Off Season Winners

08/18/2010 6:54 PM - 

With so many big changes in the NBA this summer, some very good off season acquisitions have managed to fly under the radar. A lot of teams subtly improved their rosters despite not adding the likes of LeBron James or Dwayne Wade. One team who has had quite possibly the most active and productive off season is the Milwaukee Bucks. After shocking the league with an impressive regular season and even more eye opening post season, the Bucks did everything they could this summer to ensure that last year was no fluke. Most importantly, they managed to resign John Salmons, who played a large part in their second half playoff run. They also signed free agents Drew Gooden, Corey Maggette, and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Not only did they do well in the free agent market, but had a very solid draft as well. They picked up Larry Sanders and Darrington Hobson, both lesser known but extremely versatile and capable players, as well as Tiny Gallon for some more front court depth. With the emergence and maturity of the young Brandon Jennings, along with Ersan Ilyasova off the bench, the Bucks will be no surprise or slouch in the playoffs this year. Another team who went from early playoff exit to serious contender is the Chicago Bulls. Some fans feel that they lost out when LeBron wisely ran from MJ’s shadow, but the Bulls did plenty to make up for it. The most obvious addition is Carlos Boozer. With the Bulls in need of another scoring threat as well as a low post presence, they got exactly what they needed (although I feel David Lee would have been a better fit). Possibly their biggest offensive deficiency last year was their inability to shoot the three. They certainly solved that problem with another perfect fit in Kyle Korver. Also, the Bulls picked up back-up combo guard C.J. Watson from the Warriors for virtually nothing. Watson is a very young and exciting player who was extremely efficient on both ends of the floor last year for the Warriors. Not only that, but he’s capable of coming in at the 1 or the 2, and could be fun to watch alongside Rose. Ironically two other teams whom I feel had great off seasons also missed out on the LeBron sweepstakes. After NY faithful were crushed by the LBJ news, the Knicks did everything they could to put together a competitive roster. Reuniting Amare Stoudemire with Mike D’Antoni was the biggest step in the rebuilding process. They also picked up Kelenna Azubuike, one of the most physically gifted players in the league in Anthony Randolph, and the always defensive Ronny Turiaf in the David Lee trade. The reconstruction continued with free agent signees Raymond Felton and Roger Mason, who should both flourish under D’Antoni. If the team manages to stay injury-free, NY just might sneak into the last playoff spot. Lastly, the dismal New Jersey Nets finally gave their fans some reason for optimism. The Nets didn’t make any big name moves, but added a lot of necessary pieces, and positioned themselves very nicely to make some potentially gigantic additions in the future. With Devon Harris and Brook Lopez, the Nets at least had two of the most important pieces in place. Through free agency and trades, they acquired an underrated Troy Murphy, sharp shooting Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw, and a solid young back up in Jordan Farmar. The Murphy addition is key for a few reasons. He is a nice compliment to Lopez with his ability to stretch the floor, and allows the Nets to bring rookie Derrick Favors off the bench. Not only that, but with only one year left on Troy’s deal, the team will have about 20 million to spend in free agency next summer, which could be used to lure Carmelo Anthony. Should they be able to do so, the Nets would then have plenty to offer the Hornets for Chris Paul. Devon Harris, Terrance Williams, Derrick Favors, and a 2012 first round draft pick would be very difficult to turn down, especially if Paul doesn’t want to be there. With plenty of flexibility, and lots of money to spend, things are certainly looking up in NJ. A few more minor off season additions to keep your eye on include: Matt Barnes to the Lakers, Brad Miller to the Rockets, Quentin Richardson to the Magic, Von Wafer to the Celtics, and Hakim Warrick to the Suns.

This post was submitted by Zach Silvernail.

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