Breaking Down What to Expect from Each Team's Biggest Offseason Addition
The 2012 NBA offseason has been a tumultuous one to say the least. The variety of moves and additions that teams have made has drastically changed the landscape of the league. Here, you will find a breakdown and prediction of what to expect from each team’s most notable addition.
Some teams took the free agency approach to improve their rosters, while others used the trade market or the draft. A few teams even used all three, showing that a good GM knows how to work all the angles. There will be examples of each type of addition on this list.
For each slide, there will be the name of the added player and a short breakdown of what fans from that team can expect from him. I have to warn you: some of these additions are incredibly underwhelming and some are huge game-changers.
Louis Williams was one of the best sixth men in the NBA last season, averaging 14.9 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game. Only James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder could make a case for being the better sixth man, and Williams used the notoriety he gained to swing a new deal with the Atlanta Hawks.
The Hawks needed scoring after shipping off Joe Johnson, and Williams should do nicely. He will probably still come off the bench, and should thrive considering how well he did in that role last season. Williams will lead the team in scoring, just like he led the Sixers last year. He will also be a big reason why this Atlanta team does not fall out of the playoff picture.
At the end of last season, Avery Bradley had filled the role of starting shooting guard nicely in Ray Allen’s absence. Bradley did so well that Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers actually brought Allen, a Hall of Famer, off the bench. Allen was not keen on that apparently, as he is now a member of the Miami Heat.
Luckily, for Boston, Jason Terry is in town. Terry is a longtime sixth man, having filled the role very successfully in Dallas. He is clearly comfortable in that role and allows Bradley to continue to develop as a very good, young starting guard. He should do wonders for Boston’s bench unit, which has been underwhelming for a very long time.
Terry will be another leader on a team that is full of veteran experience and professionalism. He will add a scoring punch off the bench, although probably not quite as well as he did in Dallas. He will not get as many shots as he did then, since he will no longer be the second option on offense.
After being unable to lead the Atlanta Hawks on a deep playoff run, Joe Johnson now finds himself on a new team in a new city. His massive contract was a problem in Atlanta, but now he can play pressure-free as a complement to star point guard Deron Williams.
Johnson should make things much easier for Williams, who will benefit from having another player on the roster who can create his own shot. He also has considerable length for his position at 6’7”, which is always a plus on the defensive end. While he will not put up the same numbers as he did as the primary scorer in Atlanta, he will still average double figures.
If any team in NBA history has needed a change of culture, it is the Charlotte Bobcats. The 2011-12 version of the Bobcats was the worst team in NBA history according to winning percentage, and needs a leader that will teach its young roster the hard work and character that it takes to win in this league.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the man for the job. A standout at Kentucky, MKG has the motor of the Energizer bunny and the defensive potential of Ron Artest. He works tremendously hard on the court and has the character off it that every team wants all of its players to have. He will play hard this year. While that will not equate to many more wins, it will help the team understand how to win in the long run.
The Chicago Bulls are going to be without star point guard Derrick Rose for a significant portion of the season. It only made sense that they would go out and get a dependable veteran to help fill the void until Rose returns. Kirk Hinrich is the perfect player for that role.
Not only is Hinrich a savvy veteran who can run a team, but he also played for the Bulls up until a few years ago. Last season, he averaged 6.6 points and 2.8 assists as the backup for Atlanta. Expect Hinrich to help this Bulls team contain the bleeding until Rose returns. He will be a solid backup after Rose does.
The Cleveland Cavaliers needed a young wing to pair with their blossoming star, point guard Kyrie Irving. They believe that they have found it in former Syracuse guard Dion Waiters. While some believe that Cleveland picked Waiters a bit too high in the draft, he will be an addition that pays off next season.
The Cavaliers will need offense next year after losing 17 points per game with the departure of Antawn Jamison. Waiters is an athletic combo guard who can get to the rim as well as any guard in the 2012 draft class. He will take the pressure off Irving to create, which will be a big help for the young point guard. He will not average bulky numbers, but he will immediately become the No. 2 option on that team.
The offseason was a disappointment for the Dallas Mavericks and their fans after missing out on All-Star point guard Deron Williams in free agency. O.J. Mayo is not a bad consolation prize. A scorer who has shown the ability to put the ball in the hoop in many different ways, Mayo will be the No. 2 scoring option behind Dirk Nowitzki.
