NBA Power Rankings: Where Does Each Team Stand After July 4th?
July 4 might not be an official date on the NBA calendar, but it tends to be a reliable marker for when things start to slow down in free agency.
He was preceded by DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe and Tyson Chandler as big names to change addresses during the first week of free agency. Countless others have swapped jerseys or signed contract extensions, and that doesn't even factor in all the shuffling around that occurred on draft night.
Where, in short, does this leave your team heading into the quieter portion of the offseason? This will sort all that out for you. But first, a quick note about making power rankings before any games have been played.
If there's anything a decade in this industry has taught me, it's that no one knows anything.
That's not quite true, in fact.
Lots of very smart people know lots of very smart things. But even very smart people who know very smart things can only guess what the future holds.
The problem, as so often is the case, is people. They change, and there's simply no way of knowing how any individual will grow from day to day or react to changes in environment.
But what we can do is evaluate talent and fit, so that we may at least get a firm grip on everything that's transpired since the NBA draft.
Click ahead to see why your favorite team is ranked where it is, and feel free to tell me in the comments section how badly I've bungled things.
30. Philadelphia 76ers
Key additions: Jahlil Okafor (draft), Nik Stauskas (trade)
Key losses: None
Projected starters: Tony Wroten Jr., Nik Stauskas, Robert Covington, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor
Philadelphia may sit last in these rankings, but things are getting better for the 76ers quite quickly.
The addition of Okafor, the third overall pick in the draft, gives Philadelphia's offense the focal point it's desperately lacked. Okafor is a true low-post threat, and should combine nicely with the more defensive-minded Noel in the frontcourt.
The real surprise is the trade for Stauskas, thanks to a Sacramento Kings team desperate to unload salary. Stauskas, the eighth pick in the 2014 draft, has all the tools to be an efficient perimeter scorer. He'll team up with Covington to space the floor for Okafor and Noel.
Philadelphia still needs a point guard (and for Joel Embiid to get healthy), but the puzzle is finally starting to take shape. It's a veritable lock that the Sixers won't be last in these rankings one year from now.
29. Denver Nuggets
Key additions: Mike Malone (coach), Emmanuel Mudiay (draft)
Key losses: None
Denver looks to be in line for a full-scale rebuild, beginning with this season.
Hiring Malone as the new head coach was the first step in that process. He had the Kings playing near-.500 ball before his inexplicable firing. Expect him to clear out the roster as soon as he gets an opportunity.
As for what he inherits, Denver finished 21st in offensive efficiency and 26th in defensive efficiency last season, according to John Hollinger's ESPN rankings, and there's little reason to believe it'll improve.
Lawson, the team's best player (by default), quipped that he was going to Sacramento after the Nuggets drafted his replacement (Mudiay) with the seventh overall pick. Gallinari can still shoot it, but his two-year struggle with an ACL injury has robbed him of most of his mobility.
The bright spot is Mudiay, who has as much upside as any player in his draft class. A big, athletic point guard with excellent floor vision, Mudiay has the potential to develop into Denver's next franchise cornerstone.
28. New York Knicks
Key additions: Kristaps Porzingis (draft), Jerian Grant (trade), Arron Afflalo (FA), Robin Lopez (FA), Kyle O'Quinn (sign-and-trade)
Key losses: Tim Hardaway Jr. (trade)
Projected starters: Jose Calderon, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, PF TBA, Robin Lopez
There is a subtle difference between the Knicks roster this year and the roster from a year ago, but it's an important difference for the team's fans to appreciate.
This year, the Knicks are Carmelo Anthony and a bunch of role players. Last year, the Knicks were Carmelo Anthony and a bunch of fringe NBA talent.
The Knicks (and their fans) were hoping to get immediate help in the draft and a star in free agency. That did not happen, but they still took a necessary step this offseason by filling their roster with NBA-caliber players. If they can land a second star next summer, they'll be in position to make a lot of noise come playoff time.
