PDA

View Full Version : ESPN 2011 offseason grades



billbradley
12-19-2011, 01:47 PM
Offseason grades for all 30 teams


One of the longest offseasons in NBA history is over and so is the illusion that comes with it -- the belief that almost every team in the league can be a winner with a little offseason luck. You know the feeling: If my team can just make a big trade or a huge free-agent acquisition or hit a home run in the lottery, maybe next season will be different.

This year, the dream lasted longer than expected thanks to a prolonged lockout. But once the two sides agreed, the deals have been coming in fast and furious.

With the NBA's abbreviated exhibition season now upon us, fans are settling into either the exciting or harsh realities of what their team did this offseason.

Unlike last season, when seismic changes happened across the league (thanks in part to LeBron James), this year things have been relatively quieter. Chris Paul was the only star to change teams and a few other potential key players, including Tyson Chandler, David West and Eric Gordon also changed addresses. But overall the landscape of the NBA hasn't changed that much. Everyone is still wondering what will happen with Dwight Howard, but the Magic seem determined to wait until the trade deadline to make a decision about him.

A less-than-stellar NBA draft, led by overall No. 1 Kyrie Irving, also has played a role in reshaping rosters. So have a few coaching changes, a couple of front office shake-ups and a major ownership change in Philadelphia.

Now that the preseason is under way, it's time to grade each NBA team on what it did this offseason.

I'm a college professor in my day job and I understand that this exercise really is the equivalent of giving a student a final grade after the first day of class -- there's so much we just don't know about how these changes will pan out. In other words, these grades are totally subjective and completely unfair. In truth, you cannot really grade an offseason until you get to the postseason.

The grades below take into account how each team in the league has performed so far in remaking its roster, considering both the opportunities it had and the moves it has made. The grades are not a ranking of which are the best teams in the league, just a device to track which teams appear to have improved and which teams haven't.


ATLANTA HAWKS

Key additions: Tracy McGrady (FA), Vladimir Radmanovic (FA), Keith Benson (draft)

Key subtractions: Jamal Crawford, Damien Wilkens

The Hawks seem to be stuck in limbo. They have a good core of Al Horford, Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, but those three just haven't been able to push the Hawks over the top.

Every year management and ownership say the same thing: Just give them a little more time. So, not surprisingly, the team hasn't done much to change the fortunes of the franchise this offseason either. Super sixth man Jamal Crawford is gone, replaced by an older, less-effective Tracy McGrady. And that's about it.

The Hawks are still capable of getting to the second round of the playoffs. But for them to make the next step, something, anything, has to change.

GRADE: D


BOSTON CELTICS

Key additions: Brandon Bass (trade), Keyon Dooling (trade), Marquis Daniels (FA), Chris Wilcox (FA), JaJuan Johnson (draft), E'Twaun Moore (draft)

Key subtractions: Jeff Green (injury), Glen Davis, Nenad Krstic, Delonte West, Von Wafer, Troy Murphy

How bad did Danny Ainge want Chris Paul?

With the team's title window quickly closing due to the declining games of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the Celtics spent much of the first two weeks of December trying to deal Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green -- the two youngest players of their core -- to get him.

But once it was clear Paul wouldn't be wearing Celtics green, Ainge started to piece together a supporting cast for the season. He re-upped Green for a year, swapped Davis for Bass (better player, cheaper contract) and acquired Dooling, Daniels and Wilcox to fill the bench. Unfortunately, that plan is already falling apart. The Celtics learned on Saturday that Green needs heart surgery and will be out for the season. While the team will be able to void his contract, giving them some cash to spend, it's unlikely they'll find a player with Green's talent to replace him.

Nevertheless, the Celtics should continue to be contenders in the East this season. Ainge has made sure of that. But their long-term future has never been a bigger question mark than it is right now.

GRADE: C


CHICAGO BULLS

Key additions: Richard Hamilton (FA), Jimmy Butler (draft)

Key subtractions: Keith Bogans, Rasual Butler, Kurt Thomas

The Bulls' core of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng continues to make Chicago one of the top two threats in the East. They made that threat a bit stronger with the addition of Hamilton.

Hamilton's shooting ability in both the midrange game and from beyond the arc is the weapon this team sorely lacked last season. While Hamilton is far from his prime, he should be able to carry the load the Bulls are asking him to shoulder without a problem.

As for Butler, he's probably not the type of player who would be a household name if it wasn't for his miraculous "Blindside"-esque story. Drafting him has to be good karma for Chicago.

GRADE: B+


CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Key additions: Kyrie Irving (draft), Tristan Thompson (draft), Omri Casspi (trade)

Key subtractions: Baron Davis, J.J. Hickson, Joey Graham

The Le-pocalypse is over. LeBron has moved on. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert ... not so much. But the team's reward for last season's suffering was two picks in the top four of the draft. Sadly for Cavs fans, it wasn't the strongest draft in recent memory and the team didn't land the next LeBron with the No. 1 pick.

Nevertheless, the Cavs did get better. Point guard Kyrie Irving has the potential to be an All-Star someday. He's quick and smart and he has a nice balance between scoring and distributing. Tristan Thompson was a bit of a gamble at No. 4 -- especially with Jonas Valanciunas still on the board -- but the team feels that his athleticism, offensive rebounding and emerging offensive game will be a good fit. I'm skeptical he'll be better than Valanciunas, but you can make a solid argument he will be. Omri Casspi adds some toughness at small forward.

Using the amnesty clause on Baron Davis was also a solid move. Davis is talented when he's motivated and a distraction when he's not. Most likely, he would've been a major distraction in Cleveland this season.

While the Cavs will still dwell in the Eastern Conference basement, things are looking up. With another top draft pick and a free-agent pickup or two next summer, the team should be back on track.

GRADE: B-


CHARLOTTE BOBCATS

Key additions: Corey Maggette (trade), Kemba Walker (draft), Bismack Biyombo (draft), Reggie Williams (FA), Derrick Brown (FA), Rich Cho (GM)

Key subtractions: Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, Kwame Brown, Dominic McGuire

For more than a year, our Future Power Rankings have had the Bobcats ranked dead last. Last season, in fact, the team even got a little worse. But this season, there are finally some signs of life.

Although I didn't like the Corey Maggette-for-Stephen Jackson swap -- that was, at best, a wash for the Bobcats -- the rest of the moves they've made give the Cats hope. If Kemba Walker lives up to his potential, he could be the star they've been longing for. Bismack Biyombo also has heaps of upside and, while I'm skeptical he can live up to it, was probably worth the gamble as the seventh overall pick. Reggie Williams, meanwhile, gives Charlotte a much-needed sniper on the perimeter.

The biggest addition to the team, however, might have been new GM Rich Cho. The team has been badly mismanaged over the past few years and I expect that to change under Cho. Cho's ability to manage the cap, negotiate favorable contracts and put a professional organization in place can't be overstated. The Bobcats have screwed up just about everything they've touched. If they're going to get better, especially in a small market, they have to be smarter than the other guys. For the first time in a while, they finally have that chance.

GRADE: B-


DALLAS MAVERICKS

Key additions: Lamar Odom (trade), Vince Carter (FA), Delonte West (FA), Brandan Wright (FA)

Key subtractions: Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, J.J. Barea, Rudy Fernandez, Corey Brewer

Fresh off winning an NBA championship, Mark Cuban stunned many when he decided not to bring back the key cog in the Mavs' championship run, Tyson Chandler. But the Mavs owner has a plan. It wasn't that the Mavs didn't want Chandler or didn't think he was valuable, it's that Cuban knew he had a small window to rebuild this team on the fly next summer. Signing Chandler to a huge, multi-year deal would have destroyed those chances. So Cuban decided to take it on the chin for the chance to land a Deron Williams or Dwight Howard down the road. Hard to fault him.

After working out a sign-and-trade for Chandler, Cuban then made another heist using the trade exception he just received in the Chandler deal to land the Lakers' disgruntled Lamar Odom -- the best player he could probably land who also happened to be in the last year of his contract. Odom isn't Chandler, but with him on the floor, the Mavs can play some seriously potent small ball. And if Vince Carter can give them anything, the Mavs will still have a shot at repeating while retaining maximum flexibility next summer.

Under the new CBA, having smart ownership and management will be a must. Cuban and GM Donnie Nelson just put on a master class for the rest of the NBA to learn from.

GRADE: A-


DENVER NUGGETS

Key additions: Nene (re-signed), Andre Miller (trade), Rudy Fernandez (trade), Kenneth Faried (draft), Jordan Hamilton (draft), Corey Brewer (trade), DeMarre Carroll (FA), Michael Ruffin (FA)

Key subtractions: Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, Gary Forbes

The Nuggets have rebounded better than expected in the post-Carmelo era. Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri got decent value for Melo at last season's trade deadline and the team went on to be more effective without Melo than with him.

This offseason, the task was simply not to screw things up. After Nene flirted with a number of teams in free agency, he returned home to Denver and was met with open arms. The Nuggets also added Andre Miller, who gives the team a veteran presence at the point; Fernandez and Brewer, who were cheap pickups; and draft picks Faried and Hamilton, both of whom I really like. Faried has boundless energy and is a great rebounder. Hamilton is a pure scorer who should help the Nuggets while they await the return of Wilson Chandler from China.

If the team can lock up restricted free agent Arron Afflalo to a long-term deal, the Nuggets have a shot of being better than they ever were with Carmelo Anthony. I'm not sure that should inspire a lot of confidence in Knicks fans.

GRADE: B


DETROIT PISTONS

Key additions: Rodney Stuckey (re-sign), Brandon Knight (draft), Tayshaun Prince (re-signed), Jonas Jerebko (re-signed), Tom Gores (owner), Lawrence Frank (coach), Damien Wilkens (FA)

Key subtractions: Richard Hamilton, Tracy McGrady, Chris Wilcox, Mike Woodson (assistant coach)

The Pistons had another quiet offseason. After winning just 27 games in 2009-10 and 30 games last season, you'd think Pistons president Joe Dumars would be in the middle of a major overhaul in Detroit. Although the Pistons' lack of moves were easy enough to explain last year when the team was for sale and management's hands were tied, many thought the Pistons would be more aggressive this offseason with new owner Tom Gores on board. Instead, the team worked to bring back Prince, Jerebko and Stuckey on multiyear deals, keeping intact most of the core of last season's team.

Still, three things have changed for the better in Detroit. (1) The Pistons waived Richard Hamilton, who had become unhappy in Motown, freeing him to leave for a contender. They made the move as a buyout and saved nearly $8 million in the process. Talk about addition by subtraction. (2) The team drafted Brandon Knight who, while still a little raw, has terrific upside. Put him on the floor with Stuckey, Greg Monroe and Austin Daye, and the Pistons suddenly have a nice, young core. (3) The team made yet another coaching change, bringing in former Nets coach Lawrence Frank to run the show. Frank has a great reputation around the league and is promising a more disciplined, hardworking team in the future.

While those moves won't particularly wow anyone, the Pistons are moving in the right direction again. This team could win 35 games and start to win back fans who left the team over the past few years.

GRADE: B-


GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Key additions: Mark Jackson (coach), Jerry West (executive), Bob Myers (assistant GM), Klay Thompson (draft), Kwame Brown (FA), Charles Jenkins (draft), Jeremy Tyler (draft), Dominic McGuire (FA), Bradon Rush (trade)

Key subtractions: Coach Keith Smart, Reggie Williams, Charlie Bell, Vladimir Radmanovic, Al Thornton, Jeremy Lin, Acie Law, Louis Amundson

After a season of the same Warriors status quo, new Warriors owner Joe Lacob has begun to make changes. Mark Jackson is in as head coach, respected player agent Bob Meyer is being groomed to be the new GM and Jerry West is back as a consultant. That's the good news after years of mismanagement on the part of the Warriors' old regime.

The bad news? The changes on the court haven't been nearly as bold unless you think Kwame Brown is going to take Golden State to the next level. And while the Warriors' draft landed them two big-time scorers in Thompson and Tyler, overall the team still seems to be a player away from being a true playoff contender.

GRADE: C

HOUSTON ROCKETS

Key additions: Kevin McHale (coach), Marcus Morris (draft), Jonny Flynn (trade), Chandler Parsons (draft), Jeremy Lin (waivers)

Key subtractions: Rick Adelman (coach), Yao Ming, Chuck Hayes, Brad Miller

Last offseason, GM Daryl Morey made a strong pitch at Chris Bosh -- but his creative approach, iPad included, didn't seal the deal. After trying several other alternative deals, he took a simpler approach to this past offseason: Wait and see.

Then Morey went all out to land Pau Gasol in December only to see David Stern crush his hopes again. They went to Plan B, with Marc "I'm not as good as Pau, but close" Gasol only to have the efforts thwarted by the mighty Grizzlies. With the free-agent pool dwindling, the Rockets just decided to sit back and wait again.

Eventually, Morey will be able to pull off a major deal. Until then, Rocket fans will have to placate themselves with a large measure of Kevin McHale and rookie Marcus Morris. I think McHale is a pretty good coach, though I thought Adelman was a very good one. Meanwhile, Morris has a solid chance of being a good NBA player -- but he's not going to turn the Rockets around by himself.

Those last two sentences really seem to sum up the Rockets -- pretty good and solid. Whether they'll ever amount to any more depends largely, it appears, on having a little bit of luck.

GRADE: C-


INDIANA PACERS

Key additions: David West (FA), George Hill (trade), Jeff Pendergraph (FA), Louis Amundson (trade)

Key subtractions: Mike Dunleavy, T.J. Ford, Josh McRoberts, James Posey, Brandon Rush

The tenure of team president Larry Bird and GM David Morway has been defined by patience. The two have been carefully and methodically rebuilding the Pacers from the ground up after the Ron Artest debacle. They entered this offseason loaded with young talent and cap room -- a covetable position few NBA teams ever reach -- and desperately needed an upgrade at the 4 and a reserve guard who can get his own shot.

Awash with cash in a shallow free-agent pool, Bird and Morway did what they always do -- they waited. And once again, it paid off. They patiently plugged and plugged away for more than a year until the San Antonio Spurs finally surrendered Indy-born George Hill. Then they waited until impatient teams overpaid the more overhyped free agents on the market and signed West to a very reasonable two-year, $20 million deal. Both players fit their needs perfectly without breaking the bank.

Meanwhile, the Pacers still have about $14 million in cap room to play around with during the season. With so much player movement expected closer to the March trade deadline, the Pacers are perfectly positioned to be major players in the trade market while still boasting a roster that's as deep as any team in the East. Even if Indy doesn't make another move, it's not inconceivable that this team could be a top-five team in the East this season.

GRADE: A-

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

Key additions: Chris Paul (trade), Chauncey Billups (amnesty), Caron Butler (FA), DeAndre Jordan (re-signed), Trey Thompkins (draft), Travis Leslie (draft)

Key subtractions: Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, Craig Smith, Jamario Moon, Ike Diogu

The Clippers grew up on Dec. 14, 2011. After years vacillating between pathetic and mediocre the team finally and boldly landed a star. Chris Paul is the type of player that can turn around a franchise. Pair him with a frontcourt of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers, for the first time in history, have the makings of a future championship contender.

To land Paul, the Clippers paid a huge price. The loss of Eric Gordon especially hurts. But ultimately, if CP3 stays in LA, he's worth it. One of the Clippers' other moves, the shrewd pick-up of Chauncey Billups off the amnesty waiver wire, should also shore up their backcourt. Yes, they overpaid for Jordan and Caron Butler. But when you look at the long-term future of this team, it's as bright as any in the NBA.

GRADE: A


LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Key additions: Mike Brown (coach), Josh McRoberts (FA), Jason Kapono (FA), Darius Morris (draft), Andrew Goudelock (draft), Troy Murphy (FA)

Key subtractions: Phil Jackson (coach), Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown

The Lakers are on dangerous ground. They've been good for so long it's easy to forget what happens to great teams that hang on too long. With Phil Jackson out the door and Kobe Bryant now 33, things are about to change in LA.

The Lakers made an attempt to get a jump-start on the rebuilding process by making strong moves for both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard in December. Were in not for a last-second David Stern intervention, Paul would be a Laker, not a Clipper, right now. Nevertheless, the Lakers still look like they have the best offer on the table (Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol) for Howard. If the Magic decide to let go, the Lakers' building process gets a huge boost.

Until then, it's going to be messy. The Lakers inexplicably gave away Lamar Odom to the Mavs for what amounts to a cap dump. There's been some talk about the Lakers using the trade exception they received in another deal, but to date it's not clear exactly what that deal would be. The Lakers' incoming class of Josh McRoberts, Jason Kapono and Darius Morris is anemic by Laker standards and this may be the year the Lakers slide from elite status in the West.

If all of this mess ends with Dwight Howard in a Laker uniform all will be forgiven. But if he stays in Orlando or goes to the Nets, it's not out of the question that Kobe will force his way out and the Laker rebuilding process will be on the slow boat to lottery land for the next few years.

GRADE: D



MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

Key additions: Marc Gasol (re-signed), Josh Selby (draft)

Key subtractions: Shane Battier

The Grizzlies are good. I know, it's hard to believe. After watching what they did to teams in the playoffs last season without Rudy Gay, it's plausible they are a title contender with him.

So Michael Heisley did what any competent owner would do. He signed Zach Randolph to a contract extension before last season ended and locked up Marc Gasol to a big contract in December. He now has his full core of players to go compete for a championship. For most owners all of this would be a no-brainer. But for Heisley? There was a considerable amount of uncertainty about whether it would actually happen.

