Chicago Bulls: B-
KEY ADDITIONS: Marco Belinelli, Kirk Hinrich, Nazr Mohammed, Marquis Teague, Nate Robinson
KEY LOSSES: Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, John Lucas III, C. J. Watson
Bull’s fans can say goodbye to the vaunted bench mob. Due to salary cap concerns, most of last season’s bench that did an admirable job holding down the fort when Derrick Rose was injured will be gone. A lot of people are giving Chicago flak about this without looking at the luxury tax implications. After all their losses, the Bulls have done an underrated job restocking their bench. Kirk Hinrich is undoubtedly a better point guard than C. J. Watson. Marco Bellineli is a career 39% three-point shooter, not a far cry from Korver’s 41%. Mohammed is a veteran big who can be a serviceable backup to Joakim Noah. I really like the Bull’s draft pick, Jeff Teague. He has incredible quickness and athleticism, and with guys like Derrick Rose and Hinrich to learn from, he could become a really good point guard.
Indiana Pacers: B-
KEY ADDITIONS: D. J. Augustin, Gerald Green, Ian Mahinmi, Miles Plumlee
KEY LOSSES: Darren Collison, Louis Amundson, Dahntay Jones
The Pacers offseason started off with a bang when they matched the Portland Trail Blazers contract and signed Roy Hibbert to a max deal. I was very dubious of this move. In the playoffs, Hibbert was left gasping and useless when any team started running. Against Miami, who were starting Joel Anthony and Ronny Turiaf, he could barely even get the ball in the post. Other than that, the Pacers made some pretty smart deals in the offseason. They traded Darren Collison for a good backup center and replaced Collison by signing D. J. Augustin. Gerald Green is a hyper athletic wing with a high ceiling. Indiana’s draft pick was somewhat of a dud. Plumlee, a power forward with a 41-inch vertical leap never averaged more than 6 points and 7 rebounds in four years at Duke.
Milwaukee Bucks: B
KEY ADDITIONS: Samuel Dalembert, John Henson
KEY LOSSES: Carlos Delfino
The Bucks did barely anything this offseason and have a really interesting roster going into this regular season. They have some prolific scorers from both guard spots in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. At the 3, the Bucks have a shutdown defender and a deadly shooter: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Mike Dunleavy. The Bucks are going to have one of the most interesting positional battles in the NBA at the power forward position. The probable starter is the breakout Ersan Ilysova, but he has challengers. Second year player Tobias Harris was strong in the summer league. Rookie John Henson also impressed in Vegas. Last year’s mid-season acquisition Ekpe Udoh, is an impact defensive player. And of course, one can never count out veteran journeyman Drew Gooden. Center was one of Milwaukee’s biggest weaknesses until they signed former Rocket, Samuel Dalembert.
Detroit Pistons: B+
KEY ADDITIONS: Andre Drummond, Corey Maggete,
KEY LOSSES: Ben Gordon, Ben Wallace, Jason Maxiel
The Pistons only made one big move this offseason and that was the Ben Gordon/Corey Maggete trade. This deal was mainly financially motivated and will save Detroit $14 million and give them more flexibility. Picking ninth in the draft, it seemed like there was no chance Andre Drummond would fall to Detroit, but he did. Drummond was at one point a top three player and fell because of maturity issues and lack of consistency in college. Drummond is athletically the epitome of what a center should be; he looks like a young Dwight Howard. Or a young Kwame Brown (cue somber music). If he realizes his potential, we are talking about one of the best centers in the league. The great thing about this pick for Detroit is that they were able to get him at 9. If things turn out right, this could be the steal of the decade.
Cleveland Cavaliers: B-
KEY ADDITIONS: Dion Waiters
KEY LOSSES: Alonzo Gee, Antawn Jamison
I will not make any, “big east’s sixth man of the year jokes,” but I am really not that high on Dion Waiters. Some have compared him to Dwyane Wade and I think that is just plain wrong. He has nowhere near the same burst and ability to finish with contact. The Cavs got themselves into this whole mess last year when they picked Tristan Thompson instead of Jonas Valanciunas (By the way, Chad Ford said that Valanciunas would been the definitive 2nd pick in this year’s draft). If they had picked Valanciunas, Thomas Robinson would have been a perfect pick this year. Instead, they were stuck in an awkward situation and had to make a huge reach.