Aug 10 2016

NBA 2016 Summer Moves: Eastern Conference

This article looks at the new NBA landscape for the 2016-2017 season for the Eastern Conference. With the draft and the first wave of free agency in the past, it is time to take a preliminary look at how the rosters are shaking out and whether or not the moves that teams made will have a significant difference in how those teams performed from last season.

Each team will be separated by their nominal starting five (PG = point guard, SG = shooting guard, SF = small forward, PF = power forward, C = center), with most important players followed by the more replaceable parts (i.e, franchise player of the Big 3, followed by the other two starters). Also included are the rotation (6th man through 8th man), followed by the rest of the bench (up to the 13th man). New additions are marked by an asterisk*, rookies by a (1). Players who are uncertain to be ready for the season opener are kept out of the starting lineup and rotation and marked with a (+). Because of the heavy coaching and management turnover, those figures are listed as well.

To see my Offseason Preview from before the Draft, open here:


Toronto Raptors (2015-2016: 56-26, 1st in Atlantic, 2nd in Eastern, Conference Finals Loss to Cleveland)

Starters: PG Kyle Lowry, SG DeMar DeRozan, C Jonas Valanciunas, SF DeMarre Carroll, PF Jared Sullinger*

Rotation: PG Cory Joseph, PF Patrick Patterson, SF Terrence Ross

Bench: C Jakob Poertl (1), SG Norman Powell, PF Pascal Siakam (1), PG Delon Wright (+), SF Bruno Cabloclo

Head Coach: Dwane Casey

General Manager: Masai Ujiri

As you can see, the Raptors should expect to have much of the same rotation back from their franchise-best 2015-2016 team, with Sullinger replacing Luis Scola in the lineup. The addition of Sullinger should give Toronto an upgrade in the rebounding department. Poertl, the ninth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, gets the first shot at replacing C Bismack Biyombo. Siakam, the 27th pick in the draft, replaces Jason Thompson. Wright, the team’s 2015 1st-round pick, will miss at least the first month of the 2016-2017 regular season after undergoing right shoulder surgery. Toronto re-signed DeRozan to a 5-year deal, two years after re-signing Lowry. The two guards are both on Team USA.

Boston Celtics (2015-2016: 48-34, 2nd in Atlantic, 5th in Eastern, First Round Loss to Atlanta)

Starters: C Al Horford*, PG Isaiah Thomas, SG Avery Bradley, SF Jae Crowder, PF Amir Johnson

Rotation: SF Jaylen Brown (1), PF Jonas Jerebko, PG Marcus Smart

Bench: C Kelly Olynyk (+), SG Terry Rozier, C Tyler Zeller, SF Gerald Green*, PF Jordan Mickey

Head Coach: Brad Stevens

General Manager: Danny Ainge

The big get for Boston was Horford, a four-time All-Star who replaces Jared Sullinger. Horford isn’t as good a rebounder as Sullinger, but Horford is better at everything else. It’s a major upgrade for the Celtics. Brown, the third overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, replaces Evan Turner. Brown can score, but the rest of his game needs work after spending only one year at California. The Celtics will miss Turner’s versatility on the wing. Green is a veteran who will add shooting range to a team that needs it, though Green’s accuracy fell off in Miami last season (32.3 percent threes).

October Addendum: Olynyk (shoulder) won’t be ready until mid-November.

New York Knicks (2015-2016: 32-50, 3rd in Atlantic, 13th in Eastern)

Starters: SF Carmelo Anthony, PG Derrick Rose*, PF Kristaps Porzingis, C Joakim Noah*, SG Courtney Lee*

Rotation: PG Brandon Jennings*, C Kyle O’Quinn, SF Lance Thomas

Bench: PF Maurice Ndour*, SG Justin Holiday*, C Guillermo Hernangomez (1), SG Sasha Vujacic, SF Mindaugas Kuzminskas*

