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February 24, 2009
Prospectus Hoops List
Week of February 22, 2009

by Bradford Doolittle

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Last week was the last, best chance for NBA teams to position themselves before the offseason. Of course, there will be a handful of buyouts and signings prior the March 1 deadline for those moves, but the heavy lifting was accomplished before last Thursday's trade deadline.

As per usual, the rumor-to-transaction ratio was about 10,000:1. Amar'e Stoudemire, Shaquille O'Neal and Vince Carter are all staying put. Meanwhile Cedric Simmons, Brian Cook and Ike Diogu were all packing bags. You have to be a real NBA enthusiast to get excited over most of last week's dealings, but that's exactly what we are.

For this week's Hoops List, we're going to judge each team's actions, or lack thereof, last week. Each team is graded on a pass/fail basis, with a couple of incompletes sprinkled in. I'm going to include all February transactions as "deadline deals" for the sake of this examination.

In the rankings, the Cavaliers regained the top spot from Boston--barely. Cleveland has 65.3 power rating after Sunday's win over Detroit, 0.1 better than the Celtics. One would think that Boston will have a hard time reclaiming the top spot with Kevin Garnett on the sideline. However, Boston looked awfully smooth in its win at Phoenix on Sunday, so you can't take anything for granted. Mark your calendars for March 6, which will mark the first of the two remaining regular-season battles between the Celts and Cavs, which may ultimately decide homecourt advantage in the East playoffs. Regular-season games don't get much bigger than that.

(Statistics through Feb. 22)

RANK (Last Week) Team (Power rating) [ WIN PACE / PYTHAGOREAN PACE / PRESEASON PROJECTION ]

1. (2) Cleveland Cavaliers (65.3) [ 65 / 66 / 44 ]
Rankings: NET: 1; OFF: 3; DEF: 2; PACE: 25

PASS (What they did: Signed Trey Johnson; did not re-sign Jawad Williams after 10-day contract expired.) The Cavaliers were involved in their share of rumors, mostly for scoring power forwards like Amar'e Stoudemire and Antawn Jamison. Danny Ferry may still snag a big man off of the buyout/waivers circuit such as Mikki Moore. That minor tweak to the Cavaliers' finely-honed machine would be acceptable. As for the bigger names that had been bandied about: Why mess with something that has been working so well? The Cavs got the biggest boost they could have hoped for on Sunday when Delonte West returned from a fractured wrist and scored 25 points on 11 field-goal attempts. That included a 5-of-5 performance from beyond the arc. LeBron James has all the help he needs to make a run deep into the playoffs. If Cleveland can secure homecourt in the Eastern Conference, this may be James' first title team.

2. (1) Boston Celtics (65.2) [ 64 / 64 / 63 ]
Rankings: NET: 2; OFF: 6; DEF: 1; PACE: 17

INCOMPLETE (What they did: Traded Patrick O'Bryant for cash; Traded Sam Cassell for conditional draft pick.) For all of Doc Rivers' claims that the Celtics have everything they need to repeat as champs, Boston must add at least one, maybe two, rotation players for the postseason. I think they can get by without adding another guard. However, the Celtics really need an additional big man for their bench. Leon Powe has been excellent in a reserve role again this season, but Glenn Davis has only been so-so. Now with Kevin Garnett laid up, Rivers has to resort to starting Brian Scalabrine. The Celtics are thought to be interested in Mikki Moore, but I'm not sure he gives Boston what it's lacking. He's big, all right, but he's not a great defender and doesn't have the kind of step-out jump shot that P.J. Brown provided for Boston during last year's playoffs. Joe Smith, should he be bought out by the Thunder, would be a much better fit. He can't defend like Brown, but he can shoot a jump shot and that's the element missing from Boston's current core of big men, save Garnett. The problem for Danny Ainge is that even if Smith, or somebody else, pops loose, the Celtics reportedly have just half of a midlevel exception to spend. Plus, Boston will have competition for available bigs from at least Cleveland and Denver.

