Offseason Team Analysis
By AC YOUNG
September 13, 2001
5: Jacque Vaughn, Jason Terry, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Toni Kukoc, Theo Ratliff
There were few moves bigger than the acquisition of Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
Point guards Vaughn and Davis were signed.
Terry (19.7 ppg) was the top performer last year, and Toni Kukoc had some
big games after the Mutombo trade. They will now be joined by Abdur-Rahim
(20.5 ppg for Vancouver) and can form a very potent offensive trio.
If Terry plays the point, expect tall DerMarr Johnson to get minutes at
wonít be the best defensive team, but having a healthy Ratliff (3.74 bpg
with Philadelphia) will mean they will still be tough.
The Hawks donít have the dominator on the boards like they did in Mutombo
but they have plenty of big bodies now. Ratliff and Abdur-Rahim have
Alan Henderson and Nazr Mohammed to help.
Jason Terry was better at shooting guard but may be back starting at the
point. Vaughn is no longer backing up Stockton and could get more
playing time in Atlanta. The abilities of Kukoc must also be noted.
Can a team go from having pick 3 in the draft to competing in the competitive
Vaughn and even Ratliff have yet to play for Atlanta. Mohammed and
Kukoc joined midseason and Terry, Johnson and Dion Glover are all improving.
They have the talent to compete, but some question the chemistry.
5: Baron Davis, David Wesley, Jamal Mashburn, PJ Brown, Elden Campbell
Eddie Robinson left but Augmon will fill his defensive duties. Outside
shooters Matt Bullard and Bryce Drew were signed. Scoring forward
Kirk Haston was drafted and could help off the bench.
are hard to defend against. Campbell (13.1 ppg) provides an inside
option while Mashburn (20.1 ppg), Davis (13.8 ppg) and Wesley ((17.2 ppg)
are accurate out to three-point range.
he did in Miami, PJ Brown can have a big impact on the defensive end.
Off the bench, Magloire had a good rookie season. The guards are
quick and get many steals.
They are led by PJ Brown (9.3 rpg) and get contributions from Campbell,
Mashburn and point guard Davis.
They have three players who are happy bringing the ball up. Mashburn,
Davis and Wesley all have the skills.
What will Derrick Coleman do?
that Coleman returns to contributing nicely at all frontcourt positions.
He will have to be ready to play, as Haston will be a similar option off
the bench for coach Silas.
5: Greg Anthony, Ron Mercer, Eddie Robinson, Marcus Fizer, Eddy Curry
It was a huge offseason for the Bulls. The draft provided them with
tall, talented high-schoolers Curry and Tyson Chandler but also cost them
Elton Brand. Charles Oakley was acquired from Toronto and will be
valuable. Eddie Robinson was signed away from Charlotte while Greg
Anthony was acquired from Portland.
inside offense of Brand can be somewhat replaced by Fizer (9.5 ppg in his
rookie year). Mercer is consistent from mid-range while Eddie Robinson
shot over 50% last year.
Oakley wonít be able to do it all by himself. Eventually Curry and
Chandler should be intimidating shotblockers, but they'll need some time.
If he gets minutes, Ron Artest can get pumped enough to shut down an opponentís
They were bad last year, and that was with Brandís 10 a game. Oakley
(9.5 rpg with Toronto) will help but improvement has to come from Fizer.
Another big concern for Chicago. Jamal Crawford wasnít the answer
last year and his development will be slowed as he will miss this season
with injury. Greg Anthony will defend well but isnít the best playmaker
Have the Bulls hit the bottom yet?
a good start for them but the team didnít improve last year. They
changed strategy and now their big hopes are Curry and Chandler.
Expect another lottery pick but Chicago canít get much worse.
5: Andre Miller, Wesley Person, Lamond Murray, Chris Mihm, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Draft night brought two centers in Sagana Diop and Orlandoís Michael Doleac.
A bigger impact came in the trade for Tyrone Hill and Jumaine Jones, who
will both playing big minutes for the Cavs. Veteran Bryant Stith
joins from Boston.
depends on the health of the big guy, Ilgauskas. The new rules could
help free up shooters Person and Trajan Langdon. Chris Mihm and Doleac
both have range on their shots. Miller (15.8 ppg) is good but he
needs some help.
there is Andre Miller and little else. Tyrone Hill is an improvement
over Robert Traylor at power forward.
Hill (9.1 rpg) will be welcomed back. Improvement needs to come from
Mihm, while Diop has the size to be useful.
Andre Miller (8 apg) gets everyone involved. After only a couple
of seasons he is in the elite of the NBA point guards.
Is there a problem at shooting guard?
wasnít the answer for Cleveland. Harpring played some shooting guard
last year but he is now a 76er. Stith, Langdon and Person can hit
if they are open from outside. Second rounder Trepagnier could bring
something different to the position.
