Same Faces, New Places: NBA’s Best Offseason Additions
The NBA, as it often does, saw a huge overhaul of moves between last season's end, and this season's beginning. I'm excited, you're excited, we're all excited.
If you're not as pumped as I am about the association's recent moves, then I suggest you click the back button, located in the top left-hand corner, because this article is not for you.
We've watched some big moves unfold. Big names have had a change of heart, and taken their talents to new cities, while some squads have made smaller moves to bolster their lineup, anticipating the grueling 82-game season, and rugged playoff push that generally separates the men from boys.
Honorable Mentions- Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat:
Portland Trail Blazers
Key Additions- Mo Williams, Thomas Robinson, Robin Lopez
Now, I know that Robin Lopez tends to get a bum rap in the NBA, and that's mostly because he's not as talented as brother, Brook, but Robin does supply a team with what they need from a 7-footer. Defense. Lopez averaged 10.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game last season Per 48 Minutes. Mo Williams will sure up some scoring from both guard positions, and the addition of Thomas Robinson gives Portland another young piece to grow aside Damian Lillard.
Key Additions- Brandon Knight, OJ Mayo, Caron Butler, Luke Ridnour, Zaza Pachulia
I don't really expect the Bucks to be better in 2013-14 than they were in 2012-13, but they did make some solid acquisitions in the face of losing their two best players. It was clear that Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis didn't work together, and neither really cared to remain teammates. We listened to speculation all season about which play would go, and which would remain in Milwaukee. Well, they both left. Monta bolted to Dallas in free agency, and Jennings was dealt to the Pistons. The Bucks received a nice, young guard in return, in Brandon Knight, and signed a slightly larger version of Monta Ellis, in O.J. Mayo. Remember, I did not use the word BETTER. I simply said they made sure they had decent players to fill out their roster.
Key Additions- Andrew Bynum, Jarret Jack, Earl Clark
Much of what this team is able to do in the future relies on whether or not Andrew Bynum can become healthy for more than 10 or 15 minutes. We watched Bynum blossom in Los Angeles two seasons ago, and many believed he would unseat Dwight Howard as the best big man in the league, but then last season happened, and we're back to square one with Andrew. Bynum has the ability, but his health and commitment are in question. He and Kyrie Irving could become one of the league's most deadly combos if this deal pans out. The Cavs also added quality role players in Jarret Jack and the young, versatile Earl Clark.
Key Additions- Luis Scola, Chris Copeland
I don't expect fans to exactly swoon over the addition of Chris Copeland, but Luis Scola, to channel Stephen A. Smith, is BIG TIME! Scola seems like a match made in heaven for this Indiana Pacers' team. He's a tough, very skilled big man, who plays defense, hustles and has the ability to go man-up with his defender and produce buckets. He can also play in the pick n roll, and should be an almost mirrored image of David West, while West catches breathers on the bench. Now back to Copeland. This guy can shoot the rock. Copeland shot .421 and .478 from deep for the New York Knicks last season, a quality that will benefit the Pacers on their quest to make the NBA Finals this season.
New York Knicks
Key Additions- Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani, Beno Udrih
I feel like the Knicks main issue last season was their inability to withstand adversity. This team could shoot lights out, but they lived and died with the deep ball. They also had a tough time with teams who played a physical game. They were 1-6 combined versus the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers last season. Two physical teams. The Knicks have made an attempt to fix their defensive woes by adding Metta World Peace. Metta has lost a step in recent years, but he plays a great mental game, and is still a better defensive option than almost anyone the Knicks had last season. They've also added Andrea Bargnani, who should command enough attention (Steve Novak and Chris Copeland didn't cut it) to free up Carmelo Anthony more so than any player Melo has played with in the Big Apple thus far.
Key Additions- Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Devin Harris, DeJuan Blair
Most NBA heads that I talk to don't seem to care about what the Mavs did this offseason. I, for one, love the moves they've made. Darren Collison is a back up in this league, and the Mavericks were out there with him running around like he deserved to be a starter. Jose Calderon takes care of any issues Dallas had at the point guard position. He will impact the game without needing to score, and heck, why would he need to score with Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis in tow? These two should handle most of the scoring duties for the Mavs this season, and if Monta truly cares about not going down as one of the worst shot takers in NBA history, then he will work hard to improve his offensive production. Devin Harris is also back in the D. He'll help their defensive issues some, and also provide the occasional offensive spark. Perhaps my favorite move is DeJuan Blair. Sure, he's undersized, but he's all hustle and all heart. This guy never quits on a play, and is exactly the type of player Dallas sorely lacked last season.