The former USC star can create his own shot and should not need fellow offseason addition Darren Collison to create for him. He will fill a similar role as Jason Terry, except that he is younger, bigger, better and will probably start. Mayo will be a big part of this team’s offense and a key part of this franchise’s future.
The Denver Nuggets did not add much during this offseason, but they did add a player with a ton of potential in Quincy Miller. The former Baylor player has a nice scoring touch and very good height for his position at 6’10”. He could be the go-to scorer that the Nuggets have needed ever since Carmelo Anthony was traded.
Miller will be a backup this season, but he will earn time on the court. That is saying something considering how deep this Denver team is. He will get some decent minutes and will provide a scoring punch off the bench. His slight build will hurt him somewhat, but his ability to make shots over defenders should help. He will contribute quickly and position himself for a bigger role in the years to come.
The Detroit Pistons have to be ecstatic that Andre Drummond fell to them in the draft. He was the best prospect at the center position by a long shot and will be under a great deal of scrutiny in his first season. Drummond will not be a star next season, but he will make things much easier for one of his teammates specifically.
Greg Monroe nearly averaged a double-double last season as the starting center in Detroit. However, he would really thrive more at the power forward spot. The addition of Drummond allows Monroe to move to his more natural position and focus more on scoring and rebounding. Drummond’s length and athleticism should allow him to help protect the rim immediately.
Golden State Warriors
Harrison Barnes might seem like the obvious choice here, and there is no doubt that he will thrive in Golden State’s style of offensive play. However, Carl Landry is the addition that means more when it comes to winning.
The addition of Landry gives the Warriors some much-needed depth. He brings offense and rebounding off the bench that any team would like to have. He averaged 12 points and five boards on 50 percent field goal shooting off the bench last season. Assuming Barnes starts, Landry and Brandon Rush should make the second unit explosive all on their own.
What could I possibly write about Jeremy Lin that has not already been written? For a player that has been in the limelight for such a short time, he is extremely well-established as an American institution. Despite that fact, next season will be an important one for Lin, who must play well if he wants to be more than an advertiser.
He will play well. He will not be an All-Star, or really even close to one, but he will prove himself as a starter in the NBA. His ability to run the pick-and-roll will come in handy if the team ever gets Dwight Howard. Even if it does not, Lin will hit big shots and be the primary scorer on the team. He will not be a star, but he will prove that there is more to his game than hype.
The Indiana Pacers did not do much in the offseason other than re-sign center Roy Hibbert. They made a few additions, but one of them was bringing in point guard D.J. Augustin. Augustin has been a decent player over the course of his career. However, he has had the misfortune of playing for the Charlotte Bobcats.
In Indiana, Augustin will finally have the chance to showcase his abilities with a playoff team. He will run the point for the second unit and will be a better backup point guard than Darren Collison was. He will not have great numbers, but he will make the team better, albeit by only a little bit.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers need veteran leadership, and this player fits the bill. It may seem unlikely that Grant “Over-the” Hill could help a contender at 40 years old. However, he will help this one by giving them a leader by example and a good perimeter defender.
Hill’s character is unquestioned in the NBA. The consummate professional, Hill’s ability to overcome his injury-riddled career also shows a resilience and will that the younger Clippers will benefit from being around. Hill is still a decent perimeter defender and would have helped the Clippers in the playoffs by guarding players like O.J. Mayo and Manu Ginobili. Defense wins championships, and Hill makes them better at that immediately. He will play that role on this team: a tough, wily veteran who contributes on defense and hits the occasional open jumper.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers finally have a star point guard to fill the massive hole they have had at that position for the past four or five years. Steve Nash may not help on defense, but he makes the team’s offense markedly better. He is one of the only point guards in the game that would command enough of Kobe Bryant’s respect for Bryant to allow him to run the offense.
That is exactly what Nash will do. It will not be the same offense he ran in Phoenix, but Nash should still be able to do what he does best—find the open man. He always puts his teammates in the best positions possible to score, especially big men. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum will benefit greatly from this addition, as they finally have a point guard that can get them the ball in all the right places. He will make this offense far more balanced and take a ton of pressure off Bryant.
If you can’t beat them, join them. Ray Allen must believe in that mantra because, after the Boston Celtics were knocked out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat, the shooting guard used his free agent status to jump ship to Miami. He was not content being a benchwarmer in Boston, but apparently that role is good enough when you are backing up Dwyane Wade.