For now, the Knicks will continue to struggle. Don't expect much defense from anyone outside of Lopez, and Anthony remains the lone shot-creator on offense.
27. Los Angeles Lakers
Key additions: D'Angelo Russell (draft), Roy Hibbert (trade), Lou Williams (FA)
Key losses: Ed Davis (FA)
Projected starters: D'Angelo Russell, Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Julius Randle, Roy Hibbert
Like the Knicks, the Lakers didn't manage to make the kind of splash they were counting on this summer.
Russell is the summer's marquee acquisition, and if he can convince Kobe to share the ball, he'll be a dynamic threat in the Lakers backcourt.
Hibbert will give the Lakers a defensive presence, but won't help their efficiency on offense. The real benefit to the trade for Los Angeles, though, is the flexibility it provides. Should an unhappy star become available via trade during the season, it'll only need to attach one contract (Hibbert's) to young assets like Randle and Jordan Clarkson to match salaries on a potential deal.
26. Detroit Pistons
Key additions: Stanley Johnson (draft), Ersan Ilyasova (trade), Marcus Morris (trade), Aron Baynes (FA)
Key losses: Greg Monroe (FA)
Projected starters: Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond
Detroit's had a tricky offseason to judge. On one hand, the moves it's made fit Stan Van Gundy's four-out offense better than the players he inherited. On the other hand, the increased depth in no way makes up for the loss of Monroe's talent.
With Caldwell-Pope, Morris and Ilyasova, Detroit will space the floor for Drummond the same way Orlando did for Dwight Howard.
Where it all falls down is that Drummond, at this stage in his development, is nowhere near the singularly dominant force Howard was. And while the above trio fits Van Gundy's system, it's comprised more of fringe starters than anything.
Detroit has likely taken a step sideways while it waits for Drummond, Johnson and Jackson to develop into legitimate threats. All three have potential, but their games also have significant holes.
25. Portland Trail Blazers
Key additions: Gerald Henderson (trade), Noah Vonleh (trade), Mason Plumlee (trade), Al-Farouq Aminu (FA)
Key losses: Nicolas Batum (trade), Arron Afflalo (FA), Robin Lopez (FA), Wes Matthews (FA), LaMarcus Aldridge (FA)
Projected starters: Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Al-Farouq Aminu, Mason Plumlee, Meyers Leonard
There was no way for this to be a pretty offseason for Portland, and you have to give general manager Neil Olshey credit for moving aggressively to rebuild around Lillard.
The hope for the Blazers is that Leonard, Plumlee and Vonleh will develop into some sort of combination that can replace Aldridge. Leonard was a 50-40-90 player last season, while Vonleh, the ninth pick in the 2014 draft, has intriguing upside as a scorer. Plumlee regressed during his second season in Brooklyn, but showed defensive potential as a rookie.
The reality, though, is that Portland is facing a tough season. Only one of its top six scorers from last season remains (Lillard), and no one stands out as a candidate to be the team's second option. McCollum looked great in the playoffs, but he now needs to do it over 82 games.
24. Sacramento Kings
Key additions: Willie Cauley-Stein (draft), Rajon Rondo (FA), Marco Belinelli (FA), Kosta Koufos (FA)
Key losses: Nik Stauskas (trade), Jason Thompson (trade), Carl Landry (trade)
Projected starters: Rajon Rondo, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Willie Cauley-Stein, DeMarcus Cousins
I refuse to believe this can work. Under no circumstances should this be allowed to work.
Personality is not one of those things in basketball that you can never have too much. Y'know, like shooting or rebounding or defense.
How Sacramento plans to fit the personalities of Cousins, Gay, Cauley-Stein, Rondo, George Karl, Vlade Divac and Vivek Ranadive in one building is beyond comprehension. The mere volatility could induce vertigo in anyone in attendance.
