So yesterday was the 6th anniversary of Kevin Garnett’s trade to the Celtics, a trade which obviously sent one team in one direction and the other team in another. So I though about all the turning points of each team where they first began the upaward or downward trend that they are in today. Here they are:
Minnesota Timberwolves-Downward-2007-Garnett Trade-The Wolves traded Garnett, one of the league’s premier big men at the time, to Celtics for a large package. This sent the Wolves from bad to worse. Al Jefferson was good, but he wasn’t enough to turn things around. Ryan Gomes was decent but unspectacular. Gerald Green and Theo Ratliff were unproductive. Sebastian Telfair didn’t live up to the hype. The two draft picks they received got them Jonny Flynn, largely a bust, and Wayne Ellington, a role player.
Boston Celtics-Upward-2007-Garnett Trade-The Celtics gave up a lot in the trade for Kevin Garnett, but they kept Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo and had the assets to acquire Ray Allen. The Big 3 (plus Rajon) was born, the Alliance Era of the NBA had begun, and the Celtics went on to win the championship that season.
New York Knicks-Upward-2012-Midseason Firing of Mike D’Antoni/Hiring of Mike Woodson-When Woodson was hired, an 18-24 team that had had losing seasons 9 of the last ten years, went 18-6, made the playoffs, and reached the conference semifinals the following year after getting the 2 seed. Woodson helped Carmelo and Co. become a more cohesive unit.
Brooklyn Nets-Upward-2012-Offseason of 2012-In the 2011-2012 season, the Nets had a core of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace, Marshon Brooks, and Kris Humphries. But they were a poor team and had been for several years since the Kidd-Carter era. In the 2012 offseason, they acquired Joe Johnson in a massive trade that swept some dead-end pieces from the franchise, Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche, CJ Watson, and Keith Bogans. This, along with the hiring of PJ Carlesimo, sent the Nets to the playoffs this year, and almost the second round.
Philadelphia 76ers-Downward-2003-Departure of Larry Brown-I know you wont all agree with this, but look at the 76ers’ seasonal records. They’ve had some minor successes in the past five years, but the last time they had consistent success, when they made the Finals, was with Larry Brown. When Brown leaves, his successors can’t utilize Iverson well, Iverson and Iguodala don’t coexist very well, the team never finishes better than 35-31 (in the lockout season) and nothing particularly good happens. With Brown, they went 255-195 and and made the conference semis 4 out of 6 years.
Toronto Raptors-Upward-2011-Hiring of Dwayne Casey-While the progress has been slow, the Raptors have improved the last two seasons and could make the playoffs this year, and all this has been under the leadership of Dwayne Casey. He’s made the most of a not-so-talented roster and has it on its way to being a decent team. The Raptors have never had any great success, so this choice wasn’t so easy, but I like where Casey has them headed.
Indiana Pacers-Upward-2011-Midseason Firing of Jim O’Brien/Promotion of Frank Vogel-Under the leadership of Jim O’Brien, the Pacers were a three-chucking, soft, directionless team. When Vogel stepped in, they won 7 of 8, made the playoffs, played well against the Bulls, and put themselves in the national spotlight once more. They got tough, became a hard-nosed team, and became less reliant on Danny Granger and more reliant on the younger players and team as a whole.
Chicago Bulls-Upward-2008-2008 Draft Lottery-This wasn’t a particularly difficult decision for Chicago to make, drafting Derrick Rose, but it was a huge one. When the ping pong balls fell in the Bulls’ favor, they got what would become one of the league’s premier players who would make them a perennial Eastern Conference power (when Rose was healthy…and playing). No-brainer here.
Milwaukee Bucks-Downward (Towards mediocrity)-2003-Departure of Ray Allen, Sam Cassell, and George Karl-Before the Ray Allen trade, the Bucks were generally a decently good team, although they were beginning to slip into mediocrity, But after they let these three go, they really slid and become the below-average-to-8th-seed team that they have been for years now.
Detroit Pistons-Downward-2008-Billups/Iverson trade-When the Pistons traded Chauncey Billups to the Nuggets, they really broke up the powerhouse team that they were in the mid 2000’s and brought in Iverson, who was expected to still be a star…and wasn’t. The Pistons slipped into the playoffs with a losing record, got swept, and haven’t been back since. Things look like they might be headed in the right direction, and this offseason could be another turning point, but this trade was the nail in the coffin for that era of Pistons greatness.
