Top Offseason Additions for Each NBA Team (Eastern Conference)
After last week’s post on EPL’s top additions, we were inspired to do the same for NBA’s teams. As there are too many teams and too many additions, we have split them into two their respective conferences and focused on the top additions/losses only. Starting with the Eastern Conference…
Added: Trae Young
Lost: Dennis Schroder
They were the worst team in a weak conference with 24 wins, holding the 4th worst record in the NBA last season. So, in case you didn’t know before this offseason, Atlanta is rebuilding.
This offseason they traded away their starting point guard in Dennis Schroder for Carmelo Anthony, who they waived, so essentially.. nothing.
This was a clear move to give the key of the team to their rookie Trae Young (no. 5 pick). While there was no significant addition, Young has drawn comparisons to Stephen Curry, which should get Hawks fans excited for the future.
While they are not going to turn their franchise around with one season, it is a good building block to have. If Young turns out as well as Stephen Curry, the Hawks may have a chance at the title… in the next 5 years.
Added: Marcus Smart (re-signed)
Lost: Shane Larkin
The 2nd best team in the conference last season mostly stand pat in the offseason. While in sports that sound like a bad thing, for a team as young and talented as the Boston Celtics, not making a bad move is a good move.
By not making any hasty moves at the cost their talented young core of Irving, Tatum and Brown, it allows this team to improve and gel for the upcoming season. With Lebron out of the East, the road to the NBA finals for the Celtics got easier.
Re-signing Marcus Smart keeps their core intact and bench deep, and assures a defensive game changer on their team instead of their rivals.
Losing Shane Larkin would mean nothing if Irving and Hayward can put in a full season this time around.
They should contend for the NBA Finals spot barring anymore injuries
Added: Kenneth Faried
Lost: Jeremy Lin
For the disaster franchise that is the Brooklyn Nets, the only way left is up. After a myriad of bad moves over the past few years, they finally have something to look forward to besides losing.
Losing Lin, a decent guard, would mean a lot less if they can finally string together a franchise direction and a good draft pick for the next draft (when they finally have a pick of their own).
Adding Faried, a work horse and solid contributor, could hurt their chances at a top 3 pick but for a team like the Nets, adding any decent piece is literally an upgrade.
At age 28, Faried probably doesn’t factor into their long-term plans. But Faried should have a renewed season at Brooklyn after falling out with the Nuggets over the past few seasons and this is a low risk gamble for the Nets as he is an expiring deal.
If it doesn’t work out, they could let Faried walk next offseason.
Now, time to tank.
Added: Miles Bridges, Tony Parker, Bismack Biyombo
Lost: Dwight Howard, Michael Carter-Williams
For last season’s fringe playoff team that did not make the cut, the Hornets started out their offseason with a bang by trading away Dwight Howard. A move that is an addition by subtraction.
Dwight’s fall from grace is unreal. Perhaps we could discuss this topic in the future.
Mile Bridges should be a solid swingman in the NBA but the 12th pick was a head scratcher, with a team of Malik Monk, Jeremy Lamb and Nicolas Batum. His potential is not sky high so this pick was overall a bad one.
Moving on, they added free agents Parker and Biyombo to the mix.
Parker, at age 36, is at the twilight of his career and the Hornets overpaid to get him. But he replaces Michael Carter Williams and should provide a scoring punch off the bench.
Biyombo replaces Howard in the middle, and if he can replicate his season with the Raptors, the Hornets should stand a chance to make the playoffs in the weak East.
Added: Jabari Parker, Wendell Carter Jr., Zach Lavine (re-signed)
Lost: Jerian Grant, Paul Zipser
Another lottery team last season, the Bulls went into full rebuild mode after trading away their star player Jimmy Butler.
And for a team like that, adding pieces without sacrificing long-term development is the smart move.
As franchises go, they didn’t do that badly.
They drafted Wendell Carter Jr., a well-rounded big who is highly skilled. While he is not super athletic, this is a pretty good pick and they got a player that fits well in their long-term plans.
Carter Jr. is able to play both inside out and thus, fit alongside Markkanen, another shooting big. If they progress well, they could form a deadly big men duo
They signed Jabari Parker, who has potential to become a star (though doubtful) or become a bust. His ACLs remind Bulls fan of a former Bulls star and that’s not a good start.