The Grizzlies still have holes in some places and a glut of players in others. But if they can catch the magic they had last April and May again this season, it's not out of the question that this team could win a title. Heisley fulfilled his part of the deal. Now it's up to Gay, Gasol, Randolph, Mike Conley and Tony Allen to do their part.

GRADE: A-


Miami Heat

Key additions: Shane Battier (FA), Mario Chalmers (re-signed), Norris Cole (draft), James Jones (re-signed), Eddy Curry (FA)

Key subtractions: Mike Bibby, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Magliore

Last season, the Miami Heat were coming off possibly the greatest summer in the history of the NBA. With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the fold, the Heat rounded up the best trio of players in the NBA.

This offseason was much more muted. Their big free-agent acquisition was Shane Battier, who has a stellar rep as a no-stats All-Star, but his effectiveness has waned with age. Still, he provides the Heat with important depth, leadership and defense behind LeBron.

The other move of note has to do with the departure of Mike Bibby. Bibby was way past his prime, but it's hard not to have some trepidation with Mario Chalmers running the point all the time. But if the Heat don't add another veteran in the backcourt, watch out for rookie Norris Cole. The Cleveland State product was one of the biggest draft sleepers and has been impressive in camp. He can score and distribute, and he rarely makes mistakes. He isn't an elite athlete, but when you factor in who's on the floor with him, he doesn't have to be.

GRADE: B-


MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Key additions: Stephen Jackson (trade), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (re-signed), Beno Udrih (trade), Shaun Livingston (trade), Mike Dunleavy (FA), Tobias Harris (draft), Jon Leuer (draft)

Key subtractions: Corey Maggette, John Salmons, Keyon Dooling

The Bucks went from the surprise team in the East in 2009-10 to one of the most disappointing teams of 2010-11. Injuries played a major factor, but a series of questionable offseason moves by the normally steady-handed John Hammond didn't help things.

This offseason, Hammond moved quickly and decisively to right his wrongs. His two biggest acquisitions last year -- John Salmons and Corey Maggette -- are gone. The question is whether their replacements -- Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih and free agent Mike Dunleavy -- will be any better. Jackson should provide a stronger scoring kick and Udrih gives them one of the better backup point guards in the league. Combine them with a (hopefully) healthy Andrew Bogut and Drew Gooden, and the Bucks should move back into playoff contention in the East.

GRADE: C+




MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

Key additions: Rick Adelman (coach), Derrick Williams (draft), Ricky Rubio (draft), J.J. Barea (FA), Brad Miller (trade), Malcolm Lee (draft), Robert Vaden (trade)

Key subtractions: Kurt Rambis (coach), Tony Ronzone (assistant GM), Sebastian Telfair, Lazar Hayward

For the first time in two years, GM David Kahn didn't completely blow it. The talent on this year's Wolves team is impressive. And coach Rick Adelman, one of the most underrated coaches in the game, seems like a perfect fit for what looks like a turbo-charged squad.

Ricky Rubio is finally here, too, and should be a really nice fit with this team, while Derrick Williams and J.J. Barea should add more firepower to an already potent offensive team.

Still, the question on everyone's mind is, while a number of the individual parts look stronger than they have in a couple of years, will the team win enough games to matter? Give Kahn credit for amassing a number of assets over the years, but at some point assets have to turn into players and players into wins.

GRADE: B


NEW JERSEY NETS

Key additions: Shawne Williams (FA), Marshon Brooks (draft), Jordan Williams (draft), Shelden Williams (FA)

Key subtractions: Travis Outlaw, Brandan Wright, Sasha Vujacic

Last year I wasn't too kind to the Nets and their summer haul of Derrick Favors, Travis Outlaw, Anthony Morrow and Johan Petro. That group seemed a galaxy away from last year's target -- LeBron James. But what do I know? The Nets had assets and somehow found a way to package them together to land All-Star point guard Deron Williams at the trade deadline.

Now the plan is to use their assets this season to get an even bigger fish. The Nets desperately want Dwight Howard and Howard wants them too. They offered center Brook Lopez and a whopping five first-round draft picks to the Magic to try to get him in December. They even offered to take back Hedo Turkoglu's toxic contract. But the Magic balked. Still, the question is whether they'll be so stubborn in March when the possibility of Howard walking away for nothing gets more real.

So you'll have to forgive the Nets if their offseason haul looks a bit bare. Yes, ideally they would've managed to find a way to surround Williams with talent now. But if they land Howard in March ... the Nets will have the most potent point guard-center combo in the league. It's hard to fault them for being patient.

GRADE: INCOMPLETE


NEW ORLEANS HORNETS

Key additions: David Stern (owner, GM, head coach, starting PG), Eric Gordon (trade), Chris Kaman (trade), Al-Farouq Aminu (trade), Carl Landry (re-signed)

Key subtractions: Chris Paul, David West, Aaron Gray

David Stern won't win many awards for his performance as NBA commissioner this year. Another prolonged lockout combined with PR disaster after PR disaster will taint his legacy. But as an NBA GM? He's doing just fine.

Stern, violating the spirit -- if not the letter -- of conflict of interest rules, shocked the NBA by getting in the middle of Hornets GM Dell Demps' attempts to trade Chris Paul. Whether he did it on the insistence of the 29 other owners in the league (as every GM I know believes he did) or on his own as an independent owner of the Hornets, it was bad form for the NBA to meddle. His intervention is the sort of pulp that conspiracy theorists have suckled on for years.

Yet, when viewed purely from the realm of negotiating strategy, Stern forced the hand of the Lakers and Clippers and got New Orleans a better return for their star. The haul of Eric Gordon, the Wolves' unprotected No. 1 pick, Al-Farouq Aminu and Chris Kaman was as good as they were ever going to get.

Now Stern's Hornets are loaded with young assets that Demps can use as he pleases. Whether he ultimately keeps Gordon (who I'm hearing desperately wants out of New Orleans), Kaman or Aminu is irrelevant. They are all chips that can bring back their own bounty.

The product on the court won't be the same without Paul (and his longtime running mate David West) flying up and down the floor. But the Hornets' future in New Orleans, thanks to Stern, is a bit brighter than it was a month ago.

GRADE: B-


NEW YORK KNICKS

Key additions: Tyson Chandler (trade), Baron Davis (FA), Mike Bibby (FA), Iman Shumpert (draft), Jerome Jordan (draft), Josh Harrellson (draft)

Key subtractions: Donnie Walsh (president), Chauncey Billups, Ronny Turiaf, Shawne Williams, Shelden Williams, Derrick Brown, Anthony Carter, Roger Mason, Andy Rautins

The Knicks didn't get their ultimate prize last summer -- LeBron James -- but the two star players they did land over the course of last season (Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony) have made the Knicks a prime-time destination again.

For much of this offseason, the next move on the Knicks' rebuilding chessboard was clear -- land Chris Paul. The problem? The Knicks didn't have the cap room to sign him as a free agent, nor did they have the assets to make a trade for a player like Paul.

Credit interim GM Glen Grunwald for doing something bold. Convinced his chances of landing Paul were small, and knowing that the Knicks' biggest need was in the middle, he abandoned Paul, gave amnesty to Billups and lured Chandler to New York. While Chandler isn't a star, he is a massive upgrade in the middle and gives the Knicks their first real defensive presence at center since Patrick Ewing owned MSG.

The move left the team very weak in the backcourt, however, which the Knicks have since addressed by adding veterans Baron Davis and Mike Bibby. If the motivated version of Davis shows up in New York (likely, if he's healthy) and if Bibby has any juice left (I don't think he does), the Knicks should be fine at the point when you also factor in third-year guard Toney Douglas. And if Landry Fields reverts back to his rookie form or if Iman Shumpert is as good as his pre-draft hype New York will be very, very dangerous.

GRADE: B+


OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Key additions: Reggie Jackson (draft), Daequan Cook (re-signed), Lazar Hayward (trade)

Key subtractions: Robert Vaden

The Thunder tend to be overly conservative during the offseason. In their case, it's a virtue. Too many teams panic and believe they have to spend all of their money or the offseason is a failure. GM Sam Presti waits and waits and waits for the right deal to come to him. When it does (like the Celtics offering him Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green at the trade deadline) he pounces.

The truth is that there wasn't a lot for Presti to do this summer. He has a team that is my pick to be the best team in the West this season and possibly for the next five years. Kevin Durant is locked up. Russell Westbrook will be shortly. Their supporting group of James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and Eric Maynor is strong.

Their only major addition is rookie Reggie Jackson, who has enormous talent and slipped in the draft because of injury issues. If he blossoms the way some NBA scouts think he could, he could be one of the steals of the draft.

