|Dwight Howard looms over the power rankings. (Getty Images)|
The offseason's over, players and GM's are finishing up their vacations and there's starting to be a buzz about the new season. So who helped their teams the most during the summer? Who didn't do much of anything?
These power rankings are not a reflection of team strength. We'll have those for you the Tuesday before the season opener. These rankings reflect only the events since Game 5 of the NBA Finals. They do reflect whether the team needed to improve or not. The Thunder and Heat get points for already being at a point where they needed very little. From there, it's based off the draft, trades, and free agency. Here's how the offseasons of all 30 teams stack up.
1. Los Angeles Lakers: What, are you surprised? Look, only the Lakers could get two-time MVP, lead-the-league-in-assist-rate-for-players-playing-30-minutes-per-game, legendary point guard Steve Nash... and it wasn't the best offseason move they made. They landed one of the league's best passers and an elite shooter, then turned around and acquired the league's best defensive force and center. It's the Lakers' world, we're all just living in it. And if these rankings were based on overall roster? The Lakers might still be here.
2. Brooklyn Nets: Re-signed Deron Williams. Found him a running mate. The money doesn't matter because the owner is loaded. They brought back Brook Lopez and kept Gerald Wallace, so the trade of their lottery pick wasn't worthless. They added to the bench and moved into the offices in Brooklyn. So yeah, they did allright. The Nets may not win a championship, but they moved way up the ladder in a single offseason.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers are like that friend who was living a safe, comfortable life as an accountant, nice two-bedroom townhouse in the burbs, driving a Volvo. Then one day he ups and starts his own business. Maybe he'll fail, but at least he tried. That's the Sixers, who swung for Andrew Bynum. Their other moves weren't even really good overall. But Bynum was a gamechanger and a bold move. They get points for that.
4. Denver Nuggets: Took a player who struggled last season in a bigger role, especially defensively, and a good role player with a lot of money left, and moved him for an All-Star that's one of the best complimentary players in the league. Nabbed a versatile wing in Evan Fournier and retained JaVale McGee for a good but not outrageous contract. Huge summer for the Nuggets who didn't put their future on the table.
5. Miami Heat: Being already awesome is a bonus, but really this is how the Heat managed to make one big move and get that much better. Ray Allen is such a phenomenal fit for what they do and what they need. The Heat needed every three-pointer Shane Battier made in the playoffs, but that's not something they can rely on. Allen givs them just such a weapon and for a good price, too. Sticking it to their rivals in Beantown warrants extra points as well.
6. Boston Celtics: It wasn't the remodel we expected, and it wasn't a total win-now summer either. It was somewhere in-between. Boston replaced Allen with Jason Terry, upping their trash talk quotient if nothing else. They ensured Kevin Garnett would retire a Celtic, and made a gamble on Jeff Green. Even if that doesn't work out, they snagged Courtney Lee and drafted two promising rookies who each have problems, but also huge upside. Boston walked a delicate wire this offseason and seem primed for another strong season.
7. New Orleans Hornets: They could have signed Stephon Marbury and it would have been fine after they drafted Anthony Davis. Luckily for them, they didn't, they drafted Austin Rivers, who may love to shoot like Marbury but is... you know, not... that. (Though Marbury was fantastic at Rivers' age, too.) The Hornets would have had a great offseason with just the draft. Instead they brought in Ryan Anderson on a solid deal and snagged Robin Lopez. They didn't get a point guard, but it was still a phenomenal summer for the Hornets.
8. Los Angeles Clippers : Well, they didn't lose Blake Griffin, which is a nice start. They added Jamal Crawford as the veteran shooter/four-point scoring machine, and retained Billups. Snagging Grant Hill is a nice pickup that's great for karma if nothing else, and Ronny Turiaf can play the Reggie Evans roll well enough and actually defend. Good offseason for the Clippers, taken down mostly by how much better their roommates got.
9. Oklahoma City Thunder : Re-signed Serge Ibaka on a bargain. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook got better. Drafted Perry Jones III on a steal late in the first-round. What else do you want? The NBA title? Well, that's going to have to wait.
10. Dallas Mavericks: They're docked twenty places for whiffing on Deron Williams and then Steve Nash. But the Mavericks acquired Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Elton Brand and Chris Kaman. That's a fine offseason, and it kept their options open for the future. They're going to be a weird team, but for one built on the fly on the backs of a lot of plan C's and D's, it's pretty impressive.
