NBA Teams That Are Losing the 2012 Offseason
Thirty NBA teams entered the summer of 2012 looking to improve. Only one of those teams could possibly view improvement as anything but essential. The NBA Champs, the Miami Heat could have rested on their laurels, after all they did win the NBA Finals.
They didn't though, in fact the Heat made some improvements.
The same can't be said for everyone one of the other 29 NBA teams who fell short of the goal of a championship.
Some teams certainly made improvements. The Lakers, Celtics, and 76ers all stand out in this department. There were other teams as well.
Then there are the teams that missed the mark, they either made moves that were questionable or barely made any moves at all. Some teams will look back on what they did this past summer fondly, others may have some regrets, here are some teams that might not look back on the summer of 2012 all that longingly.
The mere fact that Orlando traded Dwight Howard probably means the team isn't as good as it was last season.
In the end, the Magic did acquire a lot of talent, but much of it is unproved and raw or established and not overwhelming. The one exception is shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who could really excel playing on a team where he'll be a key part of the starting rotation and a needed offensive contributor.
Adding to the team's woes isn't just Howard's departure. Orlando's second leading scorer from last season also departed. Ryan Anderson, one of the NBA's best three-point shooters, left the Magic as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the New Orleans Hornets.
Orlando got a backup point guard in return for Anderson. That's better than nothing, but it is not a fair swap to say the least.
It's tough to lay the blame for this offseason on a new general manager who stepped into a tough position and did his best to play the hand he was dealt. That doesn't mean that the Magic won't start 2012-13 as a worse team than they were when the 2011-12 season started.
The Bulls entered the summer in a very tough spot.
Their best player, the 2010-11 NBA MVP Derrick Rose, had sustained a terrible knee injury in the closing moments of the Bulls' first playoff game of the 2012 postseason.
The injury will keep Rose off the court until sometime in 2013. Rose is clearly irreplaceable, but the Bulls have yet to win a title with Rose, so they were a team that could use some improvement regardless of the injury.
The Bulls lost some key bench contributors from last season in C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer and Omer Asik.
Their replacements are not terrible, but they're not really upgrades either. Kirk Hinrich is not going to be all that much better than what he's displayed throughout his nine-year NBA career.
Nate Robinson and Nazr Mohammed are also two well-established bench players.
The Bulls may have done a decent job of replacing what they lost, but they're not a better team than the one that was on the court last season.
Maybe the Rockets had a label on their team's headquarters that read, "some disassembling required."
The Rockets finished the 2011-12 season with a record of 34-32, missing the playoffs by just two games.
Houston then proceeded to jettison their best rebounder, Luis Scola. They also lost not one, but two talented point guards. Kyle Lowry was shipped to Toronto and Goran Dragic singed as a free agent with the Phoenix Suns.
The Rockets took on a ton of young talent, the original intent of that appeared to be to make a run at Dwight Howard in the trade market. When that trade didn't happen, the Rockets were left with a roster chock full of very green, very unproven players.
NBA draft picks such as Royce White, Terrence Jones and Jeremy Lamb could develop into very good NBA players.
Maybe free-agent acquisition Omer Asik can be a solid NBA center, and perhaps Jeremy Lin can find some of the magic he displayed during his memorable run with the Knicks last February.
The Rockets are a team of many "ifs," and that's not a good thing.
Down the road, this offseason may end up looking like a big win for the franchise. But this coming season could be very rough.
The Utah Jazz were the No.8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs last season.
Being the No. 8 seed is nice, but it is also a tough position to be in. More often than not, that seeding results in a one-and-done postseason, and last spring was no exception as the Jazz dropped four straight to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Jazz were in no position to sit idly by and rest on their laurels this offseason, but they made only a few moves, and it is tough to say whether or not those moves make the Jazz a better or a worse team.
The major acquisition was that of Marvin Williams from the Atlanta Hawks. In order to acquire him, the Jazz had to part with point guard Devin Harris.
Williams was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft. Since then, he's failed to live up to the hype that surrounded the top pick.
The Jazz lost a proven and steady veteran point guard and acquired a small forward with tons of potential but has yet to live up to his draft day billing after seven seasons.
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs have been getting old for years. Have they reached a tipping point?
We're going to find out.
The Spurs dominated the entire NBA down the stretch of the 2011-12 regular season. They rolled right through the first two rounds of the playoffs without so much as one loss. They won the first two games of the Western Conference finals, and then the bottom fell out.
San Antonio absorbed four straight defeats at the hands of the younger and more athletic Oklahoma City Thunder.
It wasn't pretty, but it was still a very good season in San Antonio.
Will this coming season be as good?
That's beginning to look unlikely.
The Los Angeles Lakers are an improved squad. They acquired two All-Stars in point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard. They also grabbed a veteran who can come off the bench and score in Antawn Jamison.
The Thunder didn't make any major acquisitions, but they also didn't suffer any major losses. If anything, a healthy Eric Maynor is an upgrade over veteran Derek Fisher at backup point guard. First-round draft pick Perry Jones could be a diamond in the rough playing alongside his talented young teammates.
The Spurs basically stood pat. They re-signed future Hall of Fame center/power forward Tim Duncan, and they also brought back Danny Green and Boris Diaw. Patty Mills and Nando De Colo seem unlikely to put the Spurs over the top of their improved Western Conference rivals.
The Spurs' key players all return a year older. Manu Ginobili is 35, Tim Duncan is 36, Stephen Jackson is 34 and both Tony Parker and Boris Diaw are 30. Spurs fans will get to watch last year's exceptional rookie Kawhi Leonard improve in his second year, though.
The improvement will have to be well beyond anyone's expectations because the heart and soul of this team appears to be heading into a period of decline, and that's not good when your biggest rivals are only getting better.
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