Cousins is a stud, but the Kings have more name value than they have actual basketball talent. Cauley-Stein can develop into a destructive defensive force, but Rondo hasn't been the same player since tearing his ACL.
23. Orlando Magic
Key additions: Mario Hezonja (draft), Scott Skiles (head coach)
Key losses: Kyle O'Quinn (sign-and-trade)
Projected starters: Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Tobias Harris, Nic Vucevic
The Magic addressed their two biggest holes this offseason: the need for a savvy coach and a shooter on the wing. They're in good shape to make a big leap this season, although don't be surprised if that doesn't happen until the second half.
Skiles is the perfect coach for a young team loaded with defensive potential but lacking in defensive discipline. It may take some time for the kids to figure it out, but it's not unfair to expect some long nights for opposing offenses.
Hezonja, meanwhile, has incredible ability as a scorer, the one thing Orlando failed to obtain in recent drafts. He should be able to open the court for Payton and Oladipo to gash defenses off the bounce.
22. Minnesota Timberwolves
- How long will it take for those players to learn to prepare like professionals?
- How long will it take for those players to learn where to be on the court?
Key additions: Karl-Anthony Towns (draft)
Key losses: None
Projected starters: Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, Kevin Garnett, Kark-Anthony Towns
There are typically two things teams worry about when they rebuild around teenagers:
That tends to not be much of a problem when you've got Kevin Garnett (and assistant coach Sam Mitchell) hanging about making sure everyone knows exactly what they need to be doing. My advice: Do not sleep on Minnesota this year.
Towns won't put up the big numbers Wiggins did in his rookie year, but he should still make a considerable mark protecting the rim. Even as a rookie, he'll be an upgrade over Nikola Pekovic on the defensive end.
The big surprise might come from second-year guard Zach LaVine. If he can commit himself to being a three-and-D wing while his basketball IQ develops, the Wolves have the potential to be a fundamental problem in the West.
21. Boston Celtics
Key additions: Terry Rozier (draft), R.J. Hunter (draft), Amir Johnson (FA)
Key losses: None
Projected starters: Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller
I have not one clue if any of those players will be starters for the Celtics. If there's one thing you can say about the roster Boston has constructed, it's that any combination of five players is just as good as any other combination of five players.
Everything about the Celtics screams "average" right now.
The signing of the athletic Johnson should at least bump Boston out of the middle of the pack defensively, where they were tied for 12th last season.
Rozier and Hunter have upside, but they're also looking up at a lot of guys ahead of them in the rotation. Expect general manager Danny Ainge to clear out some of the clutter in the backcourt before the season starts.
Why are the Celtics, a playoff team in the East last season, ranked so low?
Johnson does make them better, but I'm not sure they've improved more than other teams in the Eastern Conference. They needed more scoring, but they failed to get any immediate help there.
20. Charlotte Hornets
Key additions: Nicolas Batum (trade), Spencer Hawes (trade), Frank Kaminsky (draft)
Key losses: Lance Stephenson (trade), Gerald Henderson (trade), Noah Vonleh (trade)
Projected starters: Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, Al Jefferson
In theory, this was a productive offseason for Charlotte. It improved its biggest weakness (shooting) and got rid of its biggest headache (Stephenson).
Despite coming off a down season, Batum is a much better shooter than Henderson. Kaminsky, although a reach at No. 9 in the draft, is a legitimate scoring threat from the outside as a stretch 4/5. And the only value Hawes brings to the table at this point is his ability to knock down jumpers.
In practice, I'm not sure this works, at least not enough to propel the Hornets into the playoffs.
The offense still revolves around Al Jefferson, who regressed as a 30-year old last season, and a point guard, Walker, who has only once shot better than 40 percent from the field. The extra shooters will help balance out the offense, but Charlotte will still need Jefferson to carry it into the playoffs.
