Sam Smith: Rating the summer moves
Old 07-13-2009, 10:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Sam Smith: Rating the summer moves

Eastern Conference:

1. Boston: Rasheed Wallace is declining physically, but it's an ideal situation for him since he can match up against reserves and isn't counted upon. Assuming Kevin Garnett is healthy, which seems likely, I expect the Celtics to win the East comfortably.
2. Orlando: They're coming in with a more traditional lineup with Brandon Bass at power forward and Rashard Lewis to small forward for Hedo Turkoglu. I think it hurts the great mismatch advantage they had given their unique style and I see them taking a step back with Vince Carter, who always is taking a step back when he shoots those bad threes. It's still unclear if they match on Marcin Gortat, who'll be a reserve if he returns.
3. Cleveland: They got a bit of a wakeup when their top targets like Ron Artest and Trevor Ariza passed, probably because of uncertainty on whether LeBron James will stay. The big move was the trade for Shaq, and while LeBron was for it, I see some issues with Shaq needing his touches. They got him to guard Dwight Howard. Maybe he does, but what about the Celtics? The Cavs prized defense will take a big hit. They settled for Anthony Parker, now 34. Well, he's better than Szczerbiak.
4. Atlanta: They quietly did a nice job this summer bringing back Mike Bibby and adding Jamal Crawford in his ideal role as a combo guard off the bench. They've got a terrific amount of athletic talent, but this will be the season coach Mike Woodson is on the hot seat and we'll see if it's a distraction.

5. Toronto: They had arguably the best offseason with Turkoglu bolting the 'Blazers to sign. Then they pulled off that complicated deal with the Mavs to retool their roster. They now have Antoine Wright, Devean George and Reggie Evans and have an offer out for Jarret Jack. Jose Calderon had an injury plagued off season, though we'll see if Chris Bosh's free agency distracts them. They say they are not trading him under any circumstances.

6. Washington: They are the mystery team of the East after Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood missed last season. Arenas said he's done kidding around. We'll believe it when we see it. GM Ernie Grunfeld has been saying they are a potential East champion after moving their No. 5 pick for Mike Miller and Randy Foye and hiring Flip Saunders. I'm giving them the big benefit of the doubt here.
7. Bulls: I know. They lost their leading scorer in Ben Gordon, and that will hurt. I am convinced, though, Luol Deng will have a rebound season. Plus, John Salmons and Brad Miller for a whole season will do a lot to offset last year's slow start. It's a contract year for Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah seems serious, finally. We'll see. It is a lot of ifs, so they'll likely be locked in an April chase for playoffs like last season.
8. Philadelphia: Elton Brand returns, but after missing most of two seasons who knows. Andre Miller's fate is uncertain and lately the talk was a deal for Chris Duhon. They've been unsuccessful trying to deal Samuel Dalembert and seem to be on the playoff fence, as well.
9. Miami: If this does happen, the big free agent talk will center around Dwyane Wade. They locked themselves into a bad position with the Jermaine O'Neal deal and you see how much Toronto was able to do with Shawn Marion's free agency. They've left Wade with Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers, both of whom didn't take things very seriously. It's hard to imagine Wade having another season to rival 2008-09. That team is too heavy to carry like that again.
10. Charlotte: They are a dangerous team because of Larry Brown. His teams usually make a nice jump the second season and you could see them coming the end of last season. You know Brown is going to pull off another deal at some point.
11. Detroit: I guess I'm not that impressed with their moves. They were the big team in free agency, but it's difficult to see how Gordon and Charlie Villanueva fit. They've turned from a traditionally tough team into a finesse, offensive team with another rookie coach. Kwame Brown is starting center and their other big is smallish Jason Maxiell. They missed on bringing back Antonio McDyess and there continues to be talk they'll try to move Richard Hamilton to create a starting spot for Gordon.
12. Milwaukee: Likewise, Scott Skiles usually makes an improvement his second season. They are blowing their team up and trying to start again. If Andrew Bogut returns and can play at a high level along with Michael Redd they have a chance to be a playoff team. It's probably too much to ask after off loading Richard Jefferson. Outspoken Brandon Jennings with Skiles could be worth the price of admission.
13. Indiana: I think Tyler Hansbrough will come in and help right away. It's unclear they match on Jarret Jack, though many projected them to pick a point guard because of uncertainty about that position. If Mike Dunleavy can return and give them something they, at least, can be competitive.
14. New Jersey: They've broken it up more quietly now after dumping Vince Carter. They have some nice young talent, though with their lame duck status and arena future unclear, it's difficult to attract free agents. They could be a bit of a surprise if their young guys come along.
15. New York: It's going to be all LeBron all the time. It's difficult to see why he'd go there no matter what happens with the Cavs season given the run of free agents passing on them. It's going to be an all-for-myself season with the team being broken up to accommodate free agency.

BULLS: Sam Smith: NBA deck reshuffled after offseason moves
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think that's actually a very accurate assessment. Us, the Hawks, Bulls, and maybe the Wizards should have a race for the 4/5 spots, with nobody wanting to take on one of the top three teams at the 6th seed.

I don't see the Wizards being that good, though. I think Arenas is not going to be the same, neither is Jamison. Arenas pretty much carried the team two years ago and they showed just how bad they are without him. Turning the 5th pick (Ricky Rubio) into Foye and Miller was a solid move, but Rubio would have actually been a better addition for down the road, allowing Arenas to play at the two while having a very good playmaker at the point. Maybe the whole Spanish league thing scared them off, but they have built a team that wants to win now, and I just don't see them being that relevant in the East.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:41 AM   #4 (permalink)

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yeah 5 isnt to bad i guess but i believe we can beat hawks and be 4th seed if we really try
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I think the title is misleading. He's not rating the moves. He ranking the teams from best to worst based on new developments. When I first saw the Celtics on top because on one move(based on the title) I had to go look at the article to make sense of it.

Great to see the Raptors getting some respect even though they nose dived for most of last year after Sam got axed.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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i don't think the Magic will be there this season.. VC is a cancer in the locker room and this team lost a huge piece of the puzzle losing Hedo to us. I think the Cavs and Celtics have tweaked enough to battle 60+ wins again and with AP going to Cleveland, they have a bit more depth. Don't sell this Raptors team short, but i think 3rd place is not a lock and i think that we have a good shot at 50 wins this season.

when does the season start?? let's get at it!!
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:57 PM   #7 (permalink)

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the bulls won't make the playoffs imo
and nj will be last - they will be horrible next season.
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