5: Chucky Atkins, Jerry Stackhouse, Cliff Robinson, Ben Wallace, Zeljko
They didnít make the big splash in free agency, but Detroit added several
pieces that have improved the team. Cliff Robinson knows how to score
and should take some pressure, and shot attempts, off Stackhouse.
Rookie Rodney White could get some minutes at forward too. Rebraca
took a long time to get to the NBA and is ready to play.
year was mainly Stackhouse (29.8 ppg, second in NBA) shooting, with little
offense inside. Robinson has an inside-outside game, while Rebraca
is an able scorer too. The Pistons decided to keep Corliss Williamson
around after his quality play last year after being acquired.
Wallace (186 total blocks, 107 steals) earned his money on the defensive
end for Detroit. Mikki Moore can block a shot, but after that the
Pistons have few defensive players.
Wallace finished second in the league, mainly due to a lack of help on
the glass. Maybe Rebraca can be a factor here..
Atkins and Mateen Cleaves both struggled last year and need to improve
their passing, and their shooting percentages. Stackhouse shot the
ball a lot but still averaged 5 assists per game.
Should Detroit have used their cap-space on Williamson, Robinson and the
never a real destination for Webber because he wanted to play for a winning
team. Few of the other free agents would have helped Detroit long
term so the Pistons added some players so they could compete for a playoff
spot this year.
5: Jalen Rose, Reggie Miller, Al Harrington, Jeff Foster, Jermaine OíNeal
Indiana tried to change but will have a very similar team to last year.
Zan Tabak has gone to play in Europe but he'll be replaced by rookie Primov
Brezec. Point guard prospect Tinsley was acquired on draft day.
(20.5 ppg) and Miller (18.9 ppg) were a potent duo last year. Jermaine
OíNeal was a very good player last year but Croshere and Bender played
below expectations. The team needs more ideas in close games - running
Miller off a screen for a three is a bit too predictable.
where Indiana would be without OíNeal, last year they would not have made
the playoffs if they had Dale Davis in the middle. Davis has strength
but OíNeal (2.81 bpg) was second in the league in blocks per game.
Off the bench, the dependable Derrick McKey is able to stop players at
a variety of positions.
Jermaine OíNeal hit the boards as well. Jeff Foster is good but doesnít
get consistent minutes. Being 6-8 in height, Jalen Rose is a good
rebounder from the backcourt.
Rose started and Travis Best came off the bench for the Pacers last year.
They both had similar assist numbers, at around 6 a game.
Will Bender improve, like Jermaine OíNeal did?
and then Bender shows something great - a quick inside move or an accurate
long range shot. OíNeal got the minutes he needed last year, while
Bender has to compete with Harrington, Croshere, Rose and McKey at small
forward. Bender wstill seems a year or two away.
5: Sam Cassell, Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson, Scott Williams, Ervin Johnson
Lindsay Hunter was traded for Greg Foster in the Bucks biggest move of
the offseason so far.
of jump shooters, Robinson (22 ppg), Allen (22 ppg), Cassell (18.2 ppg)
and Thomas (12.6 ppg). Milwaukee needs an inside threat to progress
in the playoffs.
Johnson, Ham and second year player Joel Przybilla Milwaukee can defend
in the paint. Allen gets some steals but the Bucks have problems
against guards and small forwards.
The Bucks are adequate with Ervin Johnson (7.5 rpg) being the major presence.
Ham, Robinson, Williams and Caffey can rebound as well.
Cassell is helped by Allen, both have passing skills. With Hunter
gone, Rafer Alston will get a chance to play more.
Can a team with little inside scoring win a championship?
and Pistons didnít rely on inside scoring during their runs. The
Bucks do need to drive more, challenging defenses and drawing fouls.
5: Alvin Williams, Vince Carter, Morris Peterson, Antonio Davis, Hakeem
The biggest news was the players they kept, and the Olajuwon signing.
Michael Bradley won't play much but he was a solid draft choice.
Carterís (27.6 ppg, 41% 3P%) success from three-point shooting he became
a more complete player, and is now much harder to defend. Peterson,
Curry and Williams can also hit from outside. Last year Davis (13.7
ppg) was the lone inside threat. Hakeem will join Davis in the paint.
Raptors lose Oakley but still have some very good defenders. Their
two best may be off the bench, Jerome Williams and Keon Clark.
Antonio Davis (10.1 rpg) hit double figures last year in rebounds.
If Olajuwon can stay healthy and Jerome Williams gets some playing time
then Toronto will have some dominating games on the glass.
They had one of the premier passers, Mark Jackson, but went with Alvin
Williams at the point, and it worked. Williams and Childs were adequate
for Toronto but need to improve their creativity. Alvin is still improving.
With so much talent, could the distribution of minutes be a problem?
will be playing for a major contract extension but minutes will be hard
to come by.