Now that the NBA All Star break is over, every team has work to do. Some teams will be playing for playoff positioning while others will be looking towards the future and figuring out what they have.
Here’s a few teams that made moves for the future and will be using the rest of this season as a testing platform to see what moves they should make next:
The Cavaliers snatched Andre Drummond from the Detroit Pistons for a miniscule ransom. According to the 3 Point Conversion’s own L.A. Broadus, the team might have made this move to appease the very frustrated Kevin Love.
Cleveland is badly lacking in size and adding Drummond will no doubt help in that department. The 6′ 10″ Drummond is in his eighth season and is still only 26 years old.
He’s the league’s premier rebounder and also does a great job as a help defender. He can definitely score, using his size and athleticism to his advantage.
In his two appearances with the Cavaliers, Drummond is averaging 16.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. As a help defender he’s able to clean up on any players that leak to the basket without fouling. That should help Love upfront and any of the wing players in the game going forward.
With the young backcourt of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, the Cavaliers are definitely looking towards the future. Adding Drummond might be the steal of the trade deadline, giving them a very big man in the middle.
However, keeping Drummond might be a tall task. Sure, he has a player option for next season in the $29 million range but the situation has just taken a turn for the worse: the Cavs are finalizing a contract settlement with head coach John Beilein that will end his tenure after 54 games.
J.B. Bickerstaff will take over for the remainder of the season and maybe he can add a different dimension to a very young team. In any event, adding Drummond is a piece that probably wouldn’t have been loping towards Cleveland in free agency.
The Hawks already have an all-star in Trae Young, a rising star in John Collins and some big potential in a few of their other young players. With an abundance of cap space you would think they were ready to pull the trigger in a trade for a big name but wasn’t the case.
Atlanta may be looking towards the future, namely the free agency period in 2021. There will be a plethora of big time free agents and the Hawks want to be players in that mix.
The recent trade for Clint Capela gives Atlanta a player they need while still keeping a big chunk of their cap space. Capela fills a need the Hawks are desperate for: defense, namely interior defense. Atlanta allows an astonishing 118.9 points per game with teams shooting 47% from the field against them.
Capela was averaging 13.9 points, 13.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks for the Houston Rockets before the trade. He provides great rim protection and the one on one defense the team could really use upfront. This can keep John Collins focused on scoring and not having to fret about defending the most skilled big man on the other team.
Since Minnesota drafted Karl-Anthony Towns in the 2015 draft they knew he was going to be the face of the franchise going forward. Their biggest problem has been which face to put alongside him.
For years the team thought Towns and Andrew Wiggins would combine for a dynamic duo but it never came to fruition. The team has now traded Wiggins to the Golden State Warriors and Minnesota is hoping once again to pair Towns with a dynamic wing player.
D’Angelo Russell seems like a perfect fit for the young big man. Russell is a shifty point guard who can create his own shot and hit from anywhere on the court. With him being able to draw attention, Towns should have a bunch of free room to punish defenders.
A legit all-star wing player with vision to find the open man will give the Timberwolves plenty of fast break opportunities and easy buckets. Russell is averaging 24.0 points and 8.0 assists per game his two appearances with the Timberwolves.
Minnesota is hoping they’ve found the right mix as both players are under contract for the foreseeable future. With two players considered a “problem” on the court they just might have done the trick.
None of these teams will qualify for the playoffs this season but the impact of these moves could mean a ton of future success. These teams will need to draft well and continue to supplement the star players with help to keep these plans afloat.