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The Western Conference At The Deadline

When the clock hit 3 PM EST on Thursday, basketball fans around the globe groaned as another NBA trade deadline passed without the epic blockbusters that fill the RealGM Forums. Although the deadline lacked a true blockbuster, the trades that were made (and the ones that were left on the table) will undoubtedly shift the landscape of the Western Conference playoff picture and possibly the team that will be facing the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers in the NBA Finals (It’s a lock, nobody is seriously questioning it).

The four most notable trades in the West came from the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers.

The Warriors, who picked up Steve Blake from the Los Angeles Lakers, will look for him to provide the steady hand off the bench that they have been pursuing since Jarrett Jack left in the offseason. Blake’s addition isn’t going to drastically improve the team, but he is able to give the team quality backup point guard minutes behind Stephen Curry, given Jordan Crawford’s inability to play without Brad Stevens as his coach.

The Rockets moved little used backup point guard, Aaron Brooks, to the Denver Nuggets for Jordan Hamilton. After refusing to lower their insane asking price on Omer Asik, the Rockets decided to fill their lack of a stretch four with Hamilton. Despite Hamilton blatantly not being a power forward or an elite shooter (39 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3), the Rockets apparently believe he can become one when freed up as Dwight Howard draws attention in the post. The more important aspect to this trade is that it likely allows the Rockets to call-up D-League star, Isaiah Canaan.

The Spurs traded little used point guard Nando de Colo for Austin Daye. In one of the day’s most intriguing moves, the Spurs took on another reclamation project in the form of a 6’11 shooter who was once a top prospect coming out of high school. While Daye has struggled to earn minutes outside of his second season in the NBA (when he shot 40 percent from 3), he has tremendous length, can guard multiple positions, and San Antonio has shown interest in him. If that isn’t a sign of someone that will be playing meaningful playoff minutes in May, I am not sure what is.

The last deals of any consequence in the West were by the Clippers. They traded both Antawn Jamison and BJ Mullens for the rights to a Turkish player that probably is unaware he was traded, and a conditional second round draft pick that will likely never happen. These deals, while not interesting beyond the salary implications for the Clippers, do allow open roster spots on the team for buyout candidates. Look for Glen “Big Baby” Davis to join his old coach, Doc Rivers.

While each team above made a move – albeit small – at the trade deadline, the other five teams in contention, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies all stood pat.

Although several teams are in desperate need of a big man (OKC, PDX, PHX), no one budged on Philly’s offer of two second round draft picks for Spencer Hawes.

Portland, who is without a second round draft pick until 2019, had a tremendous need for Hawes with Joel Freeland out for two months and LaMarcus Aldridge banged up.

The Thunder flirted with a deal for Knicks embattled shooting guard, Iman Shumpert, but backed off at the last moment.

As for the remaining needs, the slew of veterans that will likely be bought out this upcoming week will have to suffice. Fortunately for these teams, Glen Davis, Caron Butler, Danny Granger, Jason Terry, Emeka Okafor, Chris Kaman, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Antawn Jamison are all buyout candidates.

Many NBA teams believe it is better to trade during the offseason so that players can get familiar with a system and their teammates, while others utilize the short second half of the season as a tryout for recently acquired players to see if they’re long-term fits. It appears that teams trading in the offseason are better off. For any fan grumbling over their team not making a blockbuster yesterday, here’s a stat you need to know: one; as in the number of Championship teams during the last 25 years to trade for a starter at the trade deadline (Rasheed Wallace to the Pistons in 2004). So while fans of the Rockets clamored for Rajon Rondo and Warriors' fans hoped for Kevin Love, just know that the odds of you winning the title with those guys was slim to none.

Happy Trade Deadline everyone! Only 124 more days until the NBA Draft!

30 Rapid-Fire Questions For Each Team's Front Office

The following 30 questions are the biggest issues facing each NBA front office as the 13-14 regular season begins.

Eastern Conference 

Atlanta Hawks: Are the Hawks going to try to bottom out and if not, what is their plan for the future?

Boston Celtics: What’s going to happen with Rajon Rondo's return from a torn ACL and how will the Celtics' front office go about their rebuilding process?

Brooklyn Nets: How will Jason Kidd lead a veteran roster filled with players he competed against for the last 15-20 years?

Charlotte Bobcats: Are Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller legitimate young players to build around?

Chicago Bulls: Do the Bulls need another source of offense to prevent defenses from dialing in on Derrick Rose?

Cleveland Cavaliers: Who will emerge as Kyrie Irving’s sidekick if Andrew Bynum doesn’t return to full health?

Detroit Pistons: Will the Pistons be able to manage a functional offense with three non-shooting big men?

Indiana Pacers: How will the Pacers divide playing time between Danny Granger and Lance Stephenson, and who will be more effective with the starting group?

Miami Heat: Will Shane Battier and Ray Allen be able to remain productive as the key three-point threats in the Heat offense?

Milwaukee Bucks: Can the Bucks trade some of their young promising players for an All-Star?

New York Knicks: Will Andrea Bargnani provide another element to an offense that became stagnant in the postseason?

Orlando Magic: Will the Magic be active in trying to trade some of its young pieces, or will they be patient and hope for another high lottery pick?

Philadelphia 76ers: To what lengths will the 76ers go to make sure they have the worst record in the league?

Toronto Raptors: When will the Raptors trade Rudy Gay and what will they get in return?

Washington Wizards: Do the Wizards need to add a frontcourt offensive threat in order to score consistently?

Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks: If it becomes clear that the Mavericks aren’t going to be a contender, what will they do about Dirk Nowitzki?

Denver Nuggets: What will the Nuggets do about the highly paid trio of Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee if they do not make the playoffs?

Golden State Warriors: Will Andre Iguodala hurt the Warriors’ three-point attack that was so vital to their success in the postseason?

Houston Rockets: Will the Rockets keep Omer Asik and have the best backup center in the league while experimenting with coexisting with Dwight Howard, or will they trade him to bolster their rotation elsewhere?

Los Angeles Clippers: Do the Clippers need to make a move for an effective third big man in order to become a legitimate contender?

Los Angeles Lakers: How angry will Kobe Bryant be if the Lakers find themselves on the verge of missing the playoffs?

Memphis Grizzlies: How will the Grizzlies maintain a good balance between shooting and perimeter defense at their wing positions?

Minnesota Timberwolves: Will Derrick Williams have an opportunity to live up to his potential as a former second overall pick despite not being an offensive priority?

New Orleans Pelicans: How will Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon mesh in the backcourt?

Oklahoma City Thunder: Who will emerge as the new third scoring option behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook?

Phoenix Suns: Is Eric Bledsoe capable of being the Suns’ point guard of the future?

Portland Trail Blazers: If the Trail Blazers struggle, will LaMarcus Aldridge’s name reemerge in trade rumors again?

Sacramento Kings: Is DeMarcus Cousins good enough for the Kings to put up with his immaturity?

San Antonio Spurs: Will Tiago Splitter develop enough to become a factor on both ends in the playoffs?

Utah Jazz: Will Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter work together in the frontcourt?

Top-10 Lottery Teams That Could Make The 2014 NBA Playoffs

Number 10 - Charlotte Bobcats

Three reasons why they'll make the playoffs

Kemba Walker -  I never really believed in Walker, but he picked up his game last year. Let's compare Walker's stats per 36 minutes stats with Damian Lillard's, both aged 22.

Walker  PPG - 18.3  APG - 5.9  STL - 2.0  TPG - 2.5  FG - 42%  FT - 80%

Lillard  PPG  -  17.8  APG - 6.0  STL - 0.8  TPG - 2.8  FG - 43%  FT - 84%

Pretty similar isn't it?  Any optimism felt by Portland fans over Damian Lillard should be equally felt by Charlotte fans.

Improved interior scoring - The Bobcats' frontcourt primarily comprised of BJ Mullens and Bismack Biyombo last season. Mullens made Andrea Bargnani look like a young - yet still assless - Moses Malone with the way he avoided the paint, while Biyombo's hands are made of bags of blood. Al Jefferson, despite his faults, is one of the three best post players in the league and will be a big help here.

The potential for a breakout - Nearly every core player on the Bobcats are trending upwards with their development.  Walker, Biyombo, Gerald Henderson, Jeff Taylor and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have a chance to break out, while Cody Zeller could be a rookie of the year candidate if EVERYTHING goes right.

Three reasons why they won't

One dimensional players -  Walker can score, but is too small to defend. Kidd-Gilchrist can defend, but can't shoot. Jefferson can score, but can't defend. Biyombo can defend, but can't score. The Bobcats need more all-around players.

Power Forward position - Every position outside of point guard has little depth, but their PFs are undersized and a defensive train catastrophe with only Zeller and Josh McRoberts,.