19. Indiana Pacers
Key additions: Myles Turner (draft), Monta Ellis (FA)
Key losses: Roy Hibbert (trade), David West (FA)
Projected starters: George Hill, Monta Ellis, Solomon Hill, Paul George, Ian Mahinmi
The departures of Hibbert and West signal a new era for the Pacers, one that features smaller, more athletic lineups.
Ellis is exactly the kind of player the Pacers have needed in recent seasons. He can serve as both a top scoring option and a secondary ball-handler in the backcourt.
Turner was a high-upside pick in the draft, possessing a rare combination of outside shooting and shot-blocking ability. It may take him some time to get used to banging in the paint with NBA centers, but his shooting should get him on the floor.
The loss of Hibbert will be bigger than most fans expect. He wasn't worth his contract and his offense was difficult to watch, but he's still an elite defender.
Indiana will battle for a playoff spot in the East, but I'm not sure it's good enough on either end of the floor to ultimately win that race. This could be a transition year for the Pacers.
18. Brooklyn Nets
Key additions: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (trade), Chris McCullough (draft)
Key losses: Mason Plumlee (trade)
For the second consecutive year, the Nets' primary offseason objective was to get younger and more athletic. The additions of Hollis-Jefferson and injured forward Chris McCullough accomplishes just that.
Hollis-Jefferson should make an immediate impact as a versatile defender on the perimeter, something the Nets have not had in years. He can't shoot, but that's less of a problem next to the likes of Williams, Johnson and Bogdanovic.
Given Lopez's injury history, the trade of Plumlee is a massive risk, but one the Nets felt they had to make. Plumlee didn't have a big role once Lopez returned to the starting lineup, but Brooklyn is now left without a true backup center.
Brooklyn will be in the mix for a playoff spot in the East, although that could change if Lopez gets hurt, or the Nets dump Joe Johnson for salary relief.
17. Utah Jazz
Key additions: Trey Lyles (draft)
Key losses: None
Projected starters: Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert
Utah was the surprise team of the second half last season, evolving into a stifling defensive force following the trade of Enes Kanter. Utah allowed opponents to score over 100 points just five times after the All-Star break.
While its progress was staggering, further improvements will have to be internal. The Jazz have been quiet this summer, having yet to make a trade or use any of their cap space.
As things stand, Lyles is the only addition to Utah's roster. He'll add some depth behind Favors at power forward, but it's not clear what his NBA skill is just yet. Drafting a shooter like Devin Booker might have made sense, as he would've added some perimeter scoring to a guard rotation that struggled to put the ball through the net last season.
Unless 2014 lottery pick Exum takes a considerable step forward offensively, Utah's offense will keep the team out of the playoffs in the West.
16. Toronto Raptors
Key additions: DeMarre Carroll (FA), Delon Wright (draft)
Key losses: Amir Johnson (FA), Lou Williams (FA), Greivis Vasquez (trade)
Projected starters: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, DeMarre Carroll, Patrick Patterson, Jonas Valanciunas
Toronto followed up an Atlantic Division title with a first-round playoff sweep at the hands of the Washington Wizards. Unfortunately for the Raptors, this offseason won't help take the sting out of their second consecutive first-round elimination.
Toronto upgraded on the wing by signing Carroll to fill the three-and-D role it hoped Terrence Ross would develop into, but it's done little else.
Losing Johnson could prove especially painful, as the Raptors no longer have an athletic big man on the roster. For a team that finished 23rd in defensive efficiency, that could pose a problem.
General manager Masai Ujiri has developed a reputation as a guy who builds superstar-less teams, but it seems he's failing in that effort with Toronto. The Raptors' inability to shoot from deep or defend in key situations was exposed in the playoffs, and they've done nothing to address those shortcomings.
15. Phoenix Suns
Key additions: Tyson Chandler (FA), Devin Booker (draft)
Key losses: Brandan Wright (FA), Marcus Morris (trade)
Projected starters: Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, T.J. Warren, Markieff Morris, Tyson Chandler
General manager Ryan McDonough went for it this offseason, unloading salary to make a real run at LaMarcus Aldridge, according to the Associated Press' Bob Baum (via NBA.com). Although the Suns failed to secure Aldridge's services, they still might have done enough to get into the playoffs.
