Now that the trade deadline has passed, the NBA season has entered the home stretch. Rosters are basically finalized barring any potential injuries, playoff standings solidify and lottery teams begin to tank. So which teams got better at the trade deadline? Obviously, a few games need to be played to work out rotational kinks so there is truly no way to know, but one can certainly judge the trades on paper.
1. Marcus Morris to the Phoenix Suns for a 2013 second-round pick
2. Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas to the Sacramento Kings for Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt.
Daryl Morey is quite amazing. He has maybe made more trades in his tenure as the Rockets GM than any other team has in that same span of time. This time, he pulled off the stunner of the deadline. He got himself a second-round pick as well as the 2012 fifth overall pick Thomas Robinson.
There were no rumors at all that Robinson was even available and somehow the Rockets managed to pry him away. He was only averaging about 16 minutes per game and was stuck behind DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson but has a developing mid-range jumper, has good rebounding skills and is just a humongous human being. Basketball people love him and clearly the Rockets think that he can be a solid player that will contribute immediately. He was by far the best player in the deal and the Rockets gave away barely anything. Look for him to thrive in Houston’s high-energy transition offense. His head coach, Kevin McHale, is also one of the better power forwards to ever play the game, meaning Robinson went from being in one of the worst possible situations in basketball to one of the best situations.
1. Tobias Harris, Beno Udrih and Doron Lamb to the Orlando Magic for J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon, and Ish Smith.
Even though people are asking the question of how Redick fits in with the Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis backcourt, the fact that the Bucks got the second most valuable player traded on deadline day makes them winners. Redick is having a career year, averaging 15 points per game while shooting 45% from the field and a solid 39% from beyond the arc while playing on a terrible Orlando team. He won’t get as many shots because Ellis is a high volume guy (overly high) but if their head coach, Jim Boylan, can figure out a rotation where Redick and Ellis are rarely on the floor together, this team could be potentially dangerous come playoff time. Redick has great instincts and with a competent point guard (Jennings) and a couple of versatile big men (Ersan Ilyasova, Gustavo Ayon), he could be a guy that wins them a game or two in the first round of the playoffs. They didn’t get Josh Smith like they were hoping to but Redick was the best viable alternative.
Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt to the Houston Rockets for Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich, Toney Douglas
Really?! This team is truly dysfunctional. Major League Baseball actually has a rule forbidding teams to trade draft picks until they’ve be under contract for at least a full calendar year (The Pete Incaviglia Rule). The Kings traded Thomas Robinson only 55 games into his first season. Sure his numbers have been disappointing for the fifth overall pick but he’s also playing behind two power forwards who are much more polished offensively than Robinson. He works hard, coaches love him and based on what he did at Kansas last year he certainly has upside.
Nobody the Kings got in return has nearly the upside or room to grow that Robinson has. Patrick Patterson is not a bad basketball player and he did play with DeMarcus Cousins at Kentucky, but it is truly hard to see the reasoning behind this trade for the Kings. The issues around Cousins’ temper will not go away just because of Patterson’s presence, unless the Kings know something the rest of the world does not (obviously a very unlikely scenario). Not to mention they might be moving to Seattle next year and having a marketable young guy like Robinson is almost a must when trying to entice a new fan base to buy into your team. The Kings will continue to be mediocre this year and probably for a couple years to come.
Jordan Crawford to the Boston Celtics for Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins
Most of the trades on deadline day were pretty non-consequential in terms of the playoffs so it is hard to find another team that made as seemingly bad of a trade as the Kings did. The Wizards put themselves in this conversation though with their one trade. Jordan Crawford is not a particularly great basketball player. He makes a lot of questionable decisions and has probably hit his ceiling in terms of potential. But to trade him for Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins is borderline ridiculous. Barbosa is an expiring contract that would be a solid backup guard for John Wall, if only he could walk. Barbosa tore his ACL on February 11th against the Charlotte Bobcats and will be out for the year, meaning unless he re-signs with Washington, he won’t ever play a game for them. Jason Collins is a center that plays minimal minutes and has averaged just over 1 point per game this season.
The Wizards already have depth at the center position with Nene and Emeka Okafor so Collins’ role probably won’t change much at all. I hope there was a reason to trade Crawford relating to the locker room or team chemistry because he is an irrational confidence guy and once he hits a couple shots he can be quite deadly in short bursts. He will help the Celtics if he can stay under control while Barbosa literally cannot help the Wizards and Collins probably won’t help the Wizards. They have been playing better basketball in the last couple weeks so it is hard to understand in a basketball-related context how this deal makes them any better.
At the end of the deadline, no team seemed to get significantly better which is a win for the teams at the top of the standings. Chicago chose not to pick up a shooter to improve their mediocre offense while the Clippers ended up keeping Eric Bledsoe, letting both the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder breathe sighs of relief.