NBA Power Rankings: Grading Every Team's Best and Worst Pickups Thus Far

Ross ColemanAnalyst IJanuary 16, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Grading Every Team's Best and Worst Pickups Thus Far

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    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    Believe it or not, the NBA season is just about halfway over.

    After a historically active offseason, we have a fairly clear picture of which teams are good and which teams aren't. More importantly, which moves were good and which weren't.

    Here we will go through all 30 NBA teams and rank them based on the moves they have made. I will also tell you which move was their best and which was their worst.

    Read on and let us know what you think. Are you happy with the position your team is in?

30. Detroit Pistons

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Best Move

    Believe it or not, but Tracy McGrady has been pretty good for the Pistons. He has actually been the primary ball-handler for Detroit with Rodney Stuckey moving to the off guard.

    The best part of the move is that it only is a one-year contract, meaning if McGrady wants a chance to stay in the league past this year he has to stay healthy and productive.

     

    Worst Move:

    The Pistons decided to re-sign Ben Wallace to a two-year contract.

    That is an old starting center who is averaging 3.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and just over a block per game. He is also a step slower than he used to be.

29. Sacramento Kings

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Best Move

    Drafting DeMarcus Cousins helped give the Kings toughness inside and a legitimate second banana for Tyreke Evans. Cousins has averaged 12.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

     

    Worst Move

    Actually, drafting DeMarcus Cousins is also probably the Kings' worst move this year. During his short time at Kentucky, Cousins was a bit of a problem child. Evans is also a bit of a problematic guy.

    While the combination of Cousins and Evans could take the Kings to the next level, they also have the potential to ruin the franchise by doing something unbelievably dumb.

28. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Best Move

    Obviously losing LeBron James was devastating for the Cavs to stomach. However, the compensation they received was decent: two future first-round picks and two future second-round picks.

    None of those picks will equate to the impact that James could have, but it gives the Cavs some assets to start the rebuilding process.

     

    Worst Move

    Joey Graham was signed to a two-year contract. Since the signing, Graham has played in just 16 games, starting just eight. There is no way that Graham was going to fill the void left by LeBron, but I thought he would at least be a double-digit scorer.

27. Milwaukee Bucks

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Best Move

    Re-signing John Salmons looked like a minor move for the Bucks. However, Salmons has been fantastic for Milwaukee this season. He is Milwaukee's second leading scorer with 14 points per game.

     

    Worst Move

    When the Bucks traded for Jon Brockman from the Sacramento Kings, they thought they were getting an enforcer at forward. However, Brockman has started just two games this year and has only averaged about 10 minutes per game.

26. Toronto Raptors

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Best Move

    The Toronto Raptors traded Jarrett Jack and a few others to the Hornets for Jerryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic. Bayless has been great for the Raptors this year off the bench. He is averaging nearly 10 points per game and has done a great job spelling Jose Calderon.

     

    Worst Move

    The other piece of that trade was Stojakovic. Peja has only played in two games since the trade while Bayless has played in 21 games. Peja is just an over-the-hill forward with no chance of making an impact this year.

25. Golden State Warriors

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Best Move

    The Warriors sent three players to the Knicks for David Lee. So far this season Lee has been great, averaging over 15 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game. Lee has even played so hard that he nearly ended his career because of an elbow infection.

     

    Worst Move

    The Warriors traded Anthony Morrow and C.J. Watson, both for second-round picks. Both Morrow and Watson have been great this year for their respective teams. Both guys are worth more than second-round picks.

24. Phoenix Suns

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Best Move

    The Phoenix Suns sent Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark to the Orlando Magic for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus. The best piece of this trade that went to the Suns was Gortat. He gives the Suns an enforcer. I'm not thrilled about Carter being on the team, but it won't last long.

