Breaking Down the Trade Deadline Bonanza

To say the trade deadline was eventful is an understatement. We had trades from all over the country, ones we expected and ones that came out of nowhere. I’m here to give my take on each and every significant move.

1. Dwight Stickin in Orlando

After months of anticipation and rumours Dwight Howard officially opted in with the Magic for the 2012-2013 season. This was a bad move for Dwight and a good move for the Magic. The Magic are playing great basketball as of now. They are going to make the playoffs and most likely the 2nd round. However, that’s where this season will end for them. Dwight wanted to wait out this season, and see what the organization could do to surround him with supporting guys this offseason. However, the Magic really don’t have much financial flexibility for this off-season. And not too many assets to send over in trades. All this extension gave the Magic was more time to figure out a way to improve the roster. On the other hand I don’t think Dwight really thought this over. This team won’t be changing too drastically from now until the next trade deadline next season. We’re in for dejavu.

2. Nene to Washington

This trade came out of nowhere. Nobody even saw Nene as a trade piece for the Nuggets this season. However, he’ll now be paired up with the electrifying speed and talent of John Wall. The Wizards received Brian Cook from the Clippers and a future second round pick, and Nene from the Nuggets. The Clippers received Nick Young. And the Nuggets received Javale McGee and Ronny Turiaf. In this trade I see three winners. The Clippers were desperately looking for a shooting guard after Chauncey Billups got injured earlier this season. Now they have Nick Young a young scorer who can make plays alongside guys like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. He gives them an outside scoring presence. This season he is currently averaging around 17 points a game. The Wizards upgraded in this trade as well. One of the main problems for them as a team was the lack of maturity and the lack of veteran leaders. So by trading Javale McGee for a more experienced center in Nene was an upgrade. The only downside, is that Nene has a history of injuries and you can’t be certain if he will be healthy for long periods at a time. But when he is healthy he is one of the best centers in the West. The Nuggets may have upgraded the least in this trade. Nene like I said has a history of injuries, Javale McGee has no history of injuries. He is younger and can play more of the fast-break style that the Nuggets like to run. In terms of stats, the two are almost identical. Javale McGee is averaging 12 points and 9 rebounds. While Nene is averaging 13 points and 7 rebounds. What Denver did lose in this trade is an inside scoring presence. Javale McGee is more of a defensive stopper and crash the boards type of guy. He’s not someone you can throw it down to in the post and watch him put up two points. That’s an aspect of their game that is now gone. Which means the Nuggets are very much a perimeter team right now on the offensive end.

3. And end to an era

The Lakers made two significant trades yesterday. One that made us smile about the future. The other made us reminisce on the past. The first trade was sending Luke Walton, Jason Kapono, and a 1st round draft pick (lottery protected) to the Cavaliers for Christian Eyenga and Ramon Sessions. The Lakers kill two birds with one stone in this trade. Not only do they upgrade immensely at the point guard position but they shed the 6 million that they were paying Luke Walton. The Lakers biggest weakness was at the point guard position. Both Derrick Fisher and Steve Blake are seasoned veterans who can’t fast break, or keep up with the faster guards in the league. Now with 25 year old Ramon Sessions running the Lake Show, the Lakers have fresher legs, a deeper bench and a more consistent backcourt. The other trade they made was trading Derrick Fisher the 5 time NBA champion with the Lakers and a first round pick for Jordan Hill in Houston. It had to be done. After adding Ramon Sessions it seemed inevitable that one of the other point guards had to go. Derrick Fisher, who is 37 was the more sensible choice. He is way past his prime, he is retiring in a couple of seasons and Steve Blake is a more versatile guard who can play the 2 if he needs to. Although this trade makes us sad to see the end of the Derrick Fisher era in Los Angeles it’s a good move for the future and a good move for the Lakers.

