in a lob city showdown. – Harden and Paul are the reason why Capela and Jordan have been so productive in their NBA careers. Now we need to know who’s better at this whole lob city thing. This needs to happen mostly because Chris Paul is so competitive, and I want to see him yell at Deandre Jordan one more time. I’d pay to see it.
Sam Folk: Release PJ Tucker so that he can finally take his rightful place as the third memberof the ‘DTWM’ podcast.- This was supposed to be done this summer, but he couldn’t turn down the opportunity towin a ‘chip, fair play.
Sam Folk: Build around Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner.– These three players comprise a lot of the components you need to hit the upper echelon in the NBA. Oladipo is an elite volume scorer, and is lethal on the pull-up inside the arc, and beyond. Sabonis is a gifted passer out of the low-post, and is crucial when closing out possessions on the defensive end (25.4 defensive rebounding rate). Myles Turner could end up being an All-NBA center, he’s elite defending the rim, and has a shooting touch few men his size possess. He’s a terrific release valve on offense – end of shot clock scenarios, pick and pop – and it’s not uncommon for him to lock the paint down for long stretches at a time.
Aleg Rugeyo: Acknowledge Lance Stephenson as a good player. – This needs to come from his teammates and coaches, because this guy is so extra when he’s on the floor that it seems like he’s desperately trying to get approval from his father. The team will have to be that reinforcing father-figure to ease him up a little.
Los Angeles Clippers:
Sam Folk: Get the mini-bots that were used in Disney’s “Big Hero 6”, and use them to construct a knee brace for Blake Griffin. – I don’t overly want to elaborate, Griffin continues to be injury prone, and it’s damaging his career immensely.
Aleg Rugeyo: Make a “Ballmer Cam” to capture the best of Steve Ballmer’s wacky celebrations. – The Clippers have been a shell of themselves due to an injury bug that has been running around their locker room. This has caused them to be a sub .500 team. Steve Ballmer, however, hasn’t disappointed in his support, thus to keep spirits high in the arena. the camera coordinators would be wise to make a fun segment of “Ballmer cam” compilations and even have fans try their best impression.
Los Angeles Lakers:
Aleg Rugeyo : Have Brandon Ingram do calisthenics. – Brandon Ingram has been showing flashes of an All-Star caliber player with a few high efficient scoring games along with a game-winner. What concerns me is his lack of body control. Upon contact, while driving to the rim, his body doesn’t seem to be able to absorb it properly, often resembling an inflatable tubeman with a basketball. This year he is shooting below 50% (49.4) on layups.
Sam Folk: Admit to myself that Kyle Kuzma may actually have All-Star upside. – The Lakers bet the farm on Lonzo Ball – who has been largely underwhelming – and so far they look worse off for it. Luckily, they picked up Kuzma at the tail-end of the first round, and he’s come out like gangbusters. Kuzma has come into the league with a palpable amount of shine on his offensive game. He’s been great when working off the ball, and finding opportunities in transition. Not to mention he’s been prolific from downtown so far (41 percent, 5 attempts per game). I know Aleg wrote about Ingram above, but if the Lakers were to have a future All-NBA/All-Star player in house – however unlikely – my bet would be on the young man out of Utah.
Sam Folk: Trade Marc Gasol for a 1st round pick, and a young player with upside. – A trade involving Nikola Vucevic, Elfrid Payton, and a first might be beneficial for both teams. I’d love to see Gasol line up next to Aaron Gordon.
Aleg Rugeyo: Give Tyreke Evans and move out. – He has revived his career shooting 40% from three along with an impressive 57% TS while scoring 19 PPG, his second best behind his rookie year (20). With Mike Conley sidelined with a heel injury, looks to be a great replacement option for the Grizzlies.
Sam Folk: Hold tight until Hassan Whiteside is back, then take a hard look in the mirror to see what their team’s ceiling and floor really is. – Regression is always ugly. In 2016-17 the Heat went on a 11-30 run, and then a 30-11 run. Bizarre enough as it is, it left them in a place where they had to invest in the team’s roster for another crack at it. The early returns say they’re closer to the 11-30 version of themselves.
Aleg Rugeyo: Justise Winslow needs to have a podcast. – Winslow made an appearance on The Road Trippin’ podcast with Richard Jefferson and he was hilarious and super well spoken. He didn’t hold back from telling controversial stories and is even contemplating on having a podcast of his own. Check the episode out on iTunes or anywhere you listen podcast; while you’re at it check out Deep Thoughts With Mascots, our own podcast.