3. (3) Los Angeles Lakers (62.6) [ 67 / 61 / 49 ]
Rankings: NET: 4; OFF: 1; DEF: 7; PACE: 5

PASS (What they did: Traded Vladimir Radmanovic for Adam Morrison and Shannon Brown. Traded Chris Mihm for a future draft pick.) The Lakers took a little bit of a hit on the depth chart in order to save some luxury tax dollars. Neither trade should impact L.A. significantly on the court, though trading Mihm while Andrew Bynum is out with another knee injury could turn out to be a mistake. The only pure backup center on the Lakers' roster is D.J. Mbenga, who has played in just two games this season. Meanwhile, Brown is a useful player in the backcourt and Morrison could possibly fill a role as a designated outside shooter similar to the one Radmanovic filled, though it's unlikely Morrison will see nearly as many minutes as Radmanovic did. In the end, however, L.A.'s title chances were neither improved or worsened by their deadline deals and getting rid of Radmanovic's cumbersome contract was a nice accomplishment for Mitch Kupchak.

4. (4) Orlando Magic (59.0) [ 61 / 61 / 43 ]
Rankings: NET: 3; OFF: 5; DEF: 3; PACE: 11

PASS (What they did: Traded Keith Bogans for Tyronn Lue; Traded Brian Cook and Mike Wilks for Rafer Alston in three-team deal) Simply put, Otis Smith brought back hope for the Magic by acquiring Alston. When Jameer Nelson went down, leaving Anthony Johnson running the point, Orlando's breakout season seemed lost. Not only had the Magic replaced an All-Star player enjoying a career season with an aging point guard that needed to be replaced--as a backup--but Orlando's play subsequent to Nelson's injury painted a grim picture. Including the game in which Nelson got hurt, Orlando lost four of seven games and saw its season scoring average drop by 0.6 points per game. Enter Alston, who is going to have to play better than he did in Houston. There still is about about a five-win difference between Nelson and Alston this season. However, Alston has been more productive than Nelson in the three seasons prior to this one. The addition of Alston will allow Orlando to push the tempo back up and will keep Johnson relegated to his preferred 15 minutes or so per game. As I said, Alston is going to have to play better than he did in Houston, but if he does, then Orlando can still make the Cavs or Celtics sweat come playoff time. Plus, come next season, Smith has solved that pesky backup point guard problem.

5. (5) Denver Nuggets (53.5) [ 54 / 50 / 43 ]
Rankings: NET: 7; OFF: 9; DEF: 8; PACE: 6

INCOMPLETE (What they did: nothing) The Nuggets' on-court chemistry has been excellent since the day Chauncey Billups pulled on a Denver uniform. However, the Nuggets needed to add some muscle and thus far have failed to do so. Denver has two open roster spots and allowed their trade exemption for Von Wafer to expire unused. Denver's payroll is brushing up close to the luxury tax threshhold, but the Nuggets should be able to take on another useful bench piece without triggering the extra dollars. Even if they have to ante up, though, shouldn't the Nuggets be going for broke? As I've written, this is the best Nuggets team since the ABA days and a No. 2 seed in the West could put Denver one upset away from the NBA Finals. This is no time to go cheap. I'm giving them an incomplete for now, but if they don't add another player by the March 1 deadline, this changes to an unqualified fail.

6. (6) San Antonio Spurs (51.9) [ 55 / 50 / 55 ]
Rankings: NET: 6; OFF: 13; DEF: 4; PACE: 26

PASS (What they did: nothing) The Spurs were supposedly going after Vince Carter, which would have been an interesting shakeup. As it is, I'm not sure there's much R.C. Buford could have done with his roster. The Spurs are in a nice position with their current stable of talent but have to ward off challengers for the No. 2 seed in the West while Manu Ginobili recovers from his latest injury. A key player to watch is rookie Malik Hairston, who has been soaking up some of the minutes created by Ginobili's absence. So far, he hasn't been very efficient. Buford has already done plenty of tweaking to the back end of his roster this season. With the team on a solid salary-cap footing, there really wasn't much to do except stand pat and gear up for another run. The alternative would be to tear down, but the aging Spurs won't be at that point for a while. If a capable wing shooter comes available this week, the Spurs could yet make another move.

