Did these guys really make their teams better?
Entering this NBA season everyone was talking about how the rich got richer. The best teams were the ones who made the biggest off-season trades to seemingly put them over the top and win a championship. Up until this point though, it looks like those moves have had the opposite effect. From the very beginning I was skeptical about how much of a difference bringing in players like Vince Carter, Shaq, and Artest would be. I was confident about Rasheed Wallace before I witnessed his three point addiction. I think the old adage "if it aint broke, don't fix it" really holds true this year. Sure, teams need to keep adding players to stay on top. But sometimes adding a player can make things worse.
The most obvious move that has backfired is the addition of Vince Carter to the Magic. I was skeptical about this move from the beginning. Letting Turkoglu go, who was their best clutch time shooter and a match up nightmare, for a career underachiever in Carter? The reason the Magic were so tough is because of the match up issues Hedo and Rashard posed. Now they are more of a traditional offensive team and with the regression of Howard, not that tough to guard.
The Cavs bringing in Shaq was puzzling to me as well, though they have been playing well as of late. I think the Shaq move could benefit them against some teams(Magic,Lakers), but on a whole makes them worse. To succeed this team needs to be out and running with Lebron. Shaq just takes up space.
The Spurs are a mystery to me. It looks like the best addition they made was actually in the draft bringing in Blair. I guess Richard Jefferson was a little overrated, playing so many years on crappy teams. I still think Mcdyess will be a key contributor for them come playoff time, but on a whole the team has regressed.
The Artest deal looks to be a wash so far, but the Artest meltdown will come. With Ariza they had a young talented swingman who could defend the best perimeter player on the other team. Artest is still a very good on the ball defender, but is susceptible to ball screens. Not to mention that he is a head case and can ignite at any moment. Being a Celtics fan, I'm glad they made this trade.
Finally, the beloved Celtics and Rasheed Wallace. I'm still happy they brought Rasheed in because I really think he will be a difference maker in the playoffs, especially against the bigger teams (Magic,Lakers). However, I can now see why Pistons fans got so frustrated with him. My dream is for someday Rasheed to wake up, realize he is 6'11 with a deadly fade away jumper, and make a living on the block. However, similar to world peace, it's probably just a pipe dream.
The good news for the Celtics is that there are no juggernauts this year. No team is going to get 65 wins and run away with home court. Everyone has flaws and everyone is going to deal with injuries. The regular season is just a stepping stone for teams like the Celtics. Let's just hope they get their act together come spring time. Karl Dillinger 1/10/2010 10:00:00 AM Tweet