Grading Each Team’s 2018 NBA Off-Season

This has been a crazy NBA off-season where we saw Kawhi Leonard traded to Toronto and Lebron James signing with the Lakers. Those are the big fish that moved teams. Several others teams made moves to add depth while others looked to clear salary. In what seems to be a mild summer before the crazy summer 2019 is looking to be. So with that being said I decided to grade every team’s off-season. I took into account the draft, trades and free agent signings.

Atlanta Hawks

Key Additions: PG Trae Young(draft), SG Kevin Huerter(draft), PF Omari Spellman(draft), C Alex Len(free agent), SG/SF Vince Carter, SF Justin Anderson(trade)

Key Losses: PG Dennis Schroder(trade)

The Hawks are in a transition year. They knew they were going to use the draft to build around. They made a draft day trade with Dallas acquiring Young. Young will immediately enter the season as the starting point guard, taking over for Dennis Schroder who was traded to Oklahoma City. Huerter and Spellman figure to get lots of minutes and be key rotation pieces for the Hawks this upcoming season. Len has a chance to get big minutes  and even crack the starting lineup. Not sure how Carter and Anderson are going to fit in to this rotation with the young Hawks roster. Carter just signed for one year and could be used as a mentor as well as give some minutes on the wing. Anderson arrived in three team trade and has had problems recently battling injuries. He may see some time as a four to get him some minutes, but the Hawks depth at the wing spots seem to be occupied. Grade: B

Boston Celtics

The Celtics only priority was keeping Marcus Smart in fold. It took a while but Smart finally signed for the next 4 years. They were also in on the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes, but were unable to get him. They basically stood pat and were unable to add any more talent. Grade: C+

Brooklyn Nets

Key Additions: SF Dzanan Musa(draft), SF/PF Radions Kuracs(draft), PF Kenneth Faried(trade), SF Jared Dudley(trade), PF/C Ed Davis(free agent)

Key losses: PG Jeremy Lin

The Nets have used the trade market to fill out their roster. They cleared out the point guard logjam by sending Lin to Atlanta. They went European during the draft grabbing Musa and Kuracs. I do not think either will factor much into the rotation next season. I think the major addition was getting Faried from the Nuggets in essentially a salary dump for Denver. Faried has a chance to start for Brooklyn and bring some much needed toughness in the front court. Dudley is going to germinates whether it’s as a stretch four or in his natural small forward position. Davis is going to be the backup center and provide rebounding and defense for the second unit. I love the pickups Brooklyn made. They absorbed good players who should be able to help them out. Grade: B+

Charlotte Hornets

Key Additions: SF Miles Bridges(draft), C Bismarck Biyombo(trade)

Key Losses: C Dwight Howard(trade)

The Hornets were looking to reset and that started with getting rid of Howard. They sent Howard to Brooklyn and in another move acquired Biyombo. Biyombo will be the starter day 1 and give the Hornets a defensive presence in the middle. They drafted Bridges and hope to get him minutes as soon as they can. He has a really good chance to possibly get into the starting lineup down the line. Grade: C

Chicago Bulls

Key Additions: SF Jabari Parker(free agent), PF/C Wendell Carter(draft), SF Chandler Hutchinson(draft)

Key Losses: SG David Nwamba(free agent)

The Bulls went hard after Parker once they matched Sacramento’s offer sheet to Zach LaVine. Parker and LaVine are going to be go to guys on offense but on defense they are going to struggle. The Bulls hope rookies Carter and Hutchinson can step right in and provide some bench scoring and defense on the second unit. Carter has a chance to possibly join the starting lineup sometime this season. The Bulls are looking to make a big jump this season and retaining LaVine, even at $78 million was worth the gamble for them. They may have over spent for both LaVine and Parker, bu they needed to take the team to the next stop in their rebuilding process. Grade: B-

Cleveland Cavaliers

Key Additions: PG Collin Sexton(draft), PF/C Channing Frye(free agent)

Key Losses: SF Lebron James(free agent)

The Cavs lost majorly when Lebron James chose to join the Los Angeles Lakers. I understand they are handling it well, but the fact they could not repair that relationship is a major loss. They just extended Kevin Love to prove that they are serious about rebuilding around him. I like the pick of Sexton and think he has a great chance to start for Cleveland, but that doesn’t make up for losing James. Grade: F

