Atlanta Hawks: Allow Al Horford to continue his development on both ends of the floor. And, if they want any chance of making it out of the first round of the playoffs, add a piece before the trade deadline.
Boston Celtics: Make sure that everyone is healthy and ready to go come playoff time. Like last season, they can afford to sacrifice a few wins to ensure that Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, and all of their old guys are as fresh as possible for the postseason.
Charlotte Bobcats: Play hard for new coach Paul Silas and hope that they’re good enough to sneak into the playoffs.
Chicago Bulls: Like the Celtics, keep everyone healthy, especially Derrick Rose, who’s playing at an MVP-level, and ease Joakim Noah back into the rotation when he returns. This squad is built for success in the postseason and they can’t fall lower than the four seed because of their horrible division, so the playoffs should be their focus.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Ensure that they don’t finish with the worst record in the East, making LeBron James’ departure look that much more pitiful.
Dallas Mavericks: Try not to peak too early- they’ve lost in the first round three of the past four years after winning 67, 51, and 55 games.
Denver Nuggets: Get something in return for Carmelo Anthony before he bolts after the season. If they trade Melo, they probably owe it to Chauncey Billups to trade him to a contender as well.
Detroit Pistons: Realize that this isn’t 2004 anymore and that they should move Richard Hamilton and/or Tayshaun Prince.
Golden State Warriors: Take advantage of their six remaining games against the Clippers and Kings and try to play a little defense. They’ve had a run-and-gun offense ever since Don Nelson started coaching there and so far have nothing to show for it.
Houston Rockets: Realize that Yao Ming is too injury-prone to be a franchise player and that they will have to win without him. Use their recent momentum to continue their push for the playoffs.
Indiana Pacers: Don’t get unrealistic expectations for playoff success simply because they’re a mediocre team in a bad conference. They don’t have anyone even approaching a superstar and should be happy with simply making the playoffs.
Los Angeles Clippers: Hold on to their young stars, Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin, and use another high draft pick to add more talent. If you’re Donald Sterling, sell the team and rid a tortured fanbase of your presence.
Los Angeles Lakers: Unlike the Mavericks, this is a team that times its peak well. People had the same questions about the Lakers’ consistency down the stretch last year and they buckled down and got it together in time for the playoffs. Ron Artest needs to up his game to last year’s level, and Pau Gasol needs to play less minutes (currently 38 per game, 2nd among power forwards and 11th overall), especially if the Lakers want another long playoff run.
Memphis Grizzlies: Don’t screw up an underrated young core and try to add a big piece this summer. Try and keep O.J. Mayo and Zach Randolph on the straight and narrow.
Miami Heat: Don’t let Dwyane Wade and LeBron James step on each other’s toes and make sure to keep up the defensive effort, which has been a big part of their recent hot streak. Don’t overcomplicate things; get your points from the Big Three and allow the other pieces to fit in around them.
Milwaukee Bucks: Remain focused on the defensive end. Their offensive production (league-low 91 PPG) will be even worse without Brandon Jennings, so they’ll have to win games with their defense (allowing 93 PPG, 4th in the league).
Minnesota Timberwolves: Send Ricky Rubio a highlight tape of Kevin Love and try really, really hard to sign him. Use their high draft pick to pick a center to pair alongside Love.
New Jersey Nets: Keep bringing along Derrick Favors and try to land Carmelo at the deadline and sign him to a new deal. No one on the Nets is untradeable, but they should avoid sending more than one of Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, or Favors to Denver.
New Orleans Hornets: Try to regain the form that allowed them to start 11-1 and not the form that has seen them go 7-11 since that point.
New York Knicks: Continue to force teams to play at their pace and feed Amar’e Stoudemire as much as possible. New York’s flaws are magnified when they’re forced into the half-court.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Watch the minutes of Kevin Durant and Jeff Green (3rd and 4th in the league, respectively) and force teams to defend both Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Orlando Magic: Use the rest of the regular season as a chance for their new acquisitions to gel and for Dwight Howard to continue to refine his offensive game. Pick up a back-up big man to fill the hole of the departed Marcin Gortat.
Philadelphia 76ers: Compete hard every night and hope that their energy and defense is enough to secure a playoff bid. Try to get something, anything, from Evan Turner.
Phoenix Suns: Decide on a direction to go in. Either try to make one last push with Steve Nash at the helm or start to rebuild.
Portland Trail Blazers: Pray that Brandon Roy will someday return to top form and try to get foreigners Nicolas Batum and Rudy Fernandez motivated and playing well.
Sacramento Kings: Have someone screw DeMarcus Cousins’ head on straight and get him to realize that the Kings have the chance to be good in a few years if they quit acting up and focus on winning ballgames.
San Antonio Spurs: Try to regain some of the defensive swagger of their past title teams. Gregg Popovich has realized that Tim Duncan isn’t the player he once was and that they can’t count on him to be the great defender inside that he was in his prime. But the Spurs will need something from him if they want to get by the Lakers in the playoffs.
Toronto Raptors: Acquire a forward and/or a legitimate center. The Raptors might have the weakest frontcourt in the league.
Utah Jazz: Find someone who can shoot from outside that Deron Williams can kick it out to when he finds penetration.
Washington Wizards: They already showed John Wall that they’re committed to building around him, so don’t make any stupid free agent signings or trades to try to win now- their rebuilding has only just begun.