The 2021 NBA offseason was wild. Players such as Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, and DeMar DeRozan all switched jerseys. With NBA training camps starting in a couple of weeks it is now time to access how each team fared. In this article, I will be giving NBA offseason grades for the Eastern Conference.
Offseason Grades for the Eastern Conference
Atlanta Hawks: A-
Extensions: Trae Young
The Atlanta Hawks brought back most of the roster from their Eastern Conference Finals team a year ago. The Hawks locked up both of their young stars in Young and Collins for the foreseeable future while also adding more young talent through the draft. Johnson was considered to be a lottery lock before his interesting 13-game career at Duke University. The Hawks also improved by bringing in Wright which will give Young a legitimate backup option. The Hawks will likely be competing near the top of the Eastern Conference.
Boston Celtics: B-
The Boston Celtics will certainly have a different look this season after losing two key starters and having their longtime head coach transition to the front office. The Celtics bolstered the depth of their team by adding multiple key role players. Acquiring Schroder for the mid-level exception was an absolute steal of a deal for a player of his caliber. Also adding Horford and Kanter with the returning Williams will once again sure up the center position. The Celtics will likely be competing in the middle of the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn Nets: A
Extensions: Kevin Durant
It would seem as though the Nets with NBA superstars Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving could not get any better. However, with the re-signings of Griffin and Brown as well as the additions of Mills and Millsap the Nets look to be even better than a year ago. Furthermore, the return of Aldridge after a medical retirement gives them more firepower on offense. The Nets also added very talented rookies in Sharpe and Thomas who showed out in the NBA Summer League. Brooklyn will be the title favorites.
Charlotte Hornets: B+
Extensions: Terry Rozier
With these additions this offseason, the Hornets will be one of the most exciting and fast-paced teams in the entire NBA. It seems as though the plan was to add supreme athleticism around their young star, LaMelo Ball. Plumlee and Jones should give the Hornets more consistent center play which they have been lacking in the past couple of years. If the Hornets’ young players continue to grow and improve they may be one of the surprise NBA teams next season.
Chicago Bulls: B
With this offseason, there is no question that the Chicago Bulls are going for it. Ball looks to be a perfect fit next to Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. The DeRozan signing is quite interesting based upon the fit, but he is very good at scoring and playmaking so they will likely make it work. The Bulls point of attack defense which struggled last year will be much improved by Ball, Caruso, and Jones Jr. The Bulls should be competing somewhere in the middle of the Eastern Conference.
Cleveland Cavaliers: B-
Re-signings: Jarrett Allen
The Cleveland Cavaliers had a relatively quiet offseason. Mobley who was the third pick in the 2021 NBA Draft has a chance to be a transcendent star in this league. Rubio will be a great mentor for Darius Garland and Collin Sexton to teach them how to be floor general. Also, the Cavaliers move for Lauri Markkanen could potentially pay off if he can stay healthy. Cleveland has a nice, young core for the future.
Detroit Pistons: A
Key Losses: Mason Plumlee, Wayne Ellington
The Detroit Pistons offseason was all about the draft pick of Cunningham. However, the Pistons now have their franchise building block of the future and will need to continue to build around him. Therefore future of Detroit basketball is looking bright.
Indiana Pacers: B-
Re-signings: T.J. McConnell
The biggest offseason addition to the Indiana Pacers was surprisingly not a player. However, it is coach Rick Carlisle who brings championship pedigree and knowledge from the Dallas Mavericks organization. It would seem as though losing a three-point extraordinaire like McDermott would hurt the Pacers but, rookie Duarte will contribute immediately and replace McDermott as he shot 42% from three in college. Craig will probably be a rotation three-and-D player while Jackson will be a shot-blocking backup center. The Pacers will likely be competing for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Miami Heat: A+
Extensions: Jimmy Butler
The Miami Heat have had the best offseason of any team in the NBA. Lowry is exactly what the Heat needed. Lowry can defend, score, and be a floor general. Re-signing Robinson is crucial to the Heat’s success providing spacing for Butler and Bam Adebayo. Oladipo could potentially be the highest reward signing of the year as he is only on a veteran minimum contract coming off an injury. Therefore the Heat should be competing near the top of the Eastern Conference.
Milwaukee Bucks: B
The re-signing of Portis for less than market value was a great deal for Milwaukee. However, the unexpected loss of Tucker could hurt them in their next postseason run. Adding Hood, Allen, and Hill will help the Bucks in the regular season while Ojeleye could play a role similar to Tucker. The Bucks will be once again back in title contention next season.
New York Knicks: A
Extensions: Julius Randle
In this offseason, the Knicks attacked their flaw of offensive versatility. By adding Walker, Fournier, and Grimes the Knicks now have many unique scoring avenues. Also with the re-signing of Noel and Gibson, the defense should be as elite as last season. Therefore the Knicks will likely be contending in the middle of the Eastern Conference.
Orlando Magic – A
Re-signings: Moritz Wagner
This offseason signals that the Orlando Magic are in a full rebuild. The drafting of Suggs and Wagner who could both be potential star players should give Magic fans hope. The future looks very bright for the Magic.
Philadelphia 76ers: B
Extensions: Joel Embiid
The news out of Philadelphia today is that Ben Simmons wants out so that will be the biggest move or non-move of their offseason. As of right now, their biggest signing is Green who played an important three-and-d role for them a year ago. Getting Drummond on a minimum is a steal for any team while Niang will provide important bench shooting. Jaden Springer is also an interesting rookie who could potentially provide a point of attack defensive value. Therefore the 76ers will likely be near the top of the Eastern Conference.
Toronto Raptors: B-
The Toronto Raptors shocked the entire NBA world when they selected Barnes ahead of Suggs. The Raptors made a good move for their future by picking up Precious Achiuwa as well as Goran Dragic who can be flipped later for compensation in the Lowry sign-and-trade.
Washington Wizards: B-
Re-signings: Raul Neto
The Washington Wizards made the biggest move of the whole NBA offseason which was trading Westbrook. Because of this, the Wizards have made a huge roster overhaul around their star, Bradley Beal. They replaced Westbrook with Dinwiddie and added shooting with Kispert and Caldwell-Pope. Therefore with this deeper roster, the Wizards will likely contend for one of the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
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