With the NBA offseason winding down, teams are most likely set with their big roster moves heading into the 2017-2018 season. There have been some wild moves that we did not expect to happen when the offseason started.
Let’s take a look at some ramifications of the biggest NBA moves this summer.
Paul George to Oklahoma City
Working off screens: The addition of Paul George will have the Thunder working their offense off of screens like never before. Paul George made up most of his possessions by using screens to his full advantage. With Steven Adams being a major screen setter, this addition will be a great opportunity for George and Adams to have positive chemistry right away. With the way that Oklahoma City played last year, which was a lot of isolation basketball for Russell Westbrook, adding George will force them to utilize more screens and open up the offense. Their offense will obviously now require some change and alterations to maximize both George and Westbrook in this new type of offensive game.
More defensive options: Last year, the Thunder struggled defensively when they had to switch. It is tough to switch effectively with players like Enes Kanter and Steven Adams being slow liabilities on that side of the ball. Victor Oladipo was also a liability in the switching game because he was ineffective when he had to guard bigger players. With OKC now running a bigger lineup with the addition of George, and even Patrick Patterson, they will be more effective on the switch in the positions of 1-5. There are just more options for them now.
A better Andre Roberson: Andre Roberson shot a woeful 24.5% from three-point land last season, and is usually the open man on the floor when teams double his teammates. With George obviously being one of those players that will be doubled, it will give more opportunities for Roberson to prove himself offensively. He won’t look to shoot the outside shot, but with George and Westbrook demanding double teams, Roberson can cut to the basket more often, and stay on the floor because of his defense.
Paul Millsap to Denver
Consistency from Wilson Chandler: With Danilo Gallinari off to Los Angeles and Paul Millsap going to Denver as the full-time power forward, expect Wilson Chandler to get most of his minutes at small forward, where he has seen the most success in his career. At 6’8 and 225 lbs, it is better for a player of his size to play the small forward position, but it will also improve his ability to isolate. With the other two scoring options in Millsap and Jokic not being isolation options, Chandler’s statistics could really rise this season.
Jamal Murray has to step up: This will be a big year for the second year player out of Kentucky. We know Nikola Jokic is the centerpiece of the Nuggets playmaking, so Jamal Murray will not be this team’s main facilitator. But as a player that has gotten a lot of questions of where he really fits (point guard or shooting guard), he will now have to manage the team with two big scoring threats when he is on the floor. With that, he will not be the main scoring option for Denver and will have to really fight for his points. Question is, is he ready for that type of role as a player who needs find ways to score without controlling the ball?
Thin and thick at certain positions: The Nuggets have six potential power forwards: Paul Millsap, Kenneth Faried, Chandler, Trey Lyles, Darrell Arthur, Juan Hernangomez and rookie Tyler Lydon. They are very thin at the small forward position with Chandler, Hernangomez, Will Barton (part-time). As mentioned before, Wilson Chandler will most likely move to the small forward position but if he misses time, they are down to Hernangomez and a small option of Barton, which can scream trouble in the Western Conference. At the center position, they have Nikola Jokic, Mason Plumlee, and Faried as a small ball option. It is an awkward bunch at the four position and very thin at the three and five, so they have to make some roster moves to even that out before the season starts.
Chris Paul to Houston
The mid-range game: Last season, the Rockets were a team that valued layups, dunks, three-point shots, and drawing a lot of fouls. What we did not see a lot of them is the mid-range jump shot. It is obviously one of the more inefficient scoring options, but with the addition of the best mid-range point guard, how will Houston adjust? It could be awkward if Paul is the only Rocket empowered to make that decision. Most players try to avoid this type of jump shot. If the Rockets let Paul continue his normal mid-range game, there could be adverse effects to the formula central to the Rockets’ offense. How will coach D’Antoni adjust?
Gordon Hayward to Boston
Terry Rozier’s Improvement: After a great postseason, Terry Rozier should have his minutes increased for this upcoming season. With Avery Bradley’s departure and Hayward’s ability to run the offense at point forward, it should benefit Rozier. He’s used to making specific plays off the ball rather than as a floor general, so having Hayward now there to cover some of his weaknesses, it could be a big season for Rozier.
Jae Crowder and his durability: With Hayward moving into the three position, and with Amir Johnson now gone, you can expect Jae Crowder to see most of his minutes at the power forward position. It will be good for Boston as they will want to play a smaller offensive lineup with the way the NBA is shaped today. But it could be a red flag when he has to go against bigger opponents. A player that has struggled with some injuries in his career, it will be something the coaching staff of Boston has to keep an eye on.
Jimmy Butler to Minnesota
Defensive Improvement: Minnesota often tried to over help defensively which led to a lot of one on one scoring possessions for their opponents. With the addition of Jimmy Butler, their defense will likely improve because he is good as both a one on one defender and a helper on defense. Butler can guard the ball and contain his man but also provide quality help defense, which was something we saw Minnesota’s young players struggle with last season. As a team that was ranked 24th out of 30 teams in total defense, look for that to improve with the addition of Jimmy Buckets.