     

    Worst Move

    Before the start of the season, the Suns traded Leandro Barbosa to the Toronto Raptors for Hedo Turkoglu. When the trade was made it looked like it could help the Suns change up their team enough that they could do something. However, Turkoglu was terrible for the Suns. The fact that they traded him to the Magic is Phoenix admitting defeat in that trade.

23. LA Clippers

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Best Move

    On draft day, the Clippers traded for Eric Bledsoe, who was picked 18th overall by the Thunder. The former Kentucky guard has provided a great lift for the Clippers off the bench and he has shown that he will be the point guard of the future in LA.

     

    Worst Move

    Signing Vinny Del Negro to be the Clippers coach was not the smartest move if you ask me. Trying to figure out his substitution rotation is like trying to read Sanskrit. It just doesn't make sense.

22. Memphis Grizzlies

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Best Move

    The Grizzlies identified the best player on their roster and did whatever it took to keep him. This offseason Memphis gave Rudy Gay a five-year contract and Gay has not disappointed. He is averaging 21 points per game, but the Grizzlies are not in the playoffs as it stands right now.

     

    Worst Move

    The Grizzlies answered one good contract with a terrible contract extension. Memphis signed Mike Conley to a contract extension that made everyone scratch their heads. The deal was for five years and $45 million.

    First off, there is no way he is worth that much money, and secondly, the timing was just a little silly. Conley would be willing to sign that deal at any point during the year, including at the end of his deal. They could have waited to see that this deal was stupid before making it.

21. Washington Wizards

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Best Move

    Prior to trading Gilbert Arenas, there was some speculation that the former All-Star was untradeable. However, the Wizards found a way to move Arenas and that is a feat in itself.

     

    Worst Move

    The Wizards re-signed former Maverick Josh Howard this offseason after trading for him last year. That signing hasn't worked out well for Washington yet. Howard has played in just eight games this year because of injuries.

    Obviously, this could end up being a better move than I am giving it credit for, but right now it looks bad.

20. Indiana Pacers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Best Move

    Adding Darren Collison via trade was a fantastic move by the Pacers. Anytime you add a guy that was a key member of three straight Final Four teams, it is a good thing.

    Collison gives the Pacers a solid starting point guard that can manage a game.

     

    Worst Move

    Drafting Paul George has been disastrous. George was the 10th overall pick and he has done little to help the Pacers this year. He has played in just 16 games this season, averaging just under six points per game. 

    It is a bigger shame when you realize they could have had guys like Xavier Henry, Quincey Pondexter, Joe Crawford or even Landry Fields. All of whom are better than George so far.

19. Denver Nuggets

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Best Move

    With the likely departure of Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets needed to add a scoring forward that could somewhat fill the void left by the All-Star. Al Harrington is a guy that can do that. While his contract isn't great, it is not terrible either.

    The news that the Nuggets wanted to include him in any deal for Anthony doesn't make sense to me.

     

    Worst Move

    The free-agent signing of Shelden Williams didn't look that bad when the Nuggets did it. However, the fact that he is their starting power forward is a scary thought for Denver.

    So far this season, Williams is averaging under five points and six rebounds per game. Not good numbers by any means.

18. Charlotte Bobcats

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Best Move

    The Bobcats had a chance to let Tyrus Thomas leave via free agency this offseason, but instead they re-signed him to a five-year deal. So far Thomas has been living up to his contract.

    He is averaging over 11 points per game, nearly six rebounds per game, and almost two blocks per game off the bench. He could be considered a sixth man of the year candidate.

     

    Worst Move

    Trading Tyson Chandler has fundamentally changed the makeup of the Bobcats this year. It has taken Michael Jordan's franchise from playoff contenders to a lottery team.

17. Dallas Mavericks

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Best Move

    Adding Tyson Chandler to the Dallas roster has given them a legitimate center to take the pressure off Dirk Nowitzki. While he may not be much of a scoring threat, he is best when he is blocking shots and rebounding the ball.

     

    Worst Move

    Tim Thomas is train-wreck of a player. He has had a few nice moments in his career, but that is proof that a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.