Head Coach: Jeff Hornacek*

General Manager: Steve Mills

Well, New York definitely went up several spots in terms of name recognition. Anthony and Porzingis are the only returning starters, with two former Chicago Bulls coming to the Knicks in 2010-2011 MVP Rose and 2013-2014 Defensive Player of the Year Noah. Rose replaces José Calderón and gives the Knicks a more dynamic player in the backcourt, but MVP Rose is never coming back, obviously. Noah signed as a free agent to replace Robin Lopez, who was included with Calderón in the trade that helped the Knicks land Rose. Noah is coming off a disastrous season that saw him shoot a career-low 38.3 percent from the field and appear in a career-low 29 games due to left shoulder surgery. Noah can still rebound, pass, and defend, but he’s on the wrong side of 30 now, in addition to coming off of two seasons of sharply declining performance. Lee replaces Arron Afflalo, and while Lee isn’t as big as Afflalo, he should be much better at forcing turnovers. Jennings replaces Jerian Grant as the backup PG after Grant was included in the Rose trade. Jennings is another New York player trying to rediscover his past form after a devastating injury; he’ll be more than a year removed from a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon. Given the age and injury concerns, New York’s depth appears troubling. Ndour went undrafted in 2015 and is slated to replace Derrick Williams, while 2015 2nd-round pick Hernangomez takes Kevin Seraphin’s roster spot. Holiday came over with Rose from Chicago, and he replaces Langston Galloway. Holiday and the re-signed Vujacic are New York’s best bench shooters right now, in addition to relatively low-volume shooter Thomas. Kuzminskas replaces 2014 2nd-round pick Cleanthony Early. New head coach Hornacek arguably has more talent than he did in his first season with Phoenix, but it’s fair to question how these new pieces will fit, and that’s before the injuries start affecting things.

Brooklyn Nets (2015-2016: 21-61, 4th in Atlantic, 14th in Eastern)

Starters: C Brook Lopez, PG Jeremy Lin*, SF Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, PF Trevor Booker*, SG Randy Foye*

Rotation:SF Bojan Bogdanovic, PF Luis Scola*, SG Sean Kilpatrick

Bench: C Justin Hamilton*, PG Greivis Vasquez*, PF Chris McCullough, SG Caris LeVert (1), PG Isaiah Whitehead (1)

Head Coach: Kenny Atkinson*

General Manager: Sean Marks

Marks was hired in February to shepherd Brooklyn’s rebuild from the depths of the disastrous 2013 trade with Boston that resulted in the Celtics getting the 3rd overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Atkinson was an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks the last four seasons, a period of time that saw the Nets go through five head coaches. Good thing Marks and Atkinson are on the same page, because this roster may not be as good as the one that won only 21 games in 2015-2016. Lin will be the starting PG, replacing Jarrett Jack (released). Lin has been a backup for three teams in the last three seasons, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can recapture the production from his breakout season with the Knicks in 2011-2012 while playing for a Nets team that will starve for scoring outside of Lopez. Scola started 76 games for Toronto last season, so he figures to get a shot at replacing Thaddeus Young, who was traded to Indiana in exchange for the 20th pick in this year’s draft. The Nets used that pick on LeVert, a skilled wing who was limited to only 33 games in his final two seasons at Michigan. The dropoff from Young to Scola is significant, while LeVert replaces Markel Brown on the roster. Foye has only started 29 games in the last two seasons, but he replaces Wayne Ellington on the roster; Foye’s three-point shooting has declined each of the last three seasons. Booker should get a chance to compete for a starting role; he replaces Thomas Robinson. Vasquez replaces Shane Larkin; Vasquez is coming off a season in Milwaukee ruined by right ankle surgery. Hamilton played in Spain last year and replaces Henry Sims. Whitehead was Brooklyn’s 2nd-round pick this season, and he replaces Donald Sloan. The Nets won’t be good, but they can finally start building some structure and stability.

October Addendum: Hollis-Jefferson and Booker appear to be the starting forwards ahead of Bogdanovic and Scola.