GRADE: B-


ORLANDO MAGIC

Key additions: Glen Davis (trade), Jason Richardson (re-signed), Justin Harper (draft), Von Wafer (trade)

Key subtractions: Gilbert Arenas, Brandon Bass

The Magic had a pretty bad offseason. The question is, will it progress to Armageddon?

GM Otis Smith continues to bumble his way through this job in a way that would make Peter Sellers proud. At one point the Magic had a team that looked like a Finals contender for the next five years. Now? It's a mess: Dwight Howard and a bunch of overpaid, underperforming role players.

At the heart of this year's problems is the fact that Howard is pushing for a trade. The Magic are, rightfully, turning down lousy offers, but at this point it appears unlikely they'll be able to get the same haul for Howard that the Hornets got for Chris Paul.

Right now the team's two best scenarios involve the Lakers (Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol) or the Nets (Brook Lopez and a plethora of first-round picks). Neither trade gives the Magic back fair value, but it's probably as good as they'll get.

On the periphery are a number of recent head-scratching moves. The team brought in Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu at last season's trade deadline. A few months later, they regretted that $96 million indiscretion badly. The Magic gave amnesty to Arenas in December, choosing to eat the remaining three years, $62 million on his contract. And now they're insisting that whoever takes Howard takes Turkoglu and his $34 million contract with them.

On top of that, the team re-signed the aging Jason Richardson to a reported four-year, $25 million deal despite the fact he didn't appear to have any other serious suitors. This, as Magic fans know, is a Smith special. He signs players to big deals without context. The second was trading Bass for Davis. Bass made less money and is a better player. Go figure.

GRADE: F


PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Key additions: Thaddeus Young (re-signed), Spencer Hawes (re-signed), Nikola Vucevic (draft); Josh Harris (new owner)

Key subtractions: Jason Kapono

The Sixers took a major step forward last season thanks to one significant move in the offseason -- hiring head coach Doug Collins. Collins took a Sixer team that most predicted would win around 35 games and got them the seventh seed in the East playoffs.

Can he repeat the feat this season? He must be pretty confident because the Sixers did very little to change up their team. They re-signed two of their young players -- Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes -- and got USC big man Nikola Vucevic in the draft.

Vucevic gives the team some much-needed size, but it's unclear exactly how much he'll be able to contribute as the rookie. What the Sixers are banking on is that Young, Jrue Holiday, second-year wing Evan Turner and Hawes all make improvements this season. With time, the new Sixers ownership team may get more aggressive, but for now, there's not much here to celebrate.

GRADE: C-


PHOENIX SUNS

Key additions: Grant Hill (re-signed), Shannon Brown (FA), Markieff Morris (draft), Ronnie Price (FA), Sebastian Telfair (FA)

Key subtractions: Vince Carter, Aaron Brooks, Gani Lawal

The sun continues to set in Phoenix. Steve Nash, the heart and soul of the Suns, is still plugging away at age 37, but the rest of his mates from the original run-and-gun Suns are long gone. The 39-year-old Grant Hill is back to provide support and big man Marcin Gortat was a very good pickup last season.

The rest of the team, however, is a mess.

Owner Robert Sarver made most of the quagmire himself. When he wasn't ripping up a successful roster, he was alienating players this summer with his hardline stance during the lockout. Sarver has since come out claiming he was actually a dove -- a reversal that only a politician could pull off with a straight face.

The Suns' free-agent haul this year won't do much to inspire Suns fans. It consisted of Shannon Brown, Ronnie Price and Sebastian Telfair. Of the three, Brown is a legit pickup, albeit a role player. Their draft pick, Markieff Morris, is big and can shoot, but the chances of him being a starter in the NBA, let alone a franchise savior, are slim.

At some point the Suns will get around to realizing they should have traded Nash two years ago when he still had enormous value. At this point, with Nash in the last year of his deal, they won't get much. When he leaves, the team will likely be among the worst in the NBA.

GRADE: D+


PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Key additions: Jamal Crawford (FA), Greg Oden (re-signed), Nolan Smith (draft), Craig Smith (FA)

Key subtractions: Brandon Roy, Rich Cho (GM)

No one had a rockier offseason than the Blazers. First, owner Paul Allen inexplicably fired Rich Cho one year into his tenure as GM. Then Allen almost single-handedly prolonged the lockout. And in the course of a single day in December, the Blazers learned that Brandon Roy was retiring for medical reasons, Greg Oden had yet another setback in his rehab and LaMarcus Aldridge's heart irregularities were acting up again.

Aldridge looks like he'll be fine in a couple of weeks, but you can't say the same about the rest of the Blazers roster. Two years ago we thought the Blazers had the pieces to be a championship contender. Now? The second-best player on their team is either Gerald Wallace or Raymond Felton.

The Blazers have enough pieces to be solid, but that's about it. Jamal Crawford will provide a scoring boost off the bench, but I'm not sure that translates into wins. Nolan Smith seemed like a bit of a reach in the draft. Craig Smith was a steal in free agency, but a 6-6 power forward isn't the missing piece of the puzzle.

GRADE: D


SACRAMENTO KINGS

Key additions: Jimmer Fredette (draft), Marcus Thornton (re-signed), John Salmons (trade), J.J. Hickson (trade), Chuck Hayes (FA), Travis Outlaw (amnesty pick-up) Tyler Honeycutt (draft), Isaiah Thomas (draft)

Key subtractions: Samuel Dalembert, Beno Udrih, Omri Casspi, Marquis Daniels, Darnell Jackson

The Kings have a high batting average when it comes to the draft and, for the third year in a row, they may have hit paydirt. In 2009 they drafted the Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans. Last season Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins proved that when he's focused and not brawling with assistant coaches, he has the potential to be a dominant big man.

This year the rookie of the moment is Fredette. There's no logical way to evaluate Jimmer. You either love him or hate him. The Kings, apparently, love him.

Jimmer should be a Paul Westphal-type of player. He lets it fly from anywhere on the floor and has more point guard skills than most fans know about. Whether there will be enough basketballs to keep Fredette, Evans and Cousins all happy is a different story entirely.

When it comes to things other than the draft, however, Kings GM Geoff Petrie hasn't been as hot. The Salmons-for-Udrih deal may have been the single worst deal of the offseason. The Hickson-for-Casspi one was OK. And last season's Thornton-for-Landry deal may be the one that pays off the most. Signing Chuck Hayes, meanwhile, looked like a good move at the time, but he's currently undergoing tests for a heart abnormality. And adding $12 million long-term to the payroll for the rights to Travis Outlaw seemed like overkill.

The Kings have a number of talented young players at every position. They have cap flexibility in the future and they received a stay from leaving for Anaheim. Whether any of this amounts to winning actual basketball games is, perhaps, a better question.

GRADE: B


SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Key additions: Kawhi Leonard (draft), T.J. Ford (FA), Cory Joseph (draft), Gani Lawal (FA)

Key subtractions: George Hill

The Spurs are old. Tim Duncan is 35. Manu Ginobili is 34. Richard Jefferson, who signed an excessive four-year, $39 million deal two summers ago, is 31. Even Tony Parker turns 30 in May.

Yet it's hard to break up a team that still performs the way the Spurs do.

Spurs GM R.C. Buford has talked about blowing things up for the past few years, but he doesn't have the heart to do it. When he finally made a trade to move up in the draft and nab Kawhi Leonard, he did it by trading the team's best young player (and one of coach Gregg Popovich's favorite players) -- George Hill.

The Spurs' thinking was that the team wouldn't be able to afford to keep their core together and pay Hill this summer, so they cut bait and landed Leonard, a super-talented, high-energy combo forward instead. Leonard was a good pick, but when you factor in what they gave up for him combined with the rest of their haul this offseason, it just feels like the Spurs are still going in the wrong direction.

GRADE: C-


TORONTO RAPTORS

Key additions: Jonas Valanciunas (draft), Gary Forbes (FA), Rasual Butler (FA), Aaron Gray (FA), Anthony Carter (FA), Jamaal Magloire (FA)

Key subtractions: Sonny Weems

GM Bryan Colangelo got a second lease on his job this offseason. With the pressure off, he is wisely preaching patience as he rebuilds the Raptors in the wake of Chris Bosh's defection last year.

The team got off to a great start when it landed what could be the steal of the draft, Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas, with the No. 5 pick. The Raptors took a gamble, knowing Valanciunas can't play in the NBA this season. But he is worth the risk. The team is in dire need of help in the middle, and when he comes over, he should be a franchise type of center.

The Raptors will try to repeat that haul in the 2012 draft -- widely considered one of the strongest in the past five years. They won't be very good this season, but a high draft choice will be balm to that wound. The Raptors are eyeing about $15 million in cap space next summer too (even more if they choose to grant amnesty to Jose Calderon or Linas Kleiza then) and feel that next year's free-agent class has a lot more potential.

