Phil Graham has released his 2014-15 Statis Pro Basketball cards, and as you would expect, Golden St. is something to behold. Cleveland fans can also enjoy playing “what if” with a healthy Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
With the release of the cards, I will go through and upgrade or add players as needed for the replay. The first cut won’t happen for a several days, so there’s no limit yet. I also picked up the 1978-79 set to cover a gap I had of about 5 years in my replay.
Below are each time, their additions, and the impact on the team.
Upgrades: Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, John Drew, Dan Roundfield
New Additions: DeMarre Carroll, Armond Hill
Grade: A- The 2014-15 regular season was good to Atlanta. Players that’ll get minutes see significant upgrades. Korver hits 50% of the time on 6-three point attempts. Teague is all around better. The 1978-79 season also gives the Hawks a major upgrade at PF where Roundfield becomes more effective.
New Additions: Chris Ford, Isaiah Thomas
Grade: D- Not much here. Neither Ford nor Thomas are liable to make the final 15.
Upgrades: J.J. Redick, DeAndre Jordan
New Additions: Matt Barnes
Grade: C- Redick is a better shooter and not as big a liability on defense. Jordan improves an already imposing rebounding core. Barnes adds forward depth.
Upgrades: Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans
New Additions: Eric Gordon, Omer Asik
Grade: B The upgrades to Davis, Holiday, and Evans may be small but these are all guys that get major minutes for the Hornets so it’s a good tradeoff. Gordon and Asik add offensive and rebounding power respectively.
Upgrades: Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol
New Additions: Reggie Theus
Grade: B Gasol and Butler are great additions to the rotation. This team has struggled early, but these two will surely help.
Upgrades: Austin Carr, Tristan Thompson
New Additions: Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith
Grade: B Love is an instant boost to the offense and the subtle upgrade in Thompson will pay some dividends. Smith’s three point shooting got him on the team while Carr, here mostly for his meaning to the franchise, received enough of an upgrade to warrant at least a look for the rotation.
New Additions: Tyson Chandler, Chandler Parsons
Grade: C+ Chandler helps one of the league’s weakest front courts. Parsons is yet another underpowered small forward in the rotation. At least he can shoot.
Upgrades: Bobby Wilkerson
New Additons: Tom Boswell, George McGinnis
Grade: C- McGinnis is a nice addition, but Wilkerson and Boswell are low level rotation guys. Today’s Nuggets were not worth a consideration.
New Additions: M.L. Carr, Leon Douglas, Reggie Jackson, Brandon Jennings
Grade: C Carr and Douglas are nice addition but go into a crowded rotation. Jackson and Jennings are help but the backcourt quality is still subpar.
Golden St. Warriors
Upgrades: Phil Smith, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson
New Additions: John Lucas, Sonny Parker, Clifford Ray, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green
Grade: A Curry and Thompson get the shooting upgrades you’d expect, but Curry is better in every statistical category. Thompson received a major shooting upgrade. Even the 1978-79 Warriors added some significant depth. Lots of help coming for the currently struggling Warriors.
Upgrades: Moses Malone
New Additions: Trevor Ariza
Grade: A- Despite the fact that James Harden’s great season didn’t equate to a better card, the Rockets get a fine grade off the power of Moses Malone’s upgrade alone. He suddenly becomes a scorer, as 1978-79 was the beginning of some very powerful Malone years. One of the league’s scariest front courts just got scarier.
Upgrades: George Hill
New Additions: Johnny Davis, James Edwards, Alex English, Ricky Sobers, C.J. Watson
Grade: B The Pacers got help where they needed it the most. Hill’s solid, albeit shortened, season gave him a significant upgrade. Sobers and Davis give the Pacers must needed guard depth.
Kansas City Kings
New Additions: Bill Robinzine, Darren Collison, Rudy Gay
Grade: D+ Not a lot to get excited about here, but some nice rotational guys.
New Additions: Kevin Martin, Andrew Wiggins
Grade: D Wiggins’ can’t shoot but plays decent defense and rebound. Martin can shoot threes but can’t play defense. Oh well…
Upgrades: Norm Nixon
New Additions: Adrian Dantley
Grade: D+ If it weren’t for Magic, Norm Nixon would be a great starter. As it is, the additions will see minimal but valuable minutes. The current Lakers were too horrible to include anything.
