3 NBA Teams That Didn't Improve as Much as You Think This Offseason
Now that the NBA offseason has taken a figurative chill pill, it's time to take a step back and examine who made the best, and worst, moves.
Through this process, there are a number of teams whom many feel made enough moves to improve dramatically. However, while there are a number of winners this summer, there are also some teams whose moves are more nibble than bite. In other words, the improvements some teams made won't help them as much as it may seem.
Obviously, the Lakers are one of the few teams exempt from the discussion, as Steve Nash makes them a perennial championship contender. There a number of teams whose moves may look as good as the Nash acquisition, but are nothing more than a smokescreen.
Let's take a look at a few teams whose moves won't be as great as you may think.
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Key Additions: Jeremy Lin (RFA), Omer Asik (RFA), Royce White (Draft), Jeremy Lamb (Draft) and Terrence Jones (Draft)
Key Losses: Marcus Camby (sign-and-trade), Goran Dragic (FA), Kyle Lowry (trade) and Luis Scola (amnesty)
Overall, the departures far outweigh the additions.
Houston paid far too much money to bring in Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin. Combined, Asik and Lin will make more than $50 million over the next three years, a steep price for two unproven talents. The feeling was that a change needed to be made for the good of the franchise, but a rather drastic change might have been a bit much.
The additions of Royce White and Jeremy Lamb through the draft were solid acquisitions. White brings a versatile presence in the post while Lamb can be a very effective scorer throughout his career. While they will be good players somewhere down the road, letting Luis Scola (amnesty) and Goran Dragic (free agency) walk away means that the overhaul of the Rockets has begun sooner rather than later.
Marcus Camby may be older, but his production and leadership would have been nice additions to the very young, new-look Rockets. Relying on Asik to post big numbers could end up being a huge mistake.
Through it all, the Rockets managed to take a huge step backwards while they were trying to move forward. A hard task to do, but somehow Houston managed to pull it off.
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Key Acquisitions: Mo Williams (trade), Marvin Williams (trade) and Randy Foye (FA)
Key Losses: Devin Harris (trade)
While the number of acquisitions outweighs the losses, those additions don't make up enough for letting Devin Harris go to Atlanta.
Essentially it's a lose-lose situation for the Jazz. Not only does Harris have the chance to lead one of the best teams in the league, the Atlanta Hawks, but Utah is now stuck with the enigma that is Marvin Williams. Williams came into the NBA with high expectations and has failed to live up to any of them so far in his career.
Mo Williams is a decent addition to replace Harris, but he cannot lead a team as well as Harris can. While Williams may be a more lethal scoring option, it won't matter at the end of the day. Williams isn't the leader Harris is, and Utah desperately needs a leader.
For a team that is fresh off a playoff appearance, Utah acted as if they were in the draft lottery. Adding Randy Foye, Mo Williams and Marvin Williams are moves that won't amount to much next season. Letting Harris go will end up being a huge mistake for Utah when all is said and done.
New York Knicks
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Key Acquisitions: Jason Kidd (FA), Raymond Felton (sign-and-trade), Marcus Camby (sign-and-trade) and Ronnie Brewer (FA)
Key Losses: Jeremy Lin (RFA), Landry Fields (FA) and Toney Douglas (trade)
Another case where the additions outweigh the subtractions, the New York Knicks went for a complete "aging veterans" look as opposed to a youth movement.
Letting Lin go to the Rockets may have been the headline, but letting Landry Fields walk to Toronto is a mistake, as the Knicks will soon discover. While, financially speaking, the Knicks didn't have much choice in the matter, New York probably should have pushed harder for a sign-and-trade deal to get something in return for losing Fields. Fields was a huge asset off the bench for the Knicks, and he will surely be missed.
Toney Douglas is a very underrated loss as well. His scoring ability and explosiveness would have been a nice piece to keep along with Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. His style of play complemented them very well.
However, rather than keep either Fields or Douglas, they let both of them go and brought in the older Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton to replace them. While Kidd and Felton are solid players in their own right, they won't mesh well with the loaded frontcourt. Fields and Douglas would have fit much better into the Melo System in New York. They are used to being role players while Kidd and Felton are both accustomed to being focal points of the offense. That will, indeed, change during the course of the season.
It may look like the Knicks improved this offseason, but in reality, they subtracted by addition.
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Obviously, it's still early to determine how these teams and their new-look teams will fair. However, it's safe to say that these are the three teams that will find it more difficult than the others.
While some may view their offseason moves as improvements, these three teams did not improve as much as people think.
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