With the 2010 NBA offseason approaching a month in, there has been much information that has been hard to fully grasp thus far, whether it was through the draft that gems were picked up, or the whopping contracts that have been given out to many free agents. Oh yeah, and Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James all teaming up in Miami.
But there have been four teams in particular, in my opinion, that have begun, or already near the end of, adding much needed options and depth to their respective teams. (Other than the Miami Heat of course.)
In the 2010 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks may have not gotten all the big name players, but they added players that will help them in the future since they can flat out play.
With the No. 15 pick they took the freak athlete from Virginia Commonwealth, Larry Sanders. Sanders is just plainly a "freak of nature". He is 6'10 and has a wing span of 7'6. He is known as a shot blocking and defensive machine. Some may have not put him this high because he is still very raw on the offensive side, but with the unsureness towards Andrew Bogut and his injury, Sanders is a good back-up plan.
In the second round they picked up two very solid players who could end up being gems, if given a chance. They took guard/forward Darington Hobson with the No. 37 pick, who is a slick left-handed player that played at the University of New Mexico. Hobson is a scorer but gets underrated because he only played one year at New Mexico. He was at a junior college, and playing in a smaller conference does not help.
With the Bucks No. 47 pick they took Tiny Gallon, who is not so "tiny" once you play against him. Gallon is a 6'10 and 302-pound power forward who is a huge wild card that could pay off. He only played one year in college, and had a decent year for himself. With the injury again to Bogut, Gallon and Sanders could be valuable pieces.
The Bucks were also very busy besides the NBA Draft, bringing in pieces to help them not only in the future, but also to bring veteran leadership and skill. The Bucks traded for Corey Maggettee and Chris Douglas-Roberts, signed Drew Gooden, and resigned Carlos Delfino, as well as key player, John Salmons.
Offseason Grade: A
With the loss of Amar'e Stoudemire, the Suns have wasted no time in bringing in players that can play, and at the same time adding so much depth to this team. Their only pick in the draft was the No. 60 pick, in which they selected power forward Dwayne Collins.
The Suns most magic has been coming from trades and free-agent signings. The Suns signed stud in the making, Hakim Warrick. Warrick, is still a young talent that if given enough minutes with the absence of Stoudemire, will be able to produce at a high level. The Suns have also added Hedo Turkoglu from the Raptors for Leandro Barbosa, and then the Raptors would use their trade exception to get Boris Diaw, as well as signing Josh Childress, and lastly, re-signing Channing Frye. All four of these players will play a big role next year for the Suns, and all combined have the ability to produce better than Stoudemire.
Offseason Grade: B+
New Jersey Nets
The Nets sadly, as predicted, were one of the teams that were not able to cash in one of the top tier players as hoped. Well, now they are on to plan B: Add as many other players as possible.
The Nets drafted Derrick Favors with the No. 3 pick, who was a force in college, but has been inconsistent thus far in summer league. Though if he can produce alongside Lopez, the tandem should do themselves and the Nets very good. On draft day, the Nets also traded for the rights to Damion James, who has been a surprising stud in the summer league, and could battle for some good minutes next year. Also, they brought in Ben Uzoh and Brain Zoubek to battle for some minutes.
The Nets have went out and signed three sold free agents: Johan Petro, a center who played for the Nuggets the past few seasons; Travis Outlaw, who after being traded from Portland is looking for a new place to shine; good role player Quniton Ross; and just recently, guard Jordan Farmar.
Offseason Grade: B-
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers, in my eyes, have been the sleepers this offseason so far, and will be sleepers next year as well. I'm calling it right here: The Clippers will end their drought and make the playoffs come next year.
The Clippers had one of the best drafts of all the 30 teams. With the No. 8 pick they selected Al-Farouq Aminu, who is a very underrated player. He is versatile and can play multiple positions, and could be a good player to maybe grab the open three spot in the starting five, or even another player I am high up on about coming to the Clippers, Ryan Gomes.
Back to the draft. The Clippers also swung a great deal, somehow, and brought in another underrated player, point guard Eric Bledsoe, who will come out swinging next year after many critics said he can not play point guard. The Clippers also had another great pick at the No. 54 position, drafting Willie Warren. Last year Warren declared he was supposed to be a lottery choice. Well we all have one bad year, and now the Clippers are about to cash in on all these great young and underrated players. Oh yeah, Blake Griffin is still a rookie, so that makes them have four great rookie players now.
The Clippers, again quietly and without much talk, have added three free agents that will help them a great deal. Yes, they did not grab LeBron, but they did pick up three very good free agents: Ryan Gomes, Randy Foye, and Brain Cook. Gomes and Foye, when given the opportunity (I have seen it first hand), can score with the best, and Cook gives them veteran leadership.
Offseason Grade: A+
In conclusion, I believe these four teams are the teams that have not been talked about much, but are the teams that have been adding the right pieces to better their team, and help their team win.
Again, I am saying with this Clippers roster, the Clippers will not only make the playoffs, but cause some damage as well.