GRADE: B

UTAH JAZZ

Key additions: Enes Kanter (draft), Josh Howard (FA), Alec Burks (draft)

Key subtractions: Andrei Kirilenko, Ronnie Price

Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor never gets the credit he's deserved all of these years in Utah. No one has figured out how to completely rebuild a roster as quickly and thoroughly as O'Connor has. O'Connor made the boldest move of anyone at last season's trade deadline when he abruptly traded Deron Williams to the Nets for Derrick Favors and draft picks.

O'Connor used one of those assets to draft Enes Kanter with the No. 3 pick. Then he used his own pick to bring in Alec Burks. Put those two players together with Favors and last year's lottery pick Gordon Hayward and the Jazz suddenly have one of the best young cores in the NBA. All four players have the ability to be All-Stars if they live up to their potential.

What makes O'Connor one of the best in the business is that he's doing the rebuilding while still putting a respectable team on the floor. He has solid veterans like Devin Harris, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson still on the roster and added more depth by getting Josh Howard on a super cheap deal.

It's rare that you'll find a team that can compete for a playoff spot and be developing four excellent prospects at the same time. O'Connor has pulled that off this year.

GRADE: A

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Key additions: Jan Vesely (draft), Ronny Turiaf (trade), Chris Singleton (draft), Roger Mason Jr. (FA)

Key subtractions: Josh Howard

The Wizards, still basking in the afterglow of landing John Wall with the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, appear content to bask a little longer.

The team did nothing of significance in the offseason. Rookie Jan Vesely is the closest thing to an impact player among the players added to the roster. He's a high flyer and he should be great in the open court, but he's not turning around the season single-handedly. Turiaf, Singleton and Mason all provide a level of toughness to a team that lacked backbone last season. But let's not kid ourselves. The evolution of Wall and big man JaVale McGee means the Wizards will be better, but it's hard to see them cracking 30 wins this season.

GRADE: C http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7366912/nba-2011-offseason-grades-every-team

2minutes twoa
12-19-2011, 01:55 PM
Nice to see that the national media is seeing exactly what we're seeing!


Rise up Pacer Nation!!!

Kstat
12-19-2011, 01:56 PM
Finally, an honest assessment of the Pistons from someone that isn't a Celtics lifer.

Outside of the Clippers and Mavs, the Pacers have definitely had a terrific offseason.

Will Galen
12-19-2011, 02:14 PM
Did anyone read New Orleans?

Quote; Key additions: David Stern (owner, GM, head coach, starting PG)

Kstat
12-19-2011, 02:19 PM
the sad thing is, Stern did more for the hornets in 3 weeks than their previous owner did in the last 20 years.

billbradley
12-19-2011, 02:27 PM
ESPN 5-on-5 Roundtable Report cards: Grading the offseason


A lot has happened since Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks knocked off the Heat to give the city of Dallas its first NBA title last June. Our 5-on-5 crew takes a look at some of the free-agent signings, trades, hirings, firings and more.


1. Which team deserves the best grade this offseason?



J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: The Clippers. It's not that they've never had good offseasons before (the summers that brought Elton Brand, Sam Cassell and Corey Maggette/Quentin Richardson/Darius Miles come to mind) but they've never had the best offseason before. In landing Chris Paul the Clippers made the most significant move since the lockout ended. Maybe they should hang a commemorative banner in Staples Center, since they don't have anything else on the walls there.

Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak: The Clippers, who will be 20 games better (proportionally) this year than they were last season. But honorable mention goes to (gulp!) the Hornets. New Orleans got solid value for Paul and spent the offseason selling tons of season tickets (likely built on the promise of more Chris Pau -- oops!). In that market, profitability is an impressive achievement.

Rob Peterson, Hardwood Paroxysm: Miami, just ahead of the Clippers, Celtics and Knicks. As chaos reigned throughout the league, the Heat projected an image of calm (which was quite the contrast to their previous offseason) and didn't overreact to last year's Finals loss. They answered any questions about Erik Spoelstra's job security by extending his contract and the Heat solidified their D by signing Shane Battier. Not bad for the defending Eastern Conference champs.

Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: The Los Angeles Clippers. With one trade, the Clippers transformed themselves from perennial laughingstock into an outside-shot title contender. The acquisition of Chris Paul also begins to tip the scales of power in Los Angeles, a change that is almost as valuable as the team's on-court improvement.

Michael Schwartz, Valley of the Suns: Quietly, the Indiana Pacers. They turned a mid-first-rounder in a weak draft into a solid contributor in George Hill and then plugged their biggest weakness by signing David West to a very reasonable two-year deal. West and Hill bump the Pacers up a notch in the East.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



2. Which team deserves the worst grade this offseason?



J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: The Rockets. It's not their fault that the worst-case scenario materialized and Yao Ming's foot problems caused him to retire, it's not their fault that their plans to revamp the team were blown up when David Stern nixed the three-team trade with the Lakers and Hornets and it's not their fault they lost a coach who got more out of his players than anyone else the past couple of seasons (OK, maybe they were responsible for that last one). But they're left with a void at center and uncertainty in the minds of their two best players, Luis Scola and Kevin Martin, who thought they had been traded. How many nights will Kevin McHale wish he was back on the set trading jokes with CWebb, Kenny and the Chuckster?

Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak: The Lakers. What's the plan here? The Lakers seem to be the team most confounded by the strictures of the new CBA and the allure of Blake Griffin. Josh McRoberts was a nice pickup, but replacing Lamar Odom with McBobs is like trading in a Bentley for a Chrysler 300 because they sort of look the same.

Rob Peterson, Hardwood Paroxysm: Atlanta. Did the Hawks move to Winnipeg with the Thrashers? Five years ago, I never thought I'd write this, but Tracy McGrady is a downgrade from Jamal Crawford. And Vlad Rad? Because you absolutely, positively need 15 minutes from a guy who shoots only 3s. With a chance to build upon their first-round upset of the Magic and with much of the league in flux, the Hawks did nothing to improve.

Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: The Boston Celtics. They got a year older, they didn't add anybody or make any deals of note, and they had a stroke of bad luck with Jeff Green's season-ending heart condition. As a result, the gap widened significantly between the Celtics and the Eastern Conference's true elite: the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls.


Michael Schwartz, Valley of the Suns: The Pistons. I just don't understand Detroit's direction, tossing a combined $71 million at Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince and Jonas Jerebko on three- and four-year deals. The Pistons have been awful the past two years with this core, so they should be looking to shed contracts to rebuild rather than ensuring their own mediocrity the next few years.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



3. Which team gets an incomplete for this offseason?



J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: The Lakers. We need to see what they do with the trade exception from the Lamar Odom salary dump before we render a final decision on that move. We also wonder whether Kobe's extra rest and German knee treatment will restore him or is it too late? Were the organizational staffing dismissals a cruel lack of loyalty or a necessary purge? How affected will Pau Gasol be by hearing his name in trade rumors?

Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak: Miami mostly stayed pat, adding only an aging but effective wing player who adds depth at the team's strongest positions. The lack of movement was disappointing considering the gaping holes at center and point guard, but if Norris Cole is the viscous defender and assertive ball handler he appears to be, the Heat may have the steal of the draft.

Rob Peterson, Hardwood Paroxysm: Dallas. Getting Lamar Odom for nothing was a coup, but losing J.J. Barea, their little postseason engine that could, was a mistake, as was letting Tyson Chandler sign with the Knicks. The Chandler departure is a miscalculation the Mavs will rue this season. And Vince Carter? That's like getting a CD Walkman for Christmas. I'm curious to see how it's all going to work out.

Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: The New Orleans Hornets. The decision-makers in the Paul deal wanted young talent and picks in exchange for Paul, but it remains to be seen whether they'll be able to turn their new assets into a contending team without their franchise cornerstone.

Michael Schwartz, Valley of the Suns: New Orleans. If this is the summer that propels the Hornets toward a Big Three of their own with Anthony Davis, Harrison Barnes and Eric Gordon, the CP3 trade will look like a godsend. If Gordon bolts in two years and their 2012 picks don't turn into stars, losing Paul will be seen as a disaster.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



4. Which team had the most surprising offseason?



J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: The Knicks. They came from nowhere to land Tyson Chandler and instantly upgrade their defense. Iman Shumpert has gone from an unpopular draft pick (remember the initial reaction of the fans at the draft and Carmelo Anthony on Twitter?) to showing he can be an immediate contributor. A New York team that delivered more performance than hype would be the biggest surprise of all.

Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak: How often does a defending champ let three of its top seven players walk? That's just what the Mavericks did before making a couple of clever moves to add Lamar Odom and Vince Carter on the cheap while opening up their cap sheet to potentially make a move for a superstar like Deron Williams. They won't repeat, but the future is still bright in Dallas.

