Trade Deadline Deals Make Western Confrence Opponents Tougher

Posted on March 27, 2015

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8122231_origBy Cameron Andrew

This year’s trade deadline saw 37 players move, and multiple high-valued picks changed organizations as teams either continued to build their teams with the future in mind or looked to push for a long playoff run. While our favorite Grizzlies stayed quiet, several Western Conference playoff teams made moves that could shake up the standings heading into the postseason.

Lets take a look at a couple possible first round match ups for the Grizz and the moves they made;

1. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder made a nice push right before the All-Star break to grab the 8th seed in the playoff picture. With Westbrook playing at an MVP level and the reigning MVP looking like his old self after injury (although Durant is currently sidelined again with foot issues), the Thunder began to look like a very scary 7th or 8th seed.

OKC was in desperate need of frontcourt help, especially with Steven Adam’s hand injury that could see him sidelined for a while. The team went out and snagged both Enes Kanter and Steve Novak from the Jazz in a three-team deal. In addition, OKC also received D.J. Augustin and Kyle Singler from the Pistons.

Kanter and Augustin are the weightiest pieces of this trade as they fill immediate voids for the Thunder. In his first two games with the team since the trade, Kanter has recorded a double-double in both games, is averaging 15.0 PPG and 12.5 RPG, and seems to be a great fit for OKC.

Augustin is expected to team up with Dion Waiters to fill the void that has resulted from Jackson’s departure. In his last three games with Detroit before the trade, Augustin scored 20,18, and 22. While his minutes have been down since the trade, the Thunder still hope that he can continue this high-scoring level as he learns how to fit into the offense.

The Thunder also might have acquired assets to make them an even better team. After last year’s depressing collapse against OKC in the playoffs by the Grizz, I’d hate to run into them again…just as they are figuring it all out.

2. Portland Trailblazers
Sitting at 4th in the West, the Blazers needed a little help off the bench to become a true contender for a NBA Finals appearance. They may have just found that in player Arron Afflalo.

Portland’s bench is currently second to last in the NBA in scoring at 25.7 PPG, obviously in desperate need of someone who can score coming off the pine. While Afflalo will not blow anyone away or light up the scoreboard on a nightly basis, he will provide consistent two-way plays. If he can near is careering average of 11.5 PPG, he will be a huge asset as a 6th man for the Blazers. During most of the season, the Blazer’s have been searching for a consistent 6th man, and this roll has bounced between an number of players such as Steve Blake, Dorell Wright, and Chris Kaman. Portland now hopes Afflalo will be the final piece of their puzzle. With the 4th best defense in the league, adding other 11.5 PPG to their bench could push them to next level.

3. Dallas Mavericks
While the Mavs did not actually make a move at the deadline, they did add Amar’e Stoudemire to the roster after he was bought out by the Knicks and became a free agent.

Since the trade that brought Rajon Rondo to Dallas, the Mavs have been searching for a replacement for Brendan Wright who was a huge part of their offense when Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis were off the floor. In his first game with Dallas, it looks as if Stoudemire may be the perfect fit. He added 14 points in only 11 minuets on the floor and provided that spark off the bench the Mavs had been missing.

As his minuets increase and he learns how to play with his new teammates, Stoudemire could flourish with the Mavs, who seem to have the secret formula to revitalizing veteran players careers. It is scary to think that one of the best offenses in the NBA may have just got even better.

If the playoffs started today, the Grizz would face the San Antonio Spurs. However, I’m expecting a lot more movement as the intensity ramps up and teams look to snag home court advantage in the first round. With Portland at 4, Dallas at 5, and OKC at 8, any of these teams could end up in the Fedex Forum come April 19. No matter who it ends up being, we are sure in for a show.

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Posted in: Grizzlies, Sports