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NBA Offseason Gradebook

July 27, 2019 owen-cooper 15 min read
NBA

NBA Offseason Gradebook

July 27, 2019 Owen Cooper 15 min read

This offseason will go down as one of the craziest ones ever. So many stars changed teams, and we may have seen the end of the “big 3” era in the NBA as we know it. Stars have paired up across the league. Some teams benefitted, while other teams continue to struggle to find a direction for their franchise. 

Notes:

Grades are based on how they improved from the previous year to now/the future.

Transactions are up to date as of 7/26/19.

East:

Bucks: B+

Additions: Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton, Robin Lopez, Wesley Matthews, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Dragan Bender, Kyle Korver

Subtractions: George Hill, Nikola Mirotic, Malcolm Brogdan, Tony Snell

Outlook: Although the Bucks will have to deal with significant losses to their guard positions, they overall upgraded their outside scoring ability with the addition of many lethal and proven shooters. They were also able to keep Brook Lopez and All Star Khris Middleton to sustain their core for last season. Everyone should still fear the deer next season.

Raptors: C+

Additions: Patrick McCaw, Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Cameron Payne

Subtractions: Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green

Outlook: The Raptors lost out on their one-year rentals in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, but they still had a productive offseason. They were able to add to their second unit, and if Stanley Johnson ever reaches his full potential, the Raptors can find themselves in the middle of another deep playoff run. Even still, when you lose a top-3 player in the league, it’s hard to have a positive outlook. 

76ers: B-

Additions: Josh Richardson, Al Horford, Kyle O’Quinn, Raul Neto

Subtractions: Jimmy Butler, TJ McConnell, JJ Redick, Boban Marjonovic

Outlook: The Sixers lost a lot this offseason, but they are still a top-5 team in the east. The addition of Al Horford strengthens up their defense and improves their outside shooting. With that being said, Jimmy Butler was the guy they went to when the game was on the line, and they don’t have that closer next season. Philly improved defensively, but their offensive production could take a hit. 

Celtics: B

Additions: Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter, Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Carsen Edwards, Tacko Fall, Tremont Waters

Subtractions: Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Al Horford, Aron Baynes 

Outlook: The Celtics made a lot of noise this offseason with the moves they didn’t make. With that being said, Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving are interchangable, so it is important to look at the other moves they made. They drafted really well, replacing Scary Terry with Langford, Waters and Edwards, and got the steal of the entire offseason in signing undrafted giant Tacko Fall out of UCF. Enes Kanter is a walking double-double and will clean up the boards on both sides of the floor. Although the Celtics lost a lot, they still had a pretty good offseason. 

Pacers: B

Additions: Malcolm Brogdan, TJ Warren, Jeremy Lamb, TJ McConnell, Goga Bitadze

Subtractions: Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thad Young, Wesley Matthews, Cory Joseph, Kyle O’Quinn

Outlook: The Pacers lost a lot of talent this offseason, but made some great additions. Malcolm Brogdan and a healthy Victor Oladipo will be one of the strongest backcourts in the league on both sides of the ball. Jeremy Lamb is one of the most underrated players around. His numbers mirror Jayson Tatum’s even though he gets much less attention. TJ McConnell is all heart, and the Indiana basketball fans will love him, while TJ Warren will likely fill the void left by Bogdanovic. Overall the Pacers definitely improved and got younger. 

Nets: A+

Additions: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Garrett Temple, Wilson Chandler, Taurean Prince, David Nwaba, Nicolas Claxton, Jalen Hands, Trey Burke

Subtractions: D’Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll, Ed Davis, Allen Crabbe, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Shabazz Napier, Treveon Graham

Outlook: The Nets shocked the world in June 30th when KD and Kyrie decided to team up in Brooklyn. They flipped almost their entire roster in one offseason and drastically improved. They still have young studs Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen to go along with their new star duo. With Durant likely to miss this entire next season, Kyrie Irving will have to step up and lead the team on his own. But I mean, THEY GOT KD AND KYRIE, LIKE HOW???

