There were a couple of pieces set to publish about teams, but a little thing called the NBA Draft happened. So instead of publishing those pieces I would rather use that information learned from the draft and provide you with a condensed version including any current trades for said teams. During the offseason thus far some teams have laid the groundwork for future success, while others continue to destroy their futures with questionable (At best) decisions.
Let us begin where we finished before we could barely get started and that is with the:
The Magic as previously touched on here have started to lay the groundwork to be a very productive and competitive team. Their GM Rob Hennigan has done an excellent job thus far. The Magic won the Dwight Howard/Andrew Bynum trade (I say this definitively) and in the process seem to have picked up two players that will be important for there long term success (Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless). With bringing in other talented players throughout last season (Tobias Harris) and smart drafting (Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn, & Victor Oladipo). Those players should provide a strong core that a superstar player can help take to the next level.
The Magic have been quiet thus far in the offseason, but that could change as soon. I would have liked to see the Magic in the second round of the draft to take a shot on a high reward type of player. There were plenty of players that I think the Magic could have taken a flyer on that have more upside that Romero Osby. A couple of players that come to mind would be Myck Kabongo and Phil Pressey. The Magic do have a need at point guard, with Jameer Nelson starting to as age. The point guard position was very deep in this draft and the Magic are a team that should have at least taken a non guaranteed flyer on one of them. There is alway the sign and trade option, but not sure that magic want to have to give up more assets than they would like. It will be interesting to see what will happen.
I am torn about the Sixers, I do not like the fact that they traded away a young valuable asset in Jrue Holiday for a 2014 first-round pick (top-five protected) and Nerlens Noel. I will say that I can understand the move by the franchise and a new GM coming in and changing the status quo. The Sixers loss an all-star in Holiday (even if he only may have played like an all-star for half a season and there were injuries to players that were better than him) and someone who will only continue to get better as a player.
Word is that new Sixers, GM Sam Hinkie is a big fan of advanced analytics when it comes to scouting players. In the draft it would seem the Hinkie did an excellent job of drafting with his selections of Michael Carter-Williams and Arsalan Kazemi, both of those players have a projected WARP of 2.0 or higher. Lets not forget Sixers did trade for the “top” player in the draft in the sixth spot. The Sixers would seem to be a couple of big men away from being true competitors (they would have one of the best young big men in Vucevic, but they traded him for nothing essential also known as Andrew Bynum circa 2012-2013 NBA season). I am interested to see how the rookies will mesh with the current young players and what type of product the put on the court. I will be keeping an eye on you Sixers.
Lets see how well this mid-major backcourt fares when they are on the court together in the upcoming season. C.J. McCollum was a player that I liked since first taking notice of him two years ago in the NCAA tournament. The Trailblazers drafted well and seemed to take care of their one true weakness, which was their bench production. In drafting Allen Crabbe (one of the better shooters in the draft) and Jeff Withey (providing a big body, shot blocking, and rebounding) the Trailblazers will have a lot more flexibility with their line ups and rosters.
The biggest task for Portland will be to appease their “franchise” player in LaMarus Aldridge. They needed to begin the process of proving that they are willing to build a competitive team around him. I am interested to see if the Trailblazers stay quiet during free agency our will they look to add another big man that can spell LA and Withey (assuming he will be the starter at center). I do appreciate the addition of Thomas Robinson and the fact that he will provided the team with another big body, but it has yet to be seen if he can provide anything more than that. There is a reason that Robinson is on his third team in being in the NBA for only one year, but the Trailblazers would have made a major coup if Robinson can live up to his lofty expectations coming out of Kansas.
When John Wall returned from injury and finally teamed with Bradley Beal the Wizards looked as if they could contended. They looked as if they could finally become a playoff basketball team post Gilbert “Bang Bang” Arenas (you can use that to play on the gun fiasco or his latest run in with the law for illegal fireworks). They were playing fast paced exciting basketball. Now that is where my excitement ends and trepidation starts to seep in. Randy Wittman is the HC to begin with and does not promote a vow of confidence (would any HC with a career winning percentage of .336). The Wizards have two grossly overpaid and under performing bigs in Emeka Okafor and Nene. Their bench does lack a playmaker, scorer or anything much of that nature.
The Wizards did begin to address the their starting lineup and bench by drafting Otto Porter and Glen Rice, Jr. I am not sure which player will end up starting and which will end up coming off of the bench, but both will have an immediate affect the Wizards. The drafting of both players helps to push a player like Trevor Ariza to the bench and decrease his minutes, which should allow him to be more effective player and strengthening the bench. In order for the Wizards to become a complete team they must invest in finding the right big men to place around their core of Wall, Beal, and Porter. Without doing that the Wizards will be destined to flounder in mediocrity.
ESPN: Rating every teams’ draft selection by Kevin Pelton
ESPN: Draft grades: 30 team evaluations by Chad Ford