This NBA offseason has been filled with surprises as Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and Al Horford will all be suiting up for a new team next season. But there are a few under the radar moves that have not been as publicized that could turn out to be some of the best moves that teams made this offseason. Here are a few:
Pacers trade for Jeff Teague!
The Atlanta Hawks decided to give the starting point guard position to Dennis Schroder when they traded away Jeff Teague. This could shape up to be a very bad move for the Atlanta Hawks and a great one for the Indiana Pacers. Jeff Teague has averaged right around 16 points for the last 3 seasons and has been a solid distributor as well with 5 assists per game. His shooting numbers have not been off the charts but he did manage to get his 3-point percentage up to 40% last year, something the Dennis Schroeder has never even come close to.
Schroeder highest 3 point percentage in a season is 35 % and he has a career average of 32%. This was one of his flaws on his scouting report when he came into the league and it has turned out to be true. Dennis Schroder is a tough physical player who is not really great at anything. He can finish at the basket decently, he dishes out the ball ok, but as was evident in the first and second round of the playoffs, he is never going to be a shooter and it is still to be seen if he can lead a team as a starting point guard. The Hawks definitely took a gamble on this guy and it may not pay off.
As for the Pacers, they scored big time. For the last 4 or 5 seasons, the Pacers biggest question mark was the point guard position. Is George Hill a 1 or is he a 2-guard? He showed glimpses of both but was never good enough to help get the Pacers over the hump. The backups they had were not much better either, guys like CJ Watson, Donald Sloan, and Rodney Stuckey. They now have no question marks. Jeff Teague is a proven player who has guided the Hawks to the playoffs every season he has been in the league, including a trip to the conference finals in 2015. There is every reason to believe he will continue his success with the talent around him this year. Teague is not a ball dominant person, which is good because he will not take touches away from Monta Ellis and Paul George. His averages may go down scoring wise, but his assist totals could skyrocket with much better talent around him. If he continues to knock down three-pointers he will also be able to spread the floor to open up driving and cutting lanes for the wing players as well. The Pacers made plenty of good moves this offseason but this may turn out to be their best
Celtics sign Gerald Green!
The only reason most people care about this move is because Gerald Green is returning to where he was drafted out of high school and won the 2007 Slam Dunk Contest. However, there is much more to this signing that even the Celtics might not realize yet.
Gerald Green is a very good jump shooter. His numbers during last season are a little bit down because he did not get as much playing time and had a limited role in the offense. Back when he was on the Suns his 3 point percentage was up to 40%, and there’s no reason not to believe he will be capable of replicating that in Brad Steven’s system in Boston. Stevens has a knack for getting the best out of his players and Green seems like a great fit. On top of that, this guy can jump out of the gym. The Celtics have been lacking in the highlight department. Outside of three-pointers and defensive plays, there hasn’t been much excitement there. Green has the athletic ability to dunk over anybody in the league and pick and roll alley oops are going to look very nice. Since Jeff Green was traded to the Grizzlies the Celtics haven’t had a consistent dunker, but now they do.
The last, and possibly most important thing is that this is a low-risk-high-reward move. The Celtics will only pay Gerald Green the veteran minimum next season, which makes him great trade filler in that big deal that the Celtics have been trying to pull off for two seasons now, and if things are not working out they can waive him without serious cap ramifications because the league is paying part of his minimum salary.
Lakers sign Yi Jianlian!
At first glance, this does not look like anything except the Lakers taking a chance on another former lottery pick, but Yi has a very interesting contract. Yi signed with the Lakers for one year and $8 million, but only $250,000 of that contract is guaranteed. The base salary of $1,139,123 does not become guaranteed until January 10, and he makes an additional 2 million plus after his 20th, 40th, and 59th game of the season. All of this means that the Lakers have until 59 games in to decide if they would like to trade him or to simply cut him loose and pay him a very small salary.
That’s one way of looking at it. The other way is that Yi still has something to offer on the court. With the way the league has changed, a big man that can stretch the floor is very serviceable in the NBA today. A lot of teams look for that kind of player. Yi scored 25 points in the Olympics against the United States and averaged 20.4 points for the entire Olympic games. It is understood that is against lesser talent, but let’s not forget he was effective during his former NBA stint with averages of 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds shooting 33% from 3-point range. These aren’t great numbers but even if he can replicate them he will be a solid option off the bench for the Lakers. Los Angeles has lacked consistent shooting at the big man positions recently and Yi spreads the floor a little more for the likes of D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson.