Who Came Out on Top?

by February 25, 2011

by Patrick Crawley / @BasketballFiend

The NBA trade deadline was crazier this year than Charlie Sheen on a 48-hour bender — and there were just as many bad decisions involved.

Twenty teams were involved in trades from Feb. 22-24. In total, 43 players were moved. Fifteen draft picks changed hands.

The Twitter fail whale was gainfully employed.

When the dust finally settled, the landscape of both conferences had changed significantly.

Let’s take a look at how the teams performed at deadline. Here they are, ranked 1-20.

20. Cleveland Cavaliers

Considering how lousy they’ve been this season, you’d think the Cavs would have been more careful with their assets – what few they have. Instead they were looser than a first-time Blackjack player five drinks deep. Hit on 20? Sure. Trade our best remaining asset for Baron Davis’ three-year, $42 million contract and a first round pick? Why not?!

Goodbye, Mo Williams.

The only reason Davis was playing well this season – and well is a matter of opinion – was Blake Griffin. Blake revitalized him, made him give a crap again. I doubt JJ Hickson will have the same effect.

Hope you guys like lazy defense and lousy shots in crunch time! (A.k.a. the Baron Davis Special.)

Trading a second rounder for Semih Erdan and Luke Harangody of the Celtics was a bad move too. The upside of pick No. 31 in the 2011 Draft is higher than either of those guys. Smarten up, Cavs.

19. Charlotte Bobcats

Like the Cavs, the ‘Cats moved their best trade chip for peanuts. Gerald Wallace for Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham and two first round picks looks OK on paper. Then you remember this is a team that picked DJ Augustin over Brook Lopez in 2008 and used a lottery pick on Gerald Henderson a year later (when they already had a glut of swingmen).

Do you trust them to turn Portland’s (protected) picks into stars in 2011 and 2013? I sure don’t.

Wallace wasn’t going to lead the Bobcats to the promised land, but they didn’t have to give him away. This isn’t the Goodwill.

Stephen Jackson can’t be happy about this one.

18. Sacramento Kings

A year ago the Kings traded Kevin Martin – a 20-ppg scorer and one of the most efficient offensive players in the League – to the Rockets for Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey and Larry Hughes (from New York). At the time, it was considered an OK deal. Not great, but OK. Now that they’ve traded Landry to the Hornets, the only thing they have to show for it is Marcus Thornton (Dorsey and Hughes were cut long ago).

That’s awful — borderline unforgiveable. Thornton will be lucky to crack the rotation, let alone average 20 ppg.

I used to believe in Geoff Petrie (the Kings’ GM). I’m beyond that now.

I don’t care how much cap space you’ve saved, trading your best player for, essentially, a second round pick (Thornton was drafted 43rd overall in 2009) is terrible; just terrible (Charles Barkley voice). Why not just slap Kings fans in the face? It would’ve had the same effect.

17. Toronto Raptors

A first round pick for James Johnson? Oh well, at least now Reggie Evans has a sparring partner.

16. Houston Rockets

I used to think highly of Daryl Morey. Now I’m not so sure.

Granted, Aaron Brooks hasn’t been starting this season. Granted, his defense combined with Kevin Martin’s defense makes Houston’s backcourt a huge defensive liability. Granted, he’ll likely never have a season on par with ’09-10, when Brooks averaged 19.3 points and 5.3 assists per game. But will Goran Dragic really do any better? I doubt it.

Dragic is just as bad as Brooks on defense, and he’s had similar struggles this season from the field. At best, he’s a good backup point guard. Personally, I think Brooks’ ceiling is higher – not that either of them has a very high ceiling.

Trading Shane Battier for Hasheem Thabeet (arguably the biggest bust since Kwame Brown) was a curious move too. Does Morey see Thabeet as a possible replacement for Yao in the middle? I hope not, because that’s crazy talk. Cyndi Lauper.

Maybe Morey has something up his sleeve that I’m not seeing. If not, he has a lot to answer for. The moves he made this week were sub-par.