The masses have dissected the new destinations of Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Steve Nash and Ray Allen, among others. But what crafty, less hyped pickup will provide that key jolt? The top five unheralded pickups are below:
Odom acted more unprofessional than Howard last year. He demanded a trade from the Lakers, but unlike D12, promptly quit on the Mavs. It got so bad Cuban had to ask him to leave.
As despicable as his behavior was, remember – Odom’s always been a head-case. If he’s not in his desired environment, whether it’s the city or too high on the depth chart, he doesn’t perform. But he’s back in LA, possesses the same freakish athleticism and length, and is happy. With the right mindset and the spotlight being on Griffin and CP3, Odom should go back to his silky finishes, post-ups and ability to spread the floor.
4) Andrei Kirilenko – Timberwolves
AK47 looked listless his last couple seasons in Utah. He wasn’t flying across the paint for swats and lacked that zip in transition. But his stint in Europe last season may have cured him. At CSKA Moscow he averaged 14 points on nearly 59% shooting, 8 RPG and 2 BPG (albeit in 17 games).
But Kirilenko really shone in the Olympics. He put up multiple 30 point games, and led Russia to upsets over Lithuania and Argentina to garner a bronze medal. The talent coupled with the poise makes his 2 year $20M deal look like a potential bargain for the T-Wolves.
The Raptors gave up virtually nothing (Gary Forbes and a protected future first rounder) to get a bona fide starting PG. Even better for them was his contract – two years, $6M.
Lowry’s quick, thick, and tenacious. His numbers are decent too – 37% 3FG, 86% FT. The 40% FG will need improvement but this is a risk free, bargain basement deal. Lowry will do great to bring along rookie power forward Jonas Valanciunas, and will spur Andrea Barganani to continue the success he’s had in the pick and roll. And defensively he is a massive upgrade over Jose Calderon.
2) Jason Terry – Celtics
The acquisition has been discussed a lot, but without enthusiasm. I’m gaga over Jason Terry.
He hasn’t lost a step since he came to Dallas and embraces the pressure of “the moment”. It was rather insane to tattoo the Larry O’Brien trophy on his arm before the season the Mavs won the title, but it demonstrated how badly he wants to win.
Losing Ray Allen after he shot a career high in 3PT% is tough, but they have replaced him with Terry. Let’s compare last year’ s numbers:
Terry: PPG: 15.1. 88% FT. 43% FG. 38% 3FG. Age: 35
Allen: PPG: 14.2. 92% FT. 46% FG. 45% 3FG. Age: 37
Allen’s probably more valuable, but not by much. Terry’s defense is also more than adequate, so Boston should hardly feel the loss of Allen this year.
The trade involved the Lakers (Howard), 76ers (Bynum), Magic (Afflalo, Al Harrington’s awful $7M per year deal til 2015), and the Nuggets. The centers were obviously the centerpieces, but the Nuggets were the winners of this four-team deal.
Denver gave up Afflalo, but picked up a better version of him. Iggy can defend multiple positions with ferocity, as he showed for the US Olympic team. He can keep up with Ty Lawson’s blazing speed on the break, and doesn’t need to be the center of attention, despite his inflated contract. He shot 45% from the field, 40% from 3, and averaged 15 PPG, 6 RPG and 5 APG. Pretty sick.
With Iguodala rounding out that roster, Denver is a title contender. Outside of the Lakers no other team made a pickup that boosted their team to that level. Iggy is the best of all the unheralded acquisitions this offseason.
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