NBA Central: Recapping the offseason moves


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Like puberty, the offseason can be a scary time. Things are changing, the playoff picture is getting hairier, and you’re feeling a little bit differently about certain teams than you used to.

But before you go asking your health teacher what a Bebe Nogieura looks like, we’re here to answer all of your questions.

Do the additions of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings make Detroit a bona-fide playoff team?

We think it does. The Pistons dealt tweener guard Brandon Knight to Milwaukee in exchange for Jennings, who can provide a scoring punch at the point. Jennings is known as a shoot-first point guard, but he almost had to be with the lack of offensive talent surrounding him with the Bucks. Now, he will get the chance to facilitate in Detroit, and should prove to be a big upgrade over Knight. The Pistons have a ton of big men who can rebound, so Jennings’ shot selection may not be as big of a problem as it was in Milwaukee.

The big issue for the Pistons next season is going to be where Josh Smith will play. Detroit’s big free agent signing is a more natural fit at power forward, but the Pistons are already loaded with big men, with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond inside. If the Pistons decide to play Smith at small forward, there’s a chance he’s going to start chucking up threes like Costanza in that Seinfeld episode. (He’s a “chucker.”) It’s going to be interesting to see where Maurice Cheeks will play him in this lineup.



What should the Pacers do with Danny Granger?

The emergence of Paul George last season effectively rendered Danny Granger’s role with the Pacers extinct. The two players are incredibly similar and are almost too unselfish to play together. (You can just picture George and Granger deferring to each other like LeBron and Wade early in their careers together). George has proven himself to be the bigger alpha-dog, and the Pacers should follow his lead.

Granger could fall back on more of a shooter’s role, but that’s not really his game and could end up having a negative affect on the team. The only real option that makes sense for Indiana is to trade Granger, ideally for a solid point guard who can facilitate and score when necessary.

Does the addition of Luis Scola make the Pacers better than the Heat?

Not on its own it doesn’t, but it will add a high-low wrinkle to the Pacers’ offense that could end up being deadly. Scola is a terrific shooter and solid rebounder, and he’s a good playmaker for a big man. Indiana would do well to give him the ball at the top of the key and open up Hibbert down low for some easy buckets. Throw in David West as a secondary option or corner jump shooter, and the Pacers have a terrific offensive set option.

If Indiana is going to overcome Miami, Paul George is going to have to take over in games. The Spurs and Pacers weren’t that different on paper last season, with the only difference being that San Antonio had legends like Tony Parker and Tim Duncan who knew how to close out games down the stretch. Indiana is going to have to get better at that in order to beat the Heat in the playoffs.

Would Pau Gasol make the Bulls a legitimate contender?

We think yes. The Gasol-to-the-Bulls rumors started because Chicago could potentially have an extra 2014 draft pick through a trade with the Bobcats (though it’s top-10 protected), and thus the necessary ammo to pull the trigger on a trade with the Lakers. It’s not likely that L.A. would dump Gasol for picks and an expiring contract or two, because the Lakers, like the Yankees, never consider themselves to be in rebuilding mode. But it might be the smart thing to do considering L.A. will have a ton of cap room opening up in 2014 and won’t get a healthy Kobe back anytime soon. Gasol could re-start his career in Chicago, and would be a nice addition alongside Noah and Boozer in that Chicago front court.

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