Aleg Rugeyo: Don’t double team on the Pick and Roll. – This is a widely ineffective defensive tactic – when teams make the extra pass the Bucks are hemorrhaging open looks from the three point line – it makes weak side defense extremely difficult, and without an elite rim protector the Bucks are giving up too many quality looks in the paint. – We all have really bad habits we should break; The Bucks are no exception. They are the worst defensive team in the league and teams are getting three point shots at will, shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc. They have the personnel that enables them to play suffocating switch defense, and it doesn’t take much analysis to recommend they play to their strengths.
Sam Folk: Don’t let Eric Bledsoe near any salons. – Bledsoe has a fairly infamous “I don’t want to be here.” tweet – most likely referring to the Phoenix Suns organization – that he claimed was about being in a salon with his wife. His game has come back to life in Milwaukee, with his new running mates (Giannis, Middleton) in their 3-man lineups they’re running rampant on opposing teams (+12.6 per 100 possessions). Bledsoe-Brogdon-Middleton-Antetekounmpo-Henson lineups could be lethal come playoff time.
Aleg Rugeyo: Tom Thibodeau needs to take a basic level kinesiology class in order to kno why he should rest his starters. – As tremendous a coach as ‘Thibs’ is, he’s always been inclined to over play his starters – true to form – who are all top 40 in minutes per game, Jimmy Butler being third behind Lebron, and Giannis. I suggest a quick class to learn about energy expenditure and its relation to performance. That ought to reason with him somewhat.
Sam Folk: Have Andrew Wiggins grow out his hair again. – Yes, have him grow out his hair, put it into locs, then tie his hands together with it, so he can never shoot the ball again.
New Orleans Pelicans:
Aleg Rugeyo : Convince Rondo to not play the regular season and have him hibernate until the playoffs, so we can see “Bulls Rondo” again. – Rondo has a -5 net rating, on-top of a 115 Drtg, not great for an already struggling defensive team. Don’t let the seven assists per game fool you because he is bottom three on the Pelicans on points per touches, while using the fourth most touches. Dude just needs to chill with the usage, but since this is his 13th season in the NBA he is unlikely to change his habits, so SHUT THE MAN DOWN, HE IS TOXIC!
Sam Folk: Have Jrue Holiday listen to self-help tapes, so he becomes more selfish, and shoots more. – Basically all the problems Aleg outlined with Rondo, can be alleviated by giving Holiday more of the ball. On top of that, he is a far superior defender to Rondo.
Oklahoma City Thunder:
Aleg Rugeyo : Westbrook has to break his habit of staying stationary and lifeless when he doesn’t have the ball and start doing more off-ball movement. – It’s simple, Westbrook is an athletic beast, he should take advantage of his speed and agility to create more easy looks. In addition, it’ll be another threat that the team can work with that will pressure the defense a little more. Westbrook ranks bottom 20 in cuts frequency and it is evident whenever you watch him on offense without the ball.
Sam Folk: Change the rules of the NBA so that Melo can wear a hoodie under his jersey. – Shooting numbers will rise to career highs. Melo famously went on a 15 day fast in 2013, and to avoid that, allow him to lose weight by wearing a hoodie, sweating profusely, and dripping his essential oils all over the court.
New York Knicks:
Aleg Rugeyo: Have the knicks managers crash the MVP ceremony, declaring Beasley as the real MVP. – Beasley has already been getting MVP chants at the garden with several high efficient scoring games, what other reason do we need?
Sam Folk: Show Beasley the movie “Limitless” and get him to start taking sugar pills. – Beasley needs to figure out a way to accent 11% of his brains capacity; He’s obviously intelligent, we just need to trick his brain into thinking on that new wave.
Aleg Rugeyo: Make Elfrid Payton sign a waiver that would have him donate his hair to charity whenever he cuts it, no matter which team he’s on. – His hair is a work of art and it would be a shame to see it go to waste after pleasing our eyes each and every step he took.
Sam Folk: Create more catch & shoot opportunities for Aaron Gordon. – Start by running more pick n pop actions with Payton. Payton creates space for Gordon above the break out of these actions, and Gordon pays it off, knocking down 46 percent from downtown when he’s receiving the pass from Payton, and 53 percent inside the arc.
Aleg Rugeyo: Make Ben Simmons consult Tristan Thompson, and watch Andre Drummond’s free throw shooting tape to handle his ambidexterity. – First, Tristan Thompson went through a transition of switching shooting hands midway through his career. Naturally, Thompson will be able to give some tips and cues to concentrate on as Simmons transitions into more of a right-handed shooter. Obviously as I’ve mentioned before, Andre Drummond’s tape will motivate Simmons to not give and to keep working on his craft.
