Sunday, May 5, 2013

2012 Offseason winners: revisited


The Philadelphia 76ers never really had Andrew BynumThe Minnesota Timberwolves greatly missed Kevin Love, who broke his hand twice and was shut down

In my preview for the 2012-2013 NBA season, I discussed seven teams I believed had great offseasons and would make a leap from the year before. While I was right about some teams (Heat, Clippers, Nets, Warriors, Pacers), other selections crashed and burned or never even took off.

The Phildadelphia 76ers were 35-31 last year and took Boston to 7 games in the First Round of the playoffs, only to then add Andrew Bynum via trade. This is what I wrote:
Philadelphia shipped yet another A.I. to Denver and got rid of Elton Brand's albatross contract via the amnesty provision
The core of Jrue Holiday, Iguodala-successor slash former No. 2 overall pick Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes (re-signed), Thaddeus Young and playoff standout Lavoy Allen remains intact. 
All-Star center Andrew Bynum, the league's 1a or 1b pivotman, depending on who you ask, arrives via trade. He averaged 18.7 PPG and 11.8 RPG as a third option for the Lakers and he is playing for a new contract: be very afraid if his knees hold up. 
Marksmen Jason Richardson, Nick Young and Dorrell Wright all converted more than 100 long-range bombs in 2011-2012. They will allow Bynum to work in the paint. Royal Ivey can also stick a 3. 
Journeyman No. 1 overall pick Kwame Brown and No. 27 pick Arnett Moultrie add some size.
I expected Philadelphia to be a lite version of the Orlando Magic, but as you might have heard, Twinkle Toes Bynum missed the entire year. Add season-ending knee surgery for Jason Richardson and a myriad of injuries to key players, and you can tell why the 76ers never found consistency, stumbling to a 34-48 record and missing the playoffs.

The Minnesota Timberwolves finished with a 26-40 record in 2011-2012, but they traded potential for production and were a sure thing to notch a few more wins and perhaps even reach .500. This is what I wrote:

The Timberwolves parted ways with youngsters Michael Beasley (picked No. 2 in 2008) and Wesley Johnson (picked No. 4 in 2010) in favor of some more mature pieces. 
Olympian Kevin Love and Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio (who could return from knee surgery in December) are the team's go-to guys. Last year's No. 2 pick Derrick Williams, shooter Jose Juan Barea, Luke Ridnour, Malcolm Lee and breakout center Nikola Pekovic also remain on the roster.  
Do-it-all forward Andrei Kirilenko (and his CSKA Moscow team mate Sexy Alexey Shved) arrive from Europe. The Timberwolves also hope that three-time All-Star Brandon Roy can return to form. Workhorses Greg Stiemsma and Louis Amundson beef up the frontcourt. Chase Budinger and Dante Cunningham arrive via trade.
So, what happened? Brandon Roy was lost 5 games into his comeback season. Kevin Love broke his hand twice and had to shut it down after playing just 18 games. Houston import Chase Budinger sustained a season-ending knee injury. Rubio did indeed return in December, but he was in no shape to right the ship by himself, and the Wolves finished 31-51.

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