7. (7) Portland Trail Blazers (51.8) [ 52 / 52 / 38 ]
Rankings: NET: 5; OFF: 2; DEF: 18; PACE: 30

PASS (What they did: Traded Ike Diogu for Michael Ruffin.) The Blazers are young, deep, good and getting better. The trade of Diogu puts the Blazers back to right around the luxury tax threshhold and creates a $3 million trade exception for Kevin Pritchard to use sometime during the next year. Portland retained the $12.7 million expiring contract of Raef LaFrentz, a much-coveted asset, but I've got no problem with standing pat. The Blazers will find out just how far they have yet to go in May. With LaFrentz's salary coming off the books, Portland can add a major piece in the offseason. Pritchard has the Blazers in a great position.

8. (9) Houston Rockets (49.7) [ 51 / 51 / 61 ]
Rankings: NET: 10; OFF: 15; DEF: 5; PACE: 19

PASS (What they did: Traded Rafer Alston for Brian Cook and Kyle Lowry in a three-team deal.) The Rockets save a little cash and open up a full-time role for second-year point guard Aaron Brooks. Lowry is now Brooks' backup and he definitely has some upside, though his style is similar enough to Brooks' that the two aren't a perfect complement. Alas, Daryl Morey's roster is held hostage by Tracy McGrady's contract. Even a team as deep and talented as Houston can't overcome having its $20 million superstar sitting on the sideline during the playoffs. Next season promises to be more of the same, as the Rockets wait out the final year (and $22 million) of McGrady's deal.

9. (8) New Orleans Hornets (49.6) [ 48 / 47 / 45 ]
Rankings: NET: 11; OFF: 8; DEF: 10; PACE: 28

PASS (What they did: nothing) Long term, the Hornets' salary-to-talent ratio is a sad case. Their two highest-paid players this season (Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic) are underperforming role players. Their best player (Chris Paul) is getting about a $9 million raise for next season, which will put the Hornets over the luxury tax. The franchise is reportedly hemmorhaging money as it is. In the short term, however, Byron Scott gets a shot at getting Chandler healthy and allowing Paul to take his best playoff shot while he's still on top of his game. There will be plenty for Jeff Bower to sort out this summer but, for now, New Orleans fans can enjoy the next three months after the reprieve granted by the undoing of the trade of Chandler to Oklahoma City.

10. (12) Utah Jazz (47.7) [ 48 / 49 / 50 ]
Rankings: NET: 8; OFF: 7; DEF: 12; PACE: 12

PASS (What they did: nothing) Like the other contenders in the West, the Jazz can hold out hope that an upset win over the Lakers could land them in the Finals. The road is longer for Utah than for the teams ahead of it, though. Carlos Boozer returned last night and, if he's right, the Jazz will begin to climb the seeding ladder. The offseason, with Boozer's potential opt-out and the imminent raise due to Paul Millsap--and luxury tax territory--will still be there after Utah makes another playoff push.

11. (11) Dallas Mavericks (46.6) [ 49 / 45 / 51 ]
Rankings: NET: 12; OFF: 10; DEF: 13; PACE: 15

PASS (What they did: nothing) Really, what could they have done? You'd like to see this team with a legitimate inside scoring presence, but those kinds of players aren't just hanging around, waiting to play for the league minimum. This roster just isn't working and yet it'll cost around $94 million plus a hefty luxury tax payment this season. It's not as dire as the Isiah Thomas Knicks. It's more like the recent versions of the Yankees. There still is talent here and if Josh Howard ups his productivity and Jason Terry gets healthy in time for the playoffs, they could give some teams some trouble. After the season, though, you'd like to see a better plan put into action. Dallas fans shouldn't have to suffer mediocrity when they have one of the few owners still unafraid to spend some cash.