Rob Peterson, Hardwood Paroxysm: New Orleans, hands down. And it was surprising not only to fans, but also to front offices around the league. After David Stern scuttled the first Chris Paul-involved trade, the question was: Who was really running things? It was unprecedented and, to a lot of people, unseemly. Then the trade to the Clippers happened, and maybe they got a better deal. No team has had an offseason like it and it provided examples Nos. 1-100 as to why the NBA shouldn't own a team.


Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: The New York Knicks. Few expected them to reel in Tyson Chandler, a long center who establishes much-needed defensive credibility for the team. Mike Bibby's certainly not the best player and the league, but he and Baron Davis help to bolster the point guard position. The Knicks' lineup looks significantly more complete than the roster that bowed out in the first round last season.

Michael Schwartz, Valley of the Suns: The Clippers. With all their young assets they were perhaps best positioned to make a run at Paul, but this organization always figures out a way to bungle it. For once it did not, and with Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler in the fold as well, this long-downtrodden franchise can finally call itself a contender.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



5. Based on the offseason, which team should be labeled Team Turmoil?



J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: The Magic. As tumultuous as the process of trading Chris Paul was for the Hornets, at least that's over. Dwight Howard will be an issue for Orlando every day until he leaves (it still feels more like when than if). It's already cost the Magic a CEO, who admitted making a wine-infused phone call to Howard at 1 a.m. When will the cap-clogged roster and ill-fitting parts cost them Howard himself? The only positive is this should make for some entertaining Stan Van Gundy news conferences.

Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak: The Lakers get my vote here, too. Odom is gone. Pau is pouting. Kobe's attention will be divided at best. Bynum is on the trading block. Derek Fisher is still the starting point guard. They have a guy on the roster named Metta World Peace. This proud franchise may produce more compelling theater than basketball this year.

Rob Peterson, Hardwood Paroxysm: Lakers. They have a new coach, had a scuttled mega-trade and went through the motions in pursuit of Dwight Howard. Combine that with the Clippers getting Chris Paul, Kobe's aching knees and a free-agent "haul" of Josh McRoberts, Troy Murphy and Jason Kapono and the Lakers' season sets up as one of the better soap operas the NBA has seen for some time.

Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: The Detroit Pistons. It's going to be a long year for Lawrence Frank, as the Pistons have no prized assets and a direction that isn't particularly evident. Giving Rodney Stuckey $25 million over the next three years wasn't a great move in that regard.

Michael Schwartz, Valley of the Suns: The Lakers. First the league scuttled their attempt to acquire Paul for "basketball reasons." Then they gave away one of the key cogs of that deal (Lamar Odom) for nothing to the team that eliminated them last season. If Superman doesn't appear to save the day, this won't be a fun season for Kobe and Staples' other tenants.

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/5-on-5-offseason-111219/grading-offseason

billbradley
12-19-2011, 02:46 PM
NY Times: Pacers Are Poised to Get Better on Offense


Indiana Pacers

Last season: 101.9 points scored per 100 possessions (22nd in the N.B.A.)

The ills of the Pacers’ offense won’t be cured overnight, but the newcomer David West provides such an upgrade at the power forward position that improvement is virtually guaranteed. West is not only a terrific offensive player in a general sense, but he provides invaluable court spacing for an Indiana team that was too often constrained by a lack of perimeter threats.

West’s range doesn’t quite reach the 3-point arc, but his potent midrange abilities should open up even more space for Danny Granger, Darren Collison and Roy Hibbert to operate. Indiana was at its offensive best in last year’s playoffs when Tyler Hansbrough was connecting on open 15-footers, and in West the Pacers have acquired a more accurate shooter than Hansbrough with a more complete all-around game.

West will also reunite with Collison for an encore performance of their dynamic pick-and-roll game. Collison clearly isn’t on Chris Paul’s level in terms of reading the pick-and-roll, but his chemistry with West is both obvious and productive.

Plus, the draft-night acquisition of George Hill shouldn’t be overlooked. Hill’s perimeter shooting will be just as important as West’s this season, but even more valuable is the shift he created in the Pacers’ rotation. Trading for Hill made the oft-struggling Brandon Rush more expendable, which led Indiana to trade Rush for the big man Louis Amundson. A. J. Price and Dahntay Jones are serviceable role players, but Hill’s presence pushes them down a peg on the depth chart, where their skills and contributions will be a bit more favorable. More minutes are going to more helpful offensive players, and the Pacers can only reap the benefits.http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/pacers-are-poised-to-get-better-on-offense/

Cactus Jax
12-19-2011, 02:49 PM
As far as the Pistons go, they aren't winning 35 games in a 66 game season, I think the writer forgot about that stat.

croz24
12-19-2011, 02:50 PM
We still lack a player who can truly create for himself, and I believe losing McRoberts will hurt us this year. I'd give us a B...

billbradley
12-19-2011, 02:53 PM
We still lack a player who can truly create for himself, and I believe losing McRoberts will hurt us this year. I'd give us a B...

I like McBob, but we aren't losing a single game because he's not playing for 15 minutes.

Sandman21
12-19-2011, 02:55 PM
Did anyone read New Orleans?

Quote; Key additions: David Stern (owner, GM, head coach, starting PG)

That didn't pop out at me, but this did:


Whether he ultimately keeps Gordon (who I'm hearing desperately wants out of New Orleans), Kaman or Aminu is irrelevant.

Trader Joe
12-19-2011, 03:00 PM
As far as the Pistons go, they aren't winning 35 games in a 66 game season, I think the writer forgot about that stat.

They wouldn't have won 35 games in an 82 game season.

Kstat
12-19-2011, 03:04 PM
As far as the Pistons go, they aren't winning 35 games in a 66 game season, I think the writer forgot about that stat.

If everything breaks right, they could go be a .500 team. Not saying it will happen, but it's within the realm of possibility. There's more talent on that roster than they showed last season.

billbradley
12-19-2011, 03:06 PM
If everything breaks right, they could go be a .500 team. Not saying it will happen, but it's withing the realm of possibility.

Does that mean you think the Pistons are a playoff team?

croz24
12-19-2011, 03:07 PM
I like McBob, but we aren't losing a single game because he's not playing for 15 minutes.

But we also don't even know if West will be the same player he was preinjury. If West returns to a 20ppg scorer, I can see an A, but there's a huge question mark there...

Kstat
12-19-2011, 03:08 PM
Does that mean you think the Pistons are a playoff team?

I think the odds are they won't make it, but I'd give them maybe a %40 chance of finishing 8th. It really all depends if Stuckey can finally focus his talent now that he's free of PG duties and has someone else to get him the ball for the first time in 3 years.

righteouscool
12-19-2011, 03:09 PM
We still lack a player who can truly create for himself, and I believe losing McRoberts will hurt us this year. I'd give us a B...

yeah, his 13 minutes a game was the difference between winning and losing. goodness, mcroberts might be the most overrated player on this board. he wasn't better then tyler and he's a lot worse than west. he wouldn't even see the court this year!

Kstat
12-19-2011, 03:10 PM
But we also don't even know if West will be the same player he was preinjury. If West returns to a 20ppg scorer, I can see an A, but there's a huge question mark there...

Even in his prime, West would not score 20 a game on this Pacers team. Too many other shooters, and chris paul is not force-feeding him every time down the floor.

billbradley
12-19-2011, 03:19 PM
Even in his prime, West would not score 20 a game on this Pacers team. Too many other shooters, and chris paul is not force-feeding him every time down the floor.

I thought we established West doesn't need CP to be productive. Haven't a couple writers in this thread even noted West's chemistry with our own DC? Anyway, we don't even need him to be an All Star. What we need is a consistent shooter that we can rely on especially when our offense is stagnant. The preseason game vs the Bulls made it so obvious how West will be useful. Pacers have a few empty trips? Run a play for West. Stop the bleeding.

I wouldn't be suprised if we have 6 players averaging 15 points a game.

cdash
12-19-2011, 03:22 PM
The Pistons? In the playoffs? Uhhh...yeah. I think there's a better chance that this Mexican guy on the Hornets gets voted into the All-Star game than the Pistons even contending for the 8th seed.

Kstat
12-19-2011, 03:24 PM
They were in contention for it past the all-star break last year with a bull blown locker room mutiny, no owner, no point guard and an injury-riddled roster.

vnzla81
12-19-2011, 03:25 PM
Even in his prime, West would not score 20 a game on this Pacers team. Too many other shooters, and chris paul is not force-feeding him every time down the floor.

Hater...

Kstat
12-19-2011, 03:27 PM
I thought we established West doesn't need CP to be productive. Haven't a couple writers in this thread even noted West's chemistry with our own DC?

Who said West had to score 20 a game to be productive? I'm just saying he won't get as many shots as he did in new Orleans.

Kstat
12-19-2011, 03:27 PM
Hater...

Is this an inside bit I missed out on over the last week?