New Orleans Pelicans
Key Additions- Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans
The Pelicans drafted Nerlens Noel in this year's draft, and then turned the injured big man into Jrue Holiday… in a move that had me asking "what in the hell was Philadelphia thinking?". Jrue Holiday electrified the league last season, proving that he has the drive and ability to lead a team from the point guard position. He's a perfect example of where the league has gone in terms of point guards. Standing 6-4, with power and grace, Jrue gets to the cup at will. The Pelicans then paired him with 6-6, 220 lb shooting guard, who possesses many of the same abilities as Jrue. My personal opinion is that Eric Gordon will never play a full season, ever again, which opens up for what will be the most exciting backcourt in the NBA, in Jrue and Reke. These two should just run opposing defenses to death for years to come. The Pelicans, despite having the league's worst team name, have put together something that appears to be special.
Golden State Warriors
Key Additions- Andre Iguodala
I just had a discussion with a peeved Warriors' fan the other day, and I assured him that losing Jarret Jack and Carl Landry was worth it, because they landed Andre Iguodala. Iggy is one of the associations premier defenders, and the ultimate team player. Iguodala plays both sides of the ball and will fit in perfectly with a fast paced team like the Warriors. He's also going to provide leadership to this young squad, and most importantly, not eat up shots. The Warriors have plenty of scoring already, with Stephen Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson. Iggy will not impact that in a negative way. He's most likely going to see time at both the two and the three and ultimately help the development of Harrison Barnes. Simply put, the Warriors got better.
Los Angeles Clippers
Key Additions- Darren Collison, JJ Reddick, Byron Mullins, Jared Dudley, Antwan Jamison
I won't call the Clippers' additions the best, because they didn't add any superstars, but I will say that they did as good of a job as anyone when it came to expanding their roster for the better. Let's face it, the Clippers didn't need to add any stars to their team, because they have their centerpiece guys, in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. They simply needed to add depth to an already dangerous team, and they did. Collison is back to being CP3's backup, and it couldn't be a better place for the guard to land. Byron Mullins gives the Clips an additional piece to play the 4 and the 5, while adding some stretch ability that Blake and DeAndre Jordan don't have. Reddick and Dudley are both guys who have played bench and starting roles, and have done a fine job at both. They're both likely see time off the bench in LA, but their contributions will be huge heading into the post season. This Clippers' team is deadly!
Key Additions- Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, Chauncey Billups
I know some of you diehard Pistons' fans in Motor City still have your Chauncey Billups jersey hanging in the closet. Well, time to break it out, because Mr. Big Shot has returned to the place where he made his name, and he brought friends. Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings have both made their way to Detroit, and they make this team a bona fide club once again. Not saying this team is ready to contend for a title, but they're certainly ready to give contenders a tough time. To be honest, I'm not even sure where I stand on the Pistons just yet, but I am intrigued. A potential starting lineup consisting of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith will leave the opposing team with no rebounds to grab. While the combination of Jennings, Billups, Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum should be enough to give guards a headache all season.
Key Additions- Dwight Howard
A lot of folks thought that the Rockets may land Howard and either Josh Smith, or Andre Iguodala. That clearly did not happen, but it didn't stop the Houston Rockets from landing the single most important free agent on the market. Dwight Howard, alone, makes this team 10 times more deadly than they were last season. Howard paired with James Harden is about as intriguing as it gets. The Kobe and Howard experiment didn't work in Los Angeles last season, but expect different results with Harden and Howard. James Harden is more of a combination of a passer and scorer, whereas Kobe is a pure scorer. You can also bank of the fact that Howard is healthier this season than he was last year. Howard battled shoulder and back injuries last season, and saw a drop in production as a result of those injuries. Houston should look to make a deep push in 2013-14.
Key Additions- Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Terry
The Nets really went for the slam dunk when they traded with the rival Celtics to bring Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn. Sure, they parted ways with Marshawn Brooks, Gerald Wallace and everyone's favorite ex-Kardashian, Kris Humphries, but the return was much higher than what they gave. They also added in journeyman, Andrei Kirilenko, whose versatility and defensive prowess will make him a key component as the Nets are locked and loaded for a deep post season run. A rotation of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez, Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Terry and Andray Blatche makes this the scariest pound-for-pound team in the NBA.
This is gearing up to one incredible NBA season!
Photo Credit: WENN
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