12. (10) Atlanta Hawks (45.8) [ 47 / 45 / 38 ]
Rankings: NET: 13; OFF: 11; DEF: 14; PACE: 21

PASS (What they did: nothing) The Hawks are solidly the fourth team in the East, which is sort of like being the fourth stooge. Atlanta made a nice step last season by making the playoffs. Step two would be winning a playoff series this season. Then it becomes a little more complicated, with Mike Bibby becoming a free agent and hard decisions on Zaza Pachulia, Marvin Williams and Josh Childress lying ahead of them. Is the ceiling for this roster an eventual championship? Probably not. However, there wasn't anything Rick Sund could have done at this trade deadline to change that. With Bibby's likely departure and Joe Johnson entering the final year of his deal next season, Sund will have to decide in the offseason which direction to take the Hawks. A tear-down is not out of the question.

13. (13) Phoenix Suns (45.2) [ 46 / 46 / 49 ]
Rankings: NET: 9; OFF: 4; DEF: 19; PACE: 4

PASS (What they did: Fired coach Terry Porter, replaced him with Alvin Gentry.) Steve Kerr did the right thing by owning up to his mistaken selection of Terry Porter as Mike D'Antoni's replacement. Now the Suns are running again. For two games, all was right with the world. Then the remainder of Amar'e Stoudemire's regular season was erased by a detached retina. So now Suns fans can look forward to a bunch of 130-120 games that are unlikely to lead to a playoff spot. After the season, the franchise will be at an uncomfortable fork in the road.

14. (14) Philadelphia 76ers (41.7) [ 41 / 42 / 38 ]
Rankings: NET: 15; OFF: 24; DEF: 6; PACE: 16

PASS (What they did: nothing) This is another team that will have to wait for the offseason to remake themselves. Andre Miller becomes a free agent, giving the Sixers some financial flexibility. They have some tradeable players, like Reggie Evans and Samuel Dalembert, that should allow Ed Stefanski to construct a roster that will work better with Elton Brand going forward.

15. (15) Miami Heat (40.7) [ 43 / 40 / 35 ]
Rankings: NET: 16; OFF: 19; DEF: 11; PACE: 22

PASS (What they did: Traded Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks for Jermaine O'Neal and Jamario Moon) O'Neal and Moon improve the Heat in the short term, especially on the defensive end. O'Neal plugs the gigantic hole Miami had at the center position. Long term, the Heat have minimal finanical committments beyond next season, putting them in a great position to offer Dwyane Wade a max contract while still having the flexibility to add another impact talent to go with Wade, Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley.

16. (16) Milwaukee Bucks (39.8) [ 38 / 41 / 31 ]
Rankings: NET: 14; OFF: 17; DEF: 15; PACE: 14

PASS (What they did: Signed Eddie Gill; Traded Tyronn Lue for Keith Bogans.) Milwaukee fans should be grateful that John Hammond wasn't able to swing a deal involving Richard Jefferson. The Bucks were on the right path before Michael Redd was hurt and they remain on the right path now that he is. The Bucks may or may not squeeze into the playoffs, but that's neither here nor there. Going forward, the Bucks have enough expiring contracts to absorb Andrew Bogut's impending pay hike. With teams always looking for quality point guards, Hammond should be able to move Luke Ridnour in the offseason, add a power forward in the draft, hope for a second-year bump in production by Joe Alexander and still stay under the luxury tax threshhold. With Bucks fans starved for good news, this was not time to tear down.