Major Cold
12-19-2011, 03:28 PM
Lawrence Frank will get that team to play. But I think this season should be a spring board for the next. I think Knight and Stuckey can play well together. I think they have a shot if:
A. Stuckey plays better than last year
B.Monroe keeps maturing in positioning himself
C. Daye is consistent outside
D. Other big man help

If all 4 of those things happen, the Pistons should be contending for the 1st round fodder of the Heat.

Kstat
12-19-2011, 03:32 PM
I agree that the best case scenario for the Pistons is one more trip to the lottery. IMO, they are exactly one player away from being set up for the future. I like them at the 1,2,3 and 4 spots. They need a young center, or a shot blocking PF.

I'm just saying there is enough talent on this roster that if Frank manages it right, they can catch fire early and snag a playoff spot in a eastern conference full of question marks.

vnzla81
12-19-2011, 03:32 PM
Is this an inside bit I missed out on over the last week?

Yeah pretty much anybody that says he is not going to average 20ppg and that his numbers were inflated a bit by CP3 is call a hater, you said that so I called you a hater ;)

Kstat
12-19-2011, 03:36 PM
His numbers were just as inflated by having guys like Ariza, Belinelli, peja and MoPete as his starting wings. Cp3 had exactly one go-to guy in New Orleans.

On Indiana, he has Paul George and Danny Granger. Those guys need shots, to say nothing of Roy Hibbert and Tyler Hansborough, which will limit West's minutes.

Major Cold
12-19-2011, 03:40 PM
Yeah pretty much anybody that says he is not going to average 20ppg and that his numbers were inflated a bit by CP3 is call a hater, you said that so I called you a hater ;)

No you are a hater when all you have to say is how West is not what we needed, even when no one is talking about him. A hater is someone who interjects their negative view about an situation at any chance that it can be interjected. Making the contention more about your objection and distaste, rather than the subject or object of the distaste.

And I agree. West won't average 20 ppg. And he won't need to.

billbradley
12-19-2011, 04:28 PM
This could have it's own thread. Lots of interesting insight here.

Ainge's airball could signal trouble


WALTHAM, Mass. -- As the flurry of NBA blockbuster deals and free-agent maneuvers slow to a trickle, and the Celtics absorb the chilling news that a heart ailment will sideline Jeff Green for all of 2011-12, Boston's roster looks eerily familiar to the team that fell to Miami in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season -- minus Green.

The abbreviated preseason has been nothing but cruel to Celtics boss Danny Ainge, who gamely tried to upgrade his roster in time for a shortened 66-game slate but was thwarted at every turn. The unexpected loss of Green is yet another blow on top of futile attempts to bring in top free agents.

Thus, the aging Big Three will begin their final stand lamenting the One That Got Away.

No, not Chris Paul -- forward David West.


The flirtation with Paul rightfully dominated the headlines in Boston for obvious reasons: CP3 is a sexy, frontline superstar with great skills, marketing appeal and scoring ability at the point guard position. Yet the pursuit of Paul was a high-risk, high-reward scenario from the start. Had Boston acquired him, it would have forfeited its "bridge" player Rajon Rondo and gambled whether Paul would be willing to re-sign with the Celtics amid signals from his camp that he wouldn't.


That's why the true kick to the gut was losing West to the Indiana Pacers for a two-year, $20 million contract. Unlike the potential Paul transaction, West would have been a straight add to the roster without any need to swap personnel.

West is coming off a serious knee injury, but according to Pacers president Larry Bird, the Pacers' medical staff examined West and determined he had "one of the most sound post-surgical knees they've seen."

"He still has a long ways to go in terms of rehab and conditioning," Bird said, "but even so, he looks great."

The addition of West provides Bird and the Pacers with a promising nucleus that includes Danny Granger (although his name swirled in preseason trade talks), point guard Darren Collison (who played with West in New Orleans), Tyler Hansbrough and George Hill.

West's decision to choose that group over Boston's three future Hall of Famers was a hugely disappointing and vexing development for the Celtics, who felt West's skills would have nudged them back into championship contender territory.

Because of salary cap restraints, the Celtics could not offer a two-year deal. They were required to acquire West in a sign-and-trade, which means the contract had to be a minimum of three years. In what team and league sources described as a creative but complicated package, the Celtics were prepared to offer West a four-year contract with a buyout that, in the end, amounted to three years and $29 million. In other words, the average of their offer was just under $10 million (about $9.6 million).

Count veteran Ray Allen among those who can't believe West chose Indiana over Boston with such a slim difference in compensation.

"I'm shocked," Allen said. "I don't understand it."

West was a two-time All-Star for the Hornets, the first during the '08-'09 season when he averaged 21 points, 8.5 rebounds and 39.2 minutes a game. Paul lauded him as an unselfish player who was willing to do the "little things" to help the team win.

"He's really strong," Bird reported. "He's a bully. He can pick and roll, sets a really good screen. He's not a great rebounder but he can rebound his position. And he can score.

"David is someone you can drop it down to, and he's going to shoot with either hand. You've got to think about double-teaming him, which obviously helps everyone else on the floor."

Allen first heard of West's potential interest in Boston last month when Allen was playing golf in Augusta with his private banker, who coincidentally also handled West's financial affairs.

"He told me how much I would love [West], that he and I were the same kind of guy -- cognitive thinkers," Allen said. "He said West was interested in coming to the Celtics and would be willing to come for less."

So why does Allen think West had a change of heart?

"Once it got down to the end, I think his ego kicked back in," Allen said. "He wanted the dollars. I guess it comes down to 'What is a championship worth to you?'

"Think of all the guys who have made $20 million and could be considered one of the best ever, but they get chided because they never won. We [the Big Three] all had to do less when we won. We're still taking less to make it work. But it's worth it. No one can ever say to KG, Paul or me, 'You guys never got your ring.'"

Theories abound on why West chose the Pacers over the Celtics. Included among them is the notion that since West opted out of a contract that would have paid him $8.5 million, he needed to "save face" among other players (and agents) by not accepting a Celtics contract that included a first year of just under $8 million, even though the average value over the life of the contract would have been higher.

The other factor could be that West preferred a two-year deal so he could re-establish himself as the two-time All-Star he was before he was injured, rather than commit for three years to a team with an uncertain future.

It's one thing to lose a free agent to Los Angeles. It's quite another to lose him to Indiana, a franchise that won just 37 games last season and is a small Midwest market that has always struggled to draw high-caliber free agents.

The free-agent dilemma has always been a thorny one for Boston. The list of signings range from Xavier McDaniel, who was a serviceable player during his Celtics tenure, to Travis Knight, who inked a seven-year, $22 million contract in 1997 and was a colossal bust. There was the aging Dominique Wilkins, whose one-year foray on the parquet was an unmitigated disaster. Remember Tom Gugliotta? Rasheed Wallace? Dwayne Schintzius?

You get the idea.

In the old days, there were two reasons cited why free agents didn't choose the Celtics: They were "too white," and it was too cold in Boston.

On paper, the first was a head scratcher, since the Celtics fielded the first all-black starting five and the first African-American head coach. Red Auerbach never cared what color you were as long as you could play.

And, yet, the racial tension was real. Just ask Bill Russell. The late Dennis Johnson and Robert Parish used to tell me they were convinced that when the Celtics won, the local papers put Bird or Kevin McHale's mug on the sports cover, but when they lost, it was the African-Americans whose pictures were featured. No amount of argument on my part during the '80s could convince them that this simply was not so.

By all accounts the racial stigmas that once thwarted the Celtics are in the rearview mirror and no longer factor in players' decisions. Celtics coach Doc Rivers is revered in these parts almost on a Belichickian level. The New Three, or, if you prefer, the Big Four, are made up of African-American players who are adored by the fan base.

Yet the appeal of KG, Paul Pierce, Allen and Rondo still can't change the fact Boston cannot sell balmy February afternoons the way Phoenix, Orlando or Los Angeles can.

Asked why there has never really been a significant free agent for the Celtics, Rivers answered, "Weather. I hate to say that, but it's true."New York and Chicago have that issue too, but they're really big cities, and that's attractive to guys in the league."

Rivers expressed frustration that West did not join the team. "I'm very disappointed," he conceded, "but we're moving on with the guys we have."

You may recall that in 2007, when Ainge was in pursuit of Garnett, the player's initial response was to rebuff the Celtics. Clearly cold weather was not a factor; KG, after all, had been playing in Minnesota for his entire career. Nor, he said, was it an aversion to playing in Boston.

"I knew what the demographics of Boston were," Garnett said. "It wasn't my first choice, but the issue with me was I had been with the same team for so long, I had to get comfortable with the idea of going anywhere.

"Then, when I looked at it, Boston was identical to the team I was on: a bunch of young guys that weren't very good. I would have been going from one trash can to another."

Some diligent recruiting by Pierce, Rivers and Ainge softened KG's stance some, but it wasn't until the Celtics acquired Allen that Garnett decided Boston might be able to make a run at a title.

In other words, build a contender, and they will come.