However, he is on a risk-free 1+1 deal so he doesn’t jeopardise their future plans. If he fulfils his promise as a no.2 draft pick, good. If not, they could let him walk next offseason.
They also re-signed last season’s top acquisition Lavine. While Lavine’s health is a question mark at best, he was an athletic scorer at his best in Minnesota and if he regains his footing, he could become a potential star at the 2-guard position.
While they may not immediately make the playoffs, these were steps in the right direction for this rebuilding franchise.
Added: Collin Sexton, Kevin Love (re-signed), Sam Dekker (???)
Lost: Lebron James
When you lose the best player in the NBA and a transcendent player like James, you are generally having a bad offseason.
The Cavs tried their best last season to salvage a team reeling from Irving’s departure. They did eventually made it to the NBA Finals, thanks to James, it was clear they were a shell of the team that won the 2016 NBA Championship.
Ala Decision Part 2. Without the theatrics and drama.
Now they must rebuild their team around Sexton, their top draft pick, a strong, athletic and aggressive point guard. As far as picks go, it wasn’t a bad one at no. 8.
He showed out in the summer league and has the makings of a star with a little work on his jumper and body.
They extended Love’s contract, which shows their commitment to making the playoffs in the coming season. But don’t be surprised if they trade him during the deadline when things go south.
Adding young pieces and draft picks would be essential in the upcoming years as the Cavs build towards the future of a Lebron-less Cleveland.
Because without him, not many people are lining up to join or watch the Cavs.
It’s gonna be cold in Cleveland.
Added: Jose Calderon, Zaza Pachulia
Lost: Anthony Tolliver
The Pistons offseason was as bland as unseasoned chicken.
They lost a bench player in Tolliver but it wasn’t significant. The same can be said about their additions.
Adding veterans in Calderon and Pachulia should help stabilise the locker room. But there’s no real impact to their team this offseason.
With Griffin in for a full season, they might still stand a chance to make the playoffs. Anything beyond that would depend on the big men duo of Griffin-Drummond.
But I won’t be popping champagnes anytime soon, if I were a Pistons fan.
Added: Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott, Kyle O’Quinn, Aaron Holiday
Lost: Lance Stephenson
The Pacers had a quiet but good offseason to improve upon 48-34 team.
While losing Stephenson might sting, replacing him with an all-rounded Evans is not a bad move. Evans had a solid season for the Grizzlies, showing signs of the ROTY campaign. He should provide a solid punch off the bench or even start alongside Oladipo to facilitate scoring and ball-handling duties.
McDermott provides good floor spacing and shooting while O’Quinn should be a big body they throw in there to mix things up when they need him.
O’Quinn is an interesting addition who could push Pacers into the top 4 seeds. His defence on the Knicks was severely underrated and replicating those efforts in Indiana could provide miracles he couldn’t replicate at New York.
Added: Wayne Ellington, Derrick Jones Jr.
A similar offseason as the Detroit Pistons, the Miami Heat basically duplicated last seasons’ 44-38 team.
Limited by some bad deals from the past, they were unable to make huge or in fact, any moves this offseason.
Now, the only interesting footnote is Dwyane Wade’s decision with respect to retirement.
Standing pat for a team like the Heat could spell trouble. Like falling out of the playoff picture trouble.
Added: Brook Lopez, Ersan Ilyasova
Lost: Jabari Parker
Last season’s disappointment made some strides this offseason.
Cutting off Parker, who did not fit along side Antetokounmpo, was an addition by subtraction.
Adding Lopez and Ilyasova, two bigs who can space the floor, were smart moves.
Lopez is a solid center, and his presence provides time for Maker to develop at his own pace. A decent floor-spacer and inside presence, Lopez could be a stop-gap measure at the center position they desperately need.
They just need someone to help collect the rebounds this 7-footer have troubles with.
Ilyasova, who has change teams 7 times in 4 years, is a stretch 4 who should play nicely alongside Antetokounmpo.
Despite his tendency to switch teams, good things were usually said about him so he should not affect the locker room like Howard.
In fact, this team, with their new additions, could reclaim some of the potential and wins they were supposed to fulfil last season.