Dallas Mavericks

Key Additions: SG Luka Doncic(draft), C DeAndre Jordan(free agent), PG Devin Harris(free agent)

Key Losses: C Nerlens Noel(free agent), SG Seth Curry(free agent)

Dallas made a bold move jumping to number 3 in the draft to take Doncic. Dallas loves Doncic and hope he can provide playmaking and scoring from multiple areas on the court. Doncic should start right away as the Mavs want to make him their face of the franchise. Jordan finally arrives in Dallas to play for the Mavericks. It is only a one year deal, but it could turn into a multi year deal if it pans out. Jordan will anchor the defense and be on the receiving ends of lobs from Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. Harris will come in and be the backup to Smith and provide some scoring off the bench. Grade: B+

Denver Nuggets

Key Additions: SF/PF Michael Porter Jr(draft), PG Isaiah Thomas(free agent)

Key Losses: PF Kenneth Faried(trade), PG Devin Harris(free agent), PF/C Darrell Arthur(draft),  SF Wilson Chandler(trade)

The Nuggets had a solid off-season. They took a gamble in the draft selecting Porter, who has an injured back and could miss the season due to it. Porter has a good chance to be good, but the Nuggets will need to be patient with his back issues. With Will Barton likely joining the starting lineup, they needed some punch off the bench. Isaiah Thomas will definately be able give the bench unit some scoring. The Nuggets also were able to clear up the forwards spots unloading Chandler, Arthur and Faried. Only Chandler saw major minutes last season out of that bunch. Denver cleared up some roster spots and shed money, also by getting better at least on paper. Grade: A

Detroit Pistons

Key additions: SF Glenn Robinson(free agent), C ZaZa Pachulia(free agent), PG Jose Calderone(free agent)

Key Losses: PF Anthony Tolliver

I guess the Pistons got some depth at a few positions. None of these moves excite me at all. Robinson is a nice player, but coming off an injury and disappointing year in Indiana. Pachulia is a bad player at this point and I doubt get many minutes. Calderone is the third point guard at best on this roster. Grade: D-

Golden State Warriors

Key Additions: C DeMarcus Cousins(free agent), SG Jacob Evans(draft)

Key Losses: C Zaza Pachulia

The rich get richer. Cousins is a major upgrade over Pachulia even with a torn Achilles. Even if Cousins cannot play until All Star break, he will be there for the playoffs. As far as Evans, he is a solid defender who fits the perfect mold of the Golden State Warriors. Grade: A

Houston Rockets

Key Additions: SF Carmelo Anthony(free agent), SF James Ennis(free agent), PG Michael Carter-Williams

Key Losses: SF/PF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute(free agent), SF Trevor Ariza(free agent)

Losing Ariza and Mbah a Moute and replacing them with Ennis and Anthony is not much of an upgrade. Mbah a Moute was a defensive anchor at the wing spot. Ariza also is a good defender, but gives the Rockets also a three point shooter as well. Adding Anthony to the mix make them worse defensively. What Anthony is good at is scoring, which Houston already does very well. Ennis will help defensively but I don’t think he is as good at the defensive side as either are. They did retain Clint Capella for $90 million and that was the best move they made all summer. MCW had a terrible season in Charlotte and for some reason Houston took a chance on him. Grade: D-

Indiana Pacers 

Key Additions: PG Aaron Holiday(draft), PG/SG Tyreke Evans(free agent), SF Doug McDermott(free agent), C Kyle O’Quinn(free agent)

Key losses: SF Glenn Robinson(free agent),

The Pacers filled out there depth with some nice signings. Holiday will be the third point guard to start the season, but I expect the Pacers to make a deal freeing up room for Holiday. Evans will get minutes behind Victor Oldipo and provides a good ball handler and scorer on the second unit. McDermott will be the backup small forward and be able to shoot at will coming off bench. O’Quinn had a great season in New York and will be the backup center in Indiana. Grade: B+

Los Angeles Clippers

Key additions: PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander(draft), SG Jerome Robinson(draft), SF Luc Ricard Mbah a Moute(free agent), C Marcin Gortat(trade)

Key Losses: SG Austin Rivers

Not sure which direction the Clippers are going into, whether they are looking to reshape their roster when they incorporate youth, or continue to play the veterans. I do not think this team is going anywhere and that they need to put the rookies in and just go for the rebuild. But the additions of Gortat and Mbah a Moute makes me think the Clippers are going to try and win some games.Gortat will start at center for the Clippers while Mbah a Moute will see minutes off the bench. Not sure how long before the Clippers put SGA and Robinson into the rotation. Grade: B-

