Hope you are all enjoying the Thanksgiving vacation and spending time with your family and friends. The holiday weekend will bring us into the quarterfinal of the NBA season and many NBA teams are thankful for their recent offseason moves as they have performed well so far. Others, not so much.
Best: Chicago Bulls
During the past offseason, the Bulls signed Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Tony Bradley and DeMar DeRozan. At the time, these movements were either swept aside or considered insignificant. The bulls are 12-6 and sixth in adjusted net score.
DeRozan leads the team in EPM at +5.6 and the other three acquisitions are net positive in this column. They’re a strong playoff team in a tough Eastern Conference.
Worse: Los Angeles Lakers
We’ll start with the caveat that LeBron James has only played in eight of the possible 19 games so far. It is important. But acquisitions, apart from Carmelo Anthony, have performed poorly so far.
Avery Bradley, Malik Monk, and DeAndre Jordan have EPMs of -3.2, -2.2, and -1.0 respectively. Sniper Wayne Ellington has a TS% of 52 and an eFG% of 49. Not good. Kent Bazemore is one of head coach Frank Vogel’s only positive defenders, but his offensive impact, or lack thereof, denies this.
While Russell Westbrook was overall positive at +0.1, the Lakers expected a lot more from the former MVP.
Kendrick Nunn, who they also acquired in the last offseason, has yet to play due to injury.
The Lakers are 25th in adjusted net scoring. It’s getting late early.
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Best: Miami Heat
Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker fit in perfectly with #HeatCulture. Hardened, enduring, and hyper-intelligent players who know exactly what to do in any basketball situation. After a hot start, the Heat calmed down a bit as they worked on injuries. But they remain in the league’s top echelon in offense and defense, and are No.3 in adjusted net score.
Best: Golden State Warriors
Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica do not complete the stat sheet. But these are exactly the right types of players to be in the Warriors system. For lack of a better sentence, they adapt.
Iguodala has all the business knowledge of his time on the 2015-2019 dynasty. Payton II provides defense at the point of attack and can more than hold up in small lineups.
Bjelica and Porter Jr. are smart players, and you need a high basketball IQ in the Dubs read and react attack. They know how to play against Steph Curry and move the ball around to get some great shots. In addition, they can both extend the ground from three.
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Worse: New York Knicks
The Knicks surprised more than one in the league last season, but head coach Tom Thibodeau implemented his system and the team reached the playoffs with the No. 4 defense in the league.
In the last offseason, the Knicks acquired Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker. Both were seen as improvements in creating perimeter shots, an area the Knicks struggled with last season.
For the most part, Fournier and Walker were good offensive additions for the Knicks, but struggled a bit on defense. Walker’s defensive EPM is -2.0. Him, Fournier and Julius Randle are negative in defense. It’s three-fifths of the starting lineup.
The Knicks sit 20th in adjusted defense, and what’s troubling is that they’ve played the league’s fifth easiest schedule so far.
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There are still 3/4 of the NBA season left, but trends emerge at around 20 games, and unless a major event a team is currently in, it is likely that they will be in the standings by the end of this season. the season.
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