New York Knicks
Added: Mario Hezonja, Kevin Knox
Lost: Michael Beasley, Kyle O’Quinn
The Knicks were a sub-30 team last season and that doesn’t seem to be changing this coming season as well.
Losing O’Quinn and Beasley hurts their front court and depth but they have made some strides this offseason.
Adding Hezonja was a bit of gamble. While he has shown promise as a playmaker who can shoot, he has been mostly disappointing for the Orlando Magic.
However, he should plug a hole at Power Forward spot with Beasley and O’Quinn gone and Porzingis sidelined.
Signing Knox was Knicks’ saving grace this offseason.
Knox, while a raw player, has show tremendous upside in the summer league, with his ability to put the ball on the floor and drive against most bigs. He should create plenty of opportunities for himself and Porzingis (when he returns).
However, the time is ticking on the Porzingis clock. If the Knicks do not aim higher, they could potentially lose Porzingis down the road.
Added: Mohamed Bamba, Aaron Gordon (re-signed)
Lost: Bismack Biyombo, Mario Hezonja
The Magic have not seen a winning season since the Howard trade.
And they are not about to see one this upcoming season.
Re-signing Gordon was the right move. But for that kind of money, that’s questionable.
Gordon has mostly been the epitome of unfulfilled potential. The Magic take partial blame for putting him at the 3 and his lack of improvement in his game takes the rest of the blame.
His progress would be quintessential for this team to make any progress in the ‘W’ column.
Drafting Bamba was a no-brainer with his defensive upside, but he is not about to help them challenge the NBA, or even the East.
Pairing Bamba with Isaac does make for a good defensive and mobile front court, but they are still many pieces away from making up a decent team.
Losing Biyombo and Hezonja hurts their chances too.
Added: Wilson Chandler, J.J Redick (re-signed), Amir Johnson (re-signed)
Lost: Ersan Ilyasova, Marco Belinelli
Like the Celtics, the 76ers also have a solid young core with tremendous upside consisting of Embiid, Simmons and Saric.
Retaining Redick and Johnson were crucial for their playoff run last season and they should be just as valuable for the upcoming season.
Adding Chandler to the mix should provide another scoring threat off the bench, giving the more depth.
While losing the shooting and floor-spacing of Ilyasova and Belinelli may sting, this young and upstart team should be able to withstand it.
A proper season with Fultz will definitely improve their chances, if he clears up his shooting form drama.
If the youngsters of the 76ers progress well this season, the Eastern Conference championship should be a 3-way race between the 76ers, Celtics and Raptors.
Added: Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Greg Monroe, Fred VanVleet
Lost: DeMar Derozan, Jakob Poeltl
Say what you want about the way Ujiri handled the trade of Derozan, they did obtain a top-5 player in Leonard. On a rental.
While we are not here to grade the trade, the addition of Leonard can only be proven worthwhile if they win, or Leonard stays.
Leonard pushes the Raptors to another level if he gels well with the team and returns healthy, despite the 1-year rental tag and drama surrounding him.
If you get a chance to add a MVP-candidate and a defensive monster like Leonard, pulling the trigger to swap Derozan for Leonard seems like a no-brainer.
Green and VanVleet should provide scoring for the Raptors off the bench while Monroe, on the other hand, will provide another big body during the season, and a skilled one at that.
As mentioned in the 76ers column, the Raptors should contend for a spot in the NBA Finals. In fact, it is a Finals-or-bust season for them.
Added: Dwight Howard, Austin Rivers, Jeff Green, Troy Brown
Lost: Marcin Gortat, Mike Scott
The Wizards barely made the playoffs last season and they seek to improve their team consisting of a solid backcourt of Wall and Beal.
Swapping Gortat for Howard might have excited Wizards fans in 2010, but now, this just feels like an afterthought. There was no considerable upgrade here to me.
Howard might have been a star name, but his production has mainly been lacklustre. His contributions in the centre position will anchor the Wizards’ season.
His locker room nonsense could derail any good will that came from signing him as well.
Rivers, Green and Brown all fill the need of depth by the Wizards and they fill it well. Rivers and Green are natural scorers off the bench, with Rivers being able to create his own shot.
Brown, the no. 15 pick, fills the basic need of a swingman off the bench but nothing more.
As weird as it sounds, the Wizards’ season solely rest on the broad shoulders of Howard.
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