Roundtable: Who Lost the Eastern Conference Offseason?
*Photo via NY Post
Plenty of NBA franchises made excellent moves this summer to set themselves up for success (East, West). However, sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. Sometimes, you find a way to lose without even playing.
In the third installment of our Roundtable: Offseason Winners and Losers series, we asked OTG staff:
Who is your offseason loser in the Eastern Conference?
Mike Ricci – My current food poisoning situation sums up the New York Knicks pretty well. Somebody get a medic.
Chris Stewart – The Brooklyn Nets were the offseason losers in the East this summer. It is questionable as to why they passed on UCLA forward Kevon Looney, who went 30th to the Golden State Warriors. Instead they drafted Syracuse University’s forward/center Chris McCullough at 29 from Syracuse University. At six-ten he did averaged 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds but tore his right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) last January.
The Nets also picked-up defensive specialist Rondae Hollis-Jefferson from the University of Arizona in a draft day trade, and sent two second-round picks to the Charlotte Hornets for guard Juan Pablo Vaulet, who played in Argentina last season.
The Nets re-signed center Brook Lopez and forward Thaddeus Young, while waiving point guard Deron Williams. They added forward/center Andrea Bargnani, forward Thomas Robinson, shooting guard Wayne Ellington, point guard Shane Larkin, and small forward Quincy Miller.
While the Deron Williams move will save Brooklyn from tax payments, the Nets have to hope that Jarrett Jack can handle the starting point guard duties. With an aging and overpaid Joe Johnson on their roster, the Brooklyn Nets struck out this summer with their offseason moves.
Kory Waldron – With major hype and “make it rain” cap space, the New York Knicks failed to land a star in free agency. The Knicks will be better than last year, but unlike what most of us envisioned, the Knicks are not in a win now position by any means (Something many thought was the goal, mainly Carmelo Anthony). This was made clear when the Knicks selected power forward project Kristaps Porzingis. The seven-two Latvian does have the potential to be a productive NBA player, but he is years away.
Trading shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Hawks for Jerian Grant was also a surprising move. Now I do like Grant and see a bright future, but Hardaway Jr. is only 23 and has a huge ceiling. The Knicks did find a replacement for Hardaway Jr. in Arron Afflalo. The former UCLA Bruin shoots well when he spots up and doesn’t have to create his own shot. This could be an issue for the Knicks, as they currently lack playmakers. Phil Jackson also failed in bringing a premiere big man to Manhattan and had to settle for Robin Lopez. The mascot menace is an above average defender with an inefficient offensive game. Despite adding serviceable free agents, the Knicks are in for another subpar year.
Connor Harr – The biggest offseason loser in the East are the Atlanta Hawks. I absolutely love the way the Hawks share the ball, but damn, losing DeMarre Carroll and choosing to replace him with Tim Hardaway Jr. is completely unacceptable. Hardaway Jr. is the guy in your pickup games who chucks up shots in any situation, but he doesn’t really make them. Nobody wants to play on a team with a guy who's wasting possessions by taking stupid shots.
With the top of the East steadily improving, Atlanta failed to keep up. Sure, 60 wins last season was impressive, but they are now targets. Atlanta didn’t do enough to keep that top spot.
Parth Goradia – It has to be the Philadelphia 76ers right? – But wait, does that make them winners? I don’t know; trust the process I guess. What I do know is; they drafted behemoth Jahlil Okafor, only to announce that Joel Embiid will miss another season due to lingering foot issues. The Sixers will be a bottom feeder…again. If Sam Hinkie’s end game is ever realized, I just hope Brett Brown is there to lead the charge. He deserves a real shot.
Joe Keller – When bringing up losers of this Eastern Conference offseason, the New York Knicks always come up. People believe the glamor of New York City, the money and Phil Jackson running the team would morph the 17 win Knicks into a top destination. It’s evident, with the Knicks striking out with all top tier free agents, this isn’t the case. Free agents are in a win now mode, and with the social media society we live in today, don’t need a big city to build their brand. With that being said, and the fact that they added some nice pieces to make them more competitive next year, my loser is the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics are in desperate need of a star player, they have a nice young roster, but they need to make a move to be a contender, and trading for David Lee is not that move. They had plenty of draft picks to deal to either get an established player or move up in the draft, they didn’t do either. Until they deal some of their young talent and draft picks for established talent they will continue to be a borderline playoff team who overachieves.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com, NBA.com and ESPN.com
Transaction information courtesy of RealGM, NBA.com