17. (17) Detroit Pistons (38.4) [ 41 / 38 / 55 ]
Rankings: NET: 18; OFF: 22; DEF: 16; PACE: 29

PASS (What they did: Traded Alex Acker for conditional draft pick) It's looking more and more like Joe Dumars wrote off this season and, if he didn't, he should. The end of the Pistons' mini-dynasty came hard and fast. After the season, Detroit will have plenty of cash to spend, one of the few teams in that position. Without adding another player, the Pistons could field a lineup next season of Richard Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell. It's not sexy, but it's competitive. Now, consider that Detroit will have about $27 million to spend before it gets up to the luxury tax line, whether Dumars chooses to spend that cash this summer or next. NBA general managers dream of that kind of flexibility. Watching the last days of the Allen Iverson/Rasheed Wallace Pistons may be painful, but the payoff should be worth it.

18. (18) Chicago Bulls (38.3) [ 36 / 37 / 43 ]
Rankings: NET: 17; OFF: 21; DEF: 17; PACE: 9

PASS (What they did: Traded Larry Hughes for Jerome James, Tim Thomas and Anthony Roberson; Traded Drew Gooden, Andres Nocioni, Cedric Simmons and Michael Ruffin for Brad Miller and John Salmons.) For the second year in a row, Bulls general manager John Paxson turned over nearly half the Bullsí roster at the trade deadline. This year, he appears to have gotten it right. Chicago was laden with redundant parts: Andres Nocioni/Luol Deng; Larry Hughes/Ben Gordon, Drew Gooden/Tyrus Thomas. Not only did Paxson trade surplus, but he kept the better player in every case. Millerís presence and passing ability will enable Tyrus Thomas to run the floor and serve as a help defender on defense, while Joakim Noah will join them to form a suddenly formidable big-man rotation. John Salmons is a better shooter and defender than Hughes. Chicago's new starting lineup of Miller, Derrick Rose, Gordon, Deng and Thomas will be supplemented by a bench led by Kirk Hinrich, Salmons, Tim Thomas and Noah. The Bulls now go nine deep with starting-caliber players that fit together with complementary skills. It's up to Vinny Del Negro to get these new parts working together in time for the playoffs.

19. (20) Indiana Pacers (36.1) [ 33 / 35 / 41 ]
Rankings: NET: 19; OFF: 18; DEF: 20; PACE: 3

FAIL (What they did: nothing) Larry Bird is biding his time, waiting for the contracts of Radoslav Nesterovic and Maceo Baston to expire. He's hoping that Roy Hibbert and Brandon Rush develop and that the Pacers can snag another key piece in the upcoming draft. That's all fine. The "fail" is for Jamaal Tinsley. Tinsley has been a solid player for the Pacers and deserves better than to be kept away from the court against his wishes just because the Pacers have unreasonable expectations regarding a trade. Sure, Tinsley has had some off-court trouble, but is it up to the Pacers to dole out a de facto year-long (or more) suspension--a paid one at that? Now an arbitrator will decide whether the Pacers' bumbling is considered fair practice. If the Pacers win, it'll set a dangerous precedent for teams handling players who don't toe the company line.

20. (23) New York Knicks (34.8) [ 34 / 35 / 33 ]
Rankings: NET: 22; OFF: 14; DEF: 25; PACE: 2

PASS (What they did: Traded Malik Rose for Chris Wilcox; Traded Tim Thomas, Anthony Roberson and Jerome James for Larry Hughes.) It's amazing, when you think about it. One would have thought it would take three or four years for any basketball executive to clean up the mess Isiah Thomas left behind in New York. It appears that Donnie Walsh will have the Knicks' house in order in less than two years, while fielding a more competitive team in the interim. Hughes had no role in Chicago, but he now becomes the Knicks' only prototypical shooting guard and should excel in Mike D'Antoni's scheme. The only Knicks player under a veteran contract beyond next season is Jared Jeffries.

