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Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

Offseason grades for all 30 NBA teams (30 items)

By Mitch Kunzler
For the Deseret News

Aug. 12, 2014

So far, the NBA offseason has been full of action with moves that will change the face of the league for this upcoming season. Not only were teams able to add some tremendous talent through the annual draft, but they have also had opportunities to improve through the addition of free agents.

This NBA summer has been flooded with moves, some of which have made changed teams better, others have made them worse. Here is a list of every NBA team's offseason grade based on moves they've made and the players they drafted.

1 of 30. Utah Jazz

The headline for the Jazz this offseason has been the polarizing contract of Gordon Hayward. Utah signed Hayward to a max-deal four-year, $63 million contract. Some view the contract as a deal the Jazz had to make, while others think that letting him walk would've been best.

The fact of the matter is that Deng, Stephenson and Ariza were all on the market the same time as Hayward, but all signed for less money. Hayward certainly isn't the best of the four players, and it is clear that he was overpaid, but the Jazz saw it fit to keep him.

Under new head coach Quin Snyder, defense will be a priority, and that is something Hayward can complement now. Hayward is also familiar with the roster and he can perhaps have a breakout season under Snyder's new system.

Where the Jazz really were impressive this offseason was in the draft. When considering what Utah did with the picks it had (fifth and 23rd overall), the Jazz may have had the best draft in the league.

With the fifth overall pick, the Jazz drafted Dante Exum, a 6-6 guard who many thought would be a top-three pick. Exum is gifted with size, quickness and court vision. He is an excellent passer, who is full of potential. He could be a superstar in the making, and for Utah, that is something to be extremely excited about.

With the 23rd overall pick, the Jazz drafted Rodney Hood, a sharpshooter who played alongside Parker at Duke. Hood proved in the summer league that he can be a deadly three-point shooter, and if he can remain consistent, he could see solid minutes this season.

The Jazz lost Williams, Rush and Jefferson, but signed Trevor Booker (two years, $9.7 million) and Steve Novak to replace what they had lost.

Overall, the Jazz ended up overpaying for Hayward and Booker, but they also added two great pieces through the draft. Utah has a young team with a ton to look forward to, but as far as improvement goes, the Jazz still have a long way to go.

Grade: C

2 of 30. Atlanta Hawks

This offseason Atlanta added Michigan State's Adreian Payne, a forward who shows loads of promise, in the draft. He'll be able to learn from Paul Millsap and Al Horford and can hopefully play a Taj Gibson-type role for the Hawks off the bench this upcoming season.

The Hawks lost Lou Williams, a player that gave them life off the bench at times, but they also signed defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha to a three-year deal. They also signed a small deal with Kent Bazemore, a young player who showed signs of promise in Los Angeles this past season.

The Hawks have a solid core in Jeff Teague, Millsap, Horford, and they certainly made some moves to shake things up a little bit, but nothing big enough to make them that much better.

Grade: C

3 of 30. Boston Celtics

The Celtics made noise this offseason with moves that certainly effect their team both now and for the future. First, they drafted explosive guard Marcus Smart with the sixth overall pick and James Young with the 17th pick. Second, they signed Evan Turner and traded for sharpshooter Marcus Thornton and Tyler Zeller.

Boston lost Kris Humphries and Jerryd Bayless, neither of whom should have a negative impact on the team.

The Celtics have an upcoming star in Smart, and if they decide that he is the point guard of the future then Rajon Rondo could be a valuable trade asset. Whether Rondo is dealt or not, the Celtics have had a decent offseason and their additions will fit nicely with Rondo, Bradley and Jeff Green.

Grade: B-

4 of 30. Brooklyn Nets

The Nets have been a disaster this offseason and it's been a really pity to watch.

While they added Jarrett Jack, a solid guard, they also added Bojan Bogdanovic and Sergey Karasev, neither of whom will likely make any positive impact this season.

Brooklyn lost Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston and Marcus Thornton, all of whom saw regular playing time last season. They also lost their coach Jason Kidd, who has been replaced by Lionel Hollins.

In short, Brooklyn got worse this offseason. Add its disappointing summer to the fact that it has a new coach, an injury-plagued Deron Williams and an ancient Kevin Garnett, this season looks like a nightmare for the Nets.

Grade: D

5 of 30. Charlotte Hornets

While the Nets had one of the worst offseasons, the Hornets had just the opposite. Charlotte stole Noah Vonleh with the ninth overall pick in the draft. He was a player many predicted would go in the top five. They signed rising star Lance Stephenson to a three-year deal. He could very well have a monster season statistically.

The Hornets also added Marvin Williams, a forward who came on strong for the Utah Jazz at the end of last season, as well as PJ Hairston in the draft. Their only loss that might hurt them is that of Josh McRoberts, but Charlotte is optimistic that its added talent can fill the void.

With the significant improvements Charlotte made this offseason, and its core of Al Jefferson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker, the Hornets are likely to move up in the standings from where they were last season.

Grade: A

1. Ben H
Clearfield, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

Am I the only one disappointed with the way the Jazz took care of business in the off-season. I expect the final result will be just as poor, if not worse than last season. They failed to acquire the player who can make that immediate positive impact.

2. Man in Charge
Chihuahua, 00,
Aug. 12, 2014

Ben H

I'm pretty sure Lebron was waiting by his phone for Dennis Lindsey to call him. The Jazz can't get the free agents you want because they are a rebuilding team.

3. Tajemnica
Santa Monica, CA,
Aug. 12, 2014

@Man in Charge

Being a rebuilding team has nothing to do with why the Jazz couldn't sign Lebron. That would be the perfect time to sign a superstar as many other decent players would be likely to follow. Cleveland was a rebuilding team until he signed with them and they have been for the last few years. Now many predict them to win the championship. The Jazz don't have the resources or popularity to sign a superstar like James. They do not have enough money as he would take up most of it. They do not play in a large enough market. There are no connections that James has to Utah like he does Ohio and they simply aren't a popular enough team. How many fans of the Jazz are there outside of Utah and Idaho? Not many. (and most of those who are have significant ties to Utah.)

4. Tajemnica
Santa Monica, CA,
Aug. 12, 2014

The only way the Jazz will land a mega superstar is to sign them before they are a star or draft and develop them from the beginning. See: John Stockton/Karl Malone.

5. TerryHaimes
Sturgis, MS,
Aug. 12, 2014

I give the Jazz an A. Baring injury they will win this year. I will know not to read anything by Kunzler after this.