Sea Madness -  In 'Life of Pi', a man is stuck on a lifeboat with only a tiger and ensues unbearable mental torture. The man's experience is analogous to being a fan of the Charlotte Bobcats, but instead of a lifeboat there's the Time Warner Cable Arena and instead of being alone, there are eight or nine other people there. All are expressionless and devoid of hope. The culture of losing permeates out of this franchise.  How will it's players ever learn to win without ever winning?  Why even bother living?  How do they go on? 

Number 9 - Sacramento Kings

Three reasons why they'll make the playoffs

Coozins - I feel like DeMarcus Cousins is kind of his generation's Josh Smith in that people tend to overlook what he can do because he takes so many bad shots. His field goal percentage went up by 10 percent between the first two months of the season to the last two, from around 40 percent to a respectable 50. He owns the boards and offensively, he has the potential to be a cross between a bigger Zach Randolph and a smaller Shaquille O'Neal. That being said, his defense needs to improve a ton.

Increased stability -  With the Maloofs finally out of the NBA and the team's stay in Sacramento confirmed, a sense of stability might begin to settle. Although considering where the Kings were, stability wise, it would be like moving a house from on top of a volcano next to a Japanese nuclear power plant filled with bees.

Frontcourt depth -  You can argue that with DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, Patrick Patterson, Chuck Hayes and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (technically a 3, but with the skillset of a 4), the Kings actually have TOO much frontcourt depth. If the team starts off really strong, they could deal one or two of them for some backcourt help.

Three reasons why they won't

Chemistry -  You can lock that down as a fault for the Kings since the Webber era.

Lack of role players -  The addition of Mbah a Moute helps, but Cousins, John Salmons, Isaiah Thomas, Greivis Vasquez, Marcus Thornton and Ben McLemore like having the ball in their hands. 

Backcourt issues -  With Vasquez, the team finally has the pass-first point they've needed since they traded Mike Bibby. On the other hand, McLemore might not be ready to contribute quite yet, Thornton hasn't shown much since his days in New Orleans and Thomas is undersized. Jimmer Fredette is the NBA equivalent to Tim Tebow... except minus the height, running game and actual moments of professional success. Also, he's worse at his respective sport. Both are equally handsome and clean cut. Jimmer is a good first name, but Fredette does nothing for me while Tebow`s name is alliterative. Related, I'm easily the worst analyst here at RealGM. 

Number 8 - Washington Wizards

Three reasons why they'll make the playoffs

Being John Wall - Wall is about the same age as Wade when he became the Flash. Wall isn't as stocky or strong as Wade, but he's just as flashy. Their shots are both shaky, but if Wall can add some consistency he'd be hard to stop.

The Curious Case of Bradley Beal -  Beal's shooting percentages increased every month and he averaged out to nearly fifty percent from three over the final three months of the season. He developed a strange and wonderful chemistry with Wall upon his return from injury. 

Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball -  In Otto Porter Jr. and Martell Webster, the Wizards have two guys on the team who have the potential to be an above average SF. Webster doesn't really do anything really well except shoot and he scored a big contract this offseason because of it. Porter is one of the least exciting third overall picks ever. I was really torn whether to make this a positive or negative attribute.

Three reasons why they won't

Jan can't cook -  Jan Veseley has shown flashes in preseason, but him and Biyombo's general bustiness is one of the main reasons Giannis Antetokounmpto (I'm never writing that again) slipped so far in this year's draft.

Trusting Al Harrington - Al Harrington is still playing in the NBA. Al Harrington! The guy with the weird head! Remember when he came out of high school to play alongside Jermaine O'Neal in Indiana? No? You must be under 40. He's actually expected to be counted on a lot this season and it might be too much for the veteran. 

Number 7 - Dallas Mavericks

Three reasons why they'll make the playoffs

Disco is Back! - Dirk Nowitzki played in only 53 games last year, his lowest since his rookie season. If the former MVP plays his usual 70+, that alone should push the Mavericks into playoff contention.

One!  Last!  Run! -  Nowitzki, Vince Carter and Shawn 'Keanu Reeves' Marion were three of the coolest players of the late nineties. If they can pull it all together for one last run, this 'aging threesome' (don't Google that) could make some noise.

Odd Couple Backcourt! -  What do you get when you combine the most efficient guard in the NBA with the least efficient? I don't know! But it might be good! Free agent signees Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon combine the most polarizing duo in the NBA. If Ellis can reign in his chucking tendencies from playing with Jose, Dirk and Matrix, his signing might be a steal.