Allen will be integral on this roster for the same reason he has been so good throughout his career. The man can shoot the long ball better than anyone in NBA history. Chicks dig the long ball, but so do guys like LeBron James, who need players like Allen to spread the floor for them. Allen will have the same job as Shane Battier, Mike Miller and James Jones—hit big shots at key moments.
The Memphis Grizzlies did not need much when it came to offseason additions. Tony Wroten was not the safest pick in the draft, but the guard was worth the risk. A 6’5” point guard from the University of Washington, Wroten is a powerful player who is supremely athletic.
Wroten is very talented, but he does need to develop as a point guard. It is also possible that he transitions to shooting guard, as he has the size to play the position. Wherever he ends up, I would expect his impact to be minimal next season. It will take him at least a season to learn the game. After that though, look out. Wroten could become a star for the Grizzlies. He has the potential.
Centers are not easy to come by in the NBA, and that is why the Milwaukee Bucks wanted Samuel Dalembert. The 31-year-old center averaged 7.5 points and seven rebounds per game for Houston last year and could average more in Milwaukee if he is given starter’s minutes.
Shipping off Andrew Bogut could not have been easy, but the Bucks have a nice replacement in Dalembert. I would not expect him to score a ton, especially given that Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings will have the ball most of the time. He will, however, rebound and defend which is what the Bucks need from him anyway.
After his long hiatus from the NBA, Brandon Roy is finally making the return all basketball fans hoped he would. The Minnesota Timberwolves needed a shooting guard, and Roy will fill the role exactly as they need him to. He is not the star that he was a few years ago, but Roy will prove that he is still worthy of starting in this league.
With most of the offense running through Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, Roy will not be under a whole lot of pressure to score, as he was in Portland. The opportunity to play with such a young star duo is a unique one, and Roy will take advantage of it. He will play well on both ends of the court, spreading the floor for Love and giving Rubio another option to play with. Roy will be the missing piece that equals a playoff run for Minnesota.
New Orleans Hornets
The New Orleans Hornets lost a superstar in Chris Paul before last season started. They replaced him with a potential superstar in Anthony Davis. The young big man is very talented and has the look of a franchise-changing big man. He will take his first steps toward that reality this season.
Davis is not ready to be a great offensive player in the NBA. He is more talented on that end than other highly–touted big men that have been drafted recently (e.g. Dwight Howard), but he does not have the strength to score much without a good point guard. He will block shots and protect the rim with his exceptional length. The Hornets defense will get much better next season with Davis at the back of it.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks need a veteran player who lead and keep all of their various parts in the right places. Jason Kidd has proven that he can do that. A Hall of Fame point guard, Kidd has become a game manager in recent seasons, and that is exactly what the Knicks need. They need a player to coach on the court and Kidd will do just that.
He will not have good stats or much of any stats really. Kidd is past the point in his career where points and assists matter to him. He will run the offense that needs to be run and will hit the occasional three-pointer when needed. He is not a big addition in terms of tangible numbers, but just watch. The players around him will begin to play better because of his influence and leadership.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Perry Jones III
The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the most complete teams in the NBA. After losing in the finals, the Thunder lost three players to free agency and really did not need any additions. The fact that a player as talented as Perry Jones III fell into their lap was just icing on the cake.
How much time Jones will get right off the bat is unknown at this point. I would venture to guess that Jones will play very little at first, as the backup roles will be filled by Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich. Barring any kind of injury, Jones will spend very little time on the court. He will play decently when he does get out there, but his year will probably be in 2014, especially if OKC loses Serge Ibaka.
The Orlando Magic still have Dwight Howard, but they also have a young rookie by the name of Andrew Nicholson. Hailing from St. Bonaventure, Nicholson was one of the sleepers of the draft in June. He is a solid young player who can do a little bit of everything. Under new head coach Jacque Vaughn, Nicholson could blossom into a star.
That will not happen next year, but Nicholson will still have an early impact. That is especially true if Howard is traded, as it will give him more time on the court. Either way, Nicholson will come off the bench, providing good minutes as he rebounds and scores his way into Orlando’s heart. He will not be great next year, but he will be good enough that teams will wish they had not passed on him in the draft.