    The Mavs resigned him this offseason to a on- year deal in August, however, in September they apparently regretted that decision and cut ties with him.

    At least they were willing to admit a mistake.

16. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Best Move

    Many people thought that Michael Beasley was beyond repair.

    However, when the Timberwolves shipped two second-round picks to Miami for Beasley, no one realized they were getting a guy that would average nearly 21 points per game alongside Kevin Love.

     

    Worst Move

    I don't understand why the Timberwolves would release Delonte West when they are clearly in need of a lead guard that can score or find the hot hand.

    West and Beasley together could have been trouble, but I still think they could have used West this season.

15. Philadelphia 76ers

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Best Move

    The prevailing wisdom this offseason was that the 76ers would be trying to ship star wing Andre Iguodala. However, Philadelphia has evidently decided to hang on to the former University of Arizona star.

    Iguodala has been great for Philly this year, but he has taken a role as a secondary player for the 76ers. He is averaging just over 13 points per game, good for third on the team.

     

    Worst Move

    Spencer Hawes is the 76ers' starting center. They acquired him via trade with the Sacramento Kings this offseason.

    So far Hawes has been a well below-average starting center. He scores just under seven points and pulls down just over five rebounds per game. Not what you would want from a center who has started 38 games this year.

14. Atlanta Hawks

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Best Move

    For the Hawks to remain relevant they needed to keep Joe Johnson in Atlanta, and they did that.

    Johnson provides the Hawks a legit top-flight player on offense.

     

    Worst Move

    Unfortunately the Johnson signing did not make the Hawks any better and the fact that they paid so much for him makes this signing a bad one, too.

13. Houston Rockets

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Best Move

    Kyle Lowry has been a surprise this year in Houston and were it not for the Rockets matching Cleveland's offer sheet for the guard, he would be doing well somewhere else.

    This season, Lowry is averaging over 11 points and six assists per game as the starting point guard in Houston.

     

    Worst Move

    The Rockets traded a first-round pick for Terrence Williams. Seems like they grossly over paid for a guy that would be sitting on their bench.

12. San Antonio Spurs

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Best Move

    After a terrible first season in San Antonio, the Spurs decided to re-sign forward Richard Jefferson. That move has been great so far, even though he isn't the same explosive player that he used to be.

    Actually the Spurs have been very fortunate when it comes to player injuries. They have had the same starting lineup for all 40 games this season.

     

    Worst Move

    Once upon a time Bobby Simmons was an All-Star and a huge free-agent target. Now he was a minor acquisition for the Spurs.

    I am not prepared to call it a bad signing, I just think they could have gotten someone better than Simmons.

11. New Jersey Nets

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Best Move

    The Nets send a second-round pick to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for shooter Anthony Morrow.

    Morrow has been great for the Nets this season. He is the third-leading scorer in New Jersey at nearly 13 points per game and he came at a cheap price.

     

    Worst Move

    When the Nets traded for Troy Murphy, I would assume they thought they were getting more than just an expiring contract.

    Murphy has played in just 18 games so far this season.

10. New Orleans Hornets

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Best Move

    With the questions surrounding Chris Paul's knee, the addition of Jarrett Jack has provided a huge lift for the New Orleans Hornets.

    He is a solid backup point guard and gives the Hornets a great guy off the bench to lead the second unit.

     

    Worst Move

    The only problem with the move for Jack is that the Hornets had everything Jack gives them in Darren Collison last year.

    Keeping Collison would have given the Hornets more options. They could have shipped Chris Paul for a bunch of other pieces and built around Collison. Or they could have held Collison until teams were ready to overpay for him.

9. Portland Trailblazers

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    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    Best Move

    With the news that Brandon Roy could be out for the rest of the season, the signing of Wesley Matthews now looks like the most important free-agent signing this year.

    Matthews has been great for the Blazers this year, averaging almost 16 points per game.