21. (19) Toronto Raptors (33.8) [ 31 / 31 / 42 ]
Rankings: NET: 21; OFF: 20; DEF: 21; PACE: 18

FAIL (What they did: Traded Will Solomon and acquired Patrick O'Bryant in three-team deal; Traded Jermaine O'Neal and Jamario Moon for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.) The Raptors did well to unload themselves of the burdensome O'Neal contract, the consequence of a deal that never should have been made. However, all getting Marion accomplishes is opening up some financial flexibility for the offseason. To me, that is a bad approach for Toronto because the Raptors are unlikely to land a player of comparable productivity in the free-agent market. This is one team that should have been looking to acquire a player with a longer-term deal because after this season--POOF!--Marion will be gone.

22. (22) Charlotte Bobcats (33.3) [ 32 / 34 / 38 ]
Rankings: NET: 20; OFF: 29; DEF: 9; PACE: 27

FAIL (What they did: Signed Cartier Martin; Traded Adam Morrison and Shannon Brown for Vladimir Radmanovic) Martin may turn out to be a capable shooting specialist, but taking on Radmanovic's contract seems borderline insane. The Bobcats will be spending a total of around $42 million in the two seasons after this one for Radmanovic, Nazr Mohammed and DeSagana Diop, leaving Charlotte unable to retain Ray Felton without likely paying a luxury tax.

23. (21) New Jersey Nets (32.9) [ 35 / 33 / 38 ]
Rankings: NET: 23; OFF: 16; DEF: 24; PACE: 24

FAIL (What they did: nothing) The rebuilding job can't be completed until Vince Carter moves on. With so many teams apparently interesed in Carter as the deadline approached, the Nets should have pulled the trigger, even it meant taking back an injured Tracy McGrady. McGrady's deal is up after next season and the Nets would have a ton of cap space to play with, augmenting a young core of Devin Harris, Brook Lopez and Ryan Anderson with another lottery pick this season and an elite free agent in 2010. However, Carter and the $53 million and three years still remaining on his contract stand in the way of all that.

24. (24) Golden State Warriors (30.4) [ 29 / 32 / 35 ]
Rankings: NET: 24; OFF: 12; DEF: 28; PACE: 1

PASS (What they did: nothing) If Jamal Crawford opts out as expected, the Warriors will be in excellent position to snag the big man they covet. Plus, being that the players most oft-mentioned in Golden State trade rumors were the young players in which the Warriors should be building around, it's a good thing that Chris Mullin stood pat.

25. (25) Minnesota Timberwolves (29.9) [ 26 / 30 / 26 ]
Rankings: NET: 25; OFF: 23; DEF: 26; PACE: 10

PASS (What they did: Traded Rashard McCants and Calvin Booth for Shelden Williams and Bobby Brown.) Landing Bobby Brown was a real coup for the T-Wolves, who had only one true point guard on the roster. Brown has some real upside as a two-way lead guard and is a nice complement to Sebastian Telfair.

26. (26) Memphis Grizzlies (20.8) [ 22 / 23 / 19 ]
Rankings: NET: 26; OFF: 28; DEF: 22; PACE: 23

PASS (What they did: Traded Kyle Lowry for Adonal Foyle and Mike Wilks in a three-team deal; traded a future draft pick for Chris Mihm.) Memphis needed to choose between Lowry and Michael Conley. I guess trading Lowry was a pretty clear statement in favor of Conley. Foyle, Mihm and Wilks are roster placeholders that will come of the books after the season. The Grizzlies have about $40 million in contracts committed for next season and will be adding another high lottery pick to their exciting, young core. They can bank that cap space and hope to generate enough excitement to attract a free agent in 2010. Either way, Chris Wallace is doing the right thing by keeping payroll down while watching how his young talent develops.

