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NBA Offseason: Which Team Made the Best Move?
A trio of big-time moves have dominated the start of NBA free agency, and a couple of the biggest moves came via trades. Chris Paul moved from the LA Clippers to the Houston Rockets via trade, while the Indiana Pacers traded away Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In terms of free agency movement, the most meaningful non-Golden State Warriors related move came with Gordon Hayward opting to move to Boston and join the team that finished top of the Eastern Conference. But that the biggest more?
AccuScore simulated all 82 games of the 2017-18 NBA season using historical data with each of the city-changing player on his previous team and each player in the new city to quantify which of the three players had the greatest impact.
Chris Paul to Houston:
First of all, Paul is one of those special players that elevates his teams to elite status. Paul led the Clippers to 50 or more wins in every full season he played in LA, and his arrival at the Rockets promises to have a positive impact. After simulating out the season before and after the Paul trade, AccuScore calculated that CP3 gives Houston between three and four extra wins for the 2017-18 season.
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Paul George to Oklahoma City:
George is considered an All-Star caliber talent that ranks as one the top 20 players in the league. After informing Indiana that he intended to move on, likely to the LA Lakers, when his contract expired in the summer of 2018, the Pacers found a trade partner in the Thunder. So what was the impact of the George trade?
According to AccuScore, George’s arrival next to Russell Westbrook pushes the Thunder to an extra four to five wins. Yes, George’s arrival in Oklahoma City has a greater impact that Paul’s arrival in Houston, and the computer goes so far as to say that Oklahoma City will push into the top four teams in the West, as the Clippers and Jazz have taken clear steps back during the offseason.
Gordon Hayward to Boston:
Interestingly, Hayward’s big move to Boston doesn’t appear to have any notable impact on the team’s win-loss record. Of course, Boston finished with the top record in the Eastern Conference in 2016-17, so one would imagine that the Celtics’ lack of notable improvement is a result of the Celtics already being a well-oiled machine.
George going to Oklahoma City is the more impactful of the three NBA offseason moves, while Hayward’s free agent exit to Boston appears to be the least impactful. Paul, though, is still worth nearly as many extra wins as George.