NBA Championship Odds After The Trade Deadline
In one of the craziest NBA trade deadlines in recent memory, the stock of many aspiring teams changed in some way. And by stock, I mean their NBA championship odds or the probability of them winning the title. Although teams like the Kings, Pacers, Trail Blazers, and Pelicans experienced a great change, their position will not be mentioned since they are extremely unlikely to win the Finals. The nature of the deadline is that contenders acquire talent, but not every team who traded increased their stock. They can be placed in the following categories: Up, Slightly Up, Unchanged, Down
NBA Championship Odds Trending Up
Traded: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, Two 1st Round Picks
Acquired: James Harden, Paul Millsap
Simmons was never going to play for the 76ers, and that was represented in their championship odds. The 1sts don’t do anything to win a ring. Therefore, consider this question. Do the 76ers have a better chance of winning the title with Curry and Drummond, or Harden? Of course, it is Harden. The Harden pick and roll with Embiid will be deadly. With another alpha scorer, Tobias Harris moves to a more natural 3rd scorer position. The defense will be good regardless of Harden because of Thybulle and Embiid. Maxey can be a secondary playmaker for the starting unit. He is a terrific spot up shooter which complements Harden. The bench depth is thin, but they also got Millsap. There are impactful players they can potentially get in the buy-out market such as Dragic or Freedom. Overall, the 76ers experienced a huge boost in their championship odds, and Morey looks like a genius for his stubbornness.
Traded: James Harden, Paul Millsap
Acquired: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, Two 1st Round Picks
It was a win-win trade. Although Harden is the best player in the deal, they filled a lot of holes with this trade. The Nets have Durant and Kyrie to score as the ball handler; they are better off surrounding them with shooters. Joe Harris’ health is in question, and he looked like a deer in headlights last playoffs. Curry (40 3PT%) will stretch the floor and bolster their shooting. The big man rotation is their weakness; Drummond provides size and rebounding on the bench. The offense will be fine with Durant and Kyrie, but the defense could use a boost. Simmons is one of the best, most versatile defenders. He will be a huge asset against players like LaVine, DeRozan, Butler, Harden, Tatum, Brown, and Giannis. The East has a lot of big wings that can score. Spacing will not be a problem with Simmons because of Curry, Irving, Durant, and Harris. Simmons will boost the transition offense for easy points. Plus the chemistry issue between Harden and Kyrie is solved now that Harden is gone. The Nets look like a better team after this deal.
Traded: Ricky Rubio, 1st Round Pick, Two 2nd Round Picks
Acquired: Caris LeVert
This deal happened before the deadline, yet the significance is not diminished because of that. Caris LeVert is a huge prize for the Cavaliers. They needed wings that could score and create their own shot. LeVert adds another dimension to this offense and eases the pressure off of Garland. On the season, he is averaging 18.5 PPG and 4.4 APG. He is not the best defensively, but with Mobley and Allen in the paint, it will not be a detriment. His offensive impact considerably vaults the Cavaliers, and they now have to be considered as a real threat in the East. Best of all, they only had to give up Rubio, who is out for the season.
Los Angeles Clippers
Traded: Eric Bledsoe, Justice Winslow, Keon Johnson, Serge Ibaka, 2nd Round Pick
Acquired: Norman Powell, Robert Covington, Rodney Hood, Semi Ojeleye
The Clippers robbed the Blazers. Powell has been one of the best spot up shooters in the NBA. Covington is a nice 3&D piece. They gave up their backup point guard in Bledsoe, but they got the two best players in the deal, and Bledsoe is known for not performing in the playoffs. The Clippers will have a lineup capable of switching at almost every position with tons of shooting. The Clippers championship odds will still rest on the return of Kawhi. But they can give a contender a scare with a healthy Paul George and their new pieces.
Stock is Slightly Up
Traded: Joe Ingles, Elijah Hughes, 2nd Round Pick
Acquired: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Juancho Hernangomez
The Jazz traded Ingles, but he was already lost to a torn ACL. Effectively, the Jazz added Alexander-Walker and Hernangomez to bolster their bench. Alexander-Walker is a decent pick and roll ball handler with the ability to facilitate. At 6’5”, he has the size to switch onto some forwards. Alexander-Walker will pair with Jordan Clarkson to form a formidable bench backcourt. Hernangomez does not get many minutes, but he provides the Jazz with a bigger forward. Whiteside and Azubuike have the center spot covered, so Hernangomez can play his more natural position of power forward. Overall, this trade comes down to the acquisition of Alexander-Walker. The Jazz’s stock received a small boost from this deal.
