Top 10 NBA Signings, Acquisitions From Summer of 2013
Top 10 Signings, Acquisitions From Offseason
The 2013-14 NBA regular season is reluctantly closer to its conclusion than I’m sure most basketball fans would care to admit or accept. There is just a little over a month left in the season, though there are still races to still be played out in both conferences in terms of playoff positioning and the masochistic entertainment of the tanking wars are still in full force as well.
One of the things that this point in the season allows the NBA fans and people who talk about the league to do, though, is to start looking back on the season as a whole and assessing what has happened. We can start speculating about which players will win which awards, which teams have a serious chance at a title, and which teams were the biggest surprises and disappointments.
Another aspect that we can look at given the time of the NBA year that is often overlooked, though, is which moves made coming into the season made a real difference. We can look back on what teams did this offseason in preparation for this year and see which ones worked for the better and which ones didn’t.
If you’re looking for which ones didn’t, you don’t need to look further than the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Pistons acquired big names, but are still almost surely going to miss out on the playoffs given how they’ve played and the lack of improvement that they’ve shown. The Bucks currently have the worst record in the league after a slew of mediocre to bad signings.
On the other end of the spectrum, though, there were a number of signings and trades that have been wildly beneficial for the teams that made the moves. As we can now look back at them, here are the 10 best moves of this past offseason in terms of what they’ve meant to each team.
10. Phoenix Suns Deal Marcin Gortat
It’s weird to think that trading a quality center like Marcin Gortat away for an injured center would be a move that would help the Phoenix Suns, but it certainly has. Not only has the move given the opportunity for young frontcourt players to shine and further develop, but the move also allowed the Suns’ guards in Goran Dragic and, when he was healthy, Eric Bledsoe to dominate the ball more and not be saddled with getting Gortat his touches. As Phoenix is likely to make the postseason, it’s hard to say that the move didn’t end up working in their favor.
9. Marco Belinelli Inks Deal With San Antonio Spurs
Pretty much anyone could have told you that Marco Belinelli was the type of guy that’s near ideal for the San Antonio Spurs system, but I’m not sure many could have predicted how vital he’d be to their success this season. With Danny Green struggling and a multitude of injuries, Belinelli has stepped up and has been a monster. Both as a starter and off of the bench, Belinelli has been a sparkplug for the Spurs’ offense and has helped to keep them afloat and primed for another postseason run as they get back to full health.
8. Michael Beasley Lands with Miami Heat
After being waived by the Suns, the Miami Heat jumped at the chance to sign Michael Beasley. It always seemed like Beasley needed the right situation to set him straight on and off of the court and the Heat have been that. Beasley has emerged as arguably the Heat’s second biggest weapon off of the bench, save for Ray Allen. He’s shown new, efficient life as an offensive player and looks to be a key component in the Heat’s quest for a three-peat.
7. Chicago Bulls Pick Up Mike Dunleavy
The Chicago Bulls haven’t stopped fighting even without Derrick Rose and Luol Deng and Mike Dunleavy has been a big part in that. Dunleavy has been the offensive spark a number of times for the Bulls and is unquestionably their most consistent threat to score from the perimeter. The Dunleavy signing seemed like a great move for the Bulls with their roster healthy, but has turned out to have an even bigger impact given the injuries and roster changes the team has endured.
6. Kevin Martin to Minnesota Timberwolves
There’s a good chance that the Minnesota Timberwolves miss out on the postseason once again, but Kevin Martin has helped to keep this team in the running. Martin quickly established himself as the number-two gun behind Kevin Love in the Wolves’ offense and hasn’t looked back. Considering Minnesota’s abysmal outside shooting from the 2012-13 season, Martin has been a much-needed addition to this Timberwolves team and will be vital if they’re to make a run at the playoffs over the last month or so of the season.
5. Paul Millsap Ends Up With Atlanta Hawks
No one could have or would have wanted to envision the Al Horford injury for the Atlanta Hawks, but it has made the Paul Millsap signing all the more important. Millsap has really been the lifeblood of the Hawks this season and it’s no surprise that their most recent struggles have coincided with an injury to the forward. If the Hawks are going to stay in the playoff race, getting Millsap back healthy is more than likely going to be the biggest key.
4. Golden State Warriors Get Andre Iguodala
Andre Iguodala’s offense hasn’t done much for the Golden State Warriors, but he’s had an enormous hand in the Warriors secretly establishing a new identity for themselves as a defensive team. Iguodala and Golden State have been the third most efficient defense in the league this season and his signing and that occurrence are quite obviously related. Golden State is actually fighting for postseason life right now, but with Iguodala’s impact on the defense and the team’s offensive prowess, they could be an incredibly tough out in the playoffs.
3. Dallas Mavericks Sign Monta Ellis
I’ll freely admit to being a skeptic about the Dallas Mavericks signing Monta Ellis this summer. However, Rick Carlisle has transformed the guard into an efficient offensive force that has swung a number of games in Dallas’ favor. With the Mavs solidly in position to make the playoffs, it’s impossible to deny the fact that the re-emergence of Ellis has been a catalyst for that success.
2. Dwight Howard Signs With Houston Rockets
No surprise, but Dwight Howard joining the Houston Rockets has had a major impact on the team’s fortunes. The Rockets are in position to have home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and Howard has clearly played a part in that. He’s by no means been the player that he once was, but he has been a consistent force in the post on both ends of the floor and, when the Rockets are all clicking in unison, has made this team look like a title contender.
1. Charlotte Bobcats Sign Al Jefferson
The Charlotte Bobcats won their 28th game this season on Wednesday night after winning just 28 games combined over the two previous seasons. Al Jefferson has been the lifeblood behind that newfound success. Sure, head coach Steve Clifford getting this team to play a high level of defense is a factor, but Jefferson has put forth an All-NBA worthy season this year and, if the Bobcats are able to hold their position and make the playoffs, it’ll largely be to the center’s efforts.