Three reasons why they won't

Matthau and Lemmon! -  You know what Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon never did as the Odd Couple? Learn karate. And just like the originals, this Dallas Odd Couple will have no defensive capabilities whatsoever.

Matthau and Lemmon, but taller! - Nowitzki wasn't a stopper in his prime, and with players zooming past Calderon and Ellis, the last thing this team needs is it's star in foul trouble.

The GHOSTS OF TYSON CHANDLER (and Matthau and Lemmon) -  Ever since letting Tyson Chandler leave as a free agent and sign with New York, the Mavericks haven't finished above .500. If you believe in karma - and what advanced statistician doesn't - then this team will be cursed again. 

Number 6 - Portland Trail Blazers

Three reasons why they'll make the playoffs

Added depth -  You have to admire an organization that sees a weakness and then goes out and addresses it. The Portland bench last year was a gong show and the team added solid bench guys Robin Lopez, Thomas Robinson, Dorell Wright and the crappiest All-Star of the last ten years, Mo Williams.

The cost of added depth -  The only two players of consequence they lost this offseason are Double J Hickson and Eric Maynor. What a deal!

Damian Lillard's potential improvement -  I'm not sure if it's because he plays for the Trail Blazers, but Lillard's game reminds me of Damon Stoudamire. Like Lillard, Stoudamire won the Rookie of the Year as an older rookie. Hopefully Lillard takes the next step, because 'Mighty Mouse' peaked early.

Three reasons why they won't

LaMarcus Aldridge -  Easily one of the top five power forwards in the league, the man drafted after Andrea Bargnani (Colangelo!) has been rumored to be unhappy with the situation in Portland. If the team starts off poorly he might check out. If Aldridge goes, the team goes with him.

Guard Depth -  The addition of Mo Williams helps a ton, but other than him, Wes Matthews and Lillard are kind of on an island.

Defense - As mentioned above, Lillard is a trainwreck defensively, Aldridge can be good but his concentration wavers. The upgrade from JJ Hickson to Robin Lopez should help. 

Number 5 - Cleveland Cavaliers

Three reasons why they'll make the playoffs

A young sexy backcourt full of sex and youth -  Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters form a tremendous scoring backcourt. Will they pass or play defense? As a fan of the Cavaliers you hope so, but, personally, as a fan of entertaining basketball, I really don't care. Go nuts, guys.

The signing of Andrew Bynum -  I was debating whether to make him a positive or negative. They gave up nothing to sign him and can release him. So clearly he's injury prone, but it's a no lose situation.  If he somehow does come back, the Cavs could advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Tristan Thompson -  Surprisingly nearly averaged a double double in his second season. Switched his free throw shooting hand recently which is... weird... for a player who averaged a double double in the best basketball league in the world. Even if his improvement mirrors that of someone quite underwhelming, say Ed Davis, we should see a substantial improvement this year. Also, I hope the Cavs somehow luck into the first pick of the draft again so they could potentially start an All-Canadian Frontcourt of Thompson, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins. Fun! Cold! Tuques!

Three reasons why they won't

Obamacare -  The three best players on the Cavaliers' roster are Irving, Bynum and Anderson Varejao. Irving missed most of his collegiate career with injury and has yet to play 60 games in a season, Bynum missed last year entirely and Varejao hasn't played more than 31 games since the 09-10 season.

That position that LeBron James used to play -  Alonzo Gee is the starting SF and is, at best, below average. Backing him up is Anthony Bennett. To talk some Bennett here for a second, the Cavaliers are playing it pretty smart by not publicly giving the first overall pick a lot of initial expectations or hype, but I just feel bad for the guy. Being picked number one, despite the abysmal quality of potential franchise players at the top of the draft, will inevitably bring high expectations no matter what the team proclaims. Just ask Andrea Bargnani. 

LeBron's coming next year! -  That's the hope and if he does, who would really care how they do this year? 

Number 4 - Minnesota Timberwolves

Three reasons why they'll make the playoffs

Love will keep us together -  When you have (arguably) one of the top ten players in the NBA, Kevin Love, returning to full health (arguably), that's got to help your chances (arguably).

Improved three point everything -  The Timberwolves had problems with both shooting three pointers and defending them last season. The returning Love and the recently signed Kevin Martin will address the former while the other free agent pickup Corey Brewer will take care of the latter.

Rubio!  Rubio!  Rubio! -  Rubio and Love played less than a half hour together last year, together they're not only incredibly productive, but also undeniably effective.