4. Monta Ellis finally on the move

Monta Ellis’ name has been flying around trade rumours for a few years now. Finally, he has been traded. The Golden State Warriors traded Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. This trade makes me think a few things. First, that the Warriors have given up on this season. Which may be the practical thing to do, but always the sad thing to see for a young team. By getting rid of Monta Ellis they lose a scoring threat. One of the best scoring threats in the league. They receive Andrew Bogut who won’t play again all season, and Stephen Jackson who is known for his off court antics more so then his on court prowess. Keep in mind Stephen Curry is currently injured. So the Golden State Warriors are pretty much out of the picture for the rest of the 23 game season. However, this trade wasn’t about the short term for them. This was about the longterm. By giving up on this season they will get a high draft pick in a young draft stacked with talent. So they pick up a top draft pick, they get a healthy Andrew Bogut down low and a healthy Stephen Curry at the point and you have yourself a very exciting team. Don’t forget the rookie Klay Thompson who is slowly developing into a lethal scorer on the court. For the Bucks, I think this trade was a very smart one. It’s no secret Scott Skiles and Stephen Jackson didn’t get along. So sending him away clears up the locker room and brings in some fresh air. And by giving away Andrew Bogut they can look toward the future and shed his salary. Not to mention his achy body. And bringing in Monta Ellis gives their backcourt a humongous boost on the scoring front. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis playing side by side is something that needs to be watched. The only downside to this is their defense will take a hit. Monta Ellis is no Stephen Jackson and Ekpe Udoh is no Andrew Bogut but let’s focus on the positive for now.

5. Jackson Returns to San Antonio

Another good move for the Golden State Warriors was trading Stephen Jackson to the Spurs for T.J Ford, Richard Jefferson and a protected 1st round pick. The 1st round pick is lottery protected, which gives the Golden State Warriors another 1st round pick to go along with the one their bound to get when the rest of their season tanks. Another move made for the future. The Spurs on the other hand really improve their roster and bring back flashes of their 2003 NBA Championship run. They improve on their perimeter defense and now add another scoring punch alongside Ginobli, and Parker.

6. Pacers Add Depth with Barbosa

The Indiana Pacers season has been all about chemistry, hustle and depth. This team doesn’t have one superstar. They have several good players. Roy Hibbert was an all star this year. Danny Granger an all star last year. Paul George bound to be an all star in a couple of years. David West an all star a few seasons ago. Their roster is stacked with solid guys. Now by adding Leonardo Barbosa they improve their depth immensely. Barbosa was averaging 12 points off the bench in Toronto. The best thing about this trade, is that all the Pacers gave up was a 2nd round pick. Life is getting better in Indiana.

7. Wallace to the Nets.

With the Nets missing out on their potential blockbuster deal for Howard. The Nets needed something to try and persuade D-Will to sign an extension. So they brought in Gerald Wallace a guy averaging 13 points a game in Portland. An improvement? Definitely, but anything is an improvement for the Nets these days. Now we’re learning that it wasn’t even enough to keep D-Will interested, according to ESPN he says he will not opt in with the Nets but will test free agency this summer. But besides that, it was a good move for New Jersey who are slowly trying to build a team around a player who isn’t even the least bit interested.

8. Camby to Houston

This trade was a surprise, but as the day progressed players leaving Portland seemed like a common theme. Marcus Camby the defensive stopper was traded to Houston for Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn and a 2nd round pick. This move along with letting Gerald Wallace go and the firing of Nate McMillan implies the rebuilding stages for Portland who were stuck in groundhog day once again. The Blazers acquire expiring contracts and gain more financial flexibility for the next season. In Houston they are slowly putting together a better team. With Dalembert and Camby down low this team will be very difficult to score in down low. They have their own set of twin towers. This trade is a definite upgrade for Houston but not what they were looking for ideally when it came to the trade deadline. They were looking bigger, someone like Pau Gasol. But hey you get what you get and you don’t get upset. The Rockets are getting there, this move along with their flexibility this off season makes for exciting possibilities in the future.

A Second Chance

What if the NBA lockout, everybody’s nightmare, might be a blessing in disguise for a handful of players who haven’t played up to their hype.

Pressure is a double edged sword – it can motivate a player to great heights or it can cause players to choke under the spotlight. Could overhyped players have a second chance playing overseas where the pressure isn’t as intense and the players not as talented?

Take Darko Milicic for example.

