Deadline Day: What Makes a Good or Bad Trade?

For a basketball fan, there are few more fun days than today, the NBA trade deadline.  If your team wants to add a piece better than a 10th man, it has to be done today by 3:00.  Twitter will likely be abuzz with rumored deals, completed deals, and rapid developments.  Amidst the craze, fans tend to want their team to be involved in the rumors – to do SOMETHING to get better.  Human instinct kicks in, and fans want to be apart of the craze.   Nevertheless, what fans – and sometimes teams – forget, is that when the dust settles after a transaction done under the pressure of time, you are left with are the assets or players you traded for, and lack those which you dealt away.  And if what you dealt is better to have around than what you acquired, you ultimately have hurt your organization.   Do teams need to try to get better at the deadline?  Without a doubt.  Outside of June 23-July 15 (or thereabouts), the deadline is the only time to make significant roster moves.  However, teams also need to be prudent, and avoid making moves that can be harmful down the line – no matter how tempting they may be.   So, looking back at deals past, what are some hallmarks of good and bad transactions?     1: Teams Make Bad Decisions When They Feel That They “HAVE TO” Do Something:   Example: 2015 Suns   The 2015 Suns put together an awesome trio of point guards in Isaiah Thomas, Goran Dragic, and Eric Bledsoe, in a league where point...
Don’t Forget About Us, Other Stars Having Career Years

Don’t Forget About Us, Other Stars Having Career Years

It’s easy to get lost in story lines of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the two clear leaders for the MVP award based on their individual accolades this season.  Their numbers are ridiculous and unheard of in today’s NBA, Harden (28.7 ppg, 11.7 ast, 8.3 reb) and Westbrook (30.7 ppg, 10.3 ast, 10.5 reb).  However, there are some other NBA players putting up their own incredible stat lines and dominating the sport that need recognition too. Anthony Davis We start off our list with arguably the best big man in the league (just don’t tell that to Lebron James, Draymond Green and the man they fancy, DeMarcus Cousins).  Anthony Davis has improved year after year but this season, through 39 games, he is averaging career best in points per game, rebounds per game and steals per game. Unfortunately, the Pelicans don’t provide much support for this super star and that is why he is flying under the radar this season despite putting up close to 30-12 every night with 2.5 blocks and 1.3 steals. Isaiah Thomas The Boston Celtics were highly touted coming in to this season with the acquisition of Al Horford.  But what really makes this Boston Celtics team go is the 5’9” point guard, Isaiah Thomas.  Since coming to Boston from Phoenix after Danny Ainge hoodwinked his old associate Ryan McDonough, he has been one of the best scorers in the league.  He has improved each season and is shooting a career best 45.9% from the field and 90.7% from the charity stripe.  He is averaging a career high 28.4 points per game and leads the...
New Year’s Resolutions: Eastern Conference

New Year’s Resolutions: Eastern Conference

The holidays are just passed us as we look towards a new year. This time of year people get really excited for a new beginning or maybe just their next chapter. Well, NBA teams also get excited for the New Year. A new year brings the trade deadline closer, the NFL ending it’s season, the NBA All Star weekend, and the time we all look forward to, the playoffs. Below we will run through new years resolutions for all 30 NBA teams. Eastern Conference Philadelphia 76ers This was the perfect team to lead off because they have to just keep taking it a day at a time. Many didn’t like the Hinkie process but Joel Embiid has been showing fans and media all season long to Trust the Process. We haven’t even seen Ben Simmons on the court yet. The most impressive aspect of this rebuild for the 76ers is their assets (Philly owns the Kings 2019 first round pick and right to swap in 2017). They will most likely move one of their big men (Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor) for so much needed guard help. Ben Simmons will be an excellent guard in the league but they will need some help. Their resolution is to get good value in Noel/Okafor and acquire a young guard who has potential. Brooklyn Nets Trade. They have to move Brook Lopez for a package of picks and prospects. He’s averaging more points per 36 minutes than he ever has. On top of this, he established a three-point game. The Nets are an older team and they only have eight wins. It’s...
New Season, New Trends: What Have We Learned?

New Season, New Trends: What Have We Learned?

