NBA Beat: Grading the off-season

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
#1
http://www.sacbee.com/content/sports/story/10800851p-11718843c.html

Heads of the class to class clowns

By Joe Davidson -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PDT Sunday, September 19, 2004


In the NBA, teams often try to position themselves for a title run, or a run to respectability, by making wholesale changes in the offseason.
Or at least that seemed to be the theme this summer with a flurry of trades, free-agent defections and signings.

Here's a report card:


A grades

Denver Nuggets - The acquisition of Kenyon Martin alone to an already effective and rising team makes this a great haul. Martin, the All-Star forward from New Jersey, was brought in for three players not even in the league - draft picks.


Miami Heat - Bringing Shaquille O'Neal to South Beach makes the Heat an Eastern Conference title contender. He's trimmed down, and he's motivated, not always the case in Los Angeles.

Houston Rockets - With Tracy McGrady flanking Yao Ming, do the Rockets field the next Kareem and Magic with goodwill and looming titles? Or is it Kobe and Shaq with bad blood (and yes, a few titles)?

Utah Jazz - After just missing the playoffs, the Jazz beefed up by acquiring bangers Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur, and they drafted Kirk Snyder and Kris Humphries.

San Antonio Spurs - The Spurs didn't have to bring in a host of players, just one critical shooter in Brent Barry. They re-signed Manu Ginobili and may still land Karl Malone.

Minnesota Timberwolves - The Wolves ensured that they will be title contenders by re-signing key cogs Fred Hoiberg, Troy Hudson and Trenton Hassell.

Detroit Pistons - Subtle changes could make the defending champs the favorite again. They added scoring forward Antonio McDyess, re-signed Rasheed Wallace and dealt Corliss Williamson and his contract to Philadelphia for Derrick Coleman.

B grades

Orlando Magic - Top pick Dwight Howard has greatly impressed assistant coach Clifford Ray, and the acquisition of Houston starters Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato should thrust the Magic back into the postseason.


Phoenix Suns - They could be the league's most prolific scoring team after adding Steve Nash and Quentin Richardson to a stable of fliers. They still need a big man, however.

Dallas Mavericks - The Mavs finally landed a legitimate center in Erick Dampier. Draft pick Devin Harris and veterans Jerry Stackhouse and Jason Terry will be factors, prompting coach Don Nelson to say he has never been more excited about a Dallas team.

Philadelphia 76ers - They could reach the playoffs with a revamped lineup that includes Williamson, Kevin Ollie, Kedrick Brown and Brian Skinner.

Memphis Grizzlies - They kept Stromile Swift, and the deepest team in the league became a little deeper by signing forward Brian Cardinal.

C grades

Charlotte Bobcats - As with any expansion team, the losses will mount. The NBA draft produced Emeka Okafor, and the expansion draft brought in Gerald Wallace and Melvin Ely. Classy veteran Steve Smith was brought in for leadership and his outside shot.


Atlanta Hawks - Upgrades include Antoine Walker, Al Harrington, Jon Barry and Kenny Anderson. There's talent but also a ton of mileage.

Chicago Bulls - The draft provides hope in Ben Gordon, Chris Duhon and Luol Deng.

Kings - Their moves were limited because of the salary cap, and depth might be a concern. They drafted guards Kevin Martin and Ricky Minard, and signed former Jazz center Greg Ostertag and rookie free agent David Bluthenthal.

Washington Wizards - Antawn Jamison, Anthony Peeler and Samaki Walker are in, though Walker may have nothing left.

Indiana Pacers - The team that reached the Eastern Conference final made only one move, the swap of Harrington to Atlanta for Stephen Jackson, who can shoot and provide athleticism.

Los Angeles Lakers - At first glance, O'Neal's loss seems F-minus material. But he might have been uninterested and lethargic had he remained, and Kobe Bryant might have signed elsewhere. The Lakers brought in Lamar Odom. Vlade Divac is an elite big-man passer, and they could still retain Malone.

New Orleans Hornets - The frontcourt is deeper and more athletic with newcomers Chris Andersen and Rodney Rogers. Top pick J.R. Smith has exceptional potential.