Philadelphia 76ers (2015-2016: 10-72, 5th in Atlantic, 15th in Eastern)

Starters: C Joel Embiid, PF Dario Saric (1), SF Robert Covington, SG Gerald Henderson*, PG T.J. McConnell

Rotation: SG Hollis Thompson, C Jahlil Okafor, SF Jerami Grant

Bench: PF Ben Simmons (1) (+) ,PG Jerryd Bayless* (+), C Nerlens Noel (+), PG Sergio Rodriguez*, SG Timothe Luwawu (1)

Head Coach: Brett Brown

General Manager: Bryan Colangelo*

The 76ers hit rock bottom, becoming the first NBA franchise with multiple 70-loss seasons, and Colangelo replaced Sam Hinkie as the top personnel executive by season’s end. Philadelphia was able to get the top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, and the selection of Simmons should be the catalyst that turns the 76ers around after four straight years of declining win totals. Simmons should pair with 2014 1st-round picks Embiid (right foot surgeries) and Saric (overseas) to provide a major infusion of young talent. Of course, that means that Philadelphia is trying to figure out what to do with/how to move Okafor and/or Noel. Bayless and Henderson are the veteran additions that will replace Ish Smith and Isaiah Canaan, respectively. Bayless will be asked to provide shooting more than primarily ballhandling, while Henderson offers decent size. Luwawu was the 24th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, and he may be able to challenge Stauskas and Thompson for playing time. Depending on how all of the young players come together, maybe the 76ers won’t have the NBA’s worst offense for the first time since Brown became head coach in 2013.

September Addendum: I had to put Rodriguez in as the backup PG, given the fact that he’s locked in for $8 million for the 2016-2017 season.

October Addendum: Here we go again with this team. Simmons is out indefinitely with a Jones fracture in his right foot, Bayless is uncertain for the season opener due to a sore left wrist, and Noel is dealing with a groin injury. Meanwhile, Embiid and Okafor are going to be on minutes restrictions to start the season. McConnell may start ahead of Rodriguez, while Saric appears to be the starting PF next to Embiid. Thompson and Grant may slide down a position each backing up Henderson and Covington. Luwawu isn’t ready to play, but Nik Stauskas has been brutal this preseason.


Cleveland Cavaliers (2015-2016: 57-25, 1st in Central, 1st in Eastern, NBA Champions)

Starters: SF LeBron James*, PG Kyrie Irving, PF Kevin Love, C Tristan Thompson, SG J.R. Smith 

Rotation:SG Iman Shumpert, PF Channing Frye, SF Richard Jefferson

Bench: C Chris Andersen*, PG Kay Felder (1), PF James Jones, SF Mike Dunleavy, SG Jordan McRae

Head Coach: Tyronn Lue

General Manager: David Griffin

There are two glaring omissions here, as 2016 NBA Finals MVP SF LeBron James and SG J.R. Smith are still unsigned entering the month of August. James is fully expected to sign with Cleveland, and Smith is as well. Jefferson and Jones both re-signed, while Williams (player option) and McRae (team option) are both opted in for the next season. 2nd-rounder Felder replaces Matthew Dellavedova on the roster, and he’ll challenge Williams for playing time. Andersen replaces Timofey Mozgov; Dellavedova and Mozgov were both out of the rotation by the end of the NBA Finals. Dunleavy came over in a trade/salary dump from Chicago. He turns 36 years old in September and is coming off a season that saw him miss 51 games due to back surgery. But Dunleavy is a career 38 percent three-point shooter and he replaces Dahntay Jones on the roster. The 2016-2017 Cavaliers could be headed for the kind of improvement that James’ 2012-2013 Miami Heat underwent. This is the most stability at head coach and on the roster the team has had in years. The only lingering question that doesn’t figure to go away any time soon is the Love trade rumors, but even that’s not as big of a deal, as he wasn’t even under contract at the beginning of the 2015 offseason.

September Addendum: James signed a 3-year deal, with a player option for the 2018-2019 season. Smith is still unsigned.

October Addendum: As expected, Smith re-signed with the defending champs. As unexpected, Mo Williams decided to retire, putting the backup PG position in the hands of rookie 2nd-round pick Kay Felder.

