Grading the Best and Worst Moves of the 2011-2012 NBA Season
Whether they're trades, draft picks, free-agent acquisitions or something else entirely, plenty of NBA transactions take place every year.
I've identified the five best and five worst moves of the year and graded them here for your viewing pleasure. However, in an effort to make it even more entertaining, you won't find any numerical grades here.
Read on to see what I mean.
Grading Scale for the Worst Moves
Instead of simply grading the moves out of 10 points or on a 100-point scale, I wanted to be a little more creative.
If we look at all of the dance moves that have occurred on the sidelines, benches and the court, none has been worse than the "shimmy" Stephen Curry tried to pull off after draining a shot from downtown against the Denver Nuggets.
Sure, it was homage to his head coach, Mark Jackson, but Curry looked like he didn't have the ankles necessary to pull off any dance moves at all. And that was before his ankle injuries forced him to miss the rest of the season.
Seriously, just listen to some of the things that his teammates and Jackson himself had to say about the guard's moves, or lack thereof.
Grading Scale for the Best Moves
Now I couldn't really find a "best dance move of the season" to use as a scale for the best moves, so instead I picked out one of my favorite on-court moves of the season.
Playing against the Boston Celtics, Derrick Rose drove past Rajon Rondo, who has to be considered at the very least a terrific defender. He then absorbed contact from Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass while spinning, yet he somehow maintained control of the basketball. While falling backwards and under the rim, the reigning MVP somehow got enough spin on the ball to kiss it off the glass and into the basket for a fancy couple of points.
It's plays like this that make me call Rose a contortionist—when he's healthy, of course.
The D-Rose scoop shot will serve as the scale for the best moves of the season.
Drafting Jimmer Fredette
There were probably worse moves made during the 2011-2012 NBA season, but it's my list, so I get to choose the entries.
Although there's still time for him to redeem himself, Jimmer Fredette has been a massive bust so far. Much like I did myself, the Sacramento Kings incorrectly predicted the guard's scoring prowess would carry over to the next level.
Fredette has struggled each and every month, laboring through what seems like a season-long shooting slump. He turns the ball over too much, doesn't make great decisions and doesn't play much defense at all.
This is not what the Kings were looking for when they made a draft-day trade for the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Grade: One Stephen Curry Shimmy
Drafting Isaiah Thomas
Just in case you were planning on accusing me of picking on the Sacramento Kings for a single bad draft pick, let's focus on Mr. Irrelevant.
Isaiah Thomas was drafted by the Kings at No. 60 in the 2011 NBA draft, making him the last pick and setting him up for a career filled with low expectations. Thomas laughed at those assumptions and didn't slow down until he became the starting point guard for his team.
Since then, he's played so well that he recently earned the No. 89 spot in my rankings of the top 100 players in the NBA right now. He may move higher soon enough.
This is what I had to say about Thomas:
How Isaiah Thomas managed to go from Mr. Irrelevant to No. 89 in this set of rankings is beyond me. Remember, this is a guy who is generously listed at 5'9" and might be able to be posted up by Muggsy Bogues or Spud Webb.
But Thomas has made the most of his minutes throughout the season and done a remarkable job of carving out a role for himself in a crowded Sacramento Kings backcourt.
In the 33 games that the diminutive point guard has started, he's averaged 15.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. Those numbers have been even more impressive recently. Since the calendars turned to April, Thomas has put up 16.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists per contest.
This guy has staying ability.
Not bad for Mr. Irrelevant.
Grade: One Derrick Rose Scoop
The Dwight Howard Non-Move
If you aren't sick of Dwight Howard, you don't pay close enough attention to the NBA.
We had to deal with his requests for a move all season long, culminating in the infamous list that supposedly listed the places he would be willing to go. Then, of course, he didn't go anywhere and decided he was going to stay with the Orlando Magic.
After that, there was the whole feud with head coach Stan Van Gundy.
Finally, we're just now learning that the injured center, according to Stephen A. Smith at least, will be demanding a trade once more.