New York Knicks - Jamal Crawford and Jerome Williams help - and they finally got rid of Dikembe Mutombo's big salary.

Portland Trail Blazers - They drafted Sebastian Telfair and brought in Nick Van Exel, who is superb when healthy.

D grades

Toronto Raptors - Stability is a rumor with another coach and general manager in place. The big move was to sign Rafer Alston to run the team.


Cleveland Cavaliers - The loss of Boozer was a serious blow, with Cleveland getting zip in return. The Cavs did bring in steady guard Eric Snow.

Seattle SuperSonics - The most significant move was drafting 7-foot prep star Robert Swift, whose upside is dulled by zero experience.

Golden State Warriors - They doled out nearly $80 million to sudden starters Adonal Foyle and Derek Fisher, never mind that neither started last season. But elderly and creaky Dale Davis and Eduardo Najera provide interior toughness.

Boston Celtics - The draft included three promising rookies; the trade for Gary Payton could be a boost, if he shows up.

Los Angeles Clippers - They made a futile run at Bryant, then let Richardson bolt to Phoenix and acquired Kerry Kittles to replace him. Forever residents in Class D.

Milwaukee Bucks - There is not much here to jolt the rest of the East. They re-signed Toni Kukoc and brought in Mo Williams and Mike James to shore up the backcourt.

F grade

New Jersey Nets - Remember the Nets? NBA finalists in 2002 and 2003? They traded Martin for not a single active player, traded away Kittles and didn't re-sign Rogers.


The Bee's Joe Davidson can be reached at (916) 321-1280 or jdavidson@sacbee.com.
 
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#2
I'm sure Petrie isn't done with his moves yet. I'd bet anything he's got something up his sleeve that will improve this team. But what might that move be? Any ideas?
 
#3
I don't know why the Kings have been given a C grade.
Its not necessary to trade players every offseason. The Kings team is already good enough and also as mentioned in the article the salary issues don't really allow much of a movement.
Whatever trades have been made look good.
 

piksi

Hall of Famer
#4
How does one judge things before preseason even started ?

This is still a team sport and 5 individuals may or may not become a team.

Only time will tell who did the good job and who did not.

If "C" or "D" gives You a ring - why would one want "A" or "B".

Bottomline - that article is only usefull for the journalist who gets paid to write.
 
#5
Let's see.... our needs were defense, rebounding and athleticism. We added a 7'2" rebounding, pick setting center, who will undoubtedly, by his sheer bulk alone, clog the lane while he is in there, thus closing off the freeway to the hoop, a rookie who may well turn out to be the proverbial sleeper of the draft, a kid with skills AND athleticism, re-signed our back up PF, stared down Peja's trade request without blinking, we get a C. The spurs and tpups basically re-sign their own players (spurs trade Hedo for Brent as well) and they get an A?

I personally really like the look of the upcoming Kings team, I think I will have to wait until they at least play a few games together before issuing any grades. Same with the other teams, moves on paper often don't quite translate in the season;)
 
#6
the more they underestimate the KINGS the better the KINGS look to me. Each time I think about the changes the better this team looks to me. We seemed to have filled the holes really well, addressing major concerns by adding defence and youth and also retaining most of the core players.
 
#7
Last year the Mavericks traded Nick Van Exel. This year they traded Steve nash. How does combo that rate a "B". Let's see how they do this year. I predict they will remain in the middle of the WC pack without Nash.

The Kings kept most of their their starters, including Peja Stojakovic. Whnaa, whnaa, boo-hoo, sniff. Petrie did not need to move people around this year. I love Vlade, and will miss him, but I think Ostertag will be more useful to the Kings than Vlade was during the later part of the 2003-2004 season. Chris Webber should be better than last year, and will have to relocate to another planet if he doesn't back up his alligator mouth. Brad Miller will start now. Time to step up big guy. Songaila will fit better. I doubt that Peja will continue to fairy up errant lay-ups anymore, and he will be truly impressive prior to his big contract-year. If Bobby Jackson is 100 percent, not 85 percent, the Kings will be difficult to beat.