Indiana Pacers (2015-2016: 45-37, 2nd in Central, 7th in Eastern, First Round Loss to Toronto)

Starters: SF Paul George, SG Monta Ellis, PG Jeff Teague*, PF Thaddeus Young*, C Myles Turner

Rotation: SF C.J. Miles, C Al Jefferson*, SG Rodney Stuckey

Bench: PF Lavoy Allen, PG Aaron Brooks*, C Kevin Seraphin*,PG Joe Young, PF Jeremy Evans*

Head Coach: Nate McMillan*

General Manager: Kevin Pritchard

The biggest move Indiana made was to replace head coach Frank Vogel after the season with McMillan, who was the team’s associate head coach the last three seasons. Vogel led the team to more NBA postseason appearances than any other coach in franchise history, but President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird is notorious for his theory of expiration dates for coaches. McMillan, who won only one of six postseason series as head coach, shouldn’t get too comfortable. The Pacers traded their 1st round pick to Brooklyn to acquire Thaddeus Young, who should pair with Turner to form a swifter big man tandem; Young replaces Ian Mahinmi. The Pacers acquired Teague in a three-team trade that saw George Hill go to Utah; the team traded one Indianapolis native for another. Teague isn’t as versatile as Hill, but he is a better playmaker. Jefferson replaces Jordan Hill as the backup C. Jefferson is coming off of his least effective season in a decade. Brooks replaces Ty Lawson as the backup PG. Evans and 2nd-round rookie Niang will replace Solomon Hill. The Pacers have had a top-10 defense each of the last five seasons, but they were a poor, slow offensive team. Adding Young and Teague, in addition to promoting McMillan, appears to be their response to the offensive woes.

September Addendum: Georges Niang is the low man on the totem pole after the Pacers signed Seraphin to replace Shayne Whittington.

Detroit Pistons (2015-2016: 44-38, 3rd in Central, 8th in Eastern, First Round Loss to Cleveland)

Starters: C Andre Drummond, PF Tobias Harris, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Marcus Morris, PG Ish Smith*

Rotation: SF Stanley Johnson, C Aron Baynes, SG Reggie Bullock

Bench: PG Reggie Jackson (+), PF Jon Leuer*, PF Henry Ellenson (1), SG Darrun Hilliard, C Boban Marjanovic*

Head Coach: Stan Van Gundy

General Manager: Jeff Bower

Detroit finally ended their six-year postseason drought, but they still haven’t won a playoff game since the 2007-2008 Conference Finals. The offseason priority was locking up Drummond, who agreed to a five-year max deal. Smith replaces Steve Blake, which should be an upgrade given that Smith is eight years younger. Leuer replaces Anthony Tolliver, and he should be an upgrade as well due to his rebounding ability. 1st-round pick Ellenson adds depth to a roster that didn’t have another big man, while 2nd-round pick Gbinije replaces Spencer Dinwiddie as the project PG. Marjanovic is another upgrade over Joel Anthony. The Pistons will be counting on improved continuity, as Harris joined the team midseason and helped the Pistons to a 17-11 record after the All-Star break.

September Addendum: Hilliard, the team’s 2015 2nd round pick, should probably see the floor before Michael Gbinije.

October Addendum: Jackson could be out until at least late November after PRP injections on his knee.

Chicago Bulls (2015-2016: 42-40, 4th in Central, 9th in Eastern)

Starters: SF Jimmy Butler, SG Dwyane Wade*, PG Rajon Rondo*, C Robin Lopez*, PF Taj Gibson

Rotation: SF Doug McDermott, PF Nikola Mirotic, PG Michael Carter-Williams*

Bench: C Cristiano Felicio, SG Isaiah Canaan*, PF Bobby Portis, PG Jerian Grant*, SG Denzel Valentine (1)

Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg

General Manager: Gar Forman

Here’s another team that got smaller after a rough adjustment to changing styles last season, but unlike Indiana, the Bulls added new players that may continue to complicate things. The first big move of Chicago’s offseason was to trade 2010-2011 MVP Derrick Rose to New York, a deal that returned Lopez and Grant. Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah both left Chicago as unrestricted free agents. Lopez should be a defensive upgrade on Gasol while offering more durability and finishing ability than Noah. Rondo was signed to replace Rose. While Rondo isn’t known to be a shooter, he was more effective as a three-point shooter (62/177, 36.5 percent) than Rose last season (44/150, 29.3 percent), and Rondo led the league in assists last season. Rose was even replaced as the hometown star by Wade, who takes Mike Dunleavy’s spot on the roster. Wade is another player criticized for his shooting, and he will be 35 years old in January. But he made more threes in the postseason than the regular season, and he can still score the basketball and make plays. The fit of Rondo, Wade, and Butler is questionable, but the talent and experience is there to make something work. Valentine, the 14th pick in the draft, replaces E’Twuan Moore, while Grant replaces Aaron Brooks. Valentine’s adjustment as a rookie bears watching considering Wade’s questionable durability. Canaan replaces Justin Holiday, who was included in the Rose trade. Chicago has a young, intriguing bench, but this roster is all about how two former NBA champions fit on and off the court with Butler and Hoiberg, who had his issues leaving his imprint on the team in the wake of Tom Thibodeau’s ouster.

