Miami Heat: A
KEY ADDITIONS: Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis
The Heat did not do too much this offseason, but what they did was phenomenal. Miami did not lose any key players and their championship core is intact. Not just intact, in fact, but improved. Sure Shane Battier and Mike Miller came alive when it mattered but they are definitely not the most consistent shooters from deep. To improve from long range and give the team another weapon, Miami signed the greatest three-point shooter of all time, Ray Allen. Allen will probably be spotting up most of the time, but I am sure coach Erik Spoelstra will set up a couple of plays to get him open. As if that was not enough, Miami also signed veteran swingman Rashard Lewis. Lewis can come off the bench and provide quality shooting from outside and gritty defense. The Heat traded their first round pick, Arnett Moultrie, to the 76ers, a bad move. Despite that, the Pat Riley did a great job adding more talent to an already great team.
Atlanta Hawks: B+
KEY ADDITIONS: Devin Harris, Lou Williams, John Jenkins, Kyle Korver
KEY LOSSES: Joe Johnson, Kirk Hinrich
Under new GM Danny Ferry, the Hawks have made a number of smart moves this summer. To start off, Atlanta was able to deal Joe Johnson and his toxic contract to the Nets. Atlanta really did not get any valuable pieces out of this deal, the main motivation behind it was to get Johnson’s $100 million deal off the books. It will be impossible to replace Johnson’s production but the Hawks signed a number of quality shooting guards to replace him. Lou Williams was the runner-up for the sixth man of the year award and was the leading scorer on the Philadelphia 76ers. John Jenkins, Atlanta’s first round pick, and Kyle Korver are marksmen from deep. The Hawks signed Devin Harris to ease the loss of Kirk Hinrich, but Harris will likely backup Jeff Teague. As of now, I am not sure of the identity of this team. Are they a slow it down team with Al Horford and Josh Smith in the post and their multiple three-point shooters coming of screens and spotting up? Or are they a running team that can use the aforementioned two and Jeff Teague’s skill in transition along with athletic wings who can shoot and finish.
Orlando Magic: F+
KEY ADDITIONS: Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Gustavo Ayon, Moe Harkless, Andrew Nicholson, Nikola Vucevic
KEY LOSSES: Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon, Earl Clark, Ryan Anderson
Wow. Where do you begin? Let’s go down the list.
- Traded Dwight Howard and received some middling role players.
- Received three first round draft picks though!
- Three lottery protected first round picks, that is.
- Managed not to get rid of Hedo Turkoglu or Glen Davis in the Dwight deal.
- Gave themselves a chance of getting the number one draft pick next year!
- And picking who? Next years draft is one of the weakest in years.
- Maybe pick Nerlens Noel, develop him into a star big man and see him sign with the Lakers in 2020. I’m getting a strange sense of déjà vu.
- Traded last year’s most improved player and budding talent for … Gustavo Ayon?
What more can you say? Well, at least the Dwightmare is over.
Charlotte Bobcats: B-
KEY ADDITIONS: Ben Gordon, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Ramon Sessions
KEY LOSSES: Corey Maggete, DJ Augustin, Tyrus Thomas
After setting the NBA record for losing percentage last season, Charlotte certainly had a lot to do this offseason. The Bobcats are trying to change their culture with young players with a winning pedigree. They drafted Kemba Walker last year and to the surprise of many, the Bobcats actually picked the second best player in the draft with the number two pick. Kidd-Gilchrist will bring toughness, work ethic, and a team attitude to a young team. Charlotte traded for Ben Gordon and he has a chance to be a real scorer and star. Charlotte cleaned out their house some more when the sent out Cory Maggete in the aforementioned trade and when they amnestied Tyrus Thomas. This team will not be winning anytime soon, but they have a young core for the future.
Washington Wizards: B
KEY ADDITIONS: Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal, Emeka Okafor
KEY LOSSES: Andray Blatche, Rashard Lewis
The Wizards only made one deal this offseason and it was a deal I quite liked. Washington brought in Emeka Okafor, and Trevor Ariza. The both have the chance to start and bring veteran leadership and intensity to a team known more for losing than winning. Washington finally let go of Andray Blatche; he was a player that never reached his true potential. In the draft, the Wizards happily grabbed Bradley Beal at the third overall pick. Beal is an athletic compact two guard who can stroke it from deep. He has drawn comparisons to as highly skilled players as Eric Gordon and Dwyane Wade. He is an ideal running mate for John Wall in the backcourt.