Blogtable: Offseason Hits And Misses

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe 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.


Down with divisions | Missing in Golden State | Offseason hits and misses



VIDEO: Monta Ellis’ nails game-winner vs. Blazers

Which offseason acquisition has been awesome? Which not so much?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comKevin Martin is doing precisely what Minnesota needed and sought, and doing it so well that he’s rejuvenated as a player too. You’d have thought a spot with the contending Thunder team might have brought out the best in Martin but the starts and minutes he’s getting with the Timberwolves, under familiar coach Rick Adelman, have him thriving (22.7 ppg, 6.5 FTA). Worst? Gotta give a group stink-bomb award here to the Brooklyn Nets’ not-so-big four of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko for reasons — injuries, yes, but worse — that have been chronicled ad nauseam.

Dwight Howard (Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE)

Dwight Howard (Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE)

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comDwight Howard has made the Rockets a force, if not yet a true contender. The Rockets are still feeling their way along, have not yet found a consistent rhythm or plan of attack. Yet Howard is doing what he’s supposed to do in the middle, second in the league in rebounding and Houston is still 15-7 with much room for improvement. Runners-up: Andre Iguodala and Robin LopezOn the downside, Kevin Garnett: 6 points per game, 36 percent shooting. And I’m not sure there is a “yet.” Enough said.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.comHard to argue with Eric Bledsoe in Phoenix. The Suns are 12-9 — who saw that coming? — and he’s averaging 18.6 ppg and 6.2 apg. Pretty heady stuff for Chris Paul‘s former backup. At the other end, here’s a two-for-one: Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The good news is that it can’t get any worse. Right?

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.comBest job: Dwight Howard, followed by Kevin Martin, Monta Ellis and Marco Belinelli in some order. Most people will want to put a helmet on Howard no matter what, but the production cannot be denied. Also, I’m not ready to put Michael Carter-Williams in the conversation yet, but I could see adding him at the end of the list if this production continues and his shot gets a little better (which everyone knew would be an issue). MCW is putting up some numbers that rank among all players, not just rookies. Not coming through: Kevin Garnett over Paul Pierce. No, wait. Pierce over Garnett. Let’s just make it a field entry. Boston to Brooklyn doesn’t seem like brutal travel, but they got completely lost along the way.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comDwight Howard is doing the best job. He’s not the same player he was in his Orlando heyday, but he’s still the best player among those who changed teams this summer and is still making an impact for the Rockets, who are among the most improved teams on both ends of the floor. I’m not including rookies for the second part (Hello, Anthony Bennett!), so Jared Dudley is my choice. I don’t know how your 3-point percentage can go from 39 percent to 32 percent when you go from playing for the Suns to playing alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but Dudley’s has. And he’s not making much of an impact elsewhere. The Clippers have been better both offensively and defensively with him on the bench.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Monta Ellis is getting the job done in Dallas. There is no doubt about it. He might have been the last big name free-agent to get his deal done, but he’s been far more productive than most of his critics imagined he’d be in a system that demands much more defensively than he was used to giving in either Golden State or Milwaukee. He’s not a candidate for the All-Defensive Team or anything, but he’s making strides. And he’s taken a ton of pressure off of Dirk Nowitzki at this critical stage in his career. Kudos to the Mavericks for taking the risk and cashing in … early on here. Injuries have prevented Al Jefferson from making the impact I thought he would in Charlotte. But that’s a good thing, in a roundabout way, because that means a solid team could get even more from the big man who was supposed to provide that low-post threat and presence on a nightly basis. Big Al hasn’t come through in that way just yet. He can, however, and probably will as the season progresses. And that’s a great thing for the Bobcats, who need to keep their early-season playoff groove going in the wilted Eastern Conference.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com All Ball blog: It’s funny that you don’t hear that much talk about him, at least like we did last season, but Dwight Howard has been pretty great for the Rockets. He’s scoring 17 a game, grabbing 13.2 rebounds per game, and the Rockets are 15-7 overall. More relevantly, we don’t have to listen to endless rumors about what the future holds for Dwight. As for a guy we’re still waiting to break out, Andrea Bargnani has been pretty disappointing in New York I don’t think anyone expected him to come in and turn into Wilt Chamberlain, but I expected more than 14 and 5 per game.

Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: I really like how Brandon Jennings is playing right now. He has paired wonderfully with Rodney Stuckey in the Pistons’ backcourt and has already made an impact as the team features in the 6th spot of the East. I am between him and Dwight Howard, who has regained his dominance in the key. As for “Superman,” the most interesting number is “22”. Out of 22. Meaning that he has played in all of the Rockets’ games. When he is healthy he can be an instant game-changer. As for the player who has not come through yet, I have to go with Paul Pierce, who is struggling with career-lows in points and field-goal percentage.

Karan Madhok, NBA India: Over in Dallas, Monta Ellis is turning heads and breaking ankles as he seems to be as comfortable as he has ever been in his career. Ellis is putting up his most efficient season in years, meshing in well with his new coach and teammates. He is averaging team highs in points, assists, and steals, and has the Mavericks off to a respectable start. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Celtics-turned-Nets Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who – after all the hoopla – have had a nightmare start to the season and need to get their bearings soon to help their new team get back to winning ways.

Philipp Dornhegge, NBA Deutschland: Apart from Iguodala, who meshed perfectly with the Warriors’ core from the start, I love the jobs that Nate Robinson and Paul Millsap are doing. Both have clear job profiles that fit their style of play, and they execute the gameplan to perfection. Monta Ellis, Kevin Martin and J.J. Redick also deserve to be mentioned. On the negative side, I think Josh Smith is the front-runner with Tyreke Evans a close second. The Pistons’ roster just doesn’t fit together very nicely, and Evans’ start in New Orleans has been derailed by injury.

42 Comments

  1. kiko krunch says:

    Nate revive his career after last year’s performance. and Monta for helping Dirk this season especially that Marion is not giving Dallas a lift when needed. and who is the number 1 pick again.???? Oh yeah!! Its Anthony Bennet. i barely see his name on stat sheet..

  2. Karlo Garcia says:

    The offseason acquisition that has been awesome are 2 players from Denver, Randy Foye & Nate Robinson. They add a different scoring threat. The offseason acquisition that has not been awesome is a player from Charlotte, Al Jefferson. He has not been able to stay healthy & provide a low-post play maker that the Bobcats were after.

  3. SMB says:

    Brook Lopez to the Portland Trail Blazers is the most underrated and impactful signing of the offseason. If you saw his double double in Portlands win against INDIANA you would understand why. Porltand went from an also ran to Western Conference contender in just two seasons under GM Neal Oshay, who after building LOB CITY in LA is now rebuilding RIP CITY in PDX. Hands down the NBA’s best GM.

  4. SMB says:

    The most underrated signing of the off season was Brook Lopez to the Portland Trail Blazers. If you saw his double double and protection of the paint in Portland’s win against INDIANA you would understand why. Portland went from a below average team with no depth and no inside presence to a contender out west and perhaps a title contender (Jury still out). After building LA Clippers into a never ending highlight reel and now turning Portland, in just two seasons, into what may be a top 5 team in the league, Neal Oshay is hands down the NBA’s best GM.

  5. ko0kiE says:

    give tyreke some times.. he has to figure out his role alongside Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon.. I think he’s been better defensively than in Sacramento.

  6. Adam says:

    Andrew Bynum!

  7. qqqq says:

    If you look at how the blazers are doing I would say that robin Lopez its a big hit, he defends and rebounds, and aldridge is playing so much better when he has a true bigman beside him.

    Nate, Martin, Ellis, Howard is also doing a great job.

  8. Skeletor says:

    Pound for pound, Robin Lopez wins this by a street (stolen for a 2nd round pick), yet he’s barely mentioned.

  9. J says:

    D12 and Kevin Martin.

  10. Billy says:

    Whoever this Philipp Dornhegge, NBA Deutschland is, your comments are a joke.

  11. CCB says:

    Howard is a good player but he is still far from the player he was in Orlando. Besides, Houston could get a similar record without him with Asik and the core group improved this season. Instead they took a crying baby and his problems while messing up their team chemistry and sending their future All-star Asik to rust in the bench.

    • Rocketman says:

      I disagree the 2nd half of the season the Rockets will flourish.Terrance Jones is going to be a beast in the paint. Asik is good who else is going to pay him 25 million over 3 years! Rockets need a floor general that would be the icing on the cake.Keep Beverly but Lin is a defensive liabilty.I think Rockets play better when Lin has been out of the line up.
      If Houston can improve the defense they are going deep in the playoffs.It only takes 1 or 2 a night to be hot from beyond the arc.Rockets need point guard like Parker or CP3 that can get Howard easy baskets.Asik for Rondo now he can penetrate!

  12. dustydreamnz says:

    Very difficult to name a good buy, all that were mentioned have been good. For the worst it has to be Garnett and Pierce although when the Nets get Terry, Kirilenko back and now that Williams is back you would hope to see improvement. Surely, otherwise Jason Kidd will be on thin ice.

  13. Oz says:

    I am gonna say it and if you don’t like it that’s on you. KG & Paul Pierce are heart people, two old players who were running on pure heart. You break apart the family and bond they had with their team and their coach at that age, you get no output.

  14. Bird33 says:

    I think you writers should have also included the Coach acquisitions in this debate. Stevens would be in the upside running, IMO. Kidd would win easily for the downside. Call me crazy…but Pierce and Garnett played at a reasonably consistent level for many years and now they fall off a cliff? Perhaps its the little short guy in the suit on the sideline (Kidd, not Frank) that’s the problem. If Sesame Street taught anything in my youth, it’s the scenario “one of these things is not like the others”. Pierce and Garnett have played at a high level for many years prior to this season, Kidd is coaching for the 1st time.

    Your Honor – the Defense rests….

  15. Ian says:

    no one mentioned Marco Bellinelli for the Spurs?

  16. Turab Ali KAzim says:

    KObe BRyant is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  17. Mohammad ALi Nakvi says:

    @Turab Ali Kazim, Say it loud say it proud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Scottymack says:

    How do you not mention josh smith? A big acquisition and plenty of controversy on how he’s fitting in Detroit.

  19. 713KLP says:

    Lakers

    12-13: 103.6 Defensive Efficiency (#12 in NBA)
    13-14: 103.7 Defensive Efficiency (#23 in NBA)

    12-13: 105.6 Offensive Efficiency (#8 in NBA)
    13-14: 102.0 Offensive Efficiency (#14 in NBA)

    Houston

    12-13: 103.5 Defensive Efficiency (#21 in NBA)
    13-14: 100.0 Defensive Efficiency (#7 in NBA)

    12-13: 106.7 Offensive Efficiency (#6 in NBA)
    13-14: 107.8 Offensive Efficiency (#2 in NBA)

    Houston has transformed into a full-fledged title contender, in large part because of Howard. Lakers made a mistake letting go of “Dwight Coward” and will regret their decision for not only letting him go, but signing Bryant to a 2 year, $48 million deal.

    • m A n says:

      they sign bryant for 48 mil, how much will they make off of him in 2 years? double? triple? all about the money

    • Scotty the great says:

      I hate the Lakers, but I don’t know why you think the Lakers “let him go”…They did everything they could to keep him…I live in SoCal and it was ridiculous…Dwight chose the Rockets cause he knew he could pick anywhere and he wanted the Rockets. I don’t blame him…I don’t know that McHale is the coach to take them there though.

      • Buckdawg says:

        Sure, management wanted to resign Dwight, but the constant critisism from the LA media, the backlash from the fans about his underwhelming impact (dude was coming off injury for crying out loud), and the BS politics from Kobe himself didn’t exactly make LA a great place to stay now did it? He was driven out as much as begged to stay.

    • spursnation says:

      its like the lakers did not want to resign dwight howard…
      also there is something called respect in this world i know howard and you dont understand it but it what makes people like kobe work. this offer is something he earned through hsi respect… same thing spurs are doing for manu and timmie.. old but still gold…

  20. supercoolthanos says:

    Brandon Jennings are you serious ? The question is Which offseason acquisition has been awesome

  21. justin says:

    Dwight Howard has made the Rockets a force, if not yet a true contender.

    lololloolloollo

  22. sirsparhawk says:

    I agree with them 100%, Dwight and Bledsoe for top spot, Paul pierce and garnet for that worst.

  23. sirsparhawk says:

    yea I agree

  24. Nick says:

    All of you guys who mentioned Dwight are blinded by your own media environment. Houston was a contender last year, and they will be a contender this year – so what? Phoenix, on the other hand finished dead last in the Western Conference last year yet as of now are headed to the playoffs. It takes a team for sure, but how can one not name the Bledsoe acquisition as the single biggest “hit” for any team?

    • New Yorker says:

      Well said.

    • Sedare says:

      If any player was a “hit” for any team, it is Robin Lopez for the Blazers.
      Hands down.

      • joseph frazier says:

        i agree with you i swear i kept saying ok they gonna lose this game like 10 times lol then i was like damn they aint no joke once i seen lopez on the squad i was like wow thats why.. Aldridge can play as a natural PF now so they can be bigger now with lopez and him on the floor….that GM should win GM of the year for real and Lopez should at least be a candidate for MIP

      • artifex says:

        The last seasons if you talked about Lopez it was surely Brook Lopez, who played well for the Nets (who’s the best player in Brooklyn and all blame there goes to any but him), but now in Portland Robin can make a name for himself.
        I’m happy for him.

    • Jonnylove says:

      Houston was a contender last year? No they were not. They were a borderline playoff team. 8th seed (though 6-8 had a tiny difference in record) They actually exceeded expectations by being that, in much the same way the Suns are doing this year. They were expected to be in the lottery at season’s start, even with the Harden trade.

      They’re much better this year than they were last.

    • Jason says:

      Houston was definitely NOT a contender last year by any means. They lost to a Westbrook-less OKC who later lost in 5 games to the Grizzlies. And there would be no way in which 2012-2013 Houston beats Spurs or Heat in a 7 game series. Dwight’s brought Houston to at least semi-contender status, where they at least represent a legitimate threat in the Western Conference.

    • qqqq says:

      huh? was houston a contender last year? are you kidding me? houston were the pleasant suprise last year, being the youngest team in the nba and making the playoffs, they were not contenders.

  25. Trey Watts says:

    Howard and Ellis are probably the best so far, I would agree more with Martin if the Wolves had a better record or of his fg% was better

  26. how about xavier henry? a very underrated acquisition saw him first when he played for memphis…has really improved since…he’ll probably be kept by the lakers during thier 2014 championship campaign