Traded: Donte DiVincenzo, Rodney Hood, Semi Ojeleye
Acquired: Serge Ibaka
DiVincenzo is a good player, but Ibaka fills a positional need. Brook Lopez’s future is uncertain at this point. Back injuries are very problematic. Outside of Giannis and Portis, the Bucks need a big man. Ibaka is not the player he once was, but he is not ancient at 32-years-old. He is still a plus defender against spot up shooters and defending the big man in the pick and roll. Ibaka has championship experience too. On offense, he can post up or spot up. Grayson Allen took Donte’s role, and Wesley Matthews makes up for the shooting they lost. Overall, the Bucks didn’t make a huge leap, but their stock did go up a little. Hood and Ojeleye are non-factors in their stock since they would not play big playoff minutes.
Traded: Goran Dragic, 1st Round Pick
Acquired: Thaddeus Young, Drew Eubanks, 2nd Round Pick
Like Simmons for the 76ers, there was no chance Dragic was going to play for the Raptors. Therefore, it is like adding Thaddeus Young and Eubanks to this roster for a protected 1st. The Raptors add the experienced Young. The Raptors have been starting Siakam at center. If they want, they can move Barnes to the bench and put Young in to help with interior defense. Young is solid defensively and can facilitate out of the post. Boucher loves to spot up on the bench, so he and Young fit together offensively. Eubanks does not do anything for the Raptors in the grand scheme of things because Achiuwa, Boucher, and Young will see minutes ahead of him. The Raptors are still not a top tier contender, but they have talent and pedigree. Nick Nurse will find the edge and the Raptors are dangerous (7 game winning streak right now)
Stock is Unchanged
Traded: Dennis Schröder, Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, Enes Freedom, Bruno Fernando, 1st Round Pick
Acquired: Derrick White, Daniel Theis
The Celtics kept their starting lineup intact, but they traded Langford, Richardson, Schröder, Freedom, and Fernando away for Derrick White and Theis. White is the best player in this trade. He will be the primary ball handler for the bench because he knows how to run the pick and roll. White is an average defender, and definitely worse than Richardson in that department. The Celtics lost Richardson’s defense and consistent scoring along with Schröder’s ball handling and scoring. Overall, it was a lateral move for the Celtics. It should not affect their stock this season.
Traded: Ish Smith, Vernon Carey Jr.
Acquired: Montrezl Harrell
The Hornets have a center problem. Mason Plumlee is a solid backup center, but he should not be starting. Harrell has historically been a bench energizer, so it remains to be seen whether he starts or not. Even if he does not start though, Harrell will likely close games. Ish Smith was a decent facilitator on the bench; however, the Hornets are loaded with guards so it is not a huge problem. The Hornets became better through this trade, but it will not affect their championship odds. They do not match up with the East contenders, but the future is bright.
Traded: Jalen Smith, 2nd Round Pick
Acquired: Torrey Craig
The Suns traded Jalen Smith for Torrey Craig. I actually think the Suns downgraded here. Craig is a 6’7” wing who is an average shooter and defender at best. He has been terrible this season guarding the pick and roll ball handler. Smith was a constant double-double threat for the Suns who could fill in at center in a pinch. He was a PF/C, which the Suns lack. They have plenty of wings who could play SG, SF, or PF in Booker, Bridges, Johnson, and Crowder. However, their true power forward rotation was lacking. McGee/Ayton/Biyombo are centers, while their other wings are SF/PF. Smith was the perfect inbetween player for them. Overall though, the Suns remain a top contender and their odds shouldn’t change
NBA Championship Odds Trending Down
Traded: Kristaps Porzingis
Acquired: Spencer Dinwiddie, Davis Bertans
The Mavericks traded Porzingis for Dinwiddie and Bertans. Dinwiddie can score off the dribble, but he is not an efficient spot up shooter. Luka will be controlling the ball in the playoffs, so Dinwiddie’s theoretical value does not equal his actual value on the Mavericks. Bertans is a career 40 3PT% shooter, but he is at 31.9% this season. His defense is abysmal, and he is extremely streaky. The Mavericks lost size in this trade, which they desperately need. For all of Porzingis’ faults, he is still averaging 19.2 PPG and 7.7 RPG. The Mavericks are now relying on Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber to anchor the center position in a conference with Jokic, Ayton, Gobert, Towns, and Davis. Kristaps is not a perfect player, but they will miss him in the playoffs.