The beginning of the NBA training camp is fast approaching as players will start reporting at the end of the month. I will examine how each team in the NBA Southwest Division improved their teams during the offseason.
Houston Rockets Offseason Grades: B-
Additions: Jae Tate (re-signed), Trevor Hudgins (2-way), TyTy Washington Jr. (trade), Tari Eason (draft pick), Trey Burke (trade), Sterling Brown (trade), Boban Marjanovic (trade), Marquesse Chriss (trade), Willie Cauley Stein, and Jabari Smith Jr. (draft pick).
Exhibit 10: Bruno Fernandez
Houston (20-62) is coming off its worst 82-game season since 1982-83, when they won 14 contests. The Rockets combined 37 wins over the past two years are their fewest in consecutive seasons in franchise history.
Houston will begin training camp in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where they have a lot to unfold as their training camp roster is full. Several of the recently acquired veterans will not make the NBA opening day roster.
The Rockets made two huge moves this NBA offseason, with the first being the trading of Christian Wood for Wendell Moore (No. 26th draft pick in 2022) along with Chriss, Marjanovic, Brown, and Burke. Coming off the best overall season of his career, Wood was traded mainly because the Rockets are rebuilding. All the players that Houston received in the deal are in the final year of their contract.
Moore was subsequently dealt to Minnesota for Washington and future second-rounders. The Rockets’ other big move was their buyout of John Wall, who was told to sit out this past season by the team.
Houston did have an excellent 2022 draft. Smith fell to them at No. 3, and he should eventually become a 15-to-20 point-per-game scorer. Eason should help defensively, while Washington could eventually take over the point guard job and play alongside Jalen Green.
San Antonio Spurs Offseason Grade – C-
Additions: Joe Wieskamp (re-signed), Jordan Hall (2-way), Gorgui Dieng (free agent), Keldon Johnson (extending), Jeremy Sochan (draft pick), Malaki Branham (draft pick), Blake Wesley (draft pick), Dominik Barlow (2-way) Jordan Hall (2-way), Alize Johnson (free agent) and Isaiah Roby (free agent)
Exhibition 10: Tommy Kuhse, Jalen Adaway
San Antonio has missed the playoffs each of the past three seasons and, like the Rockets, are in full rebuild mode. The Spurs dealt Dejounte Murray to the Hawks in June for a plethora of future draft picks. Meanwhile, re-signing Johnson was critical for the team’s future as the 22-year-old has improved in the last two years and is coming off a career season, averaging 17.1 points and 6.1 rebounds.
Sochan is expected to help the Spurs immediately due to his athleticism and versatility. Branham is a very shooter, while Wesley is more of a prospect. They also lost Lonnie Walker to the Lakers in free agency.
Dallas Mavericks Offseason Grade – B
Additions: Maxi Kleber (extension), Tyler Dorsey (2-way), JaVale McGee (re-signed), Jaden Hardy (draft pick), Theo Pinson (re-signed), and Christian Wood (trade)
Exhibition 10: McKinley Wright IV, Tyler Hall, and Mouhamadou Gueye,
Dallas is coming off a surprising appearance in the Western Conference finals. The acquisition of Wood gives the Mavericks a much-needed scorer in the frontcourt. Wood is also a solid rebounder who has become adept at stretching the floor with his shooting over the last few years.
While losing Jalen Brunson in free agency hurts, the Knicks probably overpaid for him. I am not sure extending Kleber’s NBA contract at this time was wise. The 6-10 German is not really an NBA scorer and had the worst shooting NBA season of his NBA career in 2021-22.
New Orleans Pelicans Offseason Grade- C
Additions: Izaiah Brockington (2-way), Dereon Seabron (2-way), Zion Williamson (extension), and Dyson Daniels (draft pick)
Exhibit 10: John Petty Jr. and Daegwon Plowden
New Orleans didn’t do much this off-season. The Pelicans’ biggest NBA move was giving Williamson a massive contract extension. While Williamson is expected to be healthy heading into the season, he has shown that he is injury prone, and his conditioning has also been questioned.
Memphis Grizzlies Offseason Grade: B
Additions: Jon Konchar (extension), Ja Morant (extension), Tyus Jones (re-signed), Kennedy Chandler,(draft pick), Vince Williams (2-way), Kenneth Lofton (2-way), David Roddy (trade), Danny Green (trade), and Jake LaRavia (trade).
Memphis has improved its win total, from the previous season, in each of the first three years under head coach Taylor Jenkins. The Grizzlies tied a franchise record with 56 victories last year while also reaching the Western Conference semifinals for the first time since 2014-15.
The Grizzlies are one of the youngest teams in the league and ensured that Morant will remain with the organization for years to come with his well-deserved max extension. Morant is coming off a career season with 27.4 points on 49.3% shooting from the field and 34.4% from beyond the arc.
I am not overly excited about the Griz’s trade that sent DeAntony Melton to Philadelphia for David Roddy and Danny Green. Melton, who had a career season last year, was the Grizzlies’ second-best 3-point shooter and arguably their top NBA perimeter defender.
Green is as capable as a shooter as Melton, and he is an excellent rebounder as well as a tough physical player. However, Green will miss the beginning of the season after tearing the ACL and LCL in his left knee. Green is in the final year of his NBA contract.
Meanwhile, Roddy will likely find it difficult to get on the floor this year. But he is a versatile scorer who can shoot the ball from deep.
I do like that the Grizzlies re-signed Jones though extending Konchar, at this point, is a little peculiar. Like Green, Jared Jackson Jr. will miss the first part of the season after undergoing foot surgery in June.