Getting drafted 2nd behind Lebron James in a draft full of future stars put a lot of pressure on his shoulders. His inexperience and lack of maturity didn’t help him deal with the situation either. His game has shown no improvement since 2003, only averaging 6 points and 4 rebounds in 8 years. His mentality is soft, his post moves are weak and his jump shot and rebounding are inconsistent. He is the perfect example of an overhyped player who didn’t live up to his expectation. Playing overseas could definitely give him a second chance at becoming the star he was supposed to be. If he went overseas he would be taking 8 years of invaluable NBA experience and a height of 7 feet. One of the problems with his entrance to the was his inexperience, he could recreate his entrance to professional basketball overseas and make an immediate impact to a league where the players are less talented and the pressure less intense.

Another example is Marvin Williams.

He was drafted second in 2005 by the Hawks. Once Deron Williams and Chris Paul made immediate impacts with their teams more pressure was put on Marvin, to prove he deserved the number 2 pick. For 6 years Marvin Williams has averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds solid numbers for a role player. Not an all-star which is what Marvin was supposed to be. Playing in Europe could mean a second chance to be a star. In European leagues players like Williams are rare. Europe is known for their crafty big men and quick, true point guards. We don’t often hear about 6’8 athletic shooters on sportcenter in Europe.  Playing overseas could be the perfect fit for a player like Marvin Williams.

Jordan Hill also fits this group of disappointing players.

In college he was an extremely hard working player, he was determined and that showed when he raised his points per game from 4 in his first year at Arizona to 13 in his second year and 18 in his third year. At 6’10 he showed off his aggression around the hoop but also his midrange and three point shot that he proved so effective for someone his height. He averaged 11 rebounds in his third year in college showing that he could not only score but rebound effectively. The Knicks selected him at 8 in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft. The Knicks were in the middle of the Isiah era and were hoping Jordan Hill was going to be their saviour. We all know how the New York media is and that proved to be too much pressure for him to deal with, he was traded in the middle of the season to Houston. Since his impressive years at Arizona he has yet to show his worth in the NBA. He has averaged just under 4 rebounds and just under 5 points in 2 seasons in the NBA. He hasn’t demonstrated his confidence in the NBA. He hasn’t been getting to the rim as effectively and hasn’t been grabbing boards. This disappointing play has caused him to come off the bench. It’s very disappointing considering the kind of dominant college performance. Europe, Turkey or China could be the thing he needs. The level in college in my opinion is closer to the leagues in Europe, Turkey or China then the NBA. This was proven when Duke and Georgetown beat Chinese teams this summer.

Although the absence of the 2011-2012 NBA season is a tragedy, it doesn’t mean some players can take advantage of this opportunity to play overseas.

Jazz’s Pick

Let’s assume Kyrie Irving goes to Cleveland like he is projected to, and let’s assume Derrick Williams goes to Minnesota. That leaves the Utah Jazz on the clock.

They are the ones with the dilemma, they have two main prospects that they will be choosing from. Enes Kantor the Turkish beast, Brandon Knight the Kentucky point guard  Like I said the Jazz have a dilemma.

This year the city of Utah was struck with misery after their saviour, their all-star, their Deron Williams was traded to New Jersey. That left them scratching their head. The received the #3 draft pick, Devin Harris a veteran point guard and Derrick Favors a talented first year big man. Who do the Jazz need the most? Let’s take a look.

Brandon Knight:

6’3, 183 lbs, and a scoring point guard right out of Kentucky. His college stats are as follows. 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. An all around point guard with room for development.  After Deron Williams left Utah, the point guard spot has been a little inconsistent. Devin Harris is giving 100% to every game he plays, he has an eye for getting the ball to an open man and is very agile getting to the basket. He also has a veteran I.Q and experience for the game. He’s played under all time greats such as Dirk Nowitzki and has learned from him about how to be a leader. But when he needs a break on the bench, the back-up point guards haven’t always been as consistent as they should. CJ Watson, and Ronnie Price have been coming off the bench for Devin Harris. They have some games where they are playing like J.J Barea in the finals. Confident, unexpected and clutch. They have led the offense and locked down on defense but some games they look as if they’re just running into a wall and trying to break it down. That’s where Brandon Knight comes in. He could provide a big energetic spark off the bench. He is a very talented scorer, he has a deadly mid range shot and is very quick and athletic which helps him get to the rim a lot. He is the perfect fit in this run and gun offense, he knows how to move the ball and move without it and would be a great pick and roll tandem with Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap, and Al Jefferson.