Magic: C

Additions: Al-Farouq Aminu, Chuma Okeke, Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross, Michael Carter-Williams, Khem Birch

Subtractions: Timofey Mozgov

Outlook: The Magic had an underwhelming offseason, as they failed to make and huge improvements. With that being said, getting Aminu strengthens up their defense and adds length to their rotation. They also kept Vucevic who has been the heart and soul of the team. Additionally, they were able to keep many of the important pieces that helped them get to the playoffs last season. After everything is said and done, the Magic are in the same place as they were beforehand. 

Pistons: C-

Additions: Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris, Tim Frazier, Tony Snell, Sekou Doumbouya, Deividas Sirvydis

Subtractions: Ish Smith, Wayne Ellington, Glen Robinson III

Outlook: The Pistons didn’t do anything to get better or worse this offseason. The acquisition of D-Rose is interesting, and I think we all hope that he makes his way into the starting lineup at some point next season. Other than that, the Pistons will probably remain a middle-of-the-ground team, as they made no moves to either drastically get better or set themselves up for a top pick. 

Hornets: F

Additions: Terry Rozier, PJ Washington, Cody Martin, Jalen McDaniels

Subtractions: Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Frank Kaminsky, Tony Parker

Outlook: The Hornets were unable to keep their franchise player in Kemba Walker, and instead settled for paying Terry Rozier, a career backup point guard, a boatload of money. In addition, the Hornets lost Jeremy Lamb, who had emerged as their second best scoring option. Without a top pick in the draft, Charlotte was forced to try to make smart picks. It is obviously too early to say if they drafted well or not, but they will be a bottom-feeder in the East next season no matter what. 

Heat: B

Additions: Jimmy Butler, Meyers Leonard, Tyler Herro, KZ Okpala

Subtractions: Dwayne Wade, Hassan Whiteside, Josh Richardson, Ryan Anderson

Outlook: Jimmy Butler took his talents to South Beach in a curious move that left him as the face of the Miami Heat. Butler, paired with almost nobody else, will be forced to lead Miami to the promise land. However, let’s not forget that Butler is one of the best two-way players at his position and can knock down a big shot at the end of a game. Additionally, Tyler Herro had an outstanding Summer League and opened a lot of eyes around the league. The Heat got better this offseason, so look for them to make the playoffs as a 6 or 7 seed. 

Wizards: D

Additions: Isaiah Thomas, Rui Hachimura, Mo Wagner, Thomas Bryant, Ish Smith, Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, CJ Miles, Davis Bertans, Admiral Schofield

Subtractions: Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, Tomas Satoransky, Jeff Green, Johnathan Simmons, Devin Robinson

Outlook: Many people are questioning the overall direction of the Wizards. With John Wall likely missing the entirety of next season, the Wizards decided to acquire a lot of okay players, but no one that would directly help them win games. Although they still have Bradley Beal, there is no other obvious scoring option at this point. If all goes perfectly, Isaiah Thomas will be back to his “Celtic Self”, but that is very unlikely. Expect the Wizards to be a lottery team next June.

Hawks: B-

Additions: Allen Crabbe, Chandler Parsons, Evan Turner, Damian Jones, Jabari Parker, DeAndre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Bruno Fernando

Subtractions: Taurean Prince, Kent Bazemore, Deyonta Davis, Omari Spellman, Miles Plumlee, Jaylen Adams

Outlook: Because of Trae Young’s breakout rookie season, Atlanta found out they had the guy to build around. They went out and completely revamped their roster. With two top-10 picks, they were able to get even younger. The problem with their roster is that there are a lot of question marks. Will Parsons and Parker be healthy? Is Cam Reddish legit? Was Trae Young’s rookie season a fluke?… and many others. Overall, if it all comes together, the Hawks will see significant improvement next season. 

Bulls: C+

Additions: Thad Young, Luke Kornet, Tomas Satoransky, Coby White, Daniel Gafford

Subtractions: Robin Lopez, Walter Lemon Jr. 

Outlook: The Bulls failed to make a big splash in July, but they certainly made moves to improve. They added Thad Young, who is as consistent as they come, Luke Kornet, who is a 7-foot sharpshooter and high-IQ shot blocker, and they drafted Coby White, who reminds me of De’Aaron Fox of the Kings. I would be surprised if the Bulls made the playoffs, but their small moves will pay off in the long run. 

Cavaliers: C

Additions: Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr, Dylan Windler

Subtractions: David Nwaba

Outlook: The Cavs are, yet again, going to be terrible. They did not sign any free agents, but Garland could end up pairing very nicely with Sexton, and many say that Kevin Porter Jr. was the steal of the draft. Cleveland fans may have to wait for the next LeBron James to be good again, but they should be excited about the young core that the front office has assembled. 

Knicks: B

Additions:Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson, RJ Barrett, Ignas Brazdeikis

Subtractions:  DeAndre Jordan, LANCE THOMAS (THANK GOD), Mario Hezonja, Noah Vonleh

Outlook: Unfortunately for the Knicks, they were unable to sign any big-name free agents. Although that may disappoint literally every Knicks fan on the face of the earth, they actually made a lot of decent moves. Barrett and Iggy both looked really good in the Summer League, which should excite the fans, Julius Randle is coming off of his best season, and probably has not reached his full potential yet, and all of their other free agent signings are for only 2 years with an option after the first year. Bottom line is that the Knicks got better, and best of all, they weren’t stupid.

West:

Warriors: C+

Additions: Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney, D’Angelo Russell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Glen Robinson III, Alec Burks, Omari Spellman, Jordan Poole, Julian Washburn,Alen Smailagic, Eric Paschall

Subtractions: Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Demarcus Cousins, Shaun Livingston, Jordan Bell, Damian Jones, Quinn Cook, Treveon Graham, Shabazz Napier

Outlook: Golden State was very busy this offseason. Although they did not keep KD, they were able to resign Klay Thompson and add All-Star D’Angelo Russell to the mix. The Warriors did a full reshuffling of their bench, getting younger and cheaper. Losing Livingston and Iguodala could hurt them in playoff situations, and losing Kevin Durant is never a good thing. Although they still have Curry, Thompson is likely out for the year, so DLo will have to fit perfectly in order for the Warriors to be successful. 

Nuggets: B-

Additions: Jeremi Grant, Bol Bol

Subtractions: Isaiah Thomas, Trey Lyles, Tyler Lydon

Outlook: Although the Nuggets were quite quiet this offseason, they were able to extend Jamal Murray, who emerged as a stud last season. They are also getting Michael Porter Jr. back from injury next season as he looks to be the star everyone thought he would be. Bol Bol fell super far down in the draft (44th pick) and could open a lot of eyes with his play next season. Grant has become a much improved shooter and should space the floor nicely and mix in some highlight dunks. Denver was also able to make sure they didn’t lose any of their key players from last years 2nd seeded team. 

Trailblazers: C-

Additions: Hassan Whiteside, Rodney Hood, Nassir Little, Anthony Tolliver, Kent Bazemore, Mario Hezonja

Subtractions: Seth Curry, Enes Kanter, Al-Faruiq Aminu, Evan Turner, Mo Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Jake Layman

Outlook: Although Whiteside is an interesting addition, the Blazers got worse. They lost almost all of their roll players and gained back worse versions of them. Pretty much everyone they lost was vital to their success last season. Mario and Tolliver are basically roster fillers based off of their stats from the past few seasons. Overall, the Blazers will be fine, because they still have their core and Nurkic was a beast last season prior to his injury. Nevertheless, this was an underwhelming offseason for Portland. 

Rockets: B-

Additions: Russell Westbrook, Austin Rivers, Gerald Green, Deyonta Davis, Danuel House

Subtractions: Chris Paul 

Outlook: Russell Westbrook and James Harden are together again, but everyone has to slow their roll. I am very skeptical about the Rockets, because I don’t think Westbrook makes them much better than they were. Chris Paul was an All-Defense player and a top point guard. He ran that offense for a large percentage of the time, and he helped turn the Rockets into a Championship contender. Let’s not forget that Houston was one win away from beating the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals just 2 years ago. In the years since Durant left OKC Westbrook hasn’t helped them get through the first round. As Westbrook ages, he is becoming less of an athletic outlier, but his shooting has also worsened. This combination, along with his huge contract, leads me to believe that Westbrook doesn’t actually improve the Rockets, but he doesn’t make them worse either. 

