By: Joe Laland, KCOU Sports
With the trade deadline now behind us, it’s time to look at five things to like and dislike about the trade deadline.
5 Things to like
- Milwaukee’s length.
A warning to all NBA teams, good luck scoring consistently on the Bucks. Despite, being one of the biggest surprise team in the NBA this season the Bucks remained active at the deadline. Adding former rookie of the year, Michael Carter-Williams, will only make the Bucks that much longer and versatile. The Bucks starting five’s wingspan down the playoff stretch will be: Carter-Williams 6’7”, Giannis Antetokounmpo 7’4”, Khris Middleton 6’11”, John Henson 7’5” and Miles Plumlee 7’5”. Milwaukee, already the second most efficient defensively, has quickly become a defensive juggernaut, an ideal ingredient for playoff success. The offense will be the main issue that this unit needs to figure out. With first overall pick Jabari Parker out with injury, and Brandon Knight’s departure, buckets could come at a premium. However, with under-the-radar coach of the year candidate Jason Kidd, problems have been fixed quickly up North. Utilizing the versatility they obtain on offense is key. Young breakout players like Middleton and the Greek Freak will have to continue the weight of being this team’s offensive motor. This Bucks team could shock some upper-tier Eastern conference playoff teams.
- Conference leaders staying put.
Don’t fix what isn’t broke. The two most dominant teams in the first half of the NBA without question were the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks. Both lead their respective conferences thanks in large part to their chemistry. The Warriors already realized the best move at times is no move. For example, the Klay Thompson for Kevin Love rumors at the beginning of the season. The Warriors remain a team that can rotate 10 or more players. The only possible way the Warriors regret staying quiet, is if their injury-prone center Andrew Bogut misses an extended stretch of time. For the Hawks, they also remain very deep. Coach Budenholtzer will remain reliant on the Hawks four all-stars, and a collection of productive bench players. Despite not having one marquee name on the roster that can match up with the likes of Lebron James and Kyrie Irving, this teams remains tops on the Eastern conference hierarchy. Good job by both teams by not forcing a trade for no need.
- West contenders adding a bench
With the current makeup of quality in the Western conference, bench production has become essential to success. The Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder realized it needed improvement coming from its second unit. Portland added Aaron Afflalo, which sneakily could have been the best deal of the deadline. Afflalo averaging just under 15 PPG will immediately find hid role as the sixth man in Rip City. Afflalo’s impressive midrange game will gel perfectly with perimeter sharpshooters Damien Lillard and Wesley Matthews, the leading 3-point shooting duo. Additionally, the struggles from Nicolas Batum this season could lead to Afflalo finishing games with this unit. For Oklahoma City, deep playoff runs have been common, but so have heartbreaks. However, this year the bench doesn’t consist of empty production with the likes Kendrick Perkins, Derek Fisher and Jeremy Lamb. Finally, there is firepower, adding backups Enes Kanter, DJ Augustin, and Dion Waiters. For once, the question now relies on superstar Kevin Durant and how healthy and efficient he can be down the stretch. Kanter remains a young promising prospect, whom could make a leap being away from a crowded Utah froncourt. Waiters has seemingly fit much better in OKC than Cleveland. Lastly, Augustin was former teammates with Durant at University of Texas and has become an elite backup Point Guard.
- Young Point Guards in new places.
A flurry of movement in the young point guard department developed during this deadline as well. Exchanges occurring with Brandon Knight, Carter-Williams, Reggie Jackson, Tyler Ennis and Isaiah Thomas all transpired. Phoenix administered most of these moves due to Goran Dragic’s ultimatum. The Suns will now continue on with their two-point guard set. However now it will be lead with Knight and Eric Bledsoe. MCW and Ennis, two former Syracuse PGs, will battle for the starting spot in Milwaukee under Point Guard whisperer Jason Kidd. Jackson was sent to Detroit, and likely landed in the best scenario. Jackson was openly public about his unhappiness in Oklahoma City’s backcourt and moved into an immediate starting position. An ideal opportunity for a young polarizing player, however, Jackson only has the remainder of the season to prove his worth and cash out on a contract extension.
