NBA Offseason Grades: Top Five in the Western Conference

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The NBA offseason has reached its slow point (for now), which means it’s time to give out grades. A lot can, and probably will, happen before the season tips off, such as trades involving stars like wantaway Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant and star guard Donovan Mitchell, but for now, the free agency market has dried up and most non-major trade talk is quiet. So it’s time to give out some NBA offseason grades.

Top Five NBA Offseason Grades in the Western Conference

5. Minnesota Timberwolves: B-

Yes, they gave up a lot in their trade for Rudy Gobert. With that being said, the Timberwolves are going for it all. They already had great pieces, namely All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns and rising star Anthony Edwards. Now, of course, they added arguably the top defensive big man in the entire league.

Kyle Anderson was a nice pick up too. He’s experienced and quite versatile and should earn plenty of minutes in the frontcourt. Bryn Forbes is a top-notch shooter who can ease the burden of losing Malik Beasley. Finally, another experienced veteran in Austin Rivers joins to fill the void left by Patrick Beverley.

Minnesota is the ultimate boom-or-bust. A lot is riding on the Gobert trade due to draft compensation given up, but one has to respect Minnesota’s intention of going for it all.

4. Utah Jazz: B

The Jazz are going to be worse this next season, yet their offseason has been mostly positive when looking at their rebuilding tactics.

First off, they acquired a boatload of picks and a decent rookie in Walker Kessler for Gobert. Bringing in Beverley was also a positive. He’s a veteran on an expiring deal, so Utah will likely get many trade requests their way for him. Beasley is another talent who’s potentially a starter. He can stay in Utah or also be dangled for future assets.

Utah placed a chokehold on the trade market after what they got for Gobert. Mitchell is in high demand too, so Utah can ask for even more. Other starters and rotational players may be available too. Unfortunately, their core is falling apart, but Utah are in a position to be major sellers and have an accelerated rebuild.

3. Sacramento Kings: B

It’s way too early to predict that the Kings will end their record-breaking playoff drought, but they made solid moves to help the cause. First off, their primary focus was to improve the roster surrounding De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.

Sacramento was criticized when they selected Keegan Murray over Jaden Ivey in the 2022 NBA Draft. It’s still early, but Murray showed just how good he is during the Summer League. He also fits very well onto the roster and should contribute right away.

Malik Monk was a solid signing too after his strong year with the Los Angeles Lakers. Then the Kings were able to snag Kevin Huerter away from the Atlanta Hawks.

In total, the Kings kept their two stars and the majority of their core while adding a starting forward, a starting shooting guard, and most likely their sixth man.

2. LA Clippers: B+

The Clippers’ priority was to keep most of the band together and they did just that.

Nicolas Batum and Amir Coffey are two essential wings that stayed put.

Ivica Zubac extended his contract as well, which eases the burden of losing Isaiah Hartenstein to the New York Knicks.

The most notable addition was John Wall who looks to be adjusting well. It’s unlikely that Wall returns to his prime form of the past, but he should be a steady veteran who will complement Kawhi Leonard and Paul George very well.

Should health be on their side this season, unlike last, the Clippers are now star-studded and extremely deep.

1. Denver Nuggets: A-

Like the Clippers, the Nuggets struggled with health last season. Having Jamal Murray and Michael Porter back instantly put this team back into the championship hunt.

They still managed to improve the roster, however.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope fits the system perfectly. Acquiring him came at a price of Will Barton and Monte Morris, which is steep, but Caldwell-Pope will prove to be a reliable starter.

Bruce Brown eases the burden of losing other guards as well. He strut his stuff last season for Brooklyn and will likely earn a major rotational role in Denver. Christian Braun is a rookie that may contribute sooner than some may think as well.

Adding DeAndre Jordan was a subpar move. He doesn’t thread the needle in any certain way and is often a net-negative. Denver could have retained DeMarcus Cousins instead.

Finally, though, Denver re-signed reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic to a major deal. Keeping him is a major win in itself.