Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Not counting Dwight staying in Orlando, what recent move at the trade deadline will make the most difference this year?
Steve Aschburner: Milwaukee adding Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh. The Bucks already were rolling, winning four in a row before adding the two Golden State acquisitions to their rotation, but now they’ve made it six. That infusion of talent where there was none – Andrew Bogut was forever in the trainers room, Stephen Jackson in the doghouse – and what coach Scott Skiles will do with it over the final month trumps, for me, a temporary Woodsonity bump in New York. One caveat: Milwaukee had better start playing defense not just like a Skiles team but like a playoff team, period. And that won’t be easy with an Ellis-Brandon Jennings backcourt.
Fran Blinebury: It certainly didn’t make a lot of coast-to-coast headlines, but the Spurs pulling the wild and crazy Stephen Jackson back into the fold gives them another scorer and makes them a tougher out in the playoffs. Coach Gregg Popovich would much rather deal with Capt. Jack’s idiosyncrasies than Richard Jefferson‘s disappearing act.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Stephen Jackson will be a boost, in energy and play, to the Spurs. And he will not be a problem, not going back to an organization he loved being part of before and not being reunited with a coach he respects. Plus, San Antonio will save about $11 million in the deal, at the cost of a first-round pick that will probably be in the 20s.
Shaun Powell: Tempted to say Stephen Jackson in San Antonio, only because Gregg Popovich might be the only coach who can connect with Stack Jack. But I’ll go with Leandro Barbosa in Indiana. He’s a change-of-pace guy who can help at either guard spot, could flourish in the half court or on the break, and brings experience to a rather young crew. Barbosa, Paul George, Darren Collison and George Hill will give most teams trouble, because they’re all quick and fluid
John Schuhmann: I really like the Ramon Sessions acquisition by the Lakers, who have been strong defensively, but just average offensively (even at home) all season. Sessions should get L.A. some easy baskets on the break and, hopefully, get the ball to Andrew Bynum in the post more often. We saw in New York how a real point guard can improve an offense that has struggled, despite a ton of talent. I expect the same in L.A. It’s a small sample size, but the Lakers have scored 105 points per 100 possessions with Sessions on the floor so far, which is a nice improvement.
Sekou Smith: I love what the Spurs did in bringing Stephen Jackson back into the fold. It might not make much of a difference in the regular season, since the Spurs are already rolling. But in a playoff series, when you need someone with the toughness, experience and fearlessness to step into the big moment and make a play, Jackson is a guy that has already been there and done that with a championship on the line. And it’s not like the Spurs has to mortgage any piece of their future to make it happen. They replace a good player that simply didn’t fit in with their style with another good player who fits their style and system perfectly.