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Early Impressions of the Trade Deadline

by Photo of Ankit Ahuja

Some teams that were active are in better shape than others.

Early Impressions of the Trade Deadline

The NBA trade deadline this past week was the most chaotic ever. 39 players were traded on deadline day itself, the most ever. A multitude of teams were active, and some decided to stay quiet. Those that were active were working to the last second, as most deadline deals went through right at the buzzer. Some big names went like Goran Dragic, and Reggie Jackson, but role players like Arron Afflalo are going to have a big impact on the playoff race. Now that we have played a couple of games since the deadline, here are my first impressions.  

The Good

Oklahoma City Thunder    

Quietly, the Thunder had a great trade deadline. Although they gave up a good bench scorer in Reggie Jackson, the Thunder revamped their entire bench. Bringing in shooter Kyle Singler and backup point guard DJ Augustin gives the Thunder stability after Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go to the bench. Next, with center Steven Adams sidelined, OKC acquired Jazz center Enes Kanter in a trade. Kanter put up huge numbers in his second game, scoring 20 points and getting 12 rebounds. It's only two games, but Kanter is averaging 15 points and 12.5 rebounds. The Thunder are making a playoff push, and with Durant hurt again, these three additions are going to be the key as the season winds down.

Milwaukee Bucks

Though the Bucks lost a borderline all-star in Brandon Knight, the return was pretty good. Second year guard Michael Carter-Williams should flourish under all-time great point guard Jason Kidd. Knight’s game, for example, grew so much in just a year, and now Carter-Williams will have longer to learn from Kidd. The Bucks are in the thick of the playoffs in the East, but will be interesting to see how Carter-Williams plays in big games.

Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers are a team that isn’t playing its best basketball, but it might be around the corner. The Blazers acquired veteran wingman Arron Afflalo from Denver for a first round pick and a couple of other pieces. In his first game Afflalo didn’t look great, and the Blazers lost, but I fully expect Afflalo to be the missing piece in the Blazers rotation. He complements stars Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge very well with his shooting, but his perimeter defense will be the key. The one knock on the Blazers was their lack of depth in their bench, but Afflalo gives them a great option behind Wes Matthews. He didn’t have a great first game, but Afflalo will be good for the Blazers.

The Bad

Miami Heat

On trade deadline day, I would say Miami had the best deadline of anyone. The Heat acquired star point guard Goran Dragic, and it seemed like the Heat were going to be a playoff threat. A starting five of Dragic, Dwayne Wade, Luol Deng, Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh is as solid as any in the East. But with the unfortunate news of Bosh's blood clots forcing him to miss the rest of the season, Miami’s is now in a difficult position. Judging by their first game with Dragic, the Heat are really going to miss Bosh. Dragic struggled early in his first game, and though he found a groove the Heat still lost to a Pelicans team without Anthony Davis. I feel bad for the Heat. The roster is guard-heavy and very thin after the trade. Maybe it’s just not meant to be for Miami post LeBron.

Denver Nuggets    

Is there a team in a worse position than the Nuggets? Okay, maybe the Knicks. The Nuggets had maybe the worst deadline, and have no sort of direction. The team clearly needed to gut the roster, and they only traded Arron Afflalo. Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler should have been traded and they should have started from scratch. The team has gotten killed in the games after the deadline, and they do not like playing for Coach Brian Shaw. The front office must decide who is more important: the players or the coach. The situation is a mess right now, and no one knows when or how it will be fixed.

Phoenix Suns

This was a team that was dealt a bad hand. Two days before the trade deadline, their star point guard, Goran Dragic asked for a trade. With the risk of losing him in free agency for nothing, the Suns traded him to Miami. The Suns also traded another point guard Isaiah Thomas, and they traded the Lakers’ first round pick. Although they got Brandon Knight, it seems like the return wasn’t enough. Knight looked good in his debut with the Suns, but they are barely hanging on in the playoff race. The Thunder are on a roll, and they don’t seem like they are going to stop. Phoenix has lost five in a row and are now 2.5 games back, and integrating Brandon Knight will take some time. There's enough left on the roster for it to work, but they need to mesh quickly.

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