- Pat Riley
Once again, one of the greatest basketball minds was quietly pulling strings. The post-Lebron era looks a lot brighter in Miami then it did in Cleveland circa 2010. Riley was able to capture 3rd team all-NBA guard Dragic from the Suns, for a collection of non-efficient role players and two future protected first round picks. The Dragic and Dwayne Wade backcourt combine two of the best penetrating guards in the league. A nice fit for Boshs face to the basket game, and Hassan Whitesides tendency to be very active on the boards. Sadly, majority of the optimism over this season in South Beach flattened after the Chris Bosh health issues development. Bosh is a set-back for this season, but if Miami can create a bench this offseason, a Dragic, Wade, Luol Deng, Bosh and Whiteside is a legitimate core to build around to contend in the East.
5 things to dislike
- Miami’s Luck
Speaking of Miami…. Chris Bosh suffered a serious season-ending injury, with blood clot found on the lung. Bosh, we all hope you a speedy and quick recovery. This all means the Heat lose their most reliable and consistent player. Bosh, an all-star, and 21.2 PPG and 7.0 REB contributor, will be sorely missed. Miami’s initial intent when trading for Dragic was to aim for another Eastern Conference championship. Now it is a lot simpler. How high do they value Dragic? One of the cons when trading for Dragic was that he would be an unrestricted free agent after the summer. It will be key to evaluate how instrumental he can be as a key piece for the future. The cost to resign Dragic will be high. Possible stakes of a max contract, and a demand of a large portion of the offense. Otherwise, he could walk to another willing suitor.
- Second tier Eastern conference contenders
Looking at you Toronto and Washington. Both are upcoming contenders in the Eastern conference, containing plenty of building blocks for the future and built around young star backcourts. However, they clearly lacked the playoff presence and depth other contenders obtain. Washington’s newest front office remains stingy, firmly believing in a slow and steady rebuild. The Wizards last hope will be trying to lure Ray Allen away from retirement and other suitors. As for the Raptors, the future also is still in great shape in up North. The Raptors elected to hold onto their load of expiring contracts, in attempt to make a splash this summer. However, a veteran big man could have been a perfect fit for this current cast. Big ean like David West, Amar’e Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett, and David Lee were all shopped around and could have been an ideal fit.
- Brook Lopez hopes
I just have to believe Brook Lopez was jumping in glee, when the twitter world practically agreed he was on the verge of heading to OKC. Instead of playing with two of the world’s greatest players, he is stuck in the Nets misery. Brooklyn seemingly has no bright immediate future, combined with a lack of multiple future picks and bright young players. The Nets are in one of the worst places amongst all franchises with a combination of minimal hope with the current cast, and even less optimistism for the future. Seemingly a new plan starts and fails every year. Maybe next year Lopez can be sent to a contender. He deserves it.
- NBA prospects
The next couple years it’s seemingly not so random which team you’ll go to in the draft. Seemingly, Philadelphia or Boston has just about every pick. Hey, maybe when can get a whole NBA starter lineup in Philadelphia of this current Kentucky Wildcat team. More seriously, the Sixers have a possibility of owning nine picks in this upcoming draft. The Celtics are in a similar situation by investing their future in the draft process. Boston owns eight possible draft picks next year, five of them possibly coming in the first round. Moreover, Boston gets four more possible 1st rounder’s the following year. A unique, and bold long-term strategy, which could become very successful in the future. But at an extreme short-term price in terms of wins and team morality. So, if you’re a NBA prospect that wants to go to a win now atmosphere. Good luck.
- Silent contenders mentality
Previously expressed, both conferences leaders remained silent. Additionally, other strong candidates didn’t have to make moves on deadline day either. Chicago and San Antonio remained very quiet all year. Houston is content with James Harden and his possible MVP season leading the way. Other contenders such as, Cleveland, Memphis, and Dallas made their moves earlier in the season, allowing more amount of valuable time to gel the new roster for the playoff stretch. Headliners at the deadline frequently amount to more hype than immediate production. Great moves can be made at the deadline. However, historically moves at the deadline don’t have a big correlation with NBA Championships. It may be boring but must be said, the elite teams like to stay quiet at the deadline. A tendency, that typically takes away from most NBA season’s trade deadline action. However, not this year, the most unpredictable season in recent history remains on queue. The 2015 season’s version of the deadline, is a tale of unique chaos swarming the league.