Nick Young has been around lately. The Philadelphia 76ers are his third team in less than six months, but he should be here for a while. The Sixers desperately need perimeter shooting and scoring, which is why adding Young was a very good move. Over his five-year career, he has shown that he can score when needed.
For Washington last season, Young scored 16.6 points per game and shot 37 percent from the floor. He continued to perform well in a bench role with the Clippers. He also has good size at 6’7” and should be an upgrade over what Philadelphia currently has in terms of long-range shooters. He will help them greatly in their quest to return to the second round of the playoffs and beyond.
Giving up Steve Nash was unavoidable for the Phoenix Suns. They had to begin building for the future, and having a point guard nearing 40 years old did not fit in with that plan. However, they also needed to find a young guard that could step in and play well in their offense. Goran Dragic was the perfect fit.
The reason is because Dragic backed up Nash a few years ago. He knows the offense that Nash ran and that the team is built on. He will be able to step in and immediately run that same offense. Not as well as Nash, but he is the next best option. He will have really good numbers, especially in the assists department, and will average a double-double.
Portland Trail Blazers
LaMarcus Aldridge is the star the Portland Trail Blazers must build around for the next few years. A big part of that is finding a center that can play alongside Aldridge. They need one who will be an enforcer in the middle, playing defense and protecting the rim. Meyers Leonard is the man they have chosen to fill that role.
Leonard is pretty NBA-ready, but I would not expect him to be a star. Despite being taken in the lottery of the draft, Leonard does not have that much potential. He can fill the narrow role that Portland needs filled, but he will not do much more than that. This player is not a star, but rather a starting role player. He will disappoint fans for that reason.
The Sacramento Kings are another team that needs a change of culture. These Kings are immature and do not play defense. They have not shown the ability to win, despite having a wealth of young talent in players like Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton. Thomas Robinson is exactly what this team needs.
Robinson is a workhorse who fights for rebounds and provides toughness inside. He is not a superstar, but he will immediately be good in the NBA thanks to his work ethic. These other young players need to learn how to work and play that hard, and Robinson will give them an example to follow next season.
San Antonio Spurs
Nando De Colo
The Olympics might be the first time many Americans will be introduced to Nando De Colo, the French guard who will be joining the San Antonio Spurs next season. De Colo was drafted by the Spurs in 2009 and won a Eurocup title in 2010. He also won a French League MVP in 2008 and a Semaine des As (an annual tournament for French teams) MVP in 2008.
The Spurs are a very complete team, and I am unsure of just how much De Colo will contribute. He is a 6’5” combo guard, and the fact that he has a good rapport with Tony Parker from playing in international competition certainly does not hurt his chances. I have no idea what he will do in his first year, but he is very talented.
There are various stages of the rebuilding process, and one of the most exciting ones is when the team finally believes it is ready to battle with the big boys. That is the stage that the Toronto Raptors find themselves in, especially after adding point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry fits with the youthful approach the team is taking, along with being a talented player.
He averaged 14.3 points and 6.6 assists while sharing a lot of time with Goran Dragic for Houston last season. He will have better numbers this season as he becomes a team’s franchise point guard for the first time. He will lead the Raptors to playoff contention next season, making them a better team than they have been since Chris Bosh left.
Devin Harris did not cut it last season as the point guard of the Utah Jazz. It was the right move to unload him on Atlanta and bring in Mo Williams from the Clippers. After proving last year that he still has all-star potential, Williams will be a solid upgrade for the Jazz at the point guard position.
With the Clippers, Williams averaged 13.2 points and 3.1 assists per game off the bench. He should have even better numbers as a starter in Utah. Granted, he will not be playing with the same level of talent, but he will be on a playoff team. Williams will make the Jazz better by giving them a point guard that can score, run an offense and make shots.
Bradley Beal was one of the most lauded prospects in the recent NBA draft for good reason. He is a good shooting guard whose game should not take long to translate to the professional level. The Washington Wizards had their entire starting five filled, other than the shooting guard position. With Beal being the perfect complement to John Wall, drafting him was not a hard decision to make.
Beal is a smooth-shooting guard who can also rebound very well. He probably will not be a superstar, but he will play very well for the Wizards next season. He will hit outside shots, score and rebound. His defense will also be better than expected, and the Wizards will challenge for a playoff berth in his rookie season.
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