Phil Graham’s cards are out, which means the 2017-18 players can be added into the replay. I am already way over normal roster limits due to holding on to fan or sentimental favorites on each team, so for every player added to a team, I’ll be cutting someone I haven’t used or barely used in the ongoing replay.
Indiana Pacers –
Added: Victor Oladipo, Darren Collison, Domantas Sabonis, Bojan Bogdanovic
Cut: Terence Stansbury, C.J. Watson, Alex English, C.J. Miles
Analysis: Oladipo was going to be one of the major additions from this year’s cards and improves the Pacers already deep team. Collison may actually get some time as the lifetime Pacers’ team really lacks depth at PG. Sabonis and Bogdanvoic may be sentimental additions, but they are improvements from English and Miles, neither of which had played yet.
New Jersey Nets –
Analysis: The 17-18 Nets best player, D’Angelo Russell, doesn’t get a sniff on this team. Hard to find a spot when your PG depth includes Jason Kidd, Deron Williams, and Michael Ray Richardson.
Milwaukee Bucks –
Added: Eric Bledsoe
Cut: Michal Carter-Williams
Analysis: Both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton improved their scoring in 17-18, but both had their shooting decrease. The Bucks are loaded, and the boost both would get with stamina is more than offset by the decrease in stats. Bledsoe is a nice upgrade at guard and may find time in the rotation.
Washington Bullets –
Analysis: None of the current Wizards improved enough to make any changes worthwhile. John Wall’s stats actually decreased significantly from the 16-17 version currently on the team.
Atlanta Hawks –
Added: Taurean Prince
Cut: Antoine Carr
Analysis: Carr had hung around thanks to his rebounding at SF, but Prince can shoot 3’s and play better defense. His rebounding drop is easily covered by the Hawks’ depth at PF and C.
Spirits of St. Louis (Magic) –
Added: Evan Fournier
Cut: Evan Fournier (16-17)
Analysis: Fournier improvements are slight but enough for his new card to be added. Vucevic’s stamina boost isn’t worth replacing the more effective, lesser minute version since he’s a backup to Shaq and Howard anyway. Aaron Gordon, a poor rebounding big who can shoot threes, isn’t as good as the poor rebounding, three-point shooting Ryan Anderson.
Chicago Bulls –
Analysis: The hapless Bulls could use help, but they weren’t getting it with the 17-18 roster. Perhaps this team will finally wake up on its own?
Boston Celtics –
Added: Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown
Cut: Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, Chris Ford, Jerry Sichting
Analysis: Like the Pacers, the Celtics will benefit from their successful season. Horford doesn’t solve their problems in frontcourt depth as much as Boston would like, but Irving will pair nicely with Dennis Johnson while Brown and Tatum bolster the bench.
San Diego Conquistadors (Pelicans) –
Added: Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, DeMarcus Cousins, E’Twaun Moore, Nikola Mirotic, Rajon Rondo
Cut: Anthony Davis (16-17), DeMarcus Cousins (16-17), Jrue Holiday (14-15), E’Twaun Moore (16-17), Ryan Anderson, Ollie Taylor
Analysis: Davis continues to improve as a player and even with a cut short season, Cousins was having a fantastic year. But the best addition for the guard weak Conquistadors may be Rondo, whose passing and defense are a nice boost for San Diego.
Virginia Squires (Raptors) –
Added: Fred Vanvleet, Jonas Valanciunas, OG Anunoby
Cut: Jonas Valanciunas (16-17), Charlie Scott, Rudy Gay
Analysis: Gay had one of his poorer shooting seasons with Toronto in 12-13, so Anunoby replaces him there. Surprisingly, the number one seed Raptors had only Valanciunas improve. Both DeRozen and Lowry peaked in 16-17, if that tells you anything of the Raptors’ future chances. Vanvleet, much like his real life persona, will be a nice spark off the bench for the Squires.
Memphis Tams (Grizzlies) –
Added: Tyreke Evans
Cut: Shane Battier
Analysis: Purely a stamina based scoring upgrade here as Evans is worse defensively and in shooting percentage.
Detroit Pistons –
Added: Andre Drummond, Reggie Bullock
Cut: Andre Drummond (15-16), Ben Gordon
Analysis: Drummond’s absolutely horrible FT shooting (11-37) improves to merely bad (11-57). He does become an even more ferocious rebounder, though, putting him on par with the greats of the 70s era. Bullock is a nice upgrade from the brick laying Gordon.
Seattle Supersonics (Thunder) –
Added: Steven Adams, Paul George
Cut: Steven Adams (15-16), Lonnie Shelton
Analysis: The big three experiment was clearly a failure. Carmelo can’t shoot and his three point shooting is too pedestrian to consider. Even George isn’t better than any of the SF already on the roster and squeezes in only because he’s a more capable three point shooter at the expense of Shelton, who is simply too low on the PF chart to garner time. Adams does become a better shooter and rebounder to back up Sikma. Westbrook isn’t as good as he was in 16-17.
Miami Heat –
Analysis: No one made significant strides, though it was shocking to see how much worse Dragic became as a shooter.
Phoenix Suns –
Added: Devin Booker
Cut: Devin Booker (16-17)
Analysis: Suns find little help for the C position, but Booker does make some modest gains overall.