Garnett has been a perfect fit in Boston. He eschews the spotlight and isn't interested in celebrity appearances or high profile marketing, so the absence of a "big city" feel is a moot point with him.

According to the Hornets, the same was true about West.

"You don't know what [West's] preferences were," Garnett said. "He's an Xavier guy. Maybe Indiana was safe for him. You can't take it personally when guys don't come.

"To be honest with you, I'm just happy for him that he's healthy and can continue playing."

The current owners will argue that, in effect, KG was the Celtics' all-time best free agent because they extended his contract as they acquired him. They will also maintain (accurately) that since they've been in control of the team, they have been right at or over the salary cap, thereby limiting their opportunities to make a free-agent splash.

That will change next season, but with Paul off the market and Dwight Howard expected to follow, either to New Jersey or the Lakers, Boston could well be left holding a big sack of cash with nobody to spend it on.

Maybe that's the best explanation of all why West isn't in Boston.

http://espn.go.com/boston/nba/story/_/id/7369405/danny-ainge-offseason-airball-signal-trouble-ahead-boston-celtics

xBulletproof
12-19-2011, 04:48 PM
Reading the bolded area's, are they all that stupid? I stopped reading it after the bolded Allen statement. It was a freaking sign and trade you morons, and it meant that New Orleans had to receive something they wanted. You don't have anything they want. It's pretty simple.

What a group of morons.

Infinite MAN_force
12-19-2011, 04:51 PM
Offseason grades for all 30 teams

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Key additions: Jamal Crawford (FA), Greg Oden (re-signed), Nolan Smith (draft), Craig Smith (FA)

Key subtractions: Brandon Roy, Rich Cho (GM)

No one had a rockier offseason than the Blazers. First, owner Paul Allen inexplicably fired Rich Cho one year into his tenure as GM. Then Allen almost single-handedly prolonged the lockout. And in the course of a single day in December, the Blazers learned that Brandon Roy was retiring for medical reasons, Greg Oden had yet another setback in his rehab and LaMarcus Aldridge's heart irregularities were acting up again.

Aldridge looks like he'll be fine in a couple of weeks, but you can't say the same about the rest of the Blazers roster. Two years ago we thought the Blazers had the pieces to be a championship contender. Now? The second-best player on their team is either Gerald Wallace or Raymond Felton.

The Blazers have enough pieces to be solid, but that's about it. Jamal Crawford will provide a scoring boost off the bench, but I'm not sure that translates into wins. Nolan Smith seemed like a bit of a reach in the draft. Craig Smith was a steal in free agency, but a 6-6 power forward isn't the missing piece of the puzzle.

GRADE: D

I think Portland is going down the tubes. There should be an interesting scenario coming next off season where Aldridge may go on the block to start the rebuilding process for that team.

If DC and Hansbrough have really strong seasons, I wonder if we could package them with a pick and West's expiring for Aldridge. He is locked up long term and would be an amazing addition.

Pacersalltheway10
12-19-2011, 05:12 PM
Lost some respect for Allen there. I hope we meet in the playoffs and torch their :censored:

crunk-juice
12-19-2011, 06:10 PM
Lost some respect for Allen there. I hope we meet in the playoffs and torch their :censored:

yup, but i also gained an iota of respect for Garnett.

daschysta
12-19-2011, 06:43 PM
But we also don't even know if West will be the same player he was preinjury. If West returns to a 20ppg scorer, I can see an A, but there's a huge question mark there...

He looked very good in the fanjam, and everything has apparently gone great as far as rehab. We can take some comfort in the fact that he never relied on overhelming athleticism. His Jumper will be unaffected, and his arms are so long that even when throwing it down he never had to get way up there. Typically this surgery will make the knee stronger than before, so if he's mentally confident in it he should be able to return to form. Last year was arguably his best year yet, I think he'll be fine after he shakes off a bit of rust. We're alot deeper than any NO teams he's played on, and Tyler demands more minutes than any backup he's played in front of, so he'll likely get about 30 MPG rather than his normal 35, unless playing him at center at times works out. So i'd predict about 16-17 ppg 8 rpg 48-50% fg, which would be great as a two headed monster with hans.

As for his prime, based solely on last year, he's still in it, it was as good as any he's ever had pretty much. As for him in NO. His numbers weren't inflated so much because of CP3, but because of a lack of other scoring optiosn period. He put up the same 20 ppg playing with Collison, it wasn't cP3. But Hansbrough, George, Collison, Hill, Hibbert, and Granger are far more offensive options than he ever had to play with in NO. He's on a deep team now, we don't need 20 from him neccesarily, he's capable of it, but we'd be best off having one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the league rather than focusing on 1 or 2 guys who aren't the best at isolations anyhow. DG and West will benefit from all the offensive help since neither are guys you can just hand the ball to and say score, like a kobe or LBJ, even if they can do it to a certain extent.

docpaul
12-19-2011, 06:51 PM
This could have it's own thread. Lots of interesting insight here.

Ainge's airball could signal trouble



http://espn.go.com/boston/nba/story/_/id/7369405/danny-ainge-offseason-airball-signal-trouble-ahead-boston-celtics

Absolutely fascinating article. Fascinating that they truly look at themselves still as a perennial contender and an obvious choice for free agents... as soon as folks like this start buying into their own BS, it's over.

Wish them the best of luck :)

Really like where this team is headed... hard to believe that as of today, we're legitimately competing for 4 or 5 seed and have the most cap space in the NBA.

daschysta
12-19-2011, 06:59 PM
This could have it's own thread. Lots of interesting insight here.

Ainge's airball could signal trouble



http://espn.go.com/boston/nba/story/_/id/7369405/danny-ainge-offseason-airball-signal-trouble-ahead-boston-celtics


Love how all of these big teams act entitled to every FA that hits the market and act shocked when a guy chooses someone else over one of their "big market" cities...

Allens comments really irritated me, the disbelief that he could have possibly seen anything in Indy over boston, despite the fact that he turned down an extra year, and more total guaranteed salary to come here. Newsflash Rau, indy has never really tried to be big players in Free Agency, and maybe he say more potential long term here than playing with your geriatric asses in Boston... Celtics are done soon, and could fall off in a huge way as soon as next season, wheras the Pacers could improve for years to come and have the youth and capspace to continue getting better...

vnzla81
12-19-2011, 07:07 PM
Reading the bolded area's, are they all that stupid? I stopped reading it after the bolded Allen statement. It was a freaking sign and trade you morons, and it meant that New Orleans had to receive something they wanted. You don't have anything they want. It's pretty simple.

What a group of morons.

Exactly, if that sign and trade had worked, he would be a Celtic right now, it was not his fault that the sign and traded could not happen.

IndyPacer
12-19-2011, 07:24 PM
"Key subtractions: Mike Dunleavy"

This alone may have elevated our evaluation by a full letter grade. :devil:

I kid, I kid. :laugh:

Ozwalt72
12-19-2011, 07:26 PM
Exactly, if that sign and trade had worked, he would be a Celtic right now, it was not his fault that the sign and traded could not happen.

But wasn't it reported that the trade was done....but West decided to sign with the Pacers instead?

vnzla81
12-19-2011, 07:38 PM
But wasn't it reported that the trade was done....but West decided to sign with the Pacers instead?

The Celtics sign and trade didn't go through because NO didn't want to take JO's contract and could not find a 3rd team to take him.

Robertmto
12-19-2011, 07:47 PM
KStat don't u know? West is a 25 and 15 guy here, he's got HIBBERT demanding double teams!!!

PR07
12-19-2011, 07:59 PM
Celtics may be a better bet this year, but the years after? Not so much.

Ozwalt72
12-19-2011, 08:00 PM
KStat don't u know? West is a 25 and 15 guy here, he's got HIBBERT demanding double teams!!!

The overall IQ of this board falls every time someone sarcastically exaggerates David West's impact. Seriously people, it's getting old already and he's only been on the team for a few days.

croz24
12-19-2011, 08:06 PM
Even in his prime, West would not score 20 a game on this Pacers team. Too many other shooters, and chris paul is not force-feeding him every time down the floor.

When I say 20ppg scorer, I mean a guy who can put up 20+ppg if it's asked of him, without too much effort. But you're right, it's unlikely he'll average 20+ this year.

And no McRoberts wasn't THAT important to this team, but he was a contributer and the Pacers are already trying to find a big who can replace him. The Pacers have had a great offseason no question, I'd just reserve the A until we know if West is healthy, and until we can find the backup big and scorer we need.

billbradley
12-20-2011, 12:37 PM
Brunner is on 1070

tough to give up Rush when you invest 3 years and that pick, but Foster, Hans, and Tyler will be relentless

thinks we are still getting a wing

Hill starting at PG is problematic because he is backup SG

Lance looks like the back up PG

50/50 West will play, he has been able to practice without issue

most postitive locker room since '94