Grading the Recent Moves

There are a few recent moves that have caught my eye. The Heat are trying to put players around their dream trio, the Bucks are quietly making moves, the Rockets added some "Yao Insurance", and the Warriors made a move for David Lee. Lets grade these recent moves and do some quick analysis on the impact it is going to have on the teams.

Zydrunas Ilguaskas to Heat: That will complete the Heat starting 5. I'm still not sold that Z is good enough to be an impact player. He will provide a great inside presence, and having Bosh alongside him at PF will be a formidable lineup. Z is one of the best shot blockers in the league, but his offensive production has fallen off. He averaged only 7.4ppg and 5.4 rebs last season. Down from his career averages of 17.8ppg and 7.7 rebs. Just like every other player on the Heat not named Bosh, Wade, or Lebron, the pressure will not be on Z to score. He will be asked to provide defensive presence and to rebound the ball. Any way you look at it, it will be tough for teams to deal with this front-line.Zydrunas Ilgauskas to Heat: Following your superstar is never a bad idea. Big Z was fiercely loyal to Cleveland, but just like everyone else, he realized thatCleveland is in big trouble. He is the big man that the Heat needed. His presence is going to be huge for the Heat. It will be an uphill battle for Z to keep up with the Big 3 up and down the court, but in half court sets, he will fit right in.
Grade: A (if Z can be efficient on offense)

Mike Miller to the Heat: I wrote in my post about the Lebron move that Mike Miller was a definite target. He got some run with the USA team before the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Miller is a solid shooter who has struggled with consistency the last few seasons in the bottom cellar of the NBA. Miller is clearly a player who needs to be motivated. We saw his averages drop significantly in 08-09 with the T'wolves. Miller's career averages were 13.7ppg, but went down to 10.9 ppg last season with the Wolves and Wizards. He shot 48% from 3-pt range last season which is 8% higher than his career average, and he also improved his rebounding from 5.1 to 6.2 per game. This shows that he is capable of improving his produ
ctivity when he makes a commitment to it. Stats aside, Miller is a huge asset for the Heat. He will be the beneficiary countless double teams and drive and dish penetration from the Big 3. Miller's defensive capacity leaves a lot to be desired, but if he gets beat, he will have a lot of help. His job in Miami will be simple: make shots to keep the defense honest. Overall, a great pickup for the Heat. Miller probably took a bit of a paycut to be the Heat, but after conversations with the Lakers, it was clear that Miller wanted to have a chance to win.
Grade: A-

Drew Gooden to the Bucks: This is a good move for the Bucks. They get another big man who can defend the low post to team up alongside Andrew Bogut (assuming he is fully healed). I don't want to delve too deep into stats with Gooden because his presence is more what he brings to the Bucks. He is going to be a defensive presence to block the lane as much as possible. If he can grab 10 rebounds per game and block 1.5 shots per game, the Bucks will have gotten their value from him.
Grade: B

Corey Maggette to the Bucks: Solid move for the Bucks also. An athletic player who gets to the free throw line. He is a pure scorer and will be a great complement to Brandon Jennings' own
athleticism and ability to get to the basket. It
gives the Bucks a great threat to use Delfino or Maggette at SF. One of those players could move to SG also. It is an incredible move for the Bucks to upgrade their lineup. Their starting lineup now has an incredible combination of threats. If Michael Redd comes back healthy for the start of the season, they will have even more depth. The starting lineup depth could be Brandon Jennings, John Salmons/Michael Redd, Carlos Delfino/Corey Maggette, Ersan Ilyasova/Drew Gooden (If Larry Sanders can develop he will also have a spot too), and Andrew Bogut. Not bad. Maggette adds another level of offense for them. A solid player who puts up points quickly. I'd like to see more commitment by Maggette on defense. He had one of the best seasons of his career last year in terms of ppg and FG%, and if he can play solid defense, he's going to be a threat. Playing under Scott Skiles will mean that defense is a requirement, not an option.
Grade: B+

Brad Miller to Rockets: Horrible move for the Rockets. They are worried about Yao's injury, but they get a guy who is just as injury prone. Miller is clearly on the decline in his career. He does stretch the floor with his ability to shoot from long range, but I'm not convinced that he can be an impact player anymore. They gave him MLE type money, but he hasn't proven that he can be a game changer. The main concern here seems to be that Brad Miller will slow down their transition game. Aaron Brooks is an extremely promising young player who is one of the fastest guards in the league. Brooks pushes the ball hard, and it helps speed the game up for the Rockets. This was the best offense for the Rockets when Yao was not in the lineup. Throwing Brad Miller into the mix won't give the Rockets the opportunity to get in transition as fast. Kevin Martin and Aaron Brooks will be running the show in the backcourt for the Rockets and they are almost sure to benefit from having a big man in the post, but will also be hindered by it. Rick Adelman knows what Brad Miller can do, but I'm afraid that his ability from the Sacramento days has waned.
Grade: C-

David Lee to Warriors: Moving in the right direction for the Warriors. A young dynamic player like Stephen Curry paired with a double-double machine is going to go well for the Warriors. Lee proved that he can't be the #1 option on a team in New York. It will be up to the Warriors to get another impact player to put alongside Curry and Lee before anyone starts talking playoffs for this team. They Warriors gave up a lot of their young core, but none of those players were irreplaceable. Ekpe Udoh is going to be a work in progress for this season, and won't be a credible threat until he can prove that he can hold his own down in the post. For now, it will be just David Lee. With some of the recent moves Golden State has made, this has to rank up with one of the best in a while. A big bounce back from draft night.
Grade: B- (overall performance in the offseason thus far)


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