I like this pat hand. The Kings deserve a "B+" for closing-out last year, a depressing year, with minimal trades. They will be better than last year. Other major WC contenders will not!
 
A

AriesMar27

Guest
#8
who cares? the kings will still win damn near 60 games anyways.... might as well give them an "F", like it makes a difference....
 

6th

Homer Fan Since 1985
#9
AriesMar27 said:
who cares? the kings will still win damn near 60 games anyways.... might as well give them an "F", like it makes a difference....
"like it makes a difference"...I love this line. :D

Several members have mentioned exactly what I was thinking. It comes down to 2 things:

1. We took care of some deficiencies this off-season.
2. None of it matters till the preseason when we can actually assess how this group will play together.

So, as piksi said, "Bottomline - that article is only usefull for the journalist who gets paid to write." Piksi, you and I don't often agree, but that was a great line...and so true. :p
 

Bricklayer

Don't Make Me Use The Bat
Staff member
#10
Don't have any real problem with that grade -- if a "C" is a middle of the road offseason, then that's got to be about right for us. We neither substantially improved, nor substantialy declined. And our fate this season is much closer tied to internal questions -- are Webb and Bobby healthy, will Peja give it his all etc. -- than anything we did or did not do
 
#12
I found this particularly interesting, though it may be a bit off topic:

Washington Wizards - Antawn Jamison, Anthony Peeler and Samaki Walker are in, though Walker may have nothing left.
What did he have to begin with???
 
#13
I would agree with the grade of C for the Kings. They had the opportunity to use a $5.4 million exception to find a quality back up for peja, but chose not to use it. Instead they signed an untested Euroleague guy. Also, they allowed Peeler to leave and have two rookies who are supposed to pick up his minutes. IMO the real bright spot this off season was getting Songaila for $1.6 million considering the chedder that was tossed at other guys (ie Brian Cardinal). I think Ostertag will be a good change and he will definitely shake things (possibly opposing players) up.

Ultimately it might not matter since Adelman goes to a short list of names come playoff time. Hopefully there won't be (m)any injuries...
 
#14
I'm not upset to see Peeler leave. We don't need an undersized backup at the swing positions, especially with Bobby on the team. He made us way too small on the bench. I still think Jimmy was a perfect fit for our team, especially in the playoffs.
 
#15
'Hopefully there won't be (m)any injuries...'

As is what Kings fans have been praying for since we turned the tide back in 99'. Other than '01, injuries have played a HUGE part in the Kings downfall. Especially the last 3 post-seasons. Oh well, its like the old saying goes 'Injuries are just part of the game'.
 
#16
Oh, and as far as the offseason moves...I couldnt be happier, we DID fill holes quite well, and we got more athletic, too. We'll have to see who falls in line for the 12th slot coming up. I think that this offseason was almost as good as the one 2 years ago when we got Keon, resigned Bibby, etc...
 

piksi

Hall of Famer
#17
WalMatt23 said:
Hopefully there won't be (m)any injuries...
We are talking about Kings here - so there will be something. I hope that everything that is going to happen (and it will) - ends before PO because we will get there anyway.
 
#18
Also, they allowed Peeler to leave and have two rookies who are supposed to pick up his minutes.
See, I counted this as a good thing:) Peeler was next to worthless in the Play Offs, as is his tendency. I'd rather bank on the rook, who at least doesn't have a history of failures in the post season;)
 
#19
Circa_1985_Fan said:
Oh, and as far as the offseason moves...I couldnt be happier, we DID fill holes quite well, and we got more athletic, too.
You're happy with David Bluthenthal as Peja's backup?

If you think the tradeoff of losing Vlade and gaining Ostertag is more or less a wash, then a C is about right. The Kings still haven't addressed their most pressing needs, athleticism at the big spots and a proven backup small forward. God forbid that CWebb or Peja goes down for any length of time.

It's possible that one of their draft picks will pan out, but every team thinks/hopes that going into the season. The summer league stats mean zip. It would be nice if they picked up a forward with some experience for their last spot -- is Rodney White still available, or is he going to jail? -- but it seems as though Petrie's hands are tied by owners who are tired of overspending.
 