Chandler will pay immediate dividends for a team that needs defense and leadership. Phoenix ranked 17th in defensive efficiency last season, and it's not out of the question for it to creep toward the top 10 with Chandler anchoring the paint.
While trading Morris hurts, Warren has a higher ceiling as a scorer and Booker will add depth as possibly the draft's best shooter.
Phoenix is a real threat to take a playoff spot from the Los Angeles Clippers or Dallas Mavericks.
14. Atlanta Hawks
Key additions: Tiago Splitter (trade), Tim Hardaway Jr. (trade)
Key losses: DeMarre Carroll (FA)
Projected starters: Jeff Teague, Thabo Sefolosha, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Al Horford
The Hawks were the league's biggest surprise last season, winning 60 games after a tumultuous offseason. Unfortunately, nothing they've done this offseason will help them stay a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.
Splitter will help off the bench as a defensive presence in the post, and could allow Atlanta to play big with Millsap and Horford as traditional forwards. He's a solid get.
Outside of that? Atlanta turned the 15th pick in a decent draft into Hardaway Jr., who was last seen shooting 39 percent from the floor for the Knicks last season. As of now, there's no plan to replace Carroll's production.
With other teams getting better in the East, Atlanta might take a big slide.
13. Los Angeles Clippers
Key additions: Paul Pierce (FA), Lance Stephenson (trade)
Key losses: DeAndre Jordan (FA), Matt Barnes (trade), Spencer Hawes (trade)
Fool of a Took!
The Clippers were so focused on improving their bench that they seemed to forget their star center was a free agent, and the team was eventually forced to watch him walk away for nothing.
That was after they traded backup center Spencer Hawes.
With no cap room, the Clippers will struggle to find someone who can provide any kind of rim protection at center. Their best hope is to gamble on someone like JaVale McGee or Larry Sanders.
Pierce and Stephenson will help solve the depth problems that plagued them in the playoffs, but now the Clippers have to worry about actually making it to the postseason.
12. Milwaukee Bucks
Key additions: Greg Monroe (FA), Greivis Vasquez (trade), Rashad Evans (draft)
Key losses: Jared Dudley (trade), Ersan Ilyasova (trade)
Projected starters: Michael Carter-Williams, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, Greg Monroe
What to do with the Bucks?
They were a surprise playoff team in the East last season, but went 11-18 after swapping Brandon Knight for Carter-Williams at the deadline.
Monroe gives them a focal point on offense, but he lacks the defensive prowess Jason Kidd prefers in his long-ball lineups.
The development of Antetokounmpo and Parker swings it for me. Parker can provide the floor spacing needed to pair with Carter-Williams, while the Greek Freak can cover the rest of the gaps. They'll be better than last year, but so will the East.
11. Dallas Mavericks
Key additions: DeAndre Jordan (FA), Wesley Matthews (FA)
Key losses: Monta Ellis (FA), Tyson Chandler (FA), Al-Farouq Aminu (FA), Rajon Rondo (FA)
Projected starters: Devin Harris, Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, DeAndre Jordan
Dallas won one of the big free-agent battles, stealing Jordan away from the Clippers. Is that enough to overcome the loss of Chandler and Ellis?
Jordan isn't the defensive organizer that Chandler is, but he's younger and still has some upside left. He's flashed a back-to-the-basket game, and we know he's an eraser near the rim.
Losing Ellis hurts, but he wasn't a great defender or a willing passer. Matthews is a question mark coming off an Achilles injury, but his three-and-D skill set is a better fit for this team.
Dallas still needs a point guard, but the addition by subtraction created by Rondo's departure softens that blow.
