With the NBA regular season peeking over the October horizon, player movement has slowed to a Kendrick Perkin’s pace. I’m talking size 18 sneakers, slogging up and down the court, not even an A4 could slide under those hogs mid-run. You get it, it’s slow.
The only real headline left is whether Tristan Thompson will get that max contract his agent really, really wants.
And I’m sure you’ve heard all about the big wig moves: the redistribution of wealth in Portland, Munroe’s new home in Milwaukee, even the big wig moves that didn’t happen: DeAndre hates drama.
But what about the teams that moved in the shadows, quietly making their squad better with an offseason pick-up? Well for those who are curious and have ninja like reflexes, here are the top five sneaky good offseason moves.
*It should be noted that the sneakiness of a move is rated by the price a team got for said player verses their value, as well as lack of media hype and confetti.
But mostly it’s just based on a player’s ability to throw or catch alley-oops.
5. Thomas Robinson – Brooklyn Nets
I’m not ready to give up on the big guy just yet, not when he’s capable of this http://y2u.be/JhdYpW2ocso
In only three years the former number five overall pick has bounced around the league playing for the likes of Sacramento, Portland and most recently Philly. With career averages sitting around 5.1 ppg with 4.8 rebounds, some might overlook the 24 year old.
However these stats come from limited minutes and after a noticeable increase in production with the 76ers last year, Robinson is a steal.
Especially for $2.2 million on a two year deal.
Even with an incredibly tight budget, the Brooklyn Nets have pulled off a bargain back-up for Thaddeus Young and his newly inked contract. Here’s hoping T-Rob still has some ‘SportsCenter Top Ten’ left in him.
Sneaky good rating: 5/10 (bargain bin)
4. Jared Dudley – Washington Wizards
What do you do when you lose Paul Pierce? Simple. You get the poor man’s Paul Pierce (even though he’s a little more expensive).
Jared Dudley doesn’t exactly look like an NBA player, in fact seeing Kobe Bryant having fun at practice is more likely than Dudley going up for a two-hand jam. But there is nothing more underrated than a ‘Glue Guy’.
The veteran’s best years are behind him, there’s no arguing that, but having someone to take care of team chemistry, stirring the beaker from the bench, is huge. He fit in perfectly with a young Bucks squad and looks to do the same in Washington.
For $4.25 million in the last year of his contract he’s a nice addition to a team with dreams of a deep playoff push.
Sneaky good rating: 5.5/10 (half-used tube of super glue)
3. Josh Smith – LA Clippers
He’s a gamble, I know, but what I admire about Smith to LA is that the Clippers were man enough to sign a guy who killed them last year. J Smooth was a big part of Houston’s comeback in the Western Semi-finals last season that resulted in that LA train wreck (you know the one that was super painful that you couldn’t take your eyes off).
We’ve seen proof that Josh Smith off the bench can work well, and for a $1.5 million contract, why not roll the dice? Smith gives the Clippers versatility, able to cover multiple positions and fill much needed holes within their second unit.
Besides, if Smith’s alley-oop chemistry with Blake and DJ is half as good as it was with Dwight, his signing will be worth it for the acrobatics alone.
Sneaky good rating: 6.5/10 (lucky dip)
2. Gerald Green – Miami Heat
The revival of Gerald Green’s career has to be the best feel good story the NBA has seen in recent years. The dude’s vertical is so nasty it even makes Shannon Brown screw up his face and say, “good show old boy”. But Green has worked hard to prove that he’s not just a pogo stick with a goatee.
His 2013-14 campaign showed he still has a place in the league and despite a drop-off from last season with less minutes, he’s still an excellent swingman off the bench.
For $1.35 million, the Heat have secured quality depth behind both Wade and Deng, but more importantly, Wade has someone he can throw ridiculous lobs to again.
Sneaky good rating: 8/10 (cheap airfare)
1. David West – San Antonio Spurs
No doubt you’ve heard of the new cowboy in town out in Texas, but LaMarcus Aldridge isn’t the only forward the Spurs added this offseason. After a glorious public break-up with the Pacers, David West has signed a Veteran’s minimum contract ($3 million for two years) to come kick it with Timmy and the boys.
In all honesty this has more to do with West valuing championships over money than it is the Spurs pulling off a sneaky good pick-up. West took a whopping $11 million pay cut to sign with San Antonio who have added a gritty vet for dirt cheap. A vet unafraid to bump chests with the likes of Matt Barnes or flick Blake Griffin in the earlobe if need be.
But the sneaky good meter loves what he brings to San Antonio. His toughness is invaluable and he gives the Spurs true frontcourt depth. A legit starter, West can come off the bench for ‘Old Bones Duncan’ and contribute meaningful minutes.
Sneaky good rating: 9/10 (hired muscle)
Josh Smith might implode and David West might not fit in. Gerald Green might windmill so hard he snaps his wrists clean off. But maybe one or two of these players prove to be that key cog within a team’s identity. All we can go on is a player’s shown potential and all we can hope for is that they contribute and play the best they can. I for one am excited to see what these cats can bring to the table, and prove to the rest of the league why you should never sleep on sneaky good ballers.