11. Memphis Grizzlies: Losing O.J. Mayo takes away some points, but the way that the Grizzlies managed to bolster their backcourt depth while retaining the same in the frontcourt makes them a better team overall.
12. Atlanta Hawks : Boldly went where so many are afraid to go, back to the drawing board. Liquidated the roster's biggest contract, erased the Marvin Williams mistake, mercifully, and set themselves up for the future while tossing Jeff Teague the reins. Bold and beautiful.
13. Indiana Pacers: Dropping Collison hurts, and the draft wasn't great. They did keep Hibbert by matching his offer from Portland, but that's not enough to carry them forward. They got no worse, nor better.
14. Houston Rockets: Swung and missed on yet another superstar. Will spend an unbelievable amount of money on Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik in three years. But they put together a fun, quirky lineup that can be dimsantled and reconfigured at a moment's notice.
15. Toronto Raptors: I would have nausea if I were a Raps fan, just from the emotional swings this offseason. Giving Landry Fields that contract is "quitting the fanbase" worthy, but getting Kyle Lowry is "get a logo based on a movie from 20 years ago tattooed on me" territory. They add Jonas Valanciunas who didn't excel in the Olympics but will still give them the ability to work in space.
16. New York Knicks: Oh, hey, Raymond Felton! Marcus Camby! Jason Kidd! Kurt Thomas! J.R. Smith on the cheap! Yeah, none of it matters because they let Lin walk and that looks crazy for that franchise. Maybe the team was in a no-win position with Lin, but that doesn't alter the result.
17. Washington Wizards: The era of silliness is officially over, and the Wizards are now a veteran team with a young leader and a star rookie shooter. It's all on Wall and Beal, now.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves: Chase Budinger and Alexey Shved are the bigger-name additions, but Dante Cunningham might make as much of an impact. Wolves got rid of some issues and improved with replacements. Oh, and they landed Andrei Kirilenko and Brandon Roy. The Wolves are primed to go forward.
19. Milwaukee Bucks: Nabbing John Henson looked awful at first, but after Summer League, it looks like drafting Larry Sanders/signing Drew Gooden/trading for Ekpe Udoh was awful. Ersan Ilyasova's contract is a steal.
20. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes fills their need at wing and the roster is now a solid eight-deep. Now we'll find out what Mark Jackson can do with it.
21. Portland Trail Blazers: Not much they could do about the Pacers matching the offer for Roy Hibbert, but still a disappointment not to land him. But a terrific draft puts them in a great position going forward.
22. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben Gordon is a huge talent upgrade for them, and even though they didn't get Davis, they landed a great wing and future elite defender in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Ramon Sessions is at least a decent replacement for D.J. Augustin, and they didn't hannd out any insane contracts. It's a long haul, but the Bobcats took a step forward this summer.
23. Phoenix Suns: Anytime you can pay $6 million a year to a guy who Rick Adelman couldn't get through to and pick up the tab on Luis Scola after a year he really started to show his age, and then splurge on Goran Dragic, banking on his ability to mesh with Marcin Gortat to develop a deadly combination... you know how this joke goes.
24. Utah Jazz: Mo Williams is an upgrade on Devin Harris and the financial component is nice as well. An otherwise quiet summer leads into a big year for the Jazz.
25. Sacramento Kings: Hopefully Thomas Robinson will come out better than he looked in Summer League. Aaron Brooks, yet another point guard, joins the team.
26. Detroit Pistons: Andre Drummond was the biggest gamble in the draft, and that's after Dion Waiters went fourth overall. Flipping Ben Gordon for Corey Magette signals a move towards clearing the books with eyes on the trade deadline and the summer.
27. Chicago Bulls: Mailed it in and gave the fans Kirk Hinrich to ease the pain.
28. Cleveland Cavaliers: Putting an awful lot of pressure on Dion Waiters to make the big jump in his rookie season. He was their only real upgrade over last season's team.
29. Orlando Magic: Ranking hazy, try again later.
30. San Antonio Spurs : (Crickets.) This is more of an "NA" than it is anything. It's not that the Spurs did anything bad. They just didn't do anything, period. How do you judge them against other teams when they made no significant moves?