Grade: Two Stephen Curry Shimmies
My apologies for the outdated picture of the two former teammates, but it was the only high-quality shot I could find that captured both Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook at the same time.
Just before the deadline for extensions, Love signed a four-year deal for $60 million that included a player option for the final year of the contract. Just a week earlier, Westbrook had put pen to paper and signed a five-year, $80 million contract to remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
For locking up two of the best young players in the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Thunder earn a spot on this list.
Grade: Two Derrick Rose Scoops
Swapping Nene Hilario for JaVale McGee
This move just didn't make sense for any of the sides involved in the three-way deal. Here's what was exchanged.
Washington Wizards trade JaVale McGee, Ronny Turiaf and Nick Young for Nene Hilario, Brian Cook and a second-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
The Wizards need to be finding high-upside players right now, not trading young guys and draft picks for veterans who aren't going to improve much more.
Los Angeles Clippers trade Brian Cook and a second-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft for Nick Young.
I'm just not sure why any team would want Nick Young.
Denver Nuggets trade Nene Hilario for JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf.
Acquiring a head case like McGee is always a risky proposition at best.
Grade: Three Stephen Curry Shimmies
Uncovering Jeremy Lin
Over the span of a single season, Jeremy Lin was waived by the Golden State Warriors, signed as a free agent with the Houston Rockets, was released and then signed with the New York Knicks.
But from that moment on, Lin dominated until his knee exploded. Despite his problems with turnovers, Lin was one of the best point guards in the game for a short stretch.
Just for giving him a chance and allowing his star to shine, the New York Knicks get some love here. And it won't be the last time in the slideshow that happens.
Grade: Three Derrick Rose Scoops
Anything That Helped Tanking
I'm going to single out the Golden State Warriors here, but this slide applies to any and all teams that have attempted to tank during the last few weeks of the season.
Trading Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown to the Milwaukee Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson was absolutely ridiculous. Not only was Ellis easily the best player involved in the trade, but Bogut was injured and Udoh has potential to become a valuable player.
That, coupled with the bizarre injuries that players have been shut down for, leaves no doubt in my mind that the Dubs were simply playing for a better shot in the lottery.
Shame on any team that tried to tank.
Grade: Four Stephen Curry Shimmies
Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers
This wasn't a terrible trade for the New Orleans Hornets when they pulled the trigger because they had to get rid of Chris Paul and grabbing Eric Gordon seemed like a nice consolation prize.
At the time, I'm sure the organization had no idea Gordon would play in only a handful of games this season and reject a contract extension despite being injured.
However, it was a terrific trade for the Clippers. Any time you have the opportunity to get a top-five player in the league who happens to be the best point guard in the game, you bite the bullet and meet the asking price.
CP3 has been a terrific floor general for the Clippers all season long and is the only reason Vinny Del Negro has been able to put together anything that even resembles a sophisticated offense.
Grade: Four Derrick Rose Scoops
Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks
After Lamar Odom requested to be traded from the Los Angeles Lakers, he was shipped off to the Dallas Mavericks.
That's when the trouble started.
The highlights of Odom's season included a close encounter with the D-League, clashing with Mark Cuban and being benched for the first time in his career.
This was easily the worst move of the season.
Grade: Five Stephen Curry Shimmies
Tyson Chandler Sign-and-Trade to the New York Knicks
This season, the New York Knicks are allowing just 94.8 points per game, good for 13th place in the league. Last year, the Knicks were giving up 105.7 points per game to their opponents, which placed them at 28th.
As far as defensive rating goes, the Knicks are at 101.0 (fifth place), down from 110.1 (23rd place) last year.
The biggest reason for the defensive turnaround has been the presence of Tyson Chandler in the paint. Acquired in a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks, Chandler has led the NBA in effective field goal percentage while thrusting his name into the race for Defensive Player of the Year.
His play this season has been absolutely incredible and he's the biggest reason the Knicks have already clinched a playoff spot and might make some noise in the postseason.
Grade: Five Derrick Rose Scoops