HowardWas it the Lakers, who kept Pau Gasol and acquired Dwight Howard? Was it the Nuggets, who improved defensively by acquiring Andre Iguodala? Was it the 76ers, who now have an elite center in Andrew Bynum? Or perhaps the Magic, who built for the future?
IS HOWARD AN UPGRADE OVER BYNUM?
Howard has a reputation as a defensive force. But Bynum actually allowed fewer points per post-up play than Howard last season. Howard held opponents to a lower field-goal percentage and forced turnovers more often but the difference came on fouls. Howard sent opponents to the free-throw line more than twice as often on post-up plays.
BynumBynum held the roll men on pick-and-roll plays to a lower field-goal percentage than Howard and sent his opponents to the free-throw line less often.
HOWARD WILL EXCEL WITH STEVE NASH
New LakerSteve Nash is one of the best pick-and-roll point guards in the NBA. Nobody had more pick-and-roll passes than Nash last season. Howard could take advantage of those situations more often playing alongside him. Last season, Howard ranked first in the NBA in points per play as the pick-and-roll roll man among the 75 players with at least 50 plays.
BYNUM IS HUGE UPGRADE FOR 76ers
Potential 76ers Starting Big Men
BYNUM WILL GET DOUBLE-TEAMED
Andrew Bynum Post-Up Plays Last Season
With Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol surrounding him, Bynum wasn’t double-teamed on every possession. But in Philadelphia, it might be a different story. Bynum turned the ball over nearly three times more often when he was double-teamed in the post last season, nearly once every four plays.
Bynum scored the fewest points per post-up play when double-teamed among the 31 players with at least 50 post-up plays last season. Only Kevin Durant turned the ball over more often on those plays.
NUGGETS IMPROVE DEFENSE
Notable Players Traded in 4-Team Trade
The Nuggets upgraded their defense by trading Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington and acquiring Iguodala. That was an area of need after allowing the 5th-most points per play in the NBA last season. Last season, 113 players defended at least 50 plays and Afflalo was the worst among them in terms of points per play allowed. Harrington ranked 54th. Iguodala ranked 10th, holding opponents to 37 percent shooting.
WHEN WILL THE MAGIC RECOVER?
This is only the fourth time since blocks became an official stat in 1973 that a player averaging at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks per game has changed teams after that season.
In 2004, the Lakers traded Shaquille O’Neal to the Heat. It took the Lakers four seasons to win a playoff series and get back to the NBA Finals. In 1996, Shaq left the Magic to sign with the Lakers. The Magic didn’t win another playoff series for 12 years. The Bucks traded Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers in 1975 after reaching the 1974 NBA Finals and haven’t returned to the Finals since.