Upgrades: Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph
New Additions: Jeff Green
Grade: B- Allen is a nice upgrade due to his top defensive stats. Gasol and Randolph both improve slightly offensively, Gasol is still a rebounding nightmare. Green adds a solid offensive punch.
New Additions: Luol Deng, Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside
Grade: C+ Nothing too significant, but all three are liable to get some rotation time and provide some support.
Upgrade: Giannis Antetokounmpo
New Additions: Ernie Grunfeld, George Johnson, Michael Carter-Williams, Jabari Parker
Grade: C+ The Greek Freak is a huge matchup problem at guard. He can rebound, defend, and although he can’t shoot a ton, he does it well when he can. The other three add depth to the Bucks weakest area, the back court. Johnson is a defensive pro.
New Jersey Nets
Upgrades: Brook Lopez
New Additions: John Williamson, George Johnson, Bernard King
Grade: C King is a nice backup to Erving, Johnson is a rebounding and defensive force. The others are marginal additions.
New Orleans Jazz
Upgrades: Gordon Hayward
New Additions: James McElroy, Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Spencer Haywood, Trey Burke
Grade: B+ The Jazz definitely needed help for Karl Malone. Hayward goes from 12th man to instant rotation fixture with his all around upgrade. The additions may not be starter material, but many are sure to help improve the Jazz’s current play.
New York Knicks
Upgrades: Toby Knight
New Additions: Marvin Webster
Grade: F Webster is an okay front line guy and the only thing about Knight’s upgrade is that Carmelo Anthony may never see time on the floor now.
Upgrades: Darryl Dawkins, Caldwell Jones
New Additions: Eric Money, Tony Wroten
Grade: B- This grade comes from the nice upgrades of Chocolate Thunder and Jones. The 76ers are great, but really only go 6 deep. This upgrades gives them needed front court depth. Wroten and Money can at least provide some minutes in the back court.
Upgrades: Alvan Adams, Truck Robinson, Eric Bledsoe
New Additions: Markieff Morris
Grade: C+ Adams and Robinson are nice upgrades to a weak front court. Bledsoe is solid but part of a crowded point guard group.
Upgrades: Tom Owens, LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews
New Additions: Lionel Hollins
Grade: B Owens will demand time on the floor with his shooting and defense but Alridge will keep his starting spot with solid scoring/rebounding. Matthews becomes a great backup to Drexler and Lillard is much more effective. Hollins adds point guard depth.
San Antonio Spurs
Upgrades: Kawhi Leonard
Grade: C The Spurs basically had the best versions of all their greats, but the Leonard upgrade is nice. Much more stamina means he’s not just a quarter or half player now. Better rebounding, defense, and steal rates mean he’s an all around force on what may be the league’s best team.
San Diego Conquistadors
Upgrades: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
New Additions: Cody Zeller
Grade: F Hard to get much help from a 33-49 team. Kidd-Gilchrist might see some minutes, but Zeller is only here because of his (and my) alma mater. He’s not liable to see anytime.
Upgrades: Russell Westbrook
New Additions: Tom LaGarde, Enes Kanter
Grade: C You’d think the 78-79 champions would add more than a backup center, but all the stars from that team had better individual seasons elsewhere. However, Westbrook’s monster season to try to carry the Thunder to the playoffs results in a monster card. It’s a huge upgrade. Kanter also is a surprisingly effective center rotational guy.
Spirits of St. Louis
Upgrades: Victor Oladipo
New Additions: Tobias Harris
Grade C- Unlike Zeller, Oladipo is not here just because of his alma mater. Instead, he has a pretty good overall card for an off-guard. Harris is a solid scorer, though a defensive liability.
Upgrades: Jonas Valaciunas
Grade: D- At least their lone upgrade was in a position of need.
Upgrades: Mitch Kupchak, John Wall, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat
New Additions: Bob Danridge, Paul Pierce
Grade: A- Much like Seattle, the Bullets gained more from the current squad than the one that lost the 78-79 Finals. The back court gets a much needed upgrade, and the front court depth is bolstered. A nice boost to to the struggling Bullets.