My vote goes to the Spurs. You get Richard Jefferson before the daft, Dejuan Blair and Jack McClinton in the draft. You pick up Antonio McDyess and Marcus Haislip in free agency. They have made the right moves to improve their team without lossing major pieces or young talent. Their my favorite to challege the Lakers and the Rockets this year in the west.
( yes i said Rockets, because i think they are going into this season with a huge chip on their shoulders. They were suppose to be contenders this year because of they way they played in the playoffs, but since then its be a nightmare for them everything that could go wrong has. And i think they are going to use that burden to their advantage). Maybe sneak in as a lower seed and surprise a couple of teams, like they did the Lakers.
forreal. Let me get a hit of that.
The spurs have had a great offseason, and have put themselves back in the 3 horse race for the west, with the Lakeshow of course and the Nuggets, unless of course a huge injury shakes things up. The Blazers are my fourth right now and are a trade and Greg Oden improving drastically away from entering the discussion. The Mavs have improved but not enough to contend so its a horrible offseason for them in my opinion, overpaying long term for stars on thier career's deathbeds just about in Kidd and Marion. Makes me wonder where the money to resign Dirk in 2010 is going to come from. I smell rebuilding in Dallas.
That is what will be the top 4 in the west I feel, Im pretty sure the Blazers are in it, Maybe New Orleans or Utah or Dallas for the 4th. They all beat out the Rockets, who its possible wont have Yao, definately won't have Ron Artest, and may or may not have Tracy Mcgrady only with a microfracture under his belt. So its essentially a gutsy team of role players that frankly overrachieved and may have got a little lucky/ caught the lakers sleeping in the playoffs + Trevor Ariza who is good but mostly an athletic role player himself and overrated at the moment because Kobe got him a ring + a bunch of second round picks = 8th seed if there lucky. The suns might be better, depends if they've given up or not. If Baron Davis is half awake by the All- Star break and Gordon and Griffin are ready to play some grown man ball, its not inconcievable the Clippers could sneak in there. But The rockets can't contend for a full season. I just don't see any way you can project them any higher than 6th in the west, and even that is generous. Theyre the most likely team from last years post season in the west to fall out this year in my opinion.
Its been either the Lakers or the Magic. The signing of Artest gives the Lakers more toughness and even with a good defender like Ariza gone, they signed an even better defender in Artest, with a much better offensive game. He should be a great fit in the triangle, and keep them where they are as the very best team in the league.The Magic because they have gotten a scorer at the 2 guard spot in Vince Carter that should keep them as one of the very best teams in the league. Also, getting Ryan Anderson in that trade is a great add-in. He looks like he should be able to take over games from time to time with his shooting ability.And the signing of Bass is big because it allows Lewis to play SF, his natural position, where he wont be taken advantage of defensively as often.
Magic got Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass
Magic lost Rafer Alston, Lee, Hedo, Gortat (I am guessing they won't match)
I think the Magic got a little better even if they do lose Gortat. They just need to pickup a couple more cheap bargain free agents because right now they need better depth at several different positions.
Spurs got Jefferson, McDyess, McClinton, De Colo, Blair, Haslip
Spurs lost Oberto, Bowen
Obviously the Spurs got quite a bit better.
Dallas got Quinton Ross, Beaubois, Calathes, Marion, Gortat
Dallas lost Bass, Wright
Dallas has really improved. They need to find someone to replace Bass downlow. They need a quality backup for Dirk. Glen Davis would be perfect.
Cavs got Shaq, Anthony Parker
Cavs lost Ben Wallace, Pavlovic, Wally
Cleveland is still going to sign a couple more free agents too.
Boston got Rasheed
Boston lost Glen Davis (just guessing he leaves), Powe, Marbury
The Celtics aren't finished in free agency yet either.
Overall right now I have to say the Spurs have had the best offseason.
1. Spurs - From drafting Blair, to trading from Jefferson, to signing McDyess... They've been great. I don't like the Spurs, but this may be the best organization in all of sports. If Duncan and Ginobli are healthy, they're a lock to challenge the Lakers.
2. Lakers - Signing Ron Artest (basically trading him for Ariza) was HUGE. Ron Artest is a major upgrade over Ariza and they got him at a discount. When you win a championship and then add another all-star caliber player, it's huge. Not to mention, developing chemisty with Artest will give them something to focus on heading into next season. I don't expect them to be complacent at all. I get the feeling that they still feel stung from that loss to Boston in the 2008 finals. They've also re-signed Brown. Now they just need to re-sign Odom.
3. Mavericks - They've been aggressive re-signing Kidd, signing Gortat to an offer sheet and trading for Marion. The starters will be Gortat (if Orlando doesn't match), Dirk, Marion, Howard, Kidd and Terry/Dampier as your first two off the bench. I'm feeling that lineup. IMO this puts them ahead of Portland as the 4th best team (LA, SAN, DEN, DAL & POR) in the West.
