With the NBA free agency pretty much wrapped up, it’s time to start speculating on the latest signings and who has improved their roster the most. We’ll be counting down the ten free agency signings that should make the biggest impacts.
10. Bismack Biyombo- Orlando Magic
Biyombo showed flashes of a Dennis Rodman, a player who knew his role (rebounding). At the age of only 23 (24 by the time the season comes around), Bismack Biyombo has the chance to make an impact on a young Magic side. With scorers in Fournier, Gordon and Payton, and a shot blocker in Ibaka, adding a rebounder allows the Magic to have a wide mix and youth provides a dangerous future for the Magic. If Frank Vogel can help turn Biyombo into a defensive presence, this deal will be a great pick-up for the Magic.
9. Jeremy Lin- Brooklyn Nets
While Jeremy Lin is not the best player on the list, for the Brooklyn Nets, he was valuable. The Nets are in trouble. Real trouble. They have no draft picks, Lopez is aging and they have no great players. As such, a younger player like Jeremy Lin who has shown flashes of All-Star level play, is what the Nets need. This signing gives Lin a set starting position, and gives the Nets a player who can be good if used right.
8. Dwight Howard- Atlanta Hawks
Now, you may not like Dwight Howard, and though he isn’t the “Magic” Dwight Howard, he’s still a top 10 centre in the NBA. Sure he has a weak post game and disrupts team chemistry, but with the Hawks losing Horford, they needed a centre, and Dwight Howard was their man.
7. Al Jefferson- Indiana Pacers
Much like Jeremy Lin, while Jefferson may not be the best player on this list, his signing with the Pacers is beneficial for the team. Jefferson averaged 12.8 points and 6.4 rebounds, and helped the Hornets finish 6th in the east. This signing also helps take pressure off the rookie Myles Turner and gives the Pacers another option. Combine this with the addition of Thadeus Young and Jeff Teague, the Pacers have built a dark-horse team.
6. Luol Deng- Los Angeles Lakers
Let’s face it…the Lakers need all the help they can get. After over-paying on Mozgov, the Lakers also picked up small-forward Luol Deng from the Heat. While Deng’s best days may be behind him, his veteran experience will be helpful, and having a player of his calibre may not turn the Lakers into contenders, it certainly will help the team develop their young players.
5. Chandler Parsons- Memphis Grizzlies
A team like the Memphis Grizzlies always seem to find themselves in a position where they’re good enough to be in the playoffs, but never enough to make an impact. In the last 3 playoffs they’ve been swept by the Spurs in the first round, lost to the Warriors in the semi-finals, and lost in a 7-game series to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Adding a talent like Parsons allows the Grizzlies to take the pressure off of Conley (let’s try to forget the contract), and Marc Gasol. Under a new coach, the Grizzlies could push for a middle-of-the-pack finish.
4. Pau Gasol- San Antonio Spurs
This signing was a little luck. The Spurs didn’t know that Tim Duncan was going to announce his retirement. Thankfully, the Spurs signed Spanish forward Pau Gasol. In fact, it may be better for the Spurs. Last year, Duncan averaged 8.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 1.3 BPG. Meanwhile, Gasol averaged 16.5 PPG, 11 RPG and Gasol also finished 5th in league leaders for blocks. So while a legend is leaving, their latest addition is stat wise, better for the team. This gives another scoring option for the Spurs as well as another defensive pressure to pair with Leonard.
3. Dwayne Wade- Chicago Bulls
It was the NBA divorce that tore the veteran Dwayne Wade from the only team he had ever played for. With Pat Riley not budging on the contract offer, Wade decided it was time to leave. For the Bulls, picking up Dwayne Wade was the fast-forward on the rebuilding process. With the Bulls missing out on the playoffs, they were expected to hit the rebuild button. However, with the acquisition of not only Dwayne Wade but passer Rajon Rondo, along with a promising Denzel Valentine, the Bulls may not be out of the playoffs yet.
2. Kevin Durant- Golden State Warriors
You were expecting him at number 1, weren’t you? Well, despite the super team that the Warriors have built, adding another scorer asks questions. Who will miss out? Thompson? Green? CURRY?! Not only this, but with a significant portion of their bench replaced, chemistry will be interesting. Still, the Warriors are still the favourites and will be a force in the entire NBA.
1. Al Horford- Boston Celtics
And at number 1 we have the veteran center. Al Horford decided to leave the only team he had ever played for, signing with the Boston Celtics. As far as signings go, Al Horford to the Celtics is the most impactful. With a young core of players such as Jaylen Brown, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynk, as well as Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas, adding Horford will give Boston the front-court presence they need. Without a big 3, the Celtics finished 5th. Adding a superstar like Al Horford should push the Celtics to being a favourite in the east.
So who do you think was the most impactful signings in the off-season? Tell us below.