Monday, August 25, 2008

NBA Summer Grades, Part II

I got a lot of response to my NBA grades, and a number of requests to grade all of the teams off-seasons. So here I go, with maybe an update or two at the end, now that a few situations have cleared up since my last post:

Boston Celtics: B-
The Champs lost James Posey to free agency, which was a big blow to their team, but they chose wisely not to pay a player of his age for that extra 4th year. The history of similar players to Posey (31, mainly a defender with a good oustide shot) has not been favorable as they tend to decline rapidly. The C's signed Darius Miles last week, and hey, if he's healthy he could help. They also re-signed Tony Allen and Eddie House for very reasonable money.

Cleveland Cavaliers: B+
The Cavs quietly improved their team this offseason by trading Damon Jones and Joe Smith to pick up Mo Williams. Williams is a bit of a chucker, but will be can create and score on his own, which should help open the floor up for LeBron James. The team also resigned Boobie Gibson to a reasonable contract.

Detroit Pistons: C+
The Pistons signed Kwame Brown to a 2 years, $8 million contract. Other than that, just bits and pieces. This will be the same team next year as it was the last 5: Good but not great, close but no cigar. I think they wisely are going to trade Rasheed Wallace at the deadline this year, he's dead weight and that would be addition by subraction. For now, the offseason has been average for the Pistons.

Los Angeles Lakers: B
Re-signed the hated Sasha Vujacic, let the bad Ronny Turiaf go. Both were solid moves as you need a villain (Vujacic) and don't need a Turiaf. I think they are going to try and rid themselves of Odom and his fat contract this season.

Miami Heat: B
The main positive here was the drafting of Beasley, who will probably be very good, even as a rookie. They overpaid slightly for James Jones, but he is a good shooter and could help stretch the floor for Dwayne Wade. They lost Jason Williams and Ricky Davis to the Clippers, yawn. Neither of those guys are great and both would be overpayed to help this team go 40-42 next year. We'll see what they can do with Shawn Marion and his expiring contract this season.

New York Knickerbockers: B+
The Knicks off-season moves were a yawn from a personell standpoint (drafted a young Italian who probably won't help for a year or two, picked up Chris Duhon, traded Renaldo Balkman), but they made a huge step forward in signing Mike D'Antoni as a coach. (and please, it's said dantoni, not dee-antoni, professional announcers who are getting paid enough that you should learn how to pronounce the name of a prominent coach.) D'Antoni is great because players love to play for him. Once some of the awful contracts Zeke signed come off the books, these guys could be major players.

Oklahoma City Sea Turtles: B
The Sea Turtles (that's what I'm calling them until they get an official name)traded away 2 guys they didn't want in Luke Ridnour and Adrian Griffin and picked up 2 quality bigs in Desmond Mason and Joe Smith. They had a solid draft. None of this makes a big splash, but Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, and Kevin Durant form a talented, young tandem that could take the team back into playoff contention in the next few years.

Orlando Magic: B
The Magic signed a player I like a lot in Mikael Peitrus, who should fit right into their system, for reasonable dollars. They let a player I don't like at all, Carlos Arroyo, go to Israel. I don't know that this is enough to push the Magic over any other team in the east, but at least they made smart moves.

Phoenix Suns: B-
The Suns had a nice draft, picking up one of the female Lopez twins. (their parents should be ashamed, naming their two male sons Brooke and Robin.) They also drafted Goran Dragic, who I know nothing of, but they are tabbing as their backup point gaurd. They signed Matt Barnes, who should fit nicely into their system, and let the bad Gordan Giricek walk to Europe. The Suns' big move was made at the end of last season, picking up the Shaqster. We'll see how this all plays out, but I have a feeling it won't be well.

Portland Trailblazers: B
The Trailblazers had a good draft, picking up Jerryd Bayless, who is a potential stud (t-bone reference). They lost James Jones, who they were running out of minutes for, and traded Jarret Jack and Josh McRoberts for Ike Diogu. I don't get that trade too much, but Jack was eating minutes they will need for Bayless and Brandon Roy. The best part of the offseason, obvioulsy, is the continued rehabilitation of Greg Oden, who will be dominant. Mark it here.

San Antonio Spurs: B

The Spurs realized something: they were one Manu Ginobili ankle injury away from possibly being the NBA champs last year. There is no need to panic. They resigned Kurt Thomas and Michael Finley, picked up Roger Mason, who should fit nicely into their system, and other than that stood pat. Losing Brent Barry could hurt, but the Spurs will be right there again. You know how old the Spurs supposedly are? Think about this: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are 32, 31, and 26, respectively. The Celtics Garnett, Allen, and Pierce are 32, 33, and 30. Just think about it.

Utah Jazz: C+
Waaaaay overpaid for CJ Miles, who is never going to be that good, but did have a good trade for Brevin Knight, giving up the awful Jason Hart. They need to trade away Kirilenko or Boozer or Okur, to free up the offense.


Atlanta Hawks: B+ (previously C)
The Hawks immediately matched the Grizzlies 5 yr, $58 million contract. This is a good price for the versatile, still improving Smith. Yes, losing Childress hurts, but with the continued improvement of Smith, Marvin Williams, and Al Horford, the Hawks should improve next season.

Golden State Warriors: B (previously B+)
The Lakers did not match the qualifying offer on Tender Ronny Turiaf, so the Warriors will have to pay him $17 million over the next four seasons to play 15 minutes a game, and wave a towel all while having bad corn rows for the rest of the game.

Milwaukee Bucks: C+ (previously B+)
The Bucks went from having a great offseason, to giving away Mo Williams and Desmond Mason for Luke Ridnour and Damon Jones. It isn't often that you lose the 2 best players in a single trade, but the Bucks found a way to do it.

Philadelphia 76ers: A+ (previously A+)
The offseason got better for these guys as they did resign Andre Iguodala to a reasonable 6 year, $80 million contract. Things are certainly looking up in the City of Brotherly Love.