NBA Offseason Report Cards: Part V

NBA OFFSEASON REPORT CARDS: Click here for Part I, here for Part II, here for Part III and here for Part IV.

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New Blazers coach Terry Stotts

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS – There will come a time at some point during the season when one of the Vulcan vultures will fly down from Seattle, have a meeting with the coaching staff and front office, after which Neil Olshey, Terry Stotts and Jay Triano – three of the nicest guys in the NBA – will look at each other afterward and have their Kevin Pritchard/Tom Penn/NateMcMillan/Rich Cho moment: “Why, again, did we decide to come here?” This is a no-win situation for the new hierarchy with the famously impatient owner Paul Allen, with Portland light years away from being able to compete with the top 6 teams in the conference. Should be well-represented in the Rookie Challenge at All-Star Weekend, with perhaps two centers (Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeland) and a point guard (Damian Lillard) in that game. Roy Hibbert would have been a nice addition, but they had to know Donnie Walsh would match that offer sheet. Prediction: Dwight Howard will have a 30-30 game against them at some point this season, and Nicolas Batum will have been worth the money and the headache that came with matching his offer sheet. More analysis here.

Grade: C

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Kings PG Aaron Brooks and GM Geoff Petrie

SACRAMENTO KINGS – This is a true fact: If the New Jersey Nets had selected DeMarcus Cousins instead of Derrick Favors with the second pick of the 2010 draft, as some in their front office were pushing for, the Dwightmare never would have happened. Cousins is the biggest talent on this team and the biggest goofball to make his way to northern California since Peja Stojakovic was dealt to Indiana for Ron Artest. But Cousins is the real deal talent-wise, which earned him my third-team all-NBA vote last season. Hard to see them keeping Tyreke Evans after moving him off the ball last season in favor of rookie Isaiah Thomas, especially now that Aaron Brooks has come aboard after a season of exile in China. James Johnson (acquired from Toronto for a second-round pick) has the potential to be this year’s Marreese Speights (most lopsided offseason trade acquisition). The grade should be an INC pending the inevitable Evans trade, but we don’t give out incompletes. Sorry, Geoff. More analysis here.

Grade: C

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spurs small logoSAN ANTONIO SPURS – Enter the season with a four-game losing streak, which no one would have predicted when they had a 20-game winning streak and were up 2-0 on Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals. They have been perhaps the most static team in all of the NBA during the offseason, which is to be expected when you had the kind of season they just had (despite the disappointing ending). If they learned one thing against OKC, it is that they need a rim protector. If DeJuan Blair can bring them a decent one, they’ll do it. Free agents Tim Duncan, Patty Mills and Danny Green were retained, and the only new face is French guard Nando De Colo, who is profiled in this EuroRookies column. They would have liked to bring over Eurostash stud prospect Erazem Lorbek, but he opted to sign a three-year deal with Barcelona. The Spurs picked up Lorbek’s rights in the George Hill trade with Indiana two summers ago. More analysis here.

Grade: B

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Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas

TORONTO RAPTORS – Landry Fields is a nice player and a nice kid. But he is not worth $20 million – nor a fraction thereof. Easily the worst off-season signing in the NBA – even worse than the Suns giving Michael Beasley $18 million over three years. Big V (aka Jonas Valanciunas) may one day blossom into a very good NBA center. Right now he will lead the league in fouls per minute unless challenged by Kravtzov. DeMar DeRozan will be playing for his next contract. Jose Calderon is one spin cycle away from being washed up. Andrea Bargnani is their best player, and there ain’t a whole lot around him. Also, as bad as the Fields signing was, maybe an even worse move for the long-term was giving away this year’s lottery pick (unless it is Top 3) to Houston for Kyle Lowry. Calderon probably makes Top 3 on the Most Likely to be Traded List. As bad as they will be, they will be more entertaining to watch than both Charlotte and Detroit. More analysis here.

Grade: D-

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New Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey

UTAH JAZZ – Like ‘em, don’t love ‘em. Liked watching them play their arses off for the West’s eighth playoff spot last season, felt sorry for them when they eventually got there. Mo Williams, because of his outside shooting ability, is an upgrade over Devin Harris (who was traded for Marvin Williams, a stiff who will get some run at small forward but who should not be allowed to take one second of Paul Millsap’s or Derrick Favors’ playing time at the 4.) at the trading deadline, they will have to decide whether they want to flip Al Jefferson and his expiring contract for a younger center, an expiring contract and a high draft pick. Enes Kanter is poised to take over that position anyway, and Utah could be a major player in the draft if they get a third No. 1 to go along with their own and Golden State’s (Top 6 protected). Made a nice hire in plucking Dennis Lindsey from the Spurs’ vaunted front office staff. If the Spurs somehow acquire Jefferson at the deadline, somebody other than Gregg Popovich will be calling for the NBA to institute a Committee On Bad Trades. More analysis here.

Grade: B-

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Wizards rookie Bradley Beal

WASHINGTON WIZARDS – Hard to find fault with a trade that brought them Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza for Rashard Lewis, who was twice considered untradeable and will be spending the upcoming season laughing all the way to the bank as he plays into June with the Miami Heat. Okafor and Nene are a couple of above-average players who are not quite in the Top 8 centers debate. Using the amnesty clause on Andray Blatche was a classic case of addition by subtraction, but you have to second-guess Ernie Grunfeld for not getting something for him a year ago when he could have. Bradley Beal will have the opportunity to shoot his way into Rookie of the Year consideration unless Jordan Crawford keeps him from doing so, and John Wall gets another year of experience under his belt. But let’s face it, this is still a bad team — just not as bad as a year ago. More analysis here.

Grade: B

(RELATED CONTENT: Team-by-team offseason moves and analysis)

Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.

 

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  1. NATSTHECAT says

    The idea that the Vulcans are going to fly down and make Olshey, Stotts and Triano question why they hired on as Blazer employees is obviously pure conjecture on your part.
    It is not responsible sports “blogging” let alone journalism..which this is not.
    Unless of course, your aim is to increase web hits.
    In that case you have won this one. But I will be less likely to read anything you write re: the Blazers in the future.

    • lepercolony says

      Pure conjecture based upon a non-stop 20-year pattern of behavior. What’s next, are you going to claim it’s “pure conjecture” that California is going to have another earthquake?

      Portland has one of the most devoted fanbases in the NBA, but many are also not all that savvy. To put it kindly.

  2. Dru says

    Please tell me they don’t pay you to write this stuff.

    This year’s draft is looking to be a crappy one in a while. The Raps giving up a Top-3 Protected lottery pick isn’t bad considering you’re getting a solid starter (with all star potential) in Lowry.

    • A.J. says

      I agree. What’s Sheridan talking about. Lowry is 26 and has good years left in him, his contract is cap-friendly, the pick is top-three protected next year, top-two protected for the next two years, top-one protected the following year. Theoretically, if they continue to really suck and the cards fall perfectly, they’ll actually get to keep that draft pick. Given Colangelo’s draft history, I don’t see the problem in choosing an established player over the complete unknown.

  3. A.J. says

    Here’s another true fact, as Sheridan put it, as he again botches his own true facts: Jersey didn’t have the second pick in the draft, and Derrick Favors wasn’t the second pick in the draft. Philadelphia had the second pick, and they drafted Evan Turner. I know it wasn’t your main point, but come on, why does every post of yours seem to include at least one wrong fact, and sometimes more.

  4. says

    I’m not arguing with the 5-part analysis w/out agreeing whole heartedly. But, c’mon, was there no editing done before submission? Is this Bleacher Report level? Not even.

    Grade: F

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