27. (28) Oklahoma City Thunder (20.2) [ 19 / 24 / 23 ]
Rankings: NET: 27; OFF: 27; DEF: 23; PACE: 7

FAIL (What they did: Traded Chris Wilcox for Malik Rose; Traded future first-round draft pick for Thabo Sefolosha; Waived Mouhamed Sene.) Blame the nit-picky medical staff. Tyson Chandler would have been the perfect fit to play alongside Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. That the trade was rescinded is a major letdown because even though the Thunder will have cap space to play with, there is no guarantee they can attract a free agent with Chandler's profile to Oklahoma City. The Sefalosha acquisition was a worthy pickup as he's the perfect player type to pair with Russell Westbrook. Sefalosha will battle with Kyle Weaver to become OKC's Trenton Hassell.

28. (27) Los Angeles Clippers (19.6) [ 19 / 18 / 33 ]
Rankings: NET: 28; OFF: 30; DEF: 27; PACE: 13

FAIL (What they did: Traded a conditional draft pick for Alex Acker; waived Cheikh Samb.) Simply put, Mike Dunleavy has built an expensive, veteran roster with little upside that plays no defense whatsover. Yep, like the Clippers.

29. (29) Washington Wizards (19.4) [ 19 / 20 / 32 ]
Rankings: NET: 29; OFF: 26; DEF: 29; PACE: 20

FAIL (What they did: nothing) The Wizards are on pace to win 19 games and have about $76 million in player contracts committed for next season. For whatever reason, Ernie Grunfeld doesn't seem to want to break up the core trio of Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas. Not only are those three players, as a group, past their peak, but they weren't going to win a championship anyway. Isn't that the end goal? This is a mess.

30. (30) Sacramento Kings (18.0) [ 17 / 18 / 39 ]
Rankings: NET: 30; OFF: 25; DEF: 30; PACE: 8

FAIL (What they did: Traded conditional draft pick for Sam Cassell; Waived Sam Cassell; Traded Sheldon Williams and Bobby Brown for Calvin Booth and Rashard McCants; Traded Brad Miller and John Salmons for Drew Gooden, Michael Ruffin, Cedric Simmons and Andres Nocioni; Traded Ruffin for Ike Diogu; Acquired Will Soloman in three-team deal; Waived Quincy Douby; Waived Mikki Moore.) The Kings gutted about half their roster and, in the process, lowered their salary obligations for next season to a more comfortable level. The swag for the Miller/Salmons package wasn't bad, all considered. However, I don't get the trade with Minnesota. Dealing Bobby Brown and ultimately replacing him with Will Solomon was a poor decision. Ultimately, though, the Kings need to hit it big in the next lottery to re-energize their rapidly-shrinking fan base.

Definitions:

NBAPET = stands for National Basketball Association Projection, Evaluation and Tracking = A database and system of metrics for analyzing professional basketball.

gRATE = a one-game metric that measures a player's offensive and defensive contribution and expresses it as a net point total. The sum of a team's gRATE figures for a game will equal its actual point differential for that game.

Adjusted winning percentage (AWP) = ((home wins x 0.6)+(road wins x 1.4)) / (((home wins x 0.6)+(road wins x 1.4)) + ((home losses x .1.4)+(road losses x 0.6)))

LUCK = the difference between a team's 82-game win pace and its 82-game Pythagorean win pace.

Opponents winning percentage (OWP) = aggregate percentage of games won for each team's opponents, based on the number of times the team has faced that opponent.

Pythagorean winning percentage (PYTH) = uses the basketball-reference formula of Games x (Points scored^14) / ((Points scored^14) + (Points allowed^14))

Power rating = (((PYTH + AWP)/2)*(OWP/.500)) x 82

WP82 = wins produced per 82 games, adjusted for playing time

WP3K = wins produced per 3,000 minutes

RANKINGS: NET = net efficiency ratio; OFF - offensive efficiency; DEF - defensive efficiency; PACE: average possessions per game

Bradford Doolittle is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Bradford by clicking here or click here to see Bradford's other articles.

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