Jazz: A

Additions: Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Ed Davis, Jeff Green, Jarrell Brantley, Miye Oni, Justin Wright-Foreman

Subtractions: Derrick Favors, Ricky Rubio, Kyle Korver, Raul Neto

Outlook: The Jazz quietly put together a great offseason. Without making any major free agent splashes, they improved at point guard, added a consistent scoring option in Bojan, and grabbed perfect glue guys in Green and Davis. Most importantly, they gained a ton of playoff experience with the moves they made. With the Warriors presumably out of the picture as a top team in the West, Utah put themselves in a perfect position to fill the void. Don’t be surprised when Utah makes waves next year in the Playoffs. 

Thunder: C+

Additions: Chris Paul, Danillo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mike Muscala, Darius Bazley, Nerlens Noel

Subtractions: Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Jerami Grant

Outlook: In less than a month, Oklahoma City completely changed the direction of their franchise. By trading away their best player, Paul George, and the face of their franchise, Russell Westbrook, OKC set themselves up for a long-term rebuild. Next season, there is little chance they sneak into the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference. There is also a high chance they move on from CP3 and try to get even younger. In the long term, however, the Thunder will be better off. They probably weren’t going to win with the group they had, and needed to move on from Westbrook especially. Without Durant, Westbrook wasn’t leading the Thunder to any significant success. Now, OKC has a future and a ton of draft picks.

Spurs: B

Additions: Rudy Gay, Trey Lyles, DeMarre Carroll, Luka Samanic, Keldon Johnson, Quinndary Weatherspoon

Subtractions: Davis Bertans

Outlook: With coach Pop leading the charge, everyone knows the Spurs will be a playoff team again. Without making any major moves, the Spurs strengthened some of their biggest weaknesses from last season. By keeping Rudy Gay and signing Lyles and Carroll, the San Antonio improved defensivley and in their second unit. It would be surprising if they were a top 5 seed in the West, but they will quietly have a great year. 

Clippers: A+

Additions: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Mo Harkless, Terrance Mann, Mfiondu Kabengele 

Subtractions: F Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Garrett Temple, Wilson Chandler, Tyrone Wallace, Sindarius Thornwell 

Outlook: The new-look Clippers are now a top-5 team in the league, EASILY. By signing Kawhi Leonard and simultaneously trading for Paul George, they are guilty of giving everybody in the NBA world a heart attack. They went all in for the next 3 seasons and have set themselves to be a championship contender. They were able to keep most of their important pieces from last year’s team, which snuck into the playoffs, while getting two of the top 15 players in the league. 

Kings: B+

Additions: Trevor Ariza, Dewayne Dedmon, Cory Joseph, Richuan Holmes, Tyler Lydon, Harrison Barnes, Kyle Guy, Justin James, Vanja Marinkovic

Subtractions: Willie Cauley-Stein, Frank Mason, Alec Burks

Outlook: Last season, the Kings fell just short of making the playoffs. They already had an electric backcourt and a lot of young pieces, so they went out and strengthened up their bench, added perimeter threats, and signed guys who have playoff experience and no egos. Although many of their moves went under the radar, this Kings team is bound to make the playoffs next year.