4. Celtics - Adding Rasheed Wallace to Doc Rivers/Tom Thibodeau, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen & Rajon Rondo is MAJOR. Now, they need to re-sign Big Baby. If healthy, they'll be in the finals. If healthy, I think they would've been in the finals last season and probably beat the Lakers AGAIN.
5. Magic - Trading for Vince Carter could turn out to be great or bite them in the ass. I can understand trading Alston, but they gave up Courtney Lee who has a bright future. Trading for VC meant they couldn't re-sign Turkoglu. They ended up doing a sign and trade w/ Toronto which they benefited from, but still... Losing Turkoglu hurts. Getting Anderson in the VC trade is nice (he could fill a big role and space the floor) and signing Bass will give them some toughness/rebounding at the four. Moving Lewis to the three may not be a great thing though, because it takes away a key advantage the Magic had. He constantly killed other fours because they couldn't guard him on the perimeter or off the bounce. Turk & Lewis caused mismatch problems and by having a traditional four man now... I think they lose that advantage offensively. However, being a more traditional team may be best for them. They really got exposed in the finals when Lewis got killed by Pau and Odom. They also should match the offer for Gortat... They have no backup center at this point.
But Lewis will still have an advantage because of his size. He hadnt played PF until he was with Orlando and he was an all-star SF with Seattle so he wont be affected negatively, if anything he will be more comfortable. And I dont think the signing of Marcin Gortat makes Dallas the 4th best squad in the West, realistically they are still weak at the 5. He isnt a difference maker. Everyone is overrating what San Antonio has done also in my opinion. Jefferson was a great pickup, especially when you look on paper at what they gave up, but DeJuan Blair could be very ineffective and McClinton could be too. They both lack size, and dont have much athleticism. Not a good match usually. Dont crown them the winners after they signed a role player (Jefferson) and 2 rookies that have a 50/50 chance of being ineffective or good.
NO WAY THE ROCKETS CONTEND FOR A TITLE....
Blair at worst is going to be a very solid rebounder that brings a lot of toughness off the bench. Every team could use him.
McClinton was the best 3pt shooter in the draft. He can spread the floor and handle the ball.
De Colo may even play, he has great size & IQ for a PG.
McDyess is a proven experienced veteran...he averaged 10pts & 10 rebounds last season
Jefferson averaged 20pts & 5 rebounds last year. He is a big upgrade at SF.
Haislip was a lottery pick several years ago. He is a big body that has apparently improved his game overseas. He provides quality depth.
Meanwhile the Spurs gain all these solid players & have to give up virtually nothing in the process.
San Antonio is a real contender to win it all.
Spurs clearly had the best offseason so far.
As for the Rockets.....I don't even think they will make the playoffs.
The Rockets make the playoffs as a 7 or 8 seed. And give who ever they are matched against a hard time much like they did the Lakers. Even when Yao was out
There are 10 teams in the West that are better than the Rockets now....
Artest was replace with Ariza which is a slight downgrade
Yao is gone for the season probably
McGrady will miss some time as well
That squad isn't even going to come close to making the playoffs.
no they wont.
You lose Yao maybe for the season, McGrady for 25-35 games and Artest.\
Battier and Ariza together wont score 25ppg, Scola is a #3option.
Who are you guys counting on? Brooks?
I don't see that team winning many games. They have no star. Who is going to be their leading scorer?
I think San Antonio is the most improved with the Cavs a possibility depending on how well Shaq blends with James. Key to their season in a nutshell. Cavs could have drafted better IMO. I think Magic lost almost as much as they gained. I don't see them improved accept that they have a healthy Nelson when season starts and Howard will be even better, a scary thought for all centers in the East.
Rockets will have one of the worst records in the league and a lot of ping pong balls which could only help their future. They will in no way compete for a playoff spot with their roster as is.
Brooks 18ppg 5ast 2stl 42% 3pt 84% ft
Battier 10ppg 5rbs 2stl 77% ft
Ariza 15.7ppg 6rbs 2ast 2.8stl 1.6blks 43% 3pt 75% ft (most improved award) or Brooks
Hayes 4.2ppg 5.8rbs 62% ft
Scola 17.3ppg 8.8rbs 2ast 1.3blks 83% ft 60% from field
McGrady 24ppg 5.6ast 1.5stl 6rbs 1.4blk 40% 3pt 58% from field 80% ft (Coming back strong from surgery)
Bench 10ppg (want contribute much scoring but alot of defense)
Rockets will win over 44 games with 90% defense 10% offense
7 or 8 seed