10. Memphis Grizzlies
Key additions: Brandan Wright (FA), Matt Barnes (trade)
Key losses: Jon Leuer (trade)
The Memphis Grizzlies know what their weakness is, and they simply don't care.
The Grizzlies finished second to last in three-pointers made last season—after finishing last the previous two years. Did they add shooting this season?
They added more defense and toughness. Because they didn't have enough of that.
Barnes is a three-and-D wing, but he's more tenacious than an outside shooter. Wright is a favorite of the analytics crowd and a tremendous defensive big.
The question becomes just how long can they keep going against the grain? The league is getting smaller and more athletic. Memphis' roster is getting up there in years. Can the team keep winning through "Grit and Grind"?
9. Washington Wizards
Key additions: Kelly Oubre (trade), Jared Dudley (trade), Gary Neal (FA)
Key losses: Paul Pierce (FA)
Projected starters: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Nene, Marcin Gortat
Washington took a major step forward last year, making the playoffs and advancing to the second round.
Losing Pierce is a blow, especially in the leadership department, but the Wizards rebounded nicely with the addition of Dudley. He's not the scorer that Pierce is, but he's a leader and can hit a three every night.
The big hope is that Porter continues his development. The third pick in the 2013 draft, Porter averaged 10 points per game during the playoffs after a quiet regular season.
Oubre was a nice addition on draft night. He has three-and-D potential and was expected to go much higher before struggling to adapt at Kansas. He's not the first wing to struggle under Bill Self.
8. New Orleans Pelicans
Key additions: Alvin Gentry (head coach)
Key losses: Monty Williams (head coach)
Projected starters: Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Anthony Davis, Omer Asik
Beyond replacing Monty Williams with Alvin Gentry, the Pelicans have had a quiet offseason.
Thus far, New Orleans' business has been limited to retaining free agents Asik and Alexis Ajinca, a smart move as it looks to keep Davis out of the center position. Davis has a chance to be much more impactful defensively at power forward.
After squeaking into the playoffs thanks to Oklahoma City's run of injuries, why are the Pelicans so high on the list?
For starters, while it'll be hard for Davis to put up better numbers, it's not unreasonable to expect him to become more consistent. Then there's the hope that Holiday will remain healthy for an entire season.
The big upgrade, though, is Gentry, who will do a better job putting players in a position to succeed than his predecessor.
7. Chicago Bulls
Key additions: Fred Hoiberg (head coach), Bobby Portis (draft)
Key losses: Tom Thibodeau (head coach)
After what felt like an eternity of speculation, the Bulls finally cut ties with Thibodeau, bringing Hoiberg in from Iowa State to replace him.
The Bulls roster might remain the same, but you can bet the atmosphere is a lot lighter. Expect a looser Bulls team this season both on and off the floor. Even Rose might crack a smile.
Portis was a steal with the 22nd pick in the draft. He might not have star qualities, but he plays hard and mean, and there's a good chance he'll want to make a statement after slipping in the first round. He can give Gasol and Noah some rest in the frontcourt.
6. Miami Heat
Key additions: Justise Winslow (draft)
Key losses: None
Pat Riley is a genius. He's had little choice but to give an aging, broken-down Wade a monster contract, yet somehow he still managed to improve a team with little flexibility.
Winslow is the only addition to this point, but he was a steal in the draft. He's a beast on the wing on both ends of the floor and he'll be ready to play right away.
The key was picking up Dragic at the deadline last year. He can do it all on offense and takes a lot of pressure off Wade.
Here's the real measure of how good Riley is: The Heat are a playoff team even if Wade goes down for an extended period of time. With Bosh and Deng returning in the frontcourt, Miami could be the biggest threat to Cleveland in the East.
5. Houston Rockets
Key additions: Sam Dekker (draft)
Key losses: None
Projected starters: Patrick Beverley, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Terrence Jones, Dwight Howard
According to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen, the Rockets wanted LaMarcus Aldridge, but they couldn't get it done. They'll have to settle for Harden and Howard leading the motley collection of underrated talent GM Daryl Morey managed to pluck from seemingly nowhere.
