NBA Off-Season: Big Winners

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With the NBA regular season less than a week away, it’s only right that we look at the teams that have done the most to significantly improve. The list of the teams that come out as big winners from this off-season may be a bit surprising, as none of them have been real hyped pre-season teams recently. Here are the top teams to come out of this NBA off-season.

 


Los Angeles Clippers

 

Okay, when analyzing the moves they made, this selection doesn’t seem to be very surprising. However, seeing as how the Clippers have long been considered “L.A.’s other team”, to see them as big-time winners may come as a surprise to some. The Clippers made the biggest splash in the off-season, but it wasn’t the singular move of acquiring point guard Chris Paul that makes them better. Although, Paul is probably the best pure point guard in the game, so his presence alone will make everyone else around him better. The trade to get Paul, though, seems to overshadow what else the Clippers have done. They claimed guard Chauncey Billups, who is a career 15.5 points per game scorer. He has had some big shots over his career as well, providing a great veteran presence for the Clippers. The other big signing was Caron Butler, the journeyman small forward who has 16.6 points per game average over the course of his career. When you add them to Paul, a young All-Star, you have a great dynamic to team with Blake Griffin, who is arguably the most exciting player in the game.

 


New York Knicks

 

The Knicks are one of my winning teams for the simple fact that they swooped in and signed center Tyson Chandler. Chandler’s defense played a huge role in the Dallas Mavericks winning the NBA Championship last season and now the Knicks will take advantage of that. They’ll pair Chandler with Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony to form a solid core. The Knicks then went on to add veterans Mike Bibby and Baron Davis to the fold. Bibby is definitely not one of the best players the league has to offer, but he has a career scoring average of 15.2 points per game, and averaged 8.6 points per game last season, making him a serviceable veteran to come off of the bench. Davis is another player who has been around the league, averaging 16.5 points per game during his career. Last season, he averaged 13.1 points per game and 6.7 assists per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Davis and Bibby will bolster the point guard position for the Knicks and Tyson Chandler will definitely help defensively in the post.

 


Miami Heat

 

The Miami Heat are the reigning Eastern Conference Champions and they didn’t mess with what’s working. They only added to their depth, signing veteran forward Shane Battier. With Battier, the Heat get a significant improvement on defense to go with their ‘Big Three’ of Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. They also signed coach Erik Spoelstra to a contract extension. Essentially, the Heat get better by doing very little because of the simple fact that the team is together for another year adding to the chemistry of the team. Battier will definitely improve the defense of the team and has a career average 9.6 points per game.

 

 


 


Honorable Mentions

 


Indiana Pacers

 

George Hill was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs during the NBA Draft earlier this year and continues to get better, but the addition of forward David West is what makes the Pacers quiet winners of the NBA off-season. West comes to Indiana from the New Orleans Hornets where he averaged 18.9 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game last season. West fills a big need for the Pacers, providing a big body in the front court. West and Hill will join a team with a solid player in Danny Granger and some young talent. Their upside is what could make them dangerous.

 


New Orleans Hornets

 

This selection still holds a bit of an ‘incomplete’ grade for now because we don’t know how their players will be developed. However, the players they acquired from the Clippers in exchange for Chris Paul could eventually have a big impact. Chris Kaman is a veteran center that brings career averages of 11.8 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game. Al-Farouq Aminu is a young small forward with tremendous potential to grow for the Hornets and Eric Gordon looks like a future multiple time All-Star. Gordon averaged 22.3 points per game for the Clippers last season and at just 22-years old, he has a long career ahead of him. The Hornets also received a draft pick that will be used for a very deep draft.
By: Brandon Williams


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