October Addendum: The Bulls traded Tony Snell to Milwaukee for Carter-Williams, which essentially knocks Valentine out of the rotation to start the season and gives the Bulls yet another poor shooter on the perimeter.

Milwaukee Bucks (2015-2016: 33-49, 5th in Central, 12th in Eastern)

Starters: SF Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF Jabari Parker, PG Matthew Dellavedova*, PF Mirza Teletovic*, C Miles Plumlee

Rotation: SF Tony Snell*, C Greg Monroe, PG Jason Terry*

Bench: SG Khris Middleton (+), PF John Henson, PF Thon Maker (1), SG Rashad Vaughn, SF Michael Beasley*

Head Coach: Jason Kidd

General Manager: John Hammond

The Bucks have a fairly unbalanced roster. They re-signed Plumlee, drafted Maker 10th overall, and added Teletovic to a roster that already has two big men that were signed in 2015 in Henson and Monroe. Only one of those five big men start next to Parker, and it’s Monroe, who is rumored to be on the trade block after only one season. Meanwhile, 2015 1st round pick Vaughn and 2016 2nd round pick Brogdon are the only wings on the bench behind Middleton and Antetokounmpo. Dellavedova was signed to replace Jerryd Bayless and challenge Carter-Williams for the starting job. Teletovic replaces Johnny O’Bryant, and he adds much needed shooting to a team that made and attempted the fewest three-pointers in the league last season. Maker replaces Steve Novak, while Brogdon replaces O.J. Mayo, who was “dismissed and disqualified” from the NBA for violating the league’s anti-rug program. While the team needs to find time for all of those big men and to decide what flawed PG they will start, they also need to hope that Antetokounmpo never has to miss extended time.

September Addendum: Terry and Steve Novak signed one-year deals for the 2016-2017 season. Malcolm Brogdon is the low man on the totem pole. This team still doesn’t have a true backup SF.

October Addendum: Milwaukee’s plans were thrown through a loop when Middleton tore his hamstring – he’s out until at least mid-March. The Bucks traded Tyler Ennis to Houston for Beasley, then traded Michael Carter-Williams to Chicago for Snell, who apparently has a chance to start. Milwaukee’s roster is still a mess, as they may begin the season with Teletovic and Plumlee in the starting lineup and Monroe off the bench.


Miami Heat (2015-2016: 48-34, 1st in Southeast, 3rd in Eastern, Semifinals Loss to Toronto)

Starters: C Hassan Whiteside, PG Goran Dragic, SF Justise Winslow, SG Dion Waiters*, PF Derrick Williams*

Rotation: PG Tyler Johnson, C Udonis Haslem, SF James Johnson*

Bench: PF Chris Bosh (+), SG Josh Richarson (+), PF Josh McRoberts (+), SG Wayne Ellington*, C Willie Reed*

Head Coach: Erik Spoelstra

General Manager: Andy Elisburg

For the first time in since the 2003-2004 season, Dwyane Wade is no longer on the Miami Heat roster, departing as a free agent after years of contractual sacrifices. He was followed out of the door by fellow starters Luol Deng and Joe Johnson. Add all of that to the uncertain health of Bosh (recurring blood clots), and you get a Miami Heat team that will need to redefine itself yet again under Spoelstra, who is headed into his ninth season as head coach. Miami did re-sign Whiteside, and they matched Brooklyn’s offer sheet to Tyler Johnson. Wade has been replaced on the roster by Waiters, who has a similar body type and superior shooting effectiveness to Wade but otherwise isn’t nearly as productive. James Johnson is another player with a similar body type to Deng, but isn’t nearly as skilled. Williams replaces Joe Johnson, and he should expect a decent role in the rotation even if Bosh is available to play. Ellington replaces Gerald Green, and he should be at least as good a shooter. Reed replaces the retired Amar’e Stoudemire. Miami will need big sophomore leaps from Winslow and Richardson next season, while Whiteside and Tyler Johnson will be under the microscope after signing their relatively huge deals.

