5. The Grizzlies lead the league in characters.
By adding Lance Stephenson, Chris Andersen, and PJ Hairston to a group that already includes Tony Allen, Matt Barnes and Mario Chalmers, the Grizzlies have a collection of characters the NBA hasn’t seen since the Trail Blazers of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.
4. The Wizards and Clippers were deadline winners.
Washington has been weird at the 4 all season, but that problem is solved with Markieff Morris, who would be perceived as a savior if he helps the Wizards get above the playoff line.
Going from Lance to Jeff Green adds versatility, productivity, and stability to a Clippers team that needed the upgrade. Green figures to start at power forward until Blake Griffin returns, and helps them match up with the Power 3 in the West.
3. Detroit is hellbent on winning NOW.
Stan Van Gundy is pushing all his chips into the middle of the table, and if his Pistons make the playoffs, he will be a candidate for Executive of the Year. Detroit started the week by acquiring Tobias Harris and ended it by picking up Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton. The Pistons are talented and deep and their time is now… or at least it better be, for Stan Van’s sake.
2. Dwight Howard’s stock has plummeted.
I fondly remember an NBA when a talented center became available, teams rushed to trade for him. Oh wait, that league still exists, but no one wants to deal with Dwight’s drama. Alas, he remains a possibility for the Hawks… if Al Horford bolts… and if Dwight opts out of his contract… and if… and if…
1. Hawks didn’t get the proverbial “offer they couldn’t refuse”.
Based on the reports and rumors and such, the Hawks were, at least, fielding offers for Al Horford and Jeff Teague, if not shopping them. So the fact they swapped Shelvin Mack for Kirk Hinrich tells me that no one bowled over Coach Bud with an improvement package.
Since essentially the same core that went to the Eastern Finals is back for the stretch run, my expectations are for the Hawks to get back there. The keys to that happen are chemistry and consistency.
Plus, I would recommend revisiting the idea of Teague/Schroder playing together to maximize their minutes. Most teams in the league do it, I don’t know why the Hawks are so different. To me, Teague and Schroder should be averaging 55-65 total minutes per game.