Keeping Beverley and Corey Brewer represents solid work for Houston's summer spending, but it'll need more if it's going to challenge the West's elite.
Can the Rockets turn some of their young talent into the third star Morey's been craving? They'll have to in order to take the next step this season.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
Key additions: Billy Donovan (head coach), Cameron Payne (draft)
Key losses: Scott Brooks (head coach), Jeremy Lamb (trade)
The things we forget can often be very dangerous things. And in case anyone has forgotten, the Thunder still own the best one-two combination in the NBA with Durant and Westbrook.
Both are easily top-10 players, and on any given night, either can look like the league's best player.
No, the question isn't whether or not the Thunder are championship contenders, the question is if they've done enough to get over the hump.
The biggest change for Oklahoma City might not be the hiring of Donovan, but the trades that sent Lamb and Reggie Jackson out of town. As ESPN.com's Royce Young revealed in February, chemistry was a problem for the Thunder at times.
It's hard to predict how Donovan will resonate in an NBA locker room, but there's no doubting his coaching ability. He won back-to-back NCAA championships at Florida, and that was without a team full of McDonald's All-Americans.
As for the roster, Payne is the big addition. He's a scoring point guard with good feel for the game, and he's a great fit for Jackson's old role.
3. San Antonio Spurs
Key additions: LaMarcus Aldridge (FA)
Key losses: Tiago Splitter (trade), Aron Baynes (FA), Marco Belinelli (FA), Cory Joseph (FA)
Projected starters: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan
The Spurs easily won the offseason. Not only did they retain Green and Leonard, but they also snared the summer's biggest prize in Aldridge. Between Leonard and Aldridge, the Spurs secured a stable post-Duncan future.
Aldridge will likely become the new focal point of the Spurs offense, inasmuch as the Spurs actually have a focal point to their offense. Leonard will be counted on as the second option.
As good as those two look next to Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili (if he returns), it might not be enough for the Spurs to get back to the NBA Finals.
Depth is going to be a major issue with so many players leaving, and Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have shown signs of slipping even with significant rest. One injury could doom San Antonio.
As good as this summer has been for the Spurs, they may not reap its rewards for another season.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Key additions: None
Key losses: None
Projected starters: Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov
For a team that hasn't actually added or lost a player other than Shawn Marion, things sure have been noisy in Cleveland this summer.
Signing Kevin Love to a long-term contract was a good start, now the Cavaliers just need to get a deal done with Tristan Thompson. James will presumably ink his own deal once Thompson gets paid.
Everyone knows the score by this point: As long as the Cavs have James, they'll be among the favorites to win the NBA championship. If Irving and Love were healthy, there's a very real chance Cleveland would've won the title last year.
It may not be the best practice, but Dan Gilbert just needs to keep doing whatever makes James happy. If that means trading for Joe Johnson, as ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst reports the Cavs "are considering," trade for Joe Johnson. If that means sticking to the status quo, stick to the status quo.
1. Golden State Warriors
Key additions: Kevon Looney (draft)
Key losses: None
Projected starters: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut
Sometimes a quiet summer is the best tonic following a championship season.
With no pressing needs or major departures, the Warriors wrapped up the bulk of their offseason work by signing Green to a contract extension. They still need to resolve David Lee's situation, but that should be a smaller matter.
Looney slipped to the Warriors at No. 30 on draft night, and he could prove to be a solid addition. He has talent as a versatile stretch 4, but he needs to develop NBA-level skills.
Beyond that, what's there for Golden State to do? Adding a young big to develop behind Bogut would be nice, but it's not in the cards this summer.
Complacency is never good, but for now, the Warriors can enjoy their time on top of the mountain.
Player moves courtesy of ESPN.com's tracker.