September Addendum: Richardson suffered a partially torn right MCL and is questionable for the start of the regular season.

October Addendum: McRoberts is dealing with a foot injury; injuries have been a major issue with him since he signed with Miami in 2014.

Atlanta Hawks (2015-2016: 48-34, 2nd in Southeast, 4th in Eastern, Semifinals Loss to Cleveland)

Starters: PF Paul Millsap, C Dwight Howard*, SF Kent Bazemore, SG Kyle Korver, PG Dennis Schroder

Rotation: SF Thabo Sefolosha, PF Mike Scott, SG Tim Hardaway Jr.

Bench: C Tiago Splitter (+), PG Malcolm Delaney (1), PF Kris Humphries, SF Taurean Prince (1), SG DeAndre’ Bembry (1)

Head Coach: Mike Budenholzer

General Manager: Wes Wilcox

The Hawks are another team that acquired a hometown star but also let go of a longtime mainstay. Howard replaces Al Horford, who helped lead the Hawks to the postseason every season since being drafted third overall in 2007. Howard is a better rebounder than Horford, but Atlanta will miss everything else that Horford brought to the table, especially outside of the paint offensively. The Hawks also traded Jeff Teague for the 12th overall pick in the draft from Utah, which was used on Prince; Atlanta followed that up by re-signing Bazemore to a four-year deal and signing Jack, who suffered a season-ending ACL and meniscus tear in February. Bembry was selected 21st overall; he and Prince take Kirk Hinrich and Lamar Patterson’s roster spots. Splitter is recovering from season-ending hip surgery. Atlanta has a lot of depth on the wings, but Schroder is now on the hot seat as the team’s new starting PG. I actually see what Atlanta could be doing with Prince and Bembry. Those players may not have roles early on, but Korver (36 in March) and Sefolosha (33 in May) are entering contract years, so Prince and Bembry could have prominent roles in the rotation as soon as next year.

October Addendum: Splitter is dealing with a hamstring injury. Delaney will be the new backup PG after Jarrett Jack was waived.

Charlotte Hornets (2015-2016: 48-34, 3rd in Southeast, 6th in Eastern, First Round Loss to Miami)

Starters: PG Kemba Walker, SG Nicolas Batum, SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, PF Marvin Williams,C Roy Hibbert*

Rotation: SF Marco Belinelli*, PF Frank Kaminsky, PG Ramon Sessions*

Bench:C Cody Zeller (+), SG Jeremy Lamb, C Spencer Hawes, PG Brian Roberts*, PF Christian Wood*

Head Coach: Steve Clifford

General Manager: Rich Cho

Charlotte had a lot of free agents, and while they lost a few, they retained two starters in Batum and Williams. The return of those players, plus Kidd-Gilchrist’s return to health after shoulder surgery should allow the Hornets to start five players who were all with the team last season. There are some big changes once you get to the bench. Charlotte traded their 1st round pick to Sacramento to acquire Belinelli, who replaces Courtney Lee. Belinelli is coming off a poor season that saw him shoot a career-low  38.6 percent from the field, and he is on the wrong side of 30. Hibbert was one of the least effective starting Cs in the league last year in Los Angeles Lakers, but he’ll replace Al Jefferson as a backup. Sessions replaces Jeremy Lin, and while he is an effective playmaker, Sessions isn’t a plus shooter. Roberts takes Jorge Gutierrez’s roster spot, while Wood takes Tyler Hansbrough’s roster spot. The Hornets were 21-8 after acquiring Lee last season, and his vacated spot is going to be taken by players who either don’t shoot as well, don’t defend as well, or both. Charlotte’s lottery picks (Kidd-Gilchrist, Zeller, Kaminsky) have to show more in 2016-2017 if they’re going to build off of last year’s postseason appearance.

October Addendum: Zeller has a knee injury that will force Hibbert into the starting lineup to start the season.