Los Angeles Lakers 

Key Additions: SF LeBron James(free agent), SG Lance Stevenson(free agent), C JaVale McGee(free agent), PG Rajon Rondo(free agent), C Mo Wagner(draft)

Key Losses: Julius Randle(free agent), Brook Lopez(free agent)

Obviously the Lakers struck gold with James heading to Los Angeles. James will try and lead the Lakers to the playoffs for first time in a while. The pieces they put around James are interesting though. Stevenson brings some toughness but is not a great shooter and is inconsistent at defense. Rondo is a play maker but how he fits in with James and Lonzo Ball could determine how much success they have. McGee will play hard defense but likely not get huge minutes even if he starts. The Lakers believe the roster is versatile and able to use multiple different lineups throughout the season. Rookie Wagner may have a chance to earn minutes with this veteran laden team. Grade: A+

Memphis Grizzlies 

Key Additions: SF Kyle Anderson(free agent), PG/SG Garrett Temple(trade), SF Omri Casspi(free agent), PF/C Jaren Jackson Jr(draft)

Key Losses: PF Jarrell Martin(trade), PF/C Deyonta Davis(trade), SG Ben McLemore(trade)

The biggest addition might just be the return of point guard Mike Conley. Conley hopes to return after playing only 12 games last season and under going heel surgery. However Memphis was busy during the summer giving Kyle Anderson an offer sheet that San Antonio decided not to match. Anderson figures to be the starting small forward for the Grizzlies. Casspi is likely penciled in as the backup to Anderson and also should see some minutes as a stretch four. I suppose he could start at the four, but I think rookie Jackson should get that spot. Jackson was a huge player during summer league putting up big numbers and showing his defensive prowess. The Grizzlies acquired Temple from Sacramento to give depth in the back court and possibly handle the backup point guard duties. I was critical of the Jackson drafting, but think they may have got a good one there. As for Anderson, their big free agent signing, I am not sold on him being worth the money or as a starting caliper small forward. Grade: C+

Miami Heat

Miami is stuck right where you do not want to be. An average team with no cap space and non tradeable contracts. They tried feverishly to unload some deals to teams with cap space, but the contracts they have are so bad and the players they are attached to are not slightly worth it or likely to contribute on another team. Grade: F

Milwaukee Bucks

Key Additions: SG Donte DiVicenzo(draft), PF Ersan Ilyasova(free agent), C Brook Lopez(free agent), SG Pat Connaughton(free agent)

Key Losses: SF/PF Jabari Parker

The decision to cut ties with Parker was a weird one. I am still not sure how I feel about it, but the Bucks seemed done with him early in the free agency process. Some feel the loss of Parker and his horrific defense is a plus and I am some where in the middle. I think they will miss his explosiveness at times. The good part is they were comfortable playing without him due to his two ACL injuries. DiVicenzo was a player I liked, but he did not show it at all in Summer League. I think his minutes will likely be limited this year as well. Ilyasova could start next to Antetokoumnpo or come off the bench behind him. He figures to have the free light to score as a bench player and that will probably be where he plays. The Lopez signing was a solid pick up. They have a legit center who can score in the post, block some shots and even step out and hit a three. I really loved that signing. Connaughton may get a chance to be first wing off the bench. He can shoot, play D and is sneaky athletic. The Lopez signing definitely raised my grade for them. Grade: B-

Minnesota Timberwolves

Key Additions: SG Josh Okogie(draft), SF Keita Bates-Diop(draft), PF Anthony Tolliver(free agent)

Key Losses: Jamal Crawford(free agent)

The Wolves look liked they drafted two gems in Okogie and Bates-Diop. Both players should see minutes in the rotation. They still in my opinion need some more wing depth and have not addressed it yet. Tolliver comes from Detroit and should be the backup power forward for the Wolves. They really made no impact moves and I am not sure signing Rose and keeping point guard Tyus Jones buried on the bench is a smart move either. Grade: D+

New Orleans Pelicans

Key Additions: PG Elfrid Paytonfree agent), PF Julius Randle(free agent)

Key Losses: C DeMarcus Cousins(free agent), PG Rajon Rondo(free agent)

