Sports Briefs: Leaving 2014 NBA Camps

(No team is perfect, and while over a month of training camp has helped to address inefficiencies, Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie have found something each team still needs to work on, assuming a winning season - and not the first pick in the draft - is the goal . . . Sponsored by 3 Spoons Yogurt)

Joe: The Atlanta Hawks still need to work on getting out of the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. Depth continues to be a big area of need, as GM Danny Ferry's leave of absence adds drama to the franchise.

Chris: The Boston Celtics still need to work on adding some fear to their roster, which could potentially come by firing Lucky and signing Warwick Davis to be the Leprechaun.

Brad: The Brooklyn Nets still need to work on shoe shopping so they quit injuring their ankles and feet wearing the wrong footwear.

Ralphie: The Charlotte Hornets still need to work on overcoming their loss of Josh McRoberts to the Heat. His loss must be filled by Marvin Williams. McRoberts' passing was a big asset.

Joe: The Chicago Bulls still need to work on offensive efficiency and fast break points if they are to fulfill their preseason conference-leading prediction.

Chris: The Cleveland Cavaliers still need to work on building trust between LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, of which I can find no better method to accomplish than by a night spent playing the Parker Brothers board game, Trust Me.

Brad: The Detroit Pistons still need to work on player positioning to utilize player potential.

Ralphie: The Indiana Pacers still need to work on the devastating loss of Paul George to a broken leg in the off season. The offense must pick up the scoring in order for the Pacers to make the playoffs.

Joe: The Miami Heat still need to get Dwyane Wade's declining performance to reverse to early career levels. The may be very difficult, but just his presence for 82 games will ensure the Heat will be a factor in the playoffs.

Chris: The Milwaukee Bucks still need to work on positioning the water cooler in close proximity to Coach Jason Kidd, especially during close games in which the Bucks are void of timeouts.

Brad: The New York Knicks still need to work on finding players with more talent and less anger issues.

Ralphie: The Orlando Magic still need to work on their young back court living up to their potential. ROY runner up Victor Oladipo and rookie PG Elfrid Payton are the keys to the Magic getting out of the cellar of the Eastern Conference.

Joe: The Philadelphia 76'ers still need a total makeover to get out of the cellar in the Atlantic Division. The $20 million under the cap needs to be used to bring in some veteran help in a hurry. Rookie of the Year Carter-Williams is a bright spot on this otherwise hapless team.

Chris: The Toronto Raptors still need to work on updating the team’s history to include the monumental fact that the last time a “Jurassic Park” movie was released (2001) was the only time the team has advanced in the playoffs, followed by the tidbit that “Jurassic World” will be released in 2015.

Brad: The Washington Wizards still need to work on their defensive plays.

Ralphie: The Dallas Mavericks still need to work on solving the point guard position. Jameer Nelson must take charge and provide the spark. The defense must also find a way to improve if it wants to return to championship ways.

Joe: The Denver Nuggets still need C JaVale McGee to return to pre-injury form and block shots and defend the paint.

Chris: The Golden State Warriors still need to work on giving Coach Steve Kerr permission to wear a microphone while on the sidelines, giving him the ability to simultaneously coach and provide color commentary for any Warriors games on TNT with Marv Albert.

Brad: The Houston Rockets still need to work on taking the game seriously and playing to their potential.

Ralphie: The LA Clippers still need to work on adjusting to new owner Steve Ballmer. They must put past ownership controversies as finds a wing man for the defense if they want to make the finals for the first time in franchise history.

Joe: The Los Angeles Lakers still need to find some great new players, as Kobe and Nash are over the hill. Speaking of Hill, Jordan Hill may just be one of those great new players to help the Lakers get out of the cellar in the Western Conference.

Chris: The Memphis Grizzlies still need to work on developing first-round pick Jordan Adams. Besides providing quality depth for their backcourt, Jordan would give Memphis its long-awaited opportunity to market a Grizzly Adams.

Brad: The Minnesota Timberwolves still need to work on recruiting some fresh talent and rebuilding their fan base.

Ralphie: The New Orleans still need their high priced players to meld. The record of 34-48 last year could be greatly improved if these players come together and make the playoffs.

Joe: The Oklahoma City Thunder still need to live up to their potential. This could be the year they go all the way, with Durant and Westbrook leading the way. If not this year, the Thunder may lose its thunder when Durant seeks bigger money.

Chris: The Phoenix Suns still need to work on rebounding, which is difficult to do while running a five-point-guard offense.

Brad: The Portland Trail Blazers still need to work on strengthening their line and putting Steve Blake's assist skills to use.

Ralphie: The Sacramento still needs to get C Demarcus Cousins some support if they are to improve on their 28-54 record of last year. That could come with Nik Stauskas living up to his hype.

Joe: The San Antonio Spurs still need to keep their veterans healthy, if they have a chance to win a championship this year. Duncan and Ginobili are great when well and, if rested often enough, could be the difference, along with star Tony Parker and rising star Kawhi Leonard.

Chris: The Utah Jazz still need to work on helping new coach Quin Snyder come up with a winning formula . . . not for winning games but for distinguishing between point guard Trey Burke and shooting guard Alec Burks. Utah would be the ideal destination for the Lopez twins or Morris twins, should the Jazz general manager ever openly admit to trying to confuse Coach Snyder.

Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.
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