Washington Wizards (2015-2016: 41-41, 4th in Southeast, 10th in Eastern)

Starters: PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, C Marcin Gortat, PF Markieff Morris, SF Otto Porter

Rotation: PG Trey Burke*, PF Andrew Nicholson*, SF Kelly Oubre

Bench: C Ian Mahinmi* (+), SG Tomas Satoransky (1), C Jason Smith*, SG Marcus Thornton, SF Jarell Eddie

Head Coach: Scott Brooks*

General Manager: Ernie Grunfeld

The biggest change coming to Washington is the hiring of Brooks as head coach to replace Randy Wittman. Brooks had a mostly successful run in Oklahoma City, winning the 2011-2012 Western Conference Finals, but his hiring didn’t help Washington reel in any significant free agents. Instead, Washington should have the same starting lineup that they ended the 2015-2016 season with. That includes Beal, who signed a five-year deal to stay put, and Morris, a midseason trade acquisition that cost Washington their 2016 lottery pick. Washington only went 4-6 with Wall-Beal-Porter-Morris-Gortat as the starting lineup last season, and that won’t cut it next season. The bench has been reconstructed. Burke was acquired from Utah in exchange for a future 2nd-round pick; he replaces Ramon Sessions. Burke improved his shooting last season, but he was a problem in what was one of the league’s worst point guard situations with the Jazz. Mahinmi replaces Nene, and he should be an upgrade after starting for Indiana last season. Satoransky was a 2012 2nd round pick by Washington, and he is finally ready to make his NBA debut four years later; he replaces Garrett Temple. Nicholson replaces Jared Dudley, giving Washington a true backup PF with range. Smith joins Nicholson from Orlando and replaces Drew Gooden. Wall’s recovery from surgery on both knees bears watching, while Beal needs to stay healthy and take his game to the next level now that he’s armed with a huge deal.

October Addendum: Wall is healthy and in the lineup, but Mahinmi is on the shelf until late November after knee surgery.

Orlando Magic (2015-2016: 35-47, 5th in Southeast, 11th in Eastern)

Starters: PF Serge Ibaka*, SG Evan Fournier, C Nikola Vucevic, SF Aaron Gordon, PG Elfrid Payton

Rotation: PG D.J. Augustin*, C Bismack Biyombo*, SF Mario Hezonja

Bench: PF Jeff Green*, SG Jodie Meeks* (+), C Stephen Zimmerman (1), PG C.J. Watson, SG C.J. Wilcox*

Head Coach: Frank Vogel*

General Manager: Rob Hennigan

The Magic hired Vogel to replace Scott Skiles, who bounced after only one season. Then Orlando went and may have had one of the most confusing roster reconstructions of the offseason. Orlando packaged Victor Oladipo (the 2nd pick of the 2013 NBA Draft), the 11th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft (Domantas Sabonis) and Ersan Ilyasova in a trade to Oklahoma City to acquire Ibaka, who is entering a contract year. Ibaka is a shotblocker with three-point range who will allow Gordon and the re-signed Fournier to play one position down. But then Orlando went and signed Biyombo to replace Jason Smith and signed Green to a one-year deal to replace Ilyasova. With Vucevic still on the roster, the moves are very curious, as Biyombo could take Vucevic’s starting spot. Augustin reunites with Vogel to replace Brandon Jennings, which is also curious considering Augustin’s worst NBA season was his only one with Vogel in Indiana back in 2012-2013. Orlando acquired Meeks in a trade with Detroit, but now Meeks is out indefinitely after undergoing right foot surgery. Meeks takes Shabazz Napier’s roster spot, but Meeks is coming off a season where he missed all but three games in Detroit. Zimmerman is a 2nd round pick who takes Dewayne Dedmon’s spot on the roster. Wilcox was acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Devyn Marble. Orlando is tied with Philadelphia with the longest postseason drought in the Eastern Conference (four seasons), so switching things up isn’t necessarily the wrong idea. This is definitely an interesting roster, and there is some potential for some scary defensive lineups. But Vogel hasn’t led a good offense since Danny Granger went down in Indiana, and Orlando seems likely to struggle scoring with this roster.

NBA 2016 Summer Moves: Western Conference


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