Lakers: A-

Additions: Anthony Davis, Demarcus Cousins, Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Jared Dudley, Avery Bradley, Troy Daniels, Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso, JaVale McGee, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Talen Horton-Tucker

Subtractions: Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, Reggie Bullock, Mike Muscala

Outlook: In the shortest term possible, the Lakers got better. For only next year, the Lakers are guaranteed championship contenders. They finally got AD in LA, pairing him with LeBron, but at what cost? By cutting out most of their inexperience pieces and adding in seasoned vets, the Lakers drastically improved their bench and role players, so expect them to be a lot better at closing out games. In a repeat statement from last season, “iF dEmArCuS cOuSiNs StAyS hEaLtHy” the Lakers could be an even bigger problem for the rest of the league. After next season, Anthony Davis will be a free agent and could chose to play elsewhere. If he chooses a different path, the Lakers will have to watch their young core flourish in New Orleans, because they traded nearly everybody to get their hands on Anthony Davis. With all of that being said, from last year to this year, the Lakers are a much better team. 

Timberwolves: C

Additions: Treveon Graham, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh, Jake Layman, Tyrone Wallace, Jordan Bell, Jarrett Culver, Jaylen Nolan, 

Subtractions: Tyus Jones, Dario Saric, Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose, Cameron Reynolds, Anthony Tolliver

Outlook: It’s hard to say whether the Wolves got better or worse this offseason. They lost key rotation guys, but gained similar players back. The best addition they made was drafting Jarrett Culver, who could end up being a great player in the NBA. It seems as though the Wolves gave up on free agency when DLo went to Golden State, and now they remain where they were last season. 

Grizzlies: B

Additions: Ja Morant, Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala, Tyus Jones, Josh Jackson, Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, Jonas Valanciunas, Solomon Hill, Miles Plumlee, DeAnthony Melton, Brandon Clarke

Subtractions: Mike Conley, Delon Wright, CJ Miles, Chandler Parsons, Avery Bradley, Jevon Carter, Julian Washburn

Outlook: The Grizzlies officially ended the “grit and grind era” when they traded Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz to start the offseason. By drafting Ja Morant, they hope to find a new face of their franchise. Memphis also made a plethora of moves to acquire young talent and future trade assets. If they hold on to Iguodala, they will have a valuable trade piece for anyone trying to make the playoffs. The acquisitions of Grayson Allen and Josh Jackson add to their pool of young players with a lot to prove. Memphis should be a fun team to watch next season, but they won’t make the playoffs with the roster they have. 

Pelicans: A+

Additions: Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Derrick Favors, Nikeil Alexander-Walker, JJ Redick, Jaxon Hayes, Marcos Silva

Subtractions: Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, Solomon Hill, Stanley Johnson

Outlook: When looking at who the Pelicans lost, it might be hard to say they got better, but they had to trade Antony Davis, and they made sure they got a significant package in return. By securing LA’s entire young core (with the exception of Kyle Kuzma), drafting Zion Williamson, and signing key veteran players JJ Redick and Derrick Favors, the Pelicans instantly turned themselves into legitimate playoff contenders. Even though much of the success of the Pelicans rests on the shoulders of Zion, they made every move they could to improve instantly. 

Mavericks: B+

Additions: Kristaps Porzingis, Seth Curry, Delon Wright, Boban Marjanovic, Isiah Roby, Dwight Powell, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber

Subtractions: Dirk Nowitzki

Outlook: Many of Dallas’s moves involved resigning their key players. Although last season was disappointing record wise, they know they have a star in Luka Doncic, and he would pair perfectly with Porzingis, who will be great as long as he stays healthy. Signing Steph Curry and Delon Wright improves their shooting and defense off the bench. With these slight improvements and a healthy Porzingis, don’t be shocked if Dallas is a playoff team next season. 

Suns: D

Additions: Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes, Dario Saric, Jevon Carter, Jalen Lecque

Subtractions: Josh Jackson, Troy Daniels, Josh Jackson, De’Anthony Melton, T.J. Warren, Richaun Holmes

Outlook: Everybody let out a large *sigh* for the Suns fan, as they continue to be terrible. I really can’t fathom what moves they were trying to make this offseason. Ricky Rubio is the only good player they acquired that makes any sense. All NBA fans should feel sad that Devin Booker’s career is completely wasting away in Phoenix.

For more NBA coverage follow @NBA_nosebleed on twitter.

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Owen Cooper

From Connecticut, but a die hard New York sports fan. Ask me anything about the Yankees!

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