     

    Worst Move

    I am sure the Blazers wish they still had Ryan Gomes on the roster.

    Gomes would have given the Blazers more flexibility and could have helped them make some moves to get better this year.

8. Orlando Magic

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Best Move

    The thing that made the Magic so difficult to match up with when the made the finals a few years ago was the presence of Hedo Turkoglu.

    The Magic realized the mistake they made when they let him go and went out and reacquired him.

    That entire trade, including adding Jason Richardson, helped reshape a roster that was in desperate need of it.

     

    Worst Move

    When the Magic signed Chris Duhon they though they were getting a great backup point guard.

    However, Duhon has not gotten the job done in Orlando.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Best Move

    The person Oklahoma City can thank for getting their team in the position it is in is none other than GM Sam Presti.

    Presti is one of the smartest GMs in the league and the Thunder gave him a contract extension as a result.

     

    Worst Move

    The only move that Presti has made that I question is his choice to give Nick Collison a contract extension.

    The timing of the deal seems a little strange to me and Collison is not a guy I would want to devote much money to.

6. Boston Celtics

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Best Move

    The Celtics were going to have a hole at center this year because of the injury to Kendrick Perkins.

    They addressed the hole by signing Shaquille O'Neal to a two-year deal.

    Shaq is at the latter stages of his career, but he is great in his first year in a new town, so this deal could be just what the Celtics need.

     

    Worst Move

    On the flipside, Jermaine O'Neal has not been a factor at all for the Celtics.

    He has played in just 17 games because of injuries and he has had a minimal impact.

5. Utah Jazz

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Best Move

    With the departure of Carlos Boozer, the Jazz needed to add a legitimate low-post scorer and Al Jefferson is absolutely that.

    Jefferson is a great young guy that could help the Jazz go far in the playoffs this year.

     

    Worst Move

    Adding Raja Bell isn't a bad move, but giving him three years seems a little questionable to me.

    Bell is a great defender and role player, but he seems like a hired gun to me. This not someone who you would give that kind of a deal to.

4. Chicago Bulls

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Best Move

    After being spurned by both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, the Bulls brought in Carlos Boozer as a free agent this offseason.

    So far he has been a great addition in Chicago for a team that is really making a leap.

     

    Worst Move

    Chicago named former Bulls great Scottie Pippen as team Ambassador in July.  

    Since that move what has Pippen done? Nothing!

    But all kidding aside, the Bulls have made some great moves this year and they don't have a poor move that I can point to yet.

3. New York Knicks

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Best Move

    Amare Stoudemire may have been the big name the Knicks brought in this offseason, but Raymond Felton has been their best signing.

    Felton has come in and run this team perfectly and re-energized a franchise in need of a lift.

    If the Knicks can add one more legitimate player, they will really make a leap in the East.

     

    Worst Move

    Roger Mason was a deadly shooter in San Antonio, but so far this season he has been a huge disappointment.

    Mason has played in just 10 games this year and he has averaged less than one point per game.

2. LA Lakers

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Best Move

    The last few years the Lakers have lived and died based on how their bench played in close games.

    The signing of Steve Blake gave the Lakers a legitimate bench leader that can hit open shots.

    Matt Barnes was also a good signing, but I think Blake has provided more of a boost than Barnes.

     

    Worst Move

    The Lakers sent Sasha Vujacic and a first-round pick to the Nets in exchange for Joe Smith.

    First off, they could have kept Vujacic and thrown him into a more substantial trade, but that's neither here nor there.

    The fact that they gave up a first-round pick for Joe Smith is just silly.

1. Miami Heat

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Best Move

    While people can point to bringing in LeBron James or Chris Bosh as their best moves, I think the best move the Heat made this year was hanging onto Dwyane Wade.

    Wade has been the Heat's best player this year and he deserves some MVP consideration.

     

    Worst Move

    Eddie House has been a disappointment this year.

    In his past stops he has been a huge addition and a great bench player. Now he has been benched.