Enes Kantor: 6’11, 258 pounds .

This guy is a big turkish monster. He averaged 18 points and 16 rebounds in Turkey. I won’t even go into how dominant this guy is. Not many people have seen him play because he is European but i’ll just show you this video. His game speaks for itself. 

I agree with his comments about being a mixture of Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Howard. He is persistent on the boards and tough like Dwight. His post moves are versatile and he can finish with either hand. He also can knock down jump shots from beyond the three point line like Dirk can. This guy is an all around offensive presence as well as being a mean defensive presence. But do the Jazz need him. Well I don’t think he is the right pick for them, honestly. Their front-court is their biggest strength. They already have Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and the developing Derrick Favors. I don’t think they should add another big man over a young scoring point guard in Brandon Knight. If they do pick Enes Kantor, you have 4 solid big men all having to play shorter amount of minutes. They don’t play their comfortable roles, or comfortable minutes and they don’t perform as well. Also there is no real need for 4 performing big men. I guess drafting him could give them opportunities to trade maybe Derrick Favors or Paul Millsap for some scorers.

I would take Brandon Knight. It’s not up to me though, so I guess we’ll have to wait till June 23rd and see.

Where They Go Nobody Knows.

Big decisions come up a lot within an NBA team. Who takes the last shot? Should we trade him? For the Cavaliers and Timberwolves, they are going to be making a decision that could potentially turn their franchise upside down. The #1 pick in the NBA draft will definitely change the future of one of these franchises. The Cavaliers played without Lebron this year. The team went from 61 wins and 21 losses to be the #1 seed in 2009-2010. To 19 wins and 63 losses with the #15 seed in the Eastern Conference and the #29 seed overall. The Timberwolves haven’t had a successful season in forever. The only thing they can celebrate this year was the development of their all-star; Kevin Love. These teams should think of these players not by what people have rated them but which player fits more in their team.

Kyrie Irving:

  6’3. 191 pounds. He’s quite average athletically, and height and weight wise for his position. Nothing like Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook. More of a similar player to Deron Williams. He averaged 17.5 points a game, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.5 steals a game in his 1 year with Duke. He has tons of potential and at Duke proved to not only be a scorer but a great playmaker. He is fast and is great on the break. Which team needs him more though? The Cavaliers have Ramon Sessions quietly developing into a great point guard. He is a dangerous penetrator, and skilled passer. He is still young and still improving but he has tons of potential to offer the Cavaliers in the future. Then we have Baron Davis. He’s a 6’0, 32 year old point guard. He is cocky and may play with enough flash to make it on the Harlem Globetrotters. He throws lazy passes and dribbles carelessly. His career is slowly coming to an end even though he is a pure scorer still at his age. The Cavaliers would have a great tandem at the point guard position. Kyrie Irving starting with Ramon Sessions coming off the bench. Kyrie would be a great pick and roll partner with Anderson Varejao when he gets back from injury. They would certainly have the youngest point guards in the league. That can be a plus if you think they have more stamina and are quicker and more energetic. Although they won’t have any veterans and experienced players at the floor general, which is a must. It’s an interesting choice for the Cavaliers. Baron has really embraced playing for a poor team and bringing them back to the playoffs. Do they keep the veteran Davis and the youngster in Sessions coming off the bench? Or trade Davis and have Kyrie and Sessions at the point guard position. We’ll have to wait for June 23rd.

For the Timberwolves it’s a different story. They’re biggest flaw is at the point guard position. They switch off between Jonny Flynn, Sebastian Telfair and Luke Ridnour. They all are young and still learning but they haven’t showed much potential or talent that can carry a team. Kyrie Irving would be a perfect fit for this team, they would fill the gaping hole at the point guard position and add some scoring. They could also get some good pieces for Sebastian Telfair and Jonny Flynn.

