Sure, the NBA offseason isn’t over yet, but with the passing of Summer League and most of the key free agents signed, let’s grade each of the NBA teams’ progress this summer. Next up is the Southeast Division.
Orlando Magic (59-23, Lost Eastern Conference Finals): C
The Orlando Magic will still compete deep into this year’s playoffs, but now that the Heat have bulked up, the Magic should have made some move to make the team better. Instead, they lost out on Matt Barnes, a tough defender and good shooter in the system. Good thing they matched the offer on J.J. Redick, or he would have been a substantial loss. Drafting a project center in Daniel Orton who won’t even break the second unit with all the 4s and 5s on the team was not a good idea for a team that needs more immediate role players to enhance the chances of winning a title.
Atlanta Hawks (53-29, Lost Eastern Conference Semifinals): B
The Atlanta Hawks might not be ready to win the Eastern Conference, but they kept their team from caving in by re-signing Joe Johnson, even though it cost them a pretty penny. If he left, the Hawks would probably be a lottery team next year. Getting Larry Drew to coach should be a good move, but Mike Woodson didn’t deserve to be fired after his team quit on him. Lastly, Jordan Crawford is a born scorer, but he makes the second J. Crawford on the team that’s a born scorer. The former’s role is in question. How could they finish this offseason with a bang? Sign Shaq to a one-year deal. Then they’ll have a counter to Dwight Howard, and maybe they won’t look so pathetic against the Magic again.
Miami Heat (47-35, Lost First Round): A+
Need I say more? Aside from the Big 3, though, Pat Riley has managed to assemble an amazing cast of supporters, anchored by Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller. They’re definitely the favorites in the East next season.
Charlotte Bobcats (44-38, Lost First Round): C-
The Bobcats didn’t take on any players in the draft, but they did re-sign Tyrus Thomas, who hasn’t yet proven his worth in the NBA. They lost Tyson Chandler, though, who was a defensive anchor for a fantastic defensive team last season. They also lost Raymond Felton, so they’ll have to hope that D.J. Augustin can foot the bill as the starting point guard.
Washington Wizards (26-56, Missed Playoffs): B+
The Wizards’ ranking might be mostly based on luck, but bringing on John Wall is going to change that franchise for the better. His Summer League performances only confirmed that he is going to be a star. They cleaned house, though, and Randy Foye, Mike Miller, Caron Butler, and Antawn Jamison are all gone. If it all works out, Gilbert Arenas will gel in an off-ball role, Andray Blatche will continue his surprising development, and Josh Howard will play like he did a few years ago in Dallas.