NBA Roundtable
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NBA Roundtable: the 2020 offseason.

With the NBA offseason essentially wrapped up for another year, a few of our NBA scribes assembled to share their thoughts.

Who won the off season?

Jarrod Prosser: The obvious answer would be the Blazers and/or Hawks, but I’ll leave that analysis to others. Instead, I’ll go slightly left field and say the Clippers have done a smashing job of turning lemons into lemonade.

Your high profile championship winning coach has lost the team? Hey, here’s another high profile championship winning coach to replace him. Your star 6th man blindsides you? Here’s a veteran centre who is a better fit on both sides of the ball to replace him. Your other weapon off the bench is starting to age? Here’s a young two guard with superior play making and a defense, with similar shooting range.

They still have all the pressure in the world upon them, but in replacing Doc Rivers and Montrezl Harrell with Ty Lue and Serge Ibaka and in phasing out Lou Williams for Luke Kennard, the Clippers got substantially stronger.

Alex Chick III: I love what the Atlanta Hawks did. It would be too easy for me to pick the Lakers after they came off a Championship and still added Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroeder. The Hawks have some great young talent and mixed that in with solid veterans, adding Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and then Rondo to mentor Trae Young. They drafted Onyeka Okongwu on top of that to create a formidable young trio with Young and John Collins. That’s not to forget the young core of Kevin Huerter, DeAndre Hunter, and Cam Reddish. By the way, they still have Clint Capela! This team is going to surprise people. They’re playoff bound; maybe a first round upset? We’ll see.

Jackson Law: The Lakers are perhaps the obvious choice here, but the biggest winners have to be the Atlanta Hawks. Somehow, a team that only won 20 games last season attracted some of the best talent from this free agency class (albeit a week one). Gallinari had a resurgence with the Thunder, Rondo and Kris Dunn should be a nice defensive duo off the bench, and Bogdanovic is a legit scorer who is still young enough to experience growth. Let us not forget the Hawks also have a young dynamic-duo with Young and Collins. The Hawks drafted well, did what they could in free agency, and have legit depth. Granted, next year’s free agency is the one you hope to win, but the Hawks probably weren’t landing any of those stars, so this is about as good as they could’ve done. Next season, the Hawks will go from bottom of the East to a legit playoff contender.

Dacota Haynes: Not only did the Portland Trailblazers get better with the acquisitions of Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr, and Enes Kanter. But people have to remember that last year this team was stagnant on offense when it came to the pick and roll. Hassan Whiteside and Anthony Tolliver are many things, but they are not pick and roll players. Nurkic and Kanter are. The Blazers were also one of the worst teams at finishing around the rim, so they added 4 guys who finished 67%+ in that category. Not only did they add those three plus Harry Giles, but they brought back Rodney Hood and Carmelo Anthony.

Who is the best addition?

JP: The best addition may be yet to come – if James Harden moves East, then there’s no further debate. As it stands his current side might have made the single biggest impact move of free agency in adding Christian Wood. This is where all the usual small sample size disclaimers apply, though Wood’s combination of outside shooting and rim protection look to be tailor made to play alongside Harden and Russell Westbrook. The Rockets just have to hope that Wood’s form prior to the shutdown wasn’t a mirage.

AC: I couldn’t separate two players from the same team. Sort of a contradiction here but the Lakers had two of the best acquisitions. They got Dennis Schroeder for a bag of chips and chewed up gum, then signed Montrezl Harrell to a team friendly contract. They’ll both play big roles if the Lakers repeat.

JL: I know we’ve got a Trailblazers super fan in Dacota, so I don’t wan’t to add to his flame, but I love the acquisition of Covington by Portland. Ariza is old and was a mid-season addition that filled a hole temporarily. Covington was a defensive anchor for the Rockets who could shoot well from three. Both traits are desirable by NBA teams, and Portland got one of the best. Same and CJ are defensive liabilities, and anyone else Portland threw out there to guard a legit NBA star, say LeBron, was not an offensive threat. Covington brings a balance to both. He’s a good enough scorer that when left open will make you pay, and can go toe-to-toe with some of the NBA’s best wings. You need stability like that when your guards can’t actually guard anyone. Portland has some other good signings, some that I’m sure Dacota will probably get in to (if I’m wrong then all of this is totally awkward). Good on you Portland, but the West isn’t getting any easier.

DH: Best acquisition? Dennis Schroder to the Lakers is interesting in a good way. He was the runner up for sixth man of the year. He seems to be more of a shooting guard than a true point but with LeBron and Davis around that might not matter. It will be interesting to see if his passing numbers increase or decrease.

And the worst?

JP: I get that nobody else was going to take their money, but throwing $120 million at this version of Gordon Hayward is simply ludicrous. Hayward was an All Star in Utah and if it wasn’t for a catastrophic injury, he surely would have been a multiple time All Star in the East. But that injury did happen, and Hayward simply isn’t the player he promised to be. Frankly, if he was still worth $30 million per season, he’d still be in Boston.

AC: Jrue Holiday. What the fuck were the Bucks thinking? Don’t get me wrong, I know what happened, they PANICKED. They know Giannis has a foot out of the door already and they were desperate. The only problem is that they fucked themselves by doing it. They sent 3 firsts, and Eric Bledsoe for an EXPIRING Jrue Holiday. Yikes. Good for the Pelicans for taking that. Not only will the Bucks lose Giannis, they lost their future.