Three reasons why they won't

What do you want out of your frontcourt? -  How well will Love and Petrovic play together? They can grab the boards, but neither can provide a lot of interior protection. Luckily, Rubio and Brewer can provide elite perimeter D.

The heritage of Shabazz Muhammad -  I was a little worried by his assist numbers in college, 27 in 32 games, borderline frightened by his summer league statistics, 8 ppg, and not at all relieved by his bewildering statement of "I'm bringing heritage to this team and that's what I'm gonna do to help us win."

Mikhail Prokhorov's sinister Russian black magic -  Losing Andrei Kirilenko to the Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov's Nets hurts, but what hurts the most is that Kirilenko took a seven million dollar pay cut to do so. The Timberwolves then signed Chase Budinger to replace him, only to have Prokhorov break his knee, just because he could.

Number 3 -  Toronto Raptors

Three reasons why they'll make the playoffs

His name is Jonas! -  In the above video, please ignore the virginal qualities of Weezer standing above and realize that they had a point; it's time for Jonas Valanciunas to grab the wheel. If the Raptors are to make the playoffs, this year's Summer League MVP has to be the offensive and - more importantly - defensive anchor of a team that needs an efficient scorer and defensive stopper.

That sexy starting five! -  At plus 85, the starting five of Jonas, Amir Johnson, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry was the 12th best five-man lineup in the NBA last year. If all of these players are healthy for 70+ games, the Raptors should make the playoffs.

Rudy Gay gained 30 pounds of muscle! -  Rudy Gay got new eyes!  Rudy Gay is the new Inspector Gadget! Rudy Gay Rocket Shoes! This is a new Rudy Gay! - Rudy Gay!  Wait... Rudy Gay.  Rudy Gay?

Three reasons why they won't

Rudy Gay is the new Teddy Ruxbin -  In that he'll say a bunch of things, but at the end of the day you're just looking at an overpriced stuffed bear that's saying the same old shit off of a cassette.

Shot selection -  DeRozan and Gay both are both good at creating their own shot, however most of their shots are created in the mid range. Can the Raptors excel if so much of their offense comes from low percentage areas?

Point guard depth -  Lowry has injury issues and after that it's DJ "If I go back to Indiana, they'll burn down my house" Augustin and Dwight 'Hey, my last name is pronounced 'Bikes' Buycks. Gross! 

Number 2 -  Detroit Pistons

Three reasons why they'll make it

Size - Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith present the most intimidating front line in the NBA. Monroe may not block a lot of shots, but he can gobble the rebounds, while Smith and Drummond are two dynamic space gobblers.

They can run - Not a point that usually follows 'size', but with Drummond being a freak, Smith and Jennings running the point, this team has legs.

A chip on the shoulder - It wasn't too long ago that Brendan Jennings looked like a superstar point guard. Ok, maybe it was three years ago, but the guy still has the speed, lateral quickness and the ability to see the floor that seduced Joe Dumars into giving him a big deal this offseason. The last time Dumars signed a young point guard who fell from grace, he ended up with a Finals MVP. Will he be a Chauncey Billups or a Ben Gordon?

Three reasons why they won't

A terrifying lack of shooting  - If the team decides to start Rodney Stuckey at the two, then there isn't a single threat from long range in the starting five. They may have size, but it won't do them a lot of good is there's no room in the paint.

Guard depth  - Jennings is the only sure thing at the guard position and he takes as much off the table as he leaves on. It didn't look like Chauncey Billups had much left in the tank last season after coming back from tearing his Achilles. This might be parallel to when Scottie Pippen returned to the Bulls.

Super WaLuigi Bros?  - A Mario (Chalmers) and Luigi (Datome) doesn't make basketball sense, but it makes a lot of fun sense. Think of the marketing, the arena sound effects and the fact that (by NBA standards) Mario Chalmers is kinda short and fat. This backcourt is totally worth breaking up the defending champions.

Number 1 - New Orleans Pelicans

Three reason why they'll make it

Anthony Davis - This is, by far, the reason I'm so bullish on the Pelicans. He's been killing preseason so far and this could be the first year he shows off the Tim Duncan/Kevin Garnett hybrid comparisons that excited so many on draft night.

Playmaking/Shooting options - In Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon, the Pelicans will always have at least one player on the floor who's able to create with the ball in their hands. In Ryan Anderson, Anthony Morrow and Eric Gordon (again), the Hornets should be able to spread the floor.