Sam Folk: To add onto Aleg’s portion, on the Zach Lowe podcast, Ramona Shelbourne – spent time around the 76ers for a piece – claimed that we’ll likely be seeing Simmons take his jumpshots with his right hand when the 2018-19 season rolls around.
Aleg Rugeyo: “ sam pls find something for me, they are so wack.”
Sam Folk: Dedicate the rest of Marquese Chriss’ year to improving from beyond the arc. – Chriss possesses the type of athleticism that will make him a prolific lob threat, and an incredible attacker off of defensive breakdowns. Chriss is an abysmal shooter from downtown, but there’s enough qualitative evidence that you can turn a bad spot-shooter into a good spot-shooter. Let’s hope Chriss finds his shot, it could turn him from an end of bench guy, into an All-NBA player.
Portland Trail Blazers:
Aleg Rugeyo: Have the Blazers managers crash the defensive player of the year ceremony and declare Damian Lillard as the real DPOY. – Lillard has a defensive rating of 102 this year, a major improvement from last year’s 108. His defensive improvement has helped the Blazers sustain their top 5 defensive rating.
Sam Folk: Sell all the stock you have in Portland’s defense. – Portland’s defense is succeeding almost exclusively because opposing teams have been shooting poorly from high percentage area. Watching film, or looking at the numbers, there’s no reason for this, it’s almost unprecedented. Regression is inevitable. CJ and Dame are dope though, and Aminu is stroking it from deep.
Aleg Rugeyo: Stick to a point guard and develop them. – This organization will remain chaotic if they are not able to keep their players, especially young ones, and develop them. They have a potentially productive starter in their hands in De’Aaron Fox, so I’d suggest to give a few more years and a lot more effort in development.
Sam Folk: Don’t attempt to re-sign Vince Carter after this year. – Everyone loves Vince, but it’s time for him to come North.
San Antonio Spurs:
Aleg Rugeyo: Keep asking Gregg Popovich political questions. – The man clearly doesn’t like to talk about shallow basketball with the media, so why not just change the pace a little and try to get some insightful answers out of him by asking him things that he clearly is passionate about, the well-being of others and the political climate.
Sam Folk: Find Rudy Gay more minutes in tandem with Kawhi Leonard. – With Leonard taking more and more threes as the games pile on, having an elite offensive rebounder (Gay) play on the weak-side might be more valuable than ever. In addition to that, let Gay operate in iso more often. He’s a terrific iso scorer – especially against other bench-units – and the other players will get a rest off the ball, making it easier to keep up their high energy defense.
Sam Folk: Have DeMar DeRozan promise to take more threes, and dress up as Santa Crip every year. – Newly minted Eastern Conference Player of the Week DeMar DeRozan, has been taking and making more threes of late. If he wants to unlock the rest of his game, and cement himself as one of the NBA’s true top 10, he’s gonna have to put up somewhere around 4 attempts per game on 36 percent from downtown. It’s the NBA climate he works in.
Aleg Rugeyo: Have OG Anunoby and Kyle Lowry release a joint leg workout tape to get the ultimate NBA butt. – Kyle Lowry has been a tremendous post defender often being able to bigs off and denying the post entry. He’s only been capable of doing this at his stature by harnessing the power in his butt. OG on the other hand is just so athletically mature for his age and has been a formidable defensive player at such an early stage. This is what the people of have been waiting for.
Sam Folk: Elect a Mormon minister into office, so he can make it illegal for Gobert to ever shave a Z into his head again. – Rudy Gobert’s hair is really bad, and that’s it. He looks like one of the interdimensional beings from the Indiana Jones film no one talks about.
Aleg Rugeyo: Find a new name for their team. – It’s long overdue and I don’t know how they managed to keep it for so long, but Jazz doesn’t even originate from Utah, it’s not even hub for such musicians. It’s all wrong, and the organization needs to reassess.
Aleg Rugeyo: In the spirit of healthy kinship the Wizards should reunite XXXTentacion and Kelly Oubre Jr. – This is a hottake but I think that they are related; they’re both crazy, one (XXXTentacion) much more than the other. Kelly Oubre has been on a shooting slump as of late; surely this reunion will boost his morale and overall confidence.
Sam Folk: This is going to be wildly unpopular… trade John Wall for a King’s ransom. – Build around Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, and whatever Wall brings back in a trade. The Wizards are stuck playing an older version of basketball with John Wall, and Marcin Gortat. Wall is under contract, and if the price is right, moving on from him could spell a very successful era in Washington.