If one word was used to describe the 2017 offseason, it would be “historic.” The fluctuation of talent that occurred on each team this season is nothing short of remarkable. While some teams may have missed out on great opportunities, other franchises took full advantage of the occurrences this offseason. The following teams are the top performers of this year’s offseason.
- Cleveland Cavaliers
When it was reported that general manager David Griffin was being let go by the Cavaliers organization, the media was quick to criticize owner Dan Gilbert. These criticisms were intensified when Cavaliers star point guard Kyrie Irving stated that he wanted to be traded. But the new general mananger, Koby Altman, stepped up and completely reloaded the Cavs’ roster.To start the offseason, Altman was able to pick up a former MVP, Derrick Rose, who most recently played point guard for the New York Knicks. Rose averaged 18 points last season, while finishing first in the league last season for step back jump shot field goal percentage. Following this move, Altman was also able to sign a versatile defender in Jeff Green, along with Jose Calderon, a solid player to come off the bench.
Eventually, Altman was able to find a very beneficial trade offer for Kyrie Irving. In exchange for Irving, the Boston Celtics would send Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Žižić, and the Brooklyn Nets’ first round pick to Cleveland. This trade was a complete steal for the Cavs. Not only did Cleveland gain Isaiah Thomas, who averaged 28.9 points per game and finished fifth in last year’s MVP voting), but they also gained a great shooter and defender in Jae Crowder. While Žižić isn’t much of a pickup, he is only 20 and has potential to be a solid player. And because Brooklyn is projected to only win about 30 games this season, the Cavaliers can potentially get a great player in next season’s draft.
If you thought the Cavalier’s offseason couldn’t get any better, you are wrong. To cap off this amazing turnaround, Cleveland was able to sign Dwyane Wade. Although Wade is aging and is no longer a superstar, he is still able to average 18 points and shoot the ball. Not only that, but he is best friends with Lebron James. This combination may not be the same as it was in Miami, but it is undeniable that this chemistry will be deadly for any team facing the Cavaliers.
- Oklahoma City Thunder
If there was any team in the NBA that knew how to rebound from losing it’s best player, it would be OKC. When future Hall of Famer and former MVP Kevin Durant announced his decision to go to the Golden State Warriors, Thunder fans were devasted. But OKC point guard Russell Westbrook proved to be unfazed by this decision, responding by averaging a triple double and winning MVP the following season. Although the Thunder lost in the first round of the playoffs, it did not stop them from rebuilding.To start, they drafted a sleeper pick in Terrance Ferguson. Ferguson played in Australia last season, and although he had a poor season there, he still shows glimpses of becoming a great player in the NBA. After the draft, the Thunder desperately looked for a way to surround Westbrook with stars. Out of nowhere, Oklahoma City made a blockbuster trade with the Indiana Pacers. In exchange for Victor Oladipo and Damontas Sabonis, the Thunder would receive superstar forward Paul George. George averaged 24 points last season while shooting 46% from the field, and he is considered a top ten player in the NBA.
To add to this rapidly growing roster, the Thunder replaced Taj Gibson with Patrick Patterson, who came with a cheaper contract and performed better on the court. And by also replacing a disappointing player in Cameron Payne, the Thunder added Raymond Felton, a veteran player to come off the bench for Russell Westbrook. To conclude the off season, OKC acquired none other than Carmelo Anthony. In exchange for just Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a second round pick, the Thunder were able to get a top-five forward in Anthony. While Carmelo may have had a lack luster performance in New York, this was due to him being placed in a horrible system. Imagine being Carmelo, wasting your prime in a broken offense setting and not even making the playoffs. We will definitely see him play with a chip on his shoulder this year, proving that he still has what it takes to be an all-star.
- Houston Rockets
With the potential to be the second seed in the West, Houston continues to show significant improvement. Although the Rockets lost Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, and Lou Williams, they were able to add all-star point guard Chris Paul along with P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. If you were to look up the textbook definition of a point guard, you would find Chris Paul’s picture right over the word. Paul averaged about 20 points last season, but more importantly he averaged 10 assists per game. His ability to involve other players on the court offensively is deadly, especially on a team whose success is literally predicated on its offensive performance. Also, the Rockets picked up P.J. Tucker, who is a good rebounder, something the Rockets have been needing for quite some time. Luc Mbah a Moute may not be a major pickup for the Rockets, but he may be able to provide a larger defensive presence on the Rockets, who are lacking obviously in that department.