The Pelicans have a weird roster makeup. Lots of fours and point guards, very little wing contributors. The huge loss of Cousins will move Anthony Davis back to the center spot. Newcomer Julius Randle is probably going to be the starting four with Nikola Mirotic coming off the bench. So in a way they have figured out the four/five rotation. The problem I have is in the backcourt. Last years starter Rondo is off to the Lakers and they seemingly replaced him underachieving Elfrid Payton. As of now I am assuming Payton starts which moves their best point guard over to starting shooting guard. Holiday played the two last season rather well, but he is not a great shooter and is more suited running the point. The need some perimeter shooting in the worst way and frankly I think they take a step back this year. Grade: D-

New York Knicks

Key Additions: SF Kevin Knox(draft), SG/SF Mario Hejonza(free agent), C Mitchell Robinson(draft)

Key Losses: SF Doug McDermott(free agent), PF Michael Beasley(free agent)

I love the drafting of Knox. He is a young stud who should find playing time early, possibly even starting. He can play either forward spot for New York and once Kristaps Porzingis returns, they will make up a nice young duo at the forward spots. Hejonza may start until Porzingis returns, but he is likely more suited to be coming off bench. He improved greatly last season after many disappointing seasons in Orlando. They may have stolen Robinson in the second round. I think he will become the backup center immediately and could be a starter at this time next year. He is a good shot blocker and finisher around the rim. Hopefully this franchise starts making necessary steps to improvement. Grade: B+

Oklahoma City Thunder 

Key Additions: PG Dennis Schroder(trade), SG/SF Timothe Luwawu-Cabborrot(trade), C Nerlens Noel(free agent)

Key Losses: SF/PF Carmelo Anthony(trade)

The main objective for the Thunder was getting rid of Anthony and his monster contract. Not only were they successful with that, they also added Schroder who will be the backup point guard and energy off the bench. Schroder should have more of a green light as a bench player which could help him tremendously. Getting TLC also in the Anthony trade was a steal. The Sixers gave up on him, but he should add much needed depth on the wing especially at the three. Noel is trying to get his career back on track and will become the backup center for Oklahoma City. I think was a huge summer for Oklahoma City and retaining Paul George was the biggest move they made . Grade: A

Orlando Magic

Key Additions: C Mo Bamba(draft), PG Jerian Grant(trade), SG Melvin Frazier(draft), PF Jerrell Martin(trade), C Timofey Mozgov(trade)

Key Losses: C Bismarck Biyombo(trade), SG/SF Mario Hejonza(free agent)

I like the selection of Bamba, however he entered a crowded center spot. They shipped out Biyombo to make some room, but took back the god awful contract of Mozgov in the process. They acquired Grant from Chicago, but with him and DJ Augustine they still haven’t addressed the point guard spot in my opinion. Martin is a nice player but doesn’t move the needle. They also overpaid for Aaron Gordon who I am not sure will ever be more than just a nice player. The Bamba pick is the only reason I do not totally fail them. Grade: D-

Philadelphia 76ers

Key Additions: SF Wilson Chandler(trade), PF/C Mike Muscala(trade), SG Zhaire Smith(draft)

Key Losses: PF Ersan Ilyasova(free agent), SG Marco Bellineli(free agent), SG/SF Timothe Luwawu-Cabborrot(trade)

The Sixers added Wilson Chandler when Denver wanted to dump his salary. Chandler should come in and get minutes at both the three and four. He is a tough player with an improved jumper. A nice move to add Chandler. Muscala was acquired in the three team Carmelo Anthony trade. Muscala is a good shooting big man who should provide scoring from both the four and five spots. Smith is a young guard who looked good during the summer league. I doubt he gets much run during his rookie season, but should be a player in time. Philadelphia also retained JJ Redick and Amir Johnson for smaller salaries than they received the year before which helped them facilitate some trades. Grade: B

Phoenix Suns 

Key Additions: C DeAndre Ayton(draft), SF Trevor Ariza(free agent), C Richaun Holmes(trade), SG/SF Mikal Bridges(draft)

Key Losses: PG Elfrid Pyton(free agent), C Alex Len(free agent)