Cleveland Cavaliers-Take a wild guess…and no, it’s not the selection of Kyrie Irving…
Miami Heat-Hint, hint...see above
Atlanta Hawks-Downward-2012-Hawks lose in first round-The Hawks had been a consistent playoff team for some time now with Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and AL Horford combining for a very solid team. They had made three straight conference semifinals and were looking to finally break through, but they got upset by the Celtics in the first round, traded Joe Johnson that offseason, and have really regressed since.
Washington Wizards-Downward-2006-2008-Gilbert Arenas’ health problems-Volatile as he was, Arenas helped the Wizards attain the little playoff success they had. And when he began missing significant amounts of time due to injury and had to be traded, the Wizards become a cellar dweller, even after the arrival of John Wall.
Charlotte Bobcats-Downward-2011-Departure of Raymond Felton-Well, you could argue that the Bobcats’ entire franchise has been a pile of crap, but they DID make the playoffs as a 7 seed once in 2011. Following this season, they began to stink again and have ever since. One could argue that the departures of Larry Brown and Gerald Wallce caused this, but they were doing very poorly before Brown and Wallace even got the boot. After they made the playoffs, Raymond Felton left the team and they were no longer a playoff-caliber team. He was a solid orchestrator for the Bobcats and they needed him in 2011-2012.
Orlando Magic-Downward-2011-2012-The Dwightmare-Somehow, a team that had most of the same key guys as they did when they went to the Finals became dysfunctional and weak. Obviously, the problem lied with the Dwightmare. Howard and his trade demands created unrest in the locker room and unrest with Coach Van Gundy and that was all anyone could talk about. The Magic weren’t the same and now find themselves in the early stages of rebuilding mode.
Eh, I would love to give you an an A for effort as i encourage actual thought and effort over "check out my trade", but that was painful to read. Bobcats went on downward trend in 2011? You mean they were good? Twolves went downward with the trade of kg? They weren't going anywhere the last couple years with him. Vogel certainly helped turned the pacers around, but it was talent that actually changed things. Ive seen Phil Jackson go 42-40 in 2007 and look like &$#%#&@! as a coach without talent despite being considered arguably the greatest coach ever while that same year Sam Mitchell did win coach of the year and has been unemployed as a head coach since 2009. Coaches don't deserve all the credit. Nets, Wizards, hawks, bucks have all gone up and down from above average to below average over the years so to discuss turning points is like debating at what point did a 6-10 football team turn the corner to being 9-7.
The 2009-2010 team that made the playoffs wasnt spectacular but they were a solid team nonetheless. They finished 44-38, which I would say is good, and I'm damn sure they'd take that over what they've been doing the past few years. I will say that I think the departure of Tyson Chandler is what hurt them more then Felton. That team was solid though. You had a respectable number one option in Stephen Jackson, who was a great scorer at the time, he declined a lot this past year or so, you had prime/end of prime Gerald Wallace who was a best defender and rebounder and could finish at the bucket. Then you had a defensive stalwart in Chandler manning the middle and Ray Felton running the point, chuck in pretty good seasons from Raja Bell, Ty Thomas and Boris Diaw, and they were a respectable team and one of the better defensive teams in the league, holding opponents to a league leading 93.8 points a game, and were top 5 in both opponent field goal and opponent 3 point percentage, while also being top 10 in both steals and blocks. Chuck in pretty good seasons from Raja Bell, Ty Thomas and Boris Diaw, they were a respectable team, and it is by no means a stretch to say they were 'good'.
Dude who the hell are you? Its one thing to down a guy for an idiotic post but to try to belittle somebody who was just throwing an interesting topic out there. I mean I must be missing something you're probably a brilliant basketball mind to criticize someone like that.
Nice write up,
I disagree about the Knicks being on an upward swing. I think they are a stagnant middle of the playoff pack team in the East. Woodson or not, this team has a star, a defensive center and a bunch of not much else. They were the oldest team in the league last season, and although they have some younger talent in Shumpert and TH Jr., I don't see them as being real difference makers in the long term.
I'd say their upward swing was in 10-11 when the became a playoff team once again, I realize they won 54 games last year, but what is the difference between 42 and 54 if youre pretty darn overmatched by the teir of teams ahead of you, while also being an older team. I think they moved up when they signed Amare and brough Melo in mid season, but their stuck now with the Heat, Pacers, Bulls being teams they just aren't going to get past in a playoff series...possibly now the Nets too.
My bad for being an ass. While I stand by my opinion, there's no need to be a jerk. The alcohol does that to me sometimes.
No! The alcohol did this to you
Great write up Gramps, but the Bobcats made the playoffs in the 2010 season. But then again, who really cares? They got swept by the Magic in the first round that year.