July 26 2012, Two veteran NBA teams that have done well this offseason.
The Celtics made a number of excellent moves this offseason and it started with the acquisitions of Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo in the draft. Sullinger fell to the 21st pick and is considered by many to be a steal. Remember, this is a guy that would’ve been a 2011 lottery pick had not chosen to remain the extra year at Ohio State amidst the uncertainty of the lockout. He’s a guy that could potentially give them good minutes next year. Brazilian Melo is a project, but he’s a huge unit at 7-0 and 255.
The Celtics followed that up by signing Jason Terry as a free agent and then trading for Courtney Lee. Terry’s game features a lot of deficancies, but he’s an excellent bench scorer and a proven shooter in the clutch. Lee, in my opinion, is one of the more underrated guards in the game. He does a lot of everything and when once again back in the NBA spotlight with the Celtics, his game will draw further recognition for the great work he does on both sides of the ball.
Who knows what’s going on with Avery Bradley? The second year guard blossomed late last year, stealing Ray Allen’s starting spot, but surgeries on both shoulders does not sound too great. He probably won’t get up for training camp.
With Jeff Green about to re-up and Kevin Garnett’s revitalised role as a centre means that pairing will work better than the half season they had together in 2011. The Celtics are in excellent condition to contend, although they may be a bit thin up front.
Fans of the Mavs were throwing away season tickets and league pass plans when Cuban and Nelson struck out on Deron Williams, but, wow, have they had a solid offseason since then.
They signed and traded Ian Mahinmi, an undersized centre, for Darren Collinson and Dahntay Jones, a young, lightening quick, potential filled point and a solid defensive wing. That’s a great trade and one that we’re not sure Indiana needed to make. Regardless, great move. They followed it up by adding Dirk Nowitzki’s German frontcourt pal Chris Kaman on a one-year contract.
This deal I don’t like as much. If you delve down into the stats, Kaman is a pretty awful centre. Around the ring he’s bad, doesn’t grab enough boards and is essentially a mid-range shooter; a very poor version of Dirk. Despite a pretty unsuccessful pairing at last year’s Eurobasket, he was one of the few good centres available and if healthy will help. Keep in mind he is only a couple of years removed from an all-star spot.
Elton Brand was next on-board. Dallas made a successful bid on the strange decision by Philadelphia to amnesty the former all-star and he’ll help in more ways than one. The NBA is getting smaller by the year and Brand defends very well in one-on-one situations. I envision him playing as a backup to Dirk and filling in against the smaller centres of the league.
The final move, but maybe the best, was the signing of O.J Mayo. Stuck in rut in Memphis, Mayo is capable of great things and will replace everything and more that the now departed Terry was responsible for. Mayo had better offers, but saw Dallas’ potential. The great part is the second year of his contract isn’t guaranteed, meaning if they part ways Dallas has even more cap space to go after Dwight Howard and friends*.
No, this team initially doesn’t look like it will compete for a ring, but it does draw nice comparisons to the 2011 championship team. This Dallas squad, like their 2011 version, isn’t expected to even reach the Western Conference Finals, but they do possess an elite in Nowitzki, plus size, speed (not a trade mark of the ’11 team), wing defenders and depth. It will be a fun year in Dallas.
*News broke today that if Dwight isn’t traded in 2012-13, he is likely to walk to Dallas as a free agent this time next year.