The Suns moved quickly to grab Ayton with the number 1 pick. Ayton will be the starting center right away. He is a good scorer in the post and facing up. He needs to work on his defensive game, but that seems to be coming along. Ariza was the free agent splash they made. However I am not sure why. There is already a logjam on the wing and adding Ariza just adds to that problem. Holmes has a chance to be the backup to Ayton. Bridges is a good three and D prospect and should get minutes in the crowded wing spots. I like the Ayton and Bridges picks but confused by the Ariza signing. Grade: B

Portland Trailblazers 

Key Additions: PG/SG Seth Curry(free agent), SG Nik Stauskas(free agent), PG/SG Anfernee Simons(draft), SG Gary Trent Jr(draft)

Key Losses: PG Shabazz Napier(free agent), SG Pat Connaughton(free agent)

So on the surface it looks like the Blazers were able to add some perimeter shooting. I am not a big fan of the Curry or Stauskas signings. Curry is going to have to be the backup point guard and I am not sure that is his best position. Stauskas has been a huge disappointment since entering the League. I do like the draft picks and think down the road they may be players, just not next season. Grade: C

Sacramento Kings

Key Additions: PG Yogi Ferrell(free agent), PF Nemaja Bjelica(free agent), PF/C Marvin Bagley(draft), SG Ben McLemore(trade)

Key Losses: SG/SF Vince Carter(free agent), PG/SG Garrett Temple(trade)

The Kings have a logjam at the four and five spots and yet added Bagley and Bjelica. It is hard to fathom what the starting lineup is going to look like come October. I know Fox is starting point guard and Bogden Bogdanovic is likely starting at one wing position. Other than that it’s a total crapshoot. They may phase Zach Randolph out for some young players or keep him starting. I have to believe rookie Bagley starts at center, but they have plenty of options there. McLemore is back in Sacramento and will provide depth for the Kings. Grade: C-

San Antonio Spurs

Key Additions: SG Demar DeRozan(trade), C Jacob Poeltl(trade), SG Lonnie Walker(draft), SG Marco Bellineli(free agent), SF Dante Cunningham(free agent)

Key Losses: SF Kawhi Leonard(trade), SF Kyle Anderson(free agent), SG Danny Green(trade)

In what has to be the most surprising move of the summer, the Spurs sent Leonard to Toronto for DeRozan. I absolutely hated this move for San Antonio. They not only gave up Leonard, but they are going to miss Danny Green’s shooting and defense. They may get some help from newcomer Bellineli, but the Spurs are weak from the perimeter. DeRozan does give them at least a star to build around, but I am not sold on him as the best player on a team. Walker will likely be buried on the bench in San Antonio at least his rookie season.  Cunningham will provide some good depth, but this trade really hurt this franchise. Grade: D-

Toronto Raptors 

Key Additions: SF Kawhi Leonard(trade), SG Danny Green(trade)

Key Losses: SG Demar DeRozan(trade), C Jacob Poeltl(trade)

Just when it appeared the Raptors were going to blow it up, they make this deal for Leonard. Leonard gives them a better star than DeRozan and solidifies the defense from the wing spots. Adding Green also improves the perimeter scoring and makes the Raptors deadlier from outside. They also re-signed Fred Van Vleet to help secure the depth and bench. This trade makes the Raptors so much more versatile and can use multiple lineups. I think they start to phase Jonas Valanciunas out and try and get faster. Grade: A

Utah Jazz

Key Additions:  SG Grayson Allen(draft)

Key Losses: PF Jonas Jerebko

The Jazz spent their off-season retaining their own by signing Dante Exum and derrick Favors. They grabbed Allen in the draft and really like his shooting and playmaking for the second unit. Grade: B

Washington Wizards 

Key Additions: C Dwight Howard(free agent), SF Troy Brown(draft), SG Austin Rivers(trade)

Key Losses: C Marcin Gortat(trade)

Washington made a bold move sending Gortat to the Clippers for Austin Rivers. Rivers will provide some scoring off the bench like as the first guard off the bench. Moving Gortat also freed up the starting center spot which they used to sign Dwight Howard. I think Howard is a major upgrade over Gortat and rookie Brown and Rivers both solidify the wing depth for Washington. Not sure Brown will see much playing time with Kelly Oubre in front of him on the depth chart. Anyways this is an upgrade on this roster at every position. Grade: B

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images

0 0 votes
Do you agree with this article? Let's see your vote!

Related articles


0 0 votes
Do you agree with this article? Let's see your vote!
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Share article

Latest articles

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x