After the most active trade deadline in NBA history, let’s take a look at the post-trade deadline power rankings. Some teams didn’t even make a move and are still top 10 because they’re simply that good. Still, most of the top teams in the East made moves that should guarantee an exciting finish to the season.
The Warriors may have not made a move, but their still the most talented team in the NBA. They are still the heavy favorite to win the NBA finals according to oddsshark. Even after all of the 76er’s moves, the Warriors starting 5 is simply too talented. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and DeMarcus Cousins all together is too much for any team to match. The Warriors still don’t have a great bench, the one thing I wanted them to improve at the deadline, but their starting 5 still has enough talent to beat any other team.
Acquired: Marc Gasol
Lost: Delon Wright, Jonas Valanciunas
The Raptors managed to trade for another star even though nobody expected it to happen. This offseason the Raptors emerged as a dark horse candidate to land Kawhi Leonard and this trade deadline they added Marc Gasol. Gasol may not be at the all-star level played at before, but he still brings a lot to this Raptors team. He provides a huge upgrade over Valanciunas at the starting center spot as he is a much better shooter and defender. Being able to have 5 shooters on the court should improve the Raptors’ already elite offense. They attempt so many threes per game (7th in the league) that they need as many shooters as they can get. Also, Toronto’s interior defense should improve. With Gasol, Memphis ranked 2nd in the league in opponents points in the paint. Now imagine what will happen when he has competent defenders on the wing as well. Adding Gasol should have a two-way benefit for the Raptors that pushes them near the top of my post-trade deadline power rankings.
Acquired: Nikola Mirotic
Lost: Thon Maker, Jason Smith
The Bucks managed to make themselves a lot better and give up almost nothing this trade deadline. After dealing Thon Maker for Stanley Johnson, they then flipped Johnson, Smith, and 4 second-round picks for Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic has had a career year averaging 16.7 points per game while shooting 37% on 7.2 attempts per game from three. The Bucks’ style of play, surrounding Giannis with shooters, is a perfect fit for Mirotic. The Bucks offense already ranks 4th in the NBA and I can only see it going up from here.
Acquired: Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott, Jonathon Simmons, James Ennis III, Malachi Richardson
The busiest team at the trade deadline, the Sixers managed to add another big piece to their starting line-up. Although I expressed concerns for the teams long-term future in my trade evaluations, they have gotten a lot better this season. Unfortunately, so has the rest of the East, dropping the Sixers in my post-deadline power rankings. The starting line-up of Ben Simmons, J.J. Reddick, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid is the best 5-man line-up beside the Warriors’ starting five. Furthermore, Harris was the perfect fit for this team stacked up on talent. He has the lowest usage rate among 20 ppg scorers and is shooting 44% from three, making him one of the best off-ball scorers in the league. The best of the East is ridiculously stacked, but Philidelphia will be able to compete with anyone.
Acquired: Iman Shumpert
Lost: James Ennis III
Although the Rockets made lots of little moves, the result was basically losing Ennis and picking up Shumpert. Shumpert is having his best season since his rookie year, averaging 8.9 ppg on 37% shooting from three. While James Harden will continue to run the show, Shumpert is a nice upgrade on the perimeter. With Chris Paul and Clint Capela getting healthy again, this team should have enough depth to compete with the best of the NBA.
Acquired: Rodney Hood, Skal Labissiere
Lost: Nik Stauskus, Wade Baldwin, Caleb Swanigan
The Blazers may have not made a big-time move at the deadline to snatch Anthony Davis, but they did add important wing depth. With Stauskus struggling as a backup guard, trading him for Hood offers key depth and three-point shooting the Blazers’ needed. On the season this team is 20th in three-point attempts. It’s hard to have a modern NBA offense attempting such few three-pointers per game. Before Hood landed in Cleveland he was attempting nearly 7 threes a game and he was knocking them down 39% of the time. If he returns to the player he was in Utah, he will give the Blazers 2nd-unit a needed boost. I expect this trade to keep them firmly atop the Western Conference standings, but these moves didn’t get them any closer to winning a championship.
Denver may have not made a trade, but they have proven this season they are among the best in the NBA. They still rank 2nd in the Western Conference behind only the Warriors. The major reason the Nuggets are not higher is their defense has regressed back to league average and they have lost three straight, including a 26-point loss to the Pistons. This team has been very streaky all season and a losing streak right now could damage their standing in the ultra-competitive West. Still, even without a trade, the Nuggets are excellent and deserve a top spot in the post-trade deadline power rankings.
As the Celtics hold on to their assets to make a run at Anthony Davis this offseason, they fell quite low in the post-trade deadline power rankings. Due to the Rose rule and Kyrie Irving‘s contract, the Celtics were unable to trade for Davis at the deadline. This has forced them to hold on to their assets in hopes of making a move this offseason, while the other top teams in the East all made trades to get significantly better. This team has the talent to make it to the NBA Finals, but it won’t be easy. Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, and Kyrie have all shown flashes of all-star ability, but they need to put it all together.
Despite this team obviously lacking bench depth, the Thunder were silent on the trade deadline. They are still in my post-trade deadline power rankings because they are a great team, but I was disappointed at the deadline. They now turn to the buyout market to improve their team. Wayne Ellington has already signed with the Pistons, they surely won’t sign Carmelo Anthony, and Wesley Matthews has signed with the Pacers. Furthermore, this team waved Alex Abrines, one of their better three-point shooters. Having Russell Westbrook and Paul George makes this team top 10 in the NBA quite easily, but unless they find a way to add three-point shooting and depth I can’t see them in the WCF.
Acquired: Reggie Bullock, Mike Muscala
Lost: Ivica Zubac, Michael Beasley, Svi Mykhailiuk
After striking out on their “Godfather Offer” to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis, the Lakers managed to complete a few smaller deals to stay in the playoff race. While trying to trade for Davis the Lakers offered nearly half their roster. Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, and Michael Beasley in addition to 2 first-round picks were on the table for Davis and Soloman Hill’s bad contract. These reports being leaked looked like they would devastate team morale, as witnessed in the 42-point beatdown delivered by the Pacers. The Lakers made a decent recovery by adding shooters in Bullock and Muscala, but losing Zubac was difficult for fans. Overall, it wasn’t a great trade deadline for the Lakers, but they still come out improved and as one of the better teams in the post-trade deadline NBA.
Acquired: Harrison Barnes, Alec Burks
Lost: Iman Shumpert, Zach Randolph, Justin Jackson
The Kings seem to be set on ending their 14-season playoff drought this year. After surprising many with a hot start to the season, the Kings now find themselves with a 29-26 record, half a game back from a playoff spot. Upgrading their wing position with Barnes and Burks improves their chance of squeezing into the playoffs significantly. Barnes has been a great three-point shooter and a fine third option in an offense. With the Mavericks he averaged 17.7 points per game and shot 39% from three. On the season 8.3 of his 14.6 shot attempts were from three. Since they are 19th in the NBA for three-point attempts, Barnes’ shooting should improve the team’s 18th rated offense.