By Hocine Loukkaf on 8/23/2019
July has been wild with Kawhi the main prize after leading the Raptors to the title. Let’s take a look at the winners of this offseason.
#1 LA Clippers
The Clippers hoped to sign Kawhi, but by sending Gallo and SGA to the Thunder, they were able to get another California-raised star, Paul George. They also signed another glue guy with Moe Harkless, a do-it-all forward who will bring defense and intensity. The PG may be a bit weak with Beverley as the main option with the departure of SGA, but the roster is stacked with experience and toughness.
#2 New Orleans Pelicans
After winning the lottery and Zion, the Pels were waiting for the best deal to trade Davis. They used him to get Ball, Ingram and Hart, talented players who still need to prove they can be part of a winning team. Yet, LA’ s best compensation may be the draft’s 4th picks, which they trade to Atlanta for the 8th and 17th, picks they used to sign summer leagues’ standouts Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Walker-Alexander. The Pels didn’t stop there as they also bring experience to the roster with Reddick, Favors and Italian PF Nicolo Melli.
#3 LA Lakers
Lebron’s first year in LA hasn’t reached the expectations and the Lakers needed to make a big move to change that. Anthony Davis, if healthy, is the type of player who will help Lebron in this stacked Western Conference. Unfortunately they will not be able to count on DMC, who tore his ACL. Danny Green will also help thanks to his defense and outside shooting.
#4 Brooklyn Nets
If only Kevin Durant wasn’t hurt. The Nets may have one of the best offseason with the signings of Durant and Irving. Unfortunately, KD may be out for the season. At least they will have Kyrie who will be an upgrade to Russell at the PG spot. Taurean Prince, who came in a trade for Crabbe and the 2019 draft’s 17th pick, will have playing time at the SF spot while vet DeAndre Jordan has crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to help Allen at the C position.
#5 Philadelphia Sixers
Despite Butler’s signing with Miami and the departure of Reddick, the Sixers have had a successful summer. Josh Richardson will be challenged by rookie Thybulle at the G spot to bring shooting and defense. Inside, the paint is full with the very efficient Horford who could play big minutes at both PF and C spots and will be even more important if Embiid can’t stay healthy.
#6 Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker and Ayton were really too alone last year. The Suns did a good job filling the roster with experienced and talented players despite the fact that they didn’t add another star. Rubio and Jevon Carter will bring fill that very weak PG spot while Saric, Baynes, Kaminsky and Diallo could all play a role in the inside rotation centered around Ayton.
#7 Miami Heat
The Heat badly needed a star and Butler finally has the opportunity to be the boss after his experiences with Minnesota and Philly. Miami also moved Whiteside which will give more room for Adebayo to operate. In a weaker Eastern Conference, Butler could help Miami go far into the playoffs.
#8 Houston Rockets
By trading Paul for Westbrook, the Rockets got a younger and much more physical PG to pair with Harden. Will this work in the stacked Western Conference ?
#9 Denver Nuggets
Denver had a smart and quiet summer by basically adding one player, Jerami Grant. The former Thunder has improved from outside and his athleticism complements perfectly Jokic and the aging Millsap in the paint.
#10 OKC Thunder
The Thunder basically jeopardized their immediate future by trading both Paul George and Russell Westbrook, but also letting Jerami Grant leave. They were also unable until now to trade Chris Paul who will probably pair with SGA in the backcourt. Gallinari is another vet who could help or be traded to a playoff contender. Yet, OKC can remain positive as they stacked first round picks over the next five years. We’ll know in five years if it was a good bet.