#20
Kingsgurl said:
See, I counted this as a good thing:) Peeler was next to worthless in the Play Offs, as is his tendency. I'd rather bank on the rook, who at least doesn't have a history of failures in the post season;)
I take it you're in favor of trading peja?
 

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
#22
I am ecstatic that we finally seem to be looking towards the future with the acquisition of some talented rookies, instead of more castoff veterans. We have an incredible core of players; I think the addition of Martin will be huge, and I have a lot of hope that Minard and Bluthenthal will produce, too. Bringing in Tag brought us rebounding and shot blocking AND someone who can actually levitate more than 2 inches off the court.

This whole grading the off-season activity concept seems to be for those writers who feel the need to assess everything before they have enough data to do so. I don't have a problem with it, per se, but I agree with those who have said you can't really assess how good an acquisition was for a particular team until those players have actually taken the court...
 
#23
VF21 said:
I am ecstatic that we finally seem to be looking towards the future with the acquisition of some talented rookies, instead of more castoff veterans. We have an incredible core of players; I think the addition of Martin will be huge, and I have a lot of hope that Minard and Bluthenthal will produce, too.
It's indeed nice to have some promising young players, particularly after so many of us had such high hopes for Gerald Wallace. And, as has been said on this board before, perhaps the lack of veteran depth on the roster will force Adelman to develop the youngsters. Still, given the Kings' injury history and their title aspirations, it would be good to have one more guy you know you can count on down the bench.
 

VF21

#KingsFansForever
Staff member
#24
Don't we still have one slot left? I wouldn't be surprised at all if Petrie has intentionally kept that slot open. He's found players like Jim Jackson before. Who knows what he could be considering?

At least we're now on the back end of TDOS and will know before too much longer what's going to happen.

;)
 

CruzDude

Senior Member sharing a brew with bajaden
#26
Offseason ranking about right

"Kings - Their moves were limited because of the salary cap, and depth might be a concern. They drafted guards Kevin Martin and Ricky Minard, and signed former Jazz center Greg Ostertag and rookie free agent David Bluthenthal."

He hits it on the head. Tho' other NBA media types appear to rate OTag higher than this. But face facts, we have 3 rookies and a 7'2" load who can play but question is how much?

With one slot left its training camp and then likely 7-10 in before Petrie fills that last slot. :confused:
 
#27
I'm not really that concerned with who we fill that last slot with. History has shown us that if a major cog goes down, no amount of depth is going to fill that void. We need our top 6 players healthy, and the bench will do their jobs, no matter who it is.
 
#28
thedofd said:
You're happy with David Bluthenthal as Peja's backup?

If you think the tradeoff of losing Vlade and gaining Ostertag is more or less a wash, then a C is about right. The Kings still haven't addressed their most pressing needs, athleticism at the big spots and a proven backup small forward. God forbid that CWebb or Peja goes down for any length of time.

It's possible that one of their draft picks will pan out, but every team thinks/hopes that going into the season. The summer league stats mean zip. It would be nice if they picked up a forward with some experience for their last spot -- is Rodney White still available, or is he going to jail? -- but it seems as though Petrie's hands are tied by owners who are tired of overspending.
You ahve to remember, Peja's backup only has to be his backup...which means he will only have to play 10-13 minutes a game...Bluthenthall will more than full that role. I remember him from USC, and from what I hear, he's matured quite well overseas, and his shot has gotten even better, so we wont lose anything scoring wise when he comes into the game, he can shoot from the parking lot.
 

piksi

Hall of Famer
#30
Circa_1985_Fan said:
You ahve to remember, Peja's backup only has to be his backup...which means he will only have to play 10-13 minutes a game...Bluthenthall will more than full that role. I remember him from USC, and from what I hear, he's matured quite well overseas, and his shot has gotten even better, so we wont lose anything scoring wise when he comes into the game, he can shoot from the parking lot.
more like 10 -13 minutes per week if we consider Peja's playing time from the last season.