Making Sense of a Wild NBA Offseason

, , , , , ,

There was plenty going on during the off-season to keep NBA fans at the edge of their seats.

Coming off another very predictable NBA season, many teams needed work IF they wanted to take that last step and compete.

Just three of the players who were on the move (photo, Blasting News)

In the West, Houston and Oklahoma City came into the offseason looking for “that missing piece.” For Houston, it was a scoring threat who could help James Harden. For OKC, it was pretty much … anyone who could score and help out Russ Westbrook.

Oklahoma City made big moves by locking down Paul George and Carmelo Anthony–two star forwards who’ll  make great additions IF they can find a way to share the ball. The big question is if these two are enough to help the Thunder get past Houston and Golden State.

Speaking of Houston, the Rockets picked up a star guard. Chris Paul adds a scoring threat, a player who can facilitate, freeing Harden up to score. Like OKC, the Rockets will be fine as long as new players find a way to share the ball.

In the East, the Cavs, Wolves, and Celtics all made major moves. The most notable shift was what happened in Cleveland and Boston. It involved Kyrie Irving going to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and an unprotected Brooklyn picks in the 2018 first round and 2020 second round.

A surprising piece of that trade is the Brooklyn piece. For a team that looked like it had a grim future ahead, this pick is great for the Cavs. Although the Nets have gotten better, this could very well end up being a top 5 pick. The Celtics, on the other end, got a star player in Irving. He adds a great scoring element this team needed. Some might argue that the price was a little high, but I still think it should work out well.

New Cavs (photo, YouTube)

In addition to that trade, the Cavs picked up Derrick Rose and Dwayne Wade. Neither of those guys is the same player he used to be, but each will contribute nonetheless. With Thomas out for a couple months (hip injury), Wade and Rose will share time at guard.

Then there’s Minnesota. The Timberwolves stayed in the mix by getting Jimmy Butler from Chicago in exchange for Zach LaVine (who’s coming off a torn ACL) and Kris Dunn, last year’s first-round pick. In an Eastern Conference that seems to be getting worse by the year, the Big 3 of Wiggins, Anthony-Towns, and Butler could be enough for this team to make a playoff run IF they mesh.

All of that said, here’s how I evaluate the off-season’s biggest winners and losers.

Biggest Winners

OKC: OKC is going to be a fun team to watch because the Thunder finally got the help it needed for Russ. While I think the Thunder will make a nice run, will this team have enough to overtake Golden State?

Cleveland: Cleveland got much-needed bench–securing veterans who can help this team down the stretch. The Cavs reloaded and should dominate the East once again. I think they’ll have an easy route to the Conference finals.

Courtesy: Pinterest

Boston: Boston did what it needed to remain a threat to the Cavs. But I don’t think they have a Big 3 that threatens the Warriors. But while Boston doesn’t look like it has the depth and talent to win a championship this year, the Celts may have enough of both to get to the Finals. And as we saw with Cleveland in 2016, you never know what’s going to happen if you get that far.

Golden State: They didn’t really make any moves, but they re-signed Curry, Durant, and Iggy. That means they didn’t need to make any moves. With the entire core group coming back, the only question is whether the Warriors can stay healthy.

Nets/Lakers/Sixers: Three teams that finished near the bottom of the league are rebuilding the right way. The Nets added D’Angelo Russell and are starting to get draft picks — after trading away nearly all of them in a deal trade with Boston years ago. The Lakers added Lonzo Ball and kept together most of the core young guys. The Sixers are still “Trusting the Process” and that may finally pay off. Ben Simmons is healthy and ready to go. Fultz came by way of the draft. Embiid looks like he may be getting healthy…finally.

Biggest Losers

Indiana: The Pacers lost Paul George and added a terrible contract with Victor Oladipo. That was it. Outcome? Indiana lost big on the only deal it made last summer.

Miami: Miami went all-in on current cast members, signing most of their players to long-term deals. If these guys don’t pan out then Miami will have just eaten up most of their cap space for the next few years … with nothing to show for it. It’s a big gamble. But by the season’s end, the Heat could very well be on the other side of my list.

Take Away

This is one of the wildest off-seasons we’ve seen in a while.

Star players were up in the air and that situation kept us on the edge of our seats. Kyrie took shots at LeBron, which should be a fun exchange between those two on opening night. The West got stronger. The East got more top-heavy. The NBA changed its All-Star game format. The Warriors are still the heavy favorites.

Ok, so maybe not everything was wild and unexpected.


About Brady Grogan

Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, I played just about every sport–basketball, baseball, soccer, and lacrosse, mainly. Now, as a student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, I mostly stick to the sidelines. I have coached basketball at all age levels for over nine seasons and that is my main area of expertise. I’m full of hot takes. If you think I’m wrong, tell me about it. I’ll tell you why I’m not! I’m a fan of all things Ohio: Reds, Bengals, Buckeyes, Cavaliers, Jackets, and Crew. Some of my favorite players are Chad Johnson, Sean Kilpatrick, Allen Iverson, Vontez Burfict, and every Cavalier ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *