Sunday, July 19, 2009

NBA In Flux: Part II

You won't be seeing this next season... hopefully...

And the player movement continues
For Part 1, click here

Atlanta Hawks trade Acie Law and Speedy Claxton to the Golden State Warriors for Jamal Crawford.

The Hawks managed to give away two guys they never really use for a proven and deadly scorer. Since his days on the Bulls, I have been a fan of Jamal Crawford. At 29, he's currently ballin' in his prime, and will provide Atlanta with some extra firepower from beyond the arc. The only thing I'm wondering about is how he's going to fit into the rotation; the Hawks just inked Bibby to a four-year deal, clearly making him the starting PG for the foreseeable future. Even though Joe Johnson has gotten flak over his ability to lead a team, he's still the Hawks most well rounded player and top dog. The way I see it, Jamal is going to have to come off the bench.

Fantasy Relevance: The player that will take the biggest hit with Crawford in town is Flip Murray. Flip played well as 6th man last season, but with the way the rotation is rounding out, he'll be the first man out. Aside from that, don't expect Crawford to be as consistent as he was last season. 15 shots with 19 points a game are going to be hard to come by when you've got as many weapons as Atlanta.

Toronto trades Shawn Marion, Kris Humphries, and Nathan Jawai to Dallas for Devean George and Antoine Wright. Toronto also acquires Hedo Turkoglu from Orlando for cash and a future pick from Memphis.

Too many parties involved with too many irrelevant players changing places. The only two people that matter here are obviously Shawn Marion and Hedo Turkoglu.

It seems like it's been forever since the Matrix was running and gunning next to Steve Nash and the Suns. Since then, Marion has fallen a bit into obscurity. He's failed to make favorable impressions during his stops in Miami and Toronto. And now a few years removed from the last season he's played more than 70 games, he seems to be but a shell of his former slam-dunking self. But looks can be deceiving. Despite his struggles over the last few years, Dallas is raving about this acquisition. Marion gives the Mavs that extra versatility they haven't had in a long time; he scores from inside and out, rebounds extremely well for a man of 6'7", and can defend four positions. Take a look at the Mav's lineup for next season: Kidd, Josh Howard, Marion, Dirk, and Dampier (...ok so Dampier isn't really that impressive). Jason "The Jet" Terry remains their sixth man, and they've got Barea/rookie summer league standout Rodrigue Beaubois to back up Kidd's aging legs. A pretty solid rotation if you ask me.

The Raptors weren't half bad either; Turkoglu opens up a number of more options for the Raptors' offensive attack. He's a crafty guy that can light it up from downtown, and can also take it to the rim. The Raptors also have a pretty nice looking rotation heading into next season. They've got a nice combination of scoring and assists in their two headed point guard of Jose Calderon and newly signed Jarret Jack. At the two, they've got human highlight machine Demar Derozan. Hedo comes in to fill the three. And they've got twin towers in Bosh and Bargnani to anchor the paint. In the wackness that is the Eastern Conference, this team definitely has a legit chance at making some noise in the playoffs next season.

Fantasy Relevance: Marion isn't going to become Matrix circa 2005, but I'm pretty sure he's going to put up a better all-around statline than the ones posted in the last two years. He's never been a guy that's needed plays run for him to be effective, and I expect that to remain the case. He's going to find ways to contribute on both ends of the floor without getting in his teammates way. Things are looking up for this guy. I'm not entirely sure if he'll be worth a 2nd round pick, but if he's available in the third, his potential makes him worth taking a risk on.

The same can be said for Hedo. He was brought into Toronto to score down the stretch, and that's exactly what he's going to do. His inside-outside abilities will compliment Bosh and Bargnani very well, seeing how they both can also stretch defenses away from the paint. Expect him to maintain his 16-5-5 averages from last season without screwing over anyone else. You can draft Raptors with peace of mind.

Detroit Pistons sign Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva...

... these are my hometown heroes and they deserve an article of their own. More on this action later...

Ron Artest Agrees to a five-year deal with the L.A. Lakers


The NBA's top team just got better. Relatively speaking, his antics have cooled off a bit (but that Michael Jackson tribute was real creepy). And the fact of the matter is that Artest is an offensively capable SF that defends with a tenacity that most other players can't, or choose not to do. On offense, he's another guy that the Lakers can toss the ball to when Kobe gets doubled. Artest's jumper is sufficient, and also does a good job of getting to the rim. On defense, he's going to be the guy that sticks the opposing team's best man. This allows Kobe to save his own energy for the offensive end. If he manages to assimilate into the Lakers chemistry-wise (a big if), I don't see any other team being able to take the title from them in summer 2010.

Fantasy Relevance: Artest is NOT going to get the 15 shots he got last year in Houston. LA is Kobe's team, and Ron Ron better be ready to play 3rd or 4th fiddle in terms of offense. Expect his 17ppg to drop to somewhere around 13ppg. He'll get his minutes, just don't expect the stats. Houston is now a tossup. Guys like Brooks, Wafer, and Ariza will be looked to for points. Keep an eye on all of them in the latter rounds of your draft.

...and a little bit about the smaller moves...

Amir Johnson in Milwuakee
It's too bad he never panned out in Detroit. Tall and athletic, he just couldn't stay out of foul trouble. Hopefully he gets some serious minutes with Jennings over there in Milwaukee. I wish him the best.

Darko in New York
I can see it now: all of Madison Garden chanting "Darko! Darko! Darko!..." I can't wait. In all seriousness though, he's got a chance at getting a good 15 minutes at the center position each night. He's only competition is a slimmed down Eddy Curry and unknown Mouhamed Sene.

Brandon Bass in Orlando
Otis Thorpe pulled a nice one on Dallas. And now he's got a legitimate power forward to help Dwight Howard out on the boards. Bass is one of those guys any coach would want on their team. He works hard and puts the team first.

Antonio McDyess to San Antonio
Dyess and newly drafted DeJuan Blair add some muscle to San Antonio's thin front line. Can you believe Matt "Red Rocket" Bonner actually started last season? Neither can I...

Clippers swap away Zach Randolph for Quentin Richardson
The Clippers do something right for once. Z-Bo can go get his 20-10 in some other town.

Cleveland Cavaliers sign Jamario Moon
Someone on the Cavs not named Lebron has a chance to be in some SportsCenter Highlights.
...ok I actually really like this move. Moon gives some depth behind Lebron at the SF slot. Though he's raw on offense, he's still long, freakishly athletic, and a capable defender. He's no Artest or Bowen, but he's a great addition.

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