We are now over 1.5 months into the NBA season, and it has been an incredible one  Each team in the league is between 24 and 29 games into their season.  Now, 29 games do not allow for definitive conclusions.  Some teams take longer to come together, others fizzle, and a few more make roster changes that affect performance.  Nevertheless, we have seen enough of the NBA this year to make some observations that will likely hold.  Here are three observations in the earlygoing   Kevin Durant made the right decision We seem to go through this every time a superstar makes a big free agency decision to leave the team that drafted him.  The player is judged, lambasted, and accused of making a bad decision for his legacy.  Nevertheless, LeBron James’ career outcome should be reinforcement that when push comes to shove, players will be judged not for unpopular free agency choices, but by a combination of hardware and stellar individual play: the more of each, the merrier. With an stellar 113.5 offensive rating, and a top seven defense, the Warriors start has been excellent; the adjustment period to integrate Durant was short.  The new death lineup has an unconscious 123.2 offensive rating and 96.3 defensive rating, and is just crushing opposing teams. To anyone who understands how and why the Warriors rose before Durant, his successful integration is no surprise.  After surging to become a mid tier playoff team in 2013 at 47 wins and a second round exit, the Warriors, stifled by Mark Jackson’s limited ceiling isolation offense, plateaud in 2014 at 51 wins and a...
The Plight of the Magic: Do Some Teams Stay With Their Young Core For Too Long?

The Plight of the Magic: Do Some Teams Stay With Their Young Core For Too Long?

August 11, 2012.  That was a long time ago, right? That was the day the Orlando Magic, after upwards of one year of drama, traded Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers.  The take at the time: Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Al Harrington, and Christian Eyenga.  The Magic also received a first round pick that ultimately became Elfrid Payton, a second round pick that became Romero Osby, and a $17.8 trade exception that expired, unused.  Fast forward from there: Afflalo was traded for Evan Fournier and Devyn Marble, and McRoberts, Harrington, Eyenga, and Osby were shuffled off the roster for various reasons, leaving Vucevic, Fournier, Harkless, Payton, and Marble the take from the trade, essentially. From there, the Magic did what we say every franchise is supposed to do to build a winner: they patiently worked through the draft, trade market, and scrap heap market to build a young core.  Over the years, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja, and Andrew Nicholson were added through the draft; JJ Redick was shipped to import a young Tobias Harris; and Dewayne Dedmon was a free agent find on the cheap. The Magic were not impulsive, and always kept the future vision in mind as opposed to gunning for the short term (until the 2016 deadline: more on that later).  They did not seek the big “ticket sale” move in lieu of patient building.  And, it is easy to forget now, but the Magic core was one many were found of, in multiple circles.  Rob Hennigan, particularly after the Dwight trade, was praised as a shrewd planner who...
How Long Is The Leash?: The Unpredictability Of Player Development

How Long Is The Leash?: The Unpredictability Of Player Development

The NBA is a league that is seeing more and more young talent come through the ranks and either flourish or falter. For every Kevin Durant there was a Greg Oden. For every Steph Curry a Johnny Flynn. Drafting the right player seems clear on draft night, but the development of players is what makes or breaks their NBA careers. It seems obvious. If a player doesn’t improve season to season they most likely won’t make it into the NBA. The question is on why some top prospects develop and others don’t. It’s a lot more complex than the “some guys just don’t have it” rhetoric that is often used as a detriment on draft night. There’s an aspect of emotion we like to call “hunger”. “Hunger” as in the drive to be great. It is an overused term that some players can never shake off or earn. But hunger isn’t the entire reason why a player like Giannis Antetokounmpo succeeds and a top prospect in Anthony Bennett flops. Development coaches are paid a lot of money to train a player to be better. But in reality, their job is based on 50% coaching skill and 50% blind faith. Each individual player must have a certain type of mindset and dedication to reach their full potential, but another factor is the environment he’s in. I’m not sure we’d see the same Antetokounmpo if he were playing in Orlando or Phoenix or Golden State. That’s the intricacy on forming culture. Culture isn’t something shaped by a CEO or General Manager. It’s a combination of the type of players you bring...