This NBA offseason has been dominated by the Eastern Conference. Other than the return of Dirk in Dallas, it has really been the East Show. Well that appears to be changing. As this amazing summer continues to get hotter, the West seems to finally be arriving at the party fashionably late with some big moves.
The Denver Nuggets have agreed in principle to a deal with 12 year journeyman Al Harrington. Now why is this such a big move? Well the Nuggets are a franchise that has been near the top of the West for the past few years, but never been able to take it to the next level. In addition, Harrington is a consistent 15 and 5 guy who can help the Nuggets cope with the injuries to the Birdman (Chris Anderson) and Kmart (Kenyon Martin). He provides another low post presence that will help give these guys some more time to heal so there is no need to rush the recovery.
Other than the Lake Show, the Wild Wild West appears wide open at this time. The Mavericks will be good again, though they really wanted Harrington. The Thunder have improved by picking up more young talent like Daequan Cook, but still are in need of a real post presence. The Suns are fading with the loss of Amare Stoudemire. And things could be getting worse in the Phoenix desert. Portland is always a wildcard in the respect that they are very dangerous when healthy. Then lastly, the Spurs are always a threat, but seem to be aging to the end of the Duncan era.
There was also another big move made yesterday though that will make another team a contender in the West. The Utah Jazz picked up stud big man, Al Jefferson, for Kosta Koufos and some future first round draft picks. This was a great move by the Jazz, who were in need of filling some of the void left by Carlos Boozer’s departure to Chicago. Now some of the pressure is diverted off star point guard Deron Williams and the team has another scoring option. The Jazz are extremely well coached by Jerry Sloan, and really will be able to utilize Jefferson in the half court. Sloan has always been one of the most overlooked and underrated coaches in my eyes for the better part of 2 decades. Most teams in the West can really get out and run. It is much fewer and farther between to find teams that can play an effective half court offense especially during crunch time. This pick up will further improve the solid half court game the Jazz already possess.
So there you have it. The West is finally making moves. Though the Lakers are still the team to beat without question, teams like the Nuggets and Jazz are making moves to improve and challenge LA.
The West has finally awoken. Eastern Conference beware.
Strap in for the Wild Wild West in the 2010-2011 season.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.