Houston Rockets –
Added: Clint Capela, Chris Paul, Eric Gordon
Cut: Don Smith, Aaron Brooks, John Lucas
Analysis: Harden’s 16-17 campaign was better in terms of passing, 2pt shooting, rebounding, and foul drawing than his MVP one. That’s enough to overshadow the modest gains in 3pt shooting and steals. Capela bolsters the league’s best front court. Olajuwon, Sampson, Malone, Capela, Howard, and Barkley are better than any other team can claim. Gordon and Paul add to Houston’s weakness, backcourt, and give the Rockets five guys that can shoot at least six threes a game.
Cleveland Cavaliers –
Added: George Hill, LeBron James, Larry Nance, Rodney Hood
Cut: Matthew Dellavedova, LeBron James (09-10), Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert
Analysis: If anything is a testament to the legacy of James, it’s how much he’s improved as a player from his 09-10 version. The older James is a better passer, three point shooter, and rebounder. His stamina remains unchanged. He’s not the defender he was in his youth, but his upgrades are bound to help the Cavs overall. In a neat addition, Nance Jr. will get to play alongside his dad. Hood, who was shunned to the bench in the playoffs, has the range to give the three point deficient Cavs a boost.
Added: Joel Embiid, J.J. Redick, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric
Cut: Joel Embiid (16-17), Michael Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten, Leroy Ellis
Analysis: The current league’s best team certainly got a lot better. Simmons card is nearly as good as a young LeBron James, with phenomenal passing, rebounding, and shooting. Shame his FT shooting is so bad. Redick is a legit threat from three. Embiid may not have made significant stat grades from 16-17, but he improves enough that he and Malone will make a formidable C tandem. Saric gives the Sixers some range at PF. This team got much better.
Portland Trailblazers –
Added: Jusuf Nurkic
Cut: Noah Vonleh
Analysis: Don’t tell the alumni club, but I had to cut a Hoosier. Vonleh was really here because of our mutual ties to Bloomington, but Nurkic is better at every facet at PF.
Kansas City Kings –
Added: Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield
Cut: Willie Cauley-Stein (16-17), Buddy Hield (16-17)
Analysis: Even minor upgrades are still upgrades. The surprisingly decent Kings get a littler better.
New Orleans Jazz
Added: Joe Ingles, Donovan Mitchell
Cut: Nate Williams, James McElroy
Analysis: Mitchell is a nice boost, though his card pales compared to Ben Simmons. Ingles is a nice all-around player with good shooting and nice defense and rebounding for a guard. With Williams and McElroy gone, only two actual New Orleans players remain (Haywood and Maravich).
Charlotte Hornets –
Added: Cody Zeller, Dwight Howard
Cut: Cody Zeller (15-16), Jeremy Lin
Analysis: With a backlog of guards, Lin was expendable to add in Howard, who always looks better than he really is in Statis Pro.
LA Lakers –
Added: Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle
Cut: Adrian Dantley, Julius Randle (16-17)
Analysis: Lonzo Ball wasn’t good enough to pass Sedale Threat at PG, let alone Magic or Jerry West. The best Laker was Ingram, who will be a poor man’s Worthy in the rotation. Randle gets a little better and may see some time relieving Gasol at PF.
Denver Nuggets –
Added: Jamal Murray
Cut: Emmanuel Mudiay
Analysis: The Nuggets were so bad at defense, that most of their guys were plus fives. This meant they needed to be significant upgrades to deserve a spot. Only Murray is worth it to replace the poor shooting Mudiay who didn’t do much else so well as to keep him around. Both Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic have better cards already on the team.
Kentucky Colonels (Timberwolves) –
Added: Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler
Cut: Ricky Rubio, Karl-Anthony Towns (16-17)
Analysis: Towns get a bit better, but Butler is a huge upgrade to the guard position for Kentucky, an area where they’ve been suffering.
Dallas Mavericks –
Analysis: Not a great year in big D.
New York Knicks –
Added: Enes Kanter
Cut: Marvin Webster
Analysis: Kanter brings solid rebounding and scoring to the post in a backup role. Probably the best you can hope for from a 29 win team.
Buffalo Braves (Clippers) –
Added: Lou Williams
Analysis: Yes, I am breaking my own rule, but I didn’t want to cut the next one on the list (Ernie DiGregorio) because I liked his story or the next one (Corey Maggette) since he had gone 9 for 11 in his only game and deserved more time. I’ll justify it two ways. One, the Clippers have a smaller roster than most, and, two, Williams isn’t liable to see a lot of time anyway. Williams joins a long list of horrible defending subpar shooting guards for Buffalo.
Golden St. Warriors –
Analysis: The Warriors already have wickedly great firepower, so the league sighs in relief that none of the big three have improved from previous years. If the Warriors have a weakness, it’s at C where they are pretty thin. Imagine this team if Boogie Cousins comes back to full strength. Better get some games in between now and then!
San Antonio Spurs –
Added: Paul Gasol
Cut: Boris Diaw
Analysis: With Leonard out most of the year, I was curious if the role players would have made jumps worthy of adding them to the team. Surprisingly, only Gasol looked intriguing, whose defense and rebounding make him an upgrade from Diaw.
There we have it. Some nice additions for some teams. I think the following ones benefited the most:
- San Diego
Excited to see how this translates to games.