This off-season, in my opinion, was much busier and more exciting than last year. Really bad teams have gotten better from draft picks, and really good teams have gotten better from block-buster trades, re-signs, and picking up dropped players. In this post, I’ll be looking at some teams that have improved vastly with new additions and those teams who were big losers this offseason.
Let’s begin with the winners (more interesting to analyze). I’ll be looking at the Mavs, Warriors, Heat, Knicks, and the teams affected by the Dwight Howard trade.
I’ll begin the trade that I think will repeat next season; the Miami Heat. The Miami Heat had the best team last season with the Big 3 and friends (Chalmers, Battier, Miller, etc). But now with the addition of the best shooter Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, they become a very dangerous team in and outside the paint. The starting line-up with Chalmers, Wade, Allen, James and Bosh…unbeatable.
Briefly, I think the Warriors and Nets are going to very good teams. Although they weren’t playoff teams last season, they are completely different teams this upcoming season. Warriors, in my opinion, are always a playoff team ever since Curry, Ellis, and Lee were with the team. However, the coach nor the conference gave them an edge to be the team they can be. Although Howard would benefit the Nets more, with Joe Johnson in the front court, Deron Williams (top 5 PG) along with Magic, and Atlanta not being playoff contending teams, the Nets will be 7th in the Eastern Conference.
Finally, I’ll talk about the Mavs and Knicks. The Mavs, I thought for a moment, lost their chance of becoming a NBA champion contender team. They lost two traitors, Terry (Boston) and Kidd (Knicks). This made Cuban made and apparently according to Cuban, he will not retire Kidd’s jersey with the Mavs. However without Williams or Howard, the Mavs have gotten better with new additions, Collison, Mayo, Brand, and Kamon. These players have the potential to be all-stars and are excellent additions with my favorite player, Nowitzki. On the other hand, the Knicks will not be the same team. Felton comes back and they’ve added Kidd. The point guard problem at the Big Apple is officially gone. Felton and Amare had great chemistry before the Anthony trade. Kidd is a pass first point guard so playing with Tyson and Amare will work well. I think the Knicks will be the top 4 team in the Eastern Conference.
Before I talk about the Dwight Howard trade, I’ll briefly mention the teams that will not be good this upcoming season. Both Houston and Chicago will not be good teams next season. Houston signed Omir Asik and Jeremy Lin to ridiculous contracts. Overpaid and overrated players plus no Dragic, Scola, Lowry and Camby = bottom of the western conference (sorry McHale). Lastly Chicago (surprise)? Yes Chicago. Why? With Rose out with a serious ACL injury, most of their bench role players gone, they won’t be the same team (although they will be a playoff contending team).
Now the Dwight Howard trade. I always thought that Dwight will end up in New Jersey or stay in Orlando for the last year in his contract. But this surprised me. Not only did Lakers keep Pau Gasol and get Dwight Howard, the Magic DO NOT get Andrew Bynum? WHAT?
Lakers get Dwight Howard. Big Win and makes them real contender. However with Kobe’s contract expiring in 2 years, Nash’s age, Dwight’s back, and having Mike Brown as their coach, they won’t be a threat for long (potentially 3 years max). Denver gets Iguodala who is an all-star and a member of the 2012 Gold winning US olympic team. 76ers get Richardson and Bynum. Getting Bynum is a huge win for 76ers who I thought Kwame was going to be their center (that would be a joke). However, they get the second best center in the leadge and he seems to be happy. Big win! Orlando get some players and first-round picks from each of the three teams. The draft picks aren’t high picks and the best player from the group of players they got is Afflalo. And all that for Dwight. They could have gotten Brook Lopez, and Kris Humphries or even Bynum. In summary, they were Big LOSERS. Orlando is officially out of the playoff picture for the next 3-5 years.
In conclusion, the Heat will repeat, Lakers have a potential short dynasty, Orlando is screwed, and other teams that I haven’t mentioned have gotten better (Boston – Terry, Hornets – Davis and Rivers), and have gotten worse (Atlanta).
P.S. Since I do live in Toronto, I should have said something about the Raptors. Well with Colangelo’s poor judgement with draft picks, Field’s expensive contract, and my strong opinion on Valanciunas not being the star player that Colangelo portrays him to be, I don’t think they will be a playoff team (maybe 9-10th place in the conference since Casey is a great coach and Bargnani is a lethal scorer).