Derrick Williams:

 6’8. 248 pounds. This guy is a big guy. He plays the power forward and may be a bit undersized at that position but is a big guy at the 3. He averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds in 2 years at Arizona. He’s made statements so far that have made the press and some coaches doubt his maturity. Stuff like, ” I could replace Lebron.” Or, ” I’ll win rookie of the year.” This isn’t a confident rookie, it’s called a cocky one. He definitely comes off as a hot head. We’ll have to see how he handles the heat, excitement and trash talk of the NBA. Who needs him more? The Cavaliers don’t have any consistent players at the small forward position except for Antawn Jamison who is injured right now and Samardo Samuels who has just started his path in the NBA but has proved some potential as a dirty work kind of player. Derrick Williams could be a great fit, he could fill the hole at small forward. Imagine this lineup. Anderson Varejao, JJ Hickson, Derrick Williams, Anthony Parker, Baron Davis. That’s a lineup that could win some games, especially  if Derrick Williams is inserted into the starting lineup, they’ll have Antawn Jamison coming off the bench as a 6th man. The Minnesota Timberwolves really have no need for Derrick Williams. They are developing Wesley Johnson, they have a pure scorer in Michael Beasley. They won’t need him at all really. What they need in the draft is a center. A big young center to play alongside Kevin Love.

I’m sure all pure NBA fans are eager to see which team picks which player. Let’s wait till the draft and see.

The Lakers Need to Improve.

As the NBA conference finals begin, we have to still wonder about the leagues former champions. What does their future hold, is it a retiring Bryant, a traded Gasol, a completely different team? When a defending champion loses it’s a big deal around the league, and a big deal within the organization. When the defending champions are swept, well, that’s a huge problem and begs the question,what went wrong?

What went wrong? It’s really simple, people are over analyzing this too much. Pau Gasol just didn’t play. It’s almost as if he wasn’t there. Dirk Nowitzki ran all over him, he barely put up a fight. He missed easy shots every game, wasn’t aggresive enough on the boards or on defense and that dragged the Lakers down. When the man supposed to be giving the other team’s player a hard time doesn’t defend then there is going to be havoc. Their biggest strength is their duo of 7-footers on the front line, but in this series there was just one 7-footer in Andrew Bynum and one 7-footer playing like a scared child in Pau Gasol. Pau’s low production forced the other players on the team to carry his load, but trying to make up for 18 points and 10 rebounds is hard, and it was too hard for the Lakers. It wasn’t just Pau though, let’s not blame the whole Laker meltdown on one player. It was the effort. It was the hustle. The attitude. The defense, or lack there of. In game 4 of the series the Mavericks made 20, three pointers. How did they reach this milestone against such a tough defensive team? The perimeter defenders were lethargic, they didn’t rotate to the shooters, they didn’t even try to get a hand in the shooters face. Jason Terry did not have a hand in his face on any of his three pointers, the same with Peja.

This series is over though, the Lakers get to go on vacation early, and the Mavericks get to move on to the conference finals feeling proud and accomplished. Something has to change though. We already know Phil Jackson won’t be returning next season. Brian Shaw or Rick Adelman are the favorites to take over his position. Magic Johnson rumored that roster changes may have to be made if the Lakers want to be contenders next season. I agree, but what changes do they have to make? First off, they need a young, quick, athletic point guard. Derek Fisher is a veteran with lots of invaluable experience but he can’t keep up with the faster guards in the league like Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, and Deron Williams. Steve Blake didn’t play up to expectations this season and although he has less years on his legs he still can’t compete with the faster guards. They won’t be getting any good draft picks any time soon so they better try to find a quick young point guard this summer. Then they have to wonder about Pau Gasol. He has proven to be a great competitor, an all-star, a top 10 power forward and most of all a champion, but he really let them down this postseason. Kobe only has 3-4 good years left in him and the Lakers may want to think about trading Gasol for an athletic, talented scorer to take the stage once Kobe is gone. Or maybe trade Gasol for another power forward, someone who is tougher and more dependable in big playoff series. As I mentioned before, Kobe only has 3-4 great years left in him so the Lakers may want to put a lot of their time into their younger players like Shannon Brown. He proved himself to be very productive off the bench, he is extremely athletic and he can definitely score the basketball. His game is still developing but I see a player who could do a solid job of filling in Kobe’s shoes. The last thing is that they need some gritty perimeter defenders. The Lakers, although they may play tough, are a pretty soft team. They need some tough perimeter defenders, players like Thabo Sefolosha or Tony Allen to keep the scorers under control.

After the Lakers disgraceful showing in the semi-finals, ways to improve are a must, if the Lakers want another ring.