These moves will be graded from A+ to F.
The “Superstar-Less” Raptors: A
Many expected the Raptors would win about 44-48 games.. and they may be correct as they have 46 wins. Except if they play the remaining 18 games, they will be on pace to win 59 games.
Core players such as Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka and OG Anunoby have all increased their scoring and are second in the NBA in Defensive Rating.
The team is thriving, though repeating will be difficult without a true superstar.
Kemba Walker to the Boston Celtics: B+
The Celtics have bounced back, though Kemba Walker has little to do with this.
What the Celtics really needed was to get rid of Kyrie Irving as he did not fit with their team. Jayson Tatum has become a rising star who was taking off after the All-Star Break and Jaylen Brown has been performing well.
I feel the Celtics have a shot at winning a championship with this core.
Jimmy in South Beach: A-
The Heat have been one of the biggest surprises of the season so far and Jimmy has been their leader.
He has actually been quite ignored due to the rapid rise of Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson.
Nonetheless, the Heat would not be considered Dark-Horse Title contenders if not for signing Jimmy Butler.
Al Horford to the 76ers: D
Nobody understands why the Sixers went after Al Horford, and are paying him $27 million a year until he’s 37.
The spacing is messed up and the Sixers didn’t need him. He’s been average for them, not worth the money. He has some blame for the Sixers underachieving.
The Nets going crazy: C… for right now
Both are high injury risks who could either dominate or be plagued by injury.
Kyrie’s injury issues have continued, and he only played 20 games this season. Kevin Durant may never be the same player again as many players careers have been impeded by an Achilles tear.
Although, if they stay healthy enough and are productive, the Nets are serious threats for the title.
The Knicks signing 4 Power Forwards: B-
No real expectations for this experiment. They have all been solid for the Knicks, and the team got some good value out of the Marcus Morris trade.
On the other side, not offering KD + Kyrie might look good as of now.
Anthony Davis Trade — for the Lakers: A+
LeBron needs a star with him, as shown by his first stint in Cleveland, and the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
The Lakers have been amazing this season and Anthony Davis has been arguably the key to their success. The Lakers defense has been significantly improved with him and could be vital to them winning a championship.
The Pelicans Return for Anthony Davis: A
Brandon Ingram has been phenomenal and is living up to the his draft hype. Josh Hart has been inefficient but a good scorer who shows signs of potential.
The 4th overall pick in last year’s draft was traded to the Hawks for the 8th and 17th pick which became Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker who both have look solid.
And Lonzo Ball has had a career season and is looking much better in New Orleans.
All of this, combined with Zion Williamson returning from injury, has lead to a 17-12 record since the beginning of the year and playoff push which could still happen if the Pelicans play the last 18 games.
The CP3-Westbrook Swap: Oklahoma City: A- // Houston: B+
Though I can’t say Houston lost this trade, this was the right move for them.
Westbrook has been great for them and may be the player who can turn around their season. Harden is great, but they have been more successful when Westbrook is scoring more and has the ball in his hands.
The Thunder did get Chris Paul in this trade and that has worked out well for them.
They have the same record as the Rockets and are exceeding expectations. Along with 2 first round picks in this trade, the Thunder seem to have gotten a lot out Westbrook.
The Clippers as Offseason Champs: A
Yes, they created a lethal duo. Yes, their bench is still great. And yes, they have the reigning Finals MVP on their roster.
But something doesn’t feel right with the Clippers.
Despite this, the Clippers are right behind the Lakers in the standings and are looking great heading into the playoffs.
While they look great on paper, I’m just not sure how far Paul George and Kawhi Leonard can go in this crazy Western Conference and if they work together.