JL: The Suns are the one team that made the worst offseason acquisition so far. It’s the one everyone is talking about, sending people into a frenzy when it happened. I am of course talking about the Suns singing Jae Crowder, and yes I’m being serious. While Crowder is a tough guy, a good mentor, and a person you’d like to have going into battle with you, he isn’t exactly the best baller on the court. I saw it plenty when he was in Memphis, and I saw Miami travel down the same road. Crowder will hit two 3s fairly quick, then go cold and shoot 3-11 from behind the arc. He will lead your team in 3pt attempts, but will be close to the bottom in percentage. Crowder simply shoots his own teams out of games. Players love him for a reason, but there’s also a reason why he keeps getting moved. You just don’t realize what has happened until you have him there. He is the Suns problem now, I am happy to be rid of him.

DH: Nicolas Batum to the Clippers, Batum has gone from being a top 10 SF to being inconsistent as a Shooting Guard/Small Forward at the age of 31. He will not fit in with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and make them better because he sucks. He can’t shoot, or bully in the paint.

Which acquisition will fly under the radar?

JP: Dallas trading for Josh Richardson could prove to be a masterstroke. Richardson was a poor fit on a roster full of poor fits in Philadelphia, but think back to his last season in Miami: 16.6 points, 4.1 assists, 2.2 three pointers per game (at 35.7%). He was the primary play maker for a sneaky good team. Dallas struggled last season when Luka Doncic was off the floor. Richardson gives the team the best secondary play maker it’s had in Luka’s short career but with the added bonus of being able to play away from the ball and provide stiff defense on opposition point guards. This is a wonderful piece of business.

AC: Kelly Oubre Jr. I can’t believe how many people are out on the Warriors already because they lost Klay. The Warriors had a sneaky great off season. Got the best center in the draft in James Wiseman and that will fill a hole. Steph is back, Andrew Wiggins will thrive with the Warriors, Kelly Oubre Jr. is a hooper. Draymond can go back to talking shit for getting triple singles. Plus, last years tank job helped them find some notable bench players in Eric Paschall, Damion Lee, and Jordan Poole. I’m not saying this team is winning a championship, but they’re going to the playoffs. If they had Klay, I think they were a contender for sure.

JL: My answer to this seems counter intuitive. One one hand, it was stupid of the Clippers to get rid of Shamet, who is a good player. On the other hand, trading for Kennard was a good move. Kennard is more of a pure shooter than Shamet, and is more efficient at a higher rate. While Kennard won’t be used at such a high level with the Clippers, he will still be asked to play a vital role as the Clippers try to regroup after a disappointing outing in the playoffs. It’s not that they didn’t win the title, but that they didn’t even make it to the conference finals to face the Lakers. Is Kennard the equalizer for the Clippers? Short answer, no, but depending on how he’s used, he can be a key contributor. I haven’t seen many talk about Kennard on the Clips, but I think he is a solid player that deserves some recognition. I’ve seen him play live before and know he can play. Time to see what he can do on a real team.

DH: Maurice Harkless to the Miami Heat. It gives them a good 3 and D player with size just like Derrick Jones Jr., the man Harkless will replace. He can slide into the starting five or come off the bench and serve as a mentor to the younger players as well.

Which team has done themselves the most harm?

JP: If Giannis Antetokounmpo signs his supermax extension, then all is forgiven, but as it stands the Bucks are in a perilous situation. The Jrue Holiday trade – regardless of the price – signaled the teams intent to go all in. The proposed sign-and-trade for Bogdanovic would have been a home run. In keeping Donte DiVincenzo they’re not exactly losing out as much as has been made out, but the optics of the move are damning. No matter the results on court, Giannis needs to trust that this front office can keep him in contention despite being in a small market. This sort of error can’t fill him with confidence.

AC: God, there’s so many teams I could put here. Let’s just go with the Bulls because what the fuck? Patrick Williams at 4?! WHY?! They could have got him later on by trading back and getting more assets. No one was moving up to take Patrick Williams. The Bulls did nothing this offseason. If you are a struggling team, you either need to make moves by buying or selling. The Bulls have no idea what they’re doing and it shows.

JL: The obvious answer is the only answer. I could’ve gone with the Pistons, but the mistakes by the Bucks are just too great to pass up. First, they trade 3 first round picks and the right to swap 2 first round picks, along with Bledsoe and Hill, to get Jrue Holiday. I like Holiday, but the guy isn’t worth that much. That’s damn near close to what the Pelicans got for Anthony Davis. You can’t tell me Jrue is on that level. After that horrible trade, they botch a sign-and-trade to land Bogdanovic, a restricted free agent, from the Kings. Bogdanovic never agreed to sign with the Bucks, so the trade fell through. Now that would have been a nice acquisition, but the Bucks screwed it up. Everyone and their mom can tell the Bucks are in panic mode to keep Giannis. In the end, they may have scared him away. If Giannis leaves, combined with the fact that the Bucks have little to no future picks, then the future is extremely dark for Bucks fans.

DH: Utah Jazz, they didn’t seem to get any better or get any worse. They drafted two centres and picked up Derrick Favors but lost Ed Davis and Tony Bradley