Less Austin Rivers -  The additions of Holiday and Evans means less Austin Rivers, which is just great based on that rookie season.

Three reasons why they won't

Will this team pass, question mark - Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon are all more effective with the ball in their hands, and the time the ball is in their hands is time the ball is away from Anthony Davis.  Will chemistry issues bubble up?  Will there be Breaking Bad puns made throughout the year if they do?  I'd put money on the latter.

Big Man Depth - Past Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson there isn't a lot of big man depth.  Al-Farouq Aminu can play some four, but cannot dribble. Dribbling is important in the NBA.

Austin Rivers  - Austin Rivers was the worst player in the NBA last year. Less Rivers might be the Pelicans' best chance of sneaking into the 2014 NBA Playoffs.

- Matt McCready is a comedian who frequently performs sketch and improv throughout Toronto.  

Europe Interview: Petteri Koponen Of Finland

Right before the tip-off of EuroBasket 2013, Petteri Koponen talked with RealGM about Finish basketball, his NBA dream, first season with Khimki and much more.

30-Team Offseason Rundown

Great drafts for the Rockets, 76ers, Nets, Warriors, Hawks and Grizzlies headline this complete rundown of the 2013 offseason.

Shooting The Moon

Instead of trying to improve after winning a title, Dallas started shedding players and giving away draft picks. Mark Cuban wanted financial flexibility for the summer of 2012 when several superstars would become free agents. The best analogy for what happened comes from the game of hearts: Cuban tried to “shoot the moon” and missed.

2013 NBA Offseason Primer

With the 2013 NBA offseason underway, here is a primer on what all 30 teams are facing.

Leroux's 2013 NBA Draft Review

Breaking down all 30 teams by category of how they fared in the often surprising, never disappointing 2013 NBA Draft.

Public Service Announcement: First Round Picks On Non-NBA Contracts

The Mavericks can draft and stash a European prospect in order to have additional cap space this summer.

2013 NBA Amnesty Primer

One fun component of the Amnesty rule is that we know exactly which players are eligible for it and that number can only decrease over time since the players had to have been under contract with the same team before the new CBA.

The Lottery Lowdown

We have seen a whole lot of changes since the pre-Tournament issue of the Lottery Lowdown. March Madness gave us a few players to watch both this year and for 2014 while the Nike Hoop Summit and Combine helped clarify the picture in terms of athletic ability and positional versatility.

Vince Carter's Transformation

Vince Carter has gone from a superstar in Toronto, All-Star with the Nets, albatross contract withe Magic/Suns to an important role player with the Mavericks.

Dirk, Kobe Forestalling Decline

Not much has gone right for either the Lakers or Mavericks this season, but both remain worth watching, if only for the presence of Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant. Both players will hopefully continue adapting to playing at a near-MVP level in their thirties for many more seasons.

How Many Players Teams Acquire At Each Trade Deadline On Average

The Kings, Knicks, Rockets, Thunder and Cavaliers have been the most active teams at the deadline over the past decade, while the Spurs, Pistons, Heat, Lakers and Pacers have made the fewest deals.

YOLO Trades That Make Sense

Win-win trades that also make sense financially will become even more rare in the NBA's post-lockout era. Here are trades for the Lakers, Mavericks, Hawks, Blazers, Celtics, Nuggets and Spurs that make sense for all parties.

Darren Collison Has Lived This Show Before

Darren Collison has had just one consistent job over his four NBA seasons, and he continues to appear on the verge of a consistent breakdown if offered the right opportunity.

Leroux's 2012-13 NBA Tier Predcitions

While the drop-off from the Heat to the rest of the Eastern Conference is severe, the Lakers, Spurs and Thunder have quick company in the second and third tiers.

Wise End Of Bench Moves

This is the part of the offseason in which general managers fill out the very end of their roster. Would a name player at the very end of their career really make more sense than someone like Terrence Williams, DeAndre Liggins or Sundiata Gaines?

Leroux's 30-Team Offseason Review

The Nuggets, Lakers, Heat, 76ers and Nets were amongst the teams with great offseasons, while the Bucks, Magic, Suns, Knicks, Cavaliers and Bulls were in the bad column. Here's how all 30 teams have fared in the 2012 offseason.

Team-By-Team Gold Medal Winners

The Jazz and Thunder have had the most Gold Medalists since the USA began bringing NBA players in 1992, while Duke leads amongst colleges. How do the other 29 NBA teams rank?

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