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2013 Free Agency, NBA / Aug 1, 2013 / 3:38 pm

The 5 Teams Who Regressed the Most During The Summer of 2013

Tyreke Evans (photo. Instagram/tyrekeevans)

Tyreke Evans (photo. Instagram/tyrekeevans)

Yesterday, we highlighted 5 teams who improved this summer through free agency and the draft. So today we’re going to bring you 5 teams that saw their talent drop this off-season, whether to tank for a loaded 2014 draft, or through misinformed moves team’s believe will help their franchise win now, but that could have more disastrous long-term affects.

The problem with assessing the losers of the 2013 NBA off-season hinges on the dichotomy between those teams who actively tried to get worse, and those teams that tried to get better, but instead set themselves up for a few headaches later on down the line. Obviously we’re not clairvoyant, but some of the moves the latter group of teams made are head-scratchers.

That’s not to say we can’t be proven wrong, but we don’t envision long-term success for those squads that loaded up on players with overlapping skill sets and who might end up trading some of their new hires before the February deadline next year. The only problem is that some of the contracts they’ve put together are so deplorable, it would take David Khan still running the Timberwolves to unload them.

Without over-explaining our choices too much, here are 5 teams who regressed the most during the summer of 2013, with the first two squads setting themselves up for more long-term failure and the last three doing everything in their power—short of signing a D-League starting lineup—to align themselves with what many consider the deepest NBA draft in history next summer. There are gonna be a lot of bad teams next season, but only a few that are truly wretched.

5. New Orleans Pelicans

This is really hard to do, especially since we had New Orleans as an honorable mention for the top 5 most improved teams. But that’s because the Pelican’s moves this off-season could fluctuate so wildly and it might end up being one of their best off-season’s in franchise history, or an abysmal footnote for a team that hasn’t ever really contended for anything since Chris Paul left.

Their GM, Dell Demps, was told by new owner, Tom Benson, to win, and win now. So it’s not like Demps had much of a choice in the matter, and when the opportunity to snag a 23-year-old all-star point guard presented itself, Demps made the move.

The Jrue Holiday trade for Philadelphia’s No. 6 pick—which turned into the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, Nerlens Noel —might seem like NOR took advantage of the new GM in Philadelphia, Sam Hinkie. Most NBA observers feel differently, though, and it has to do with Philadelphia also acquiring NOR’s top-three protected first round pick in the 2014 draft. A draft, as we’ve mentioned time and again, that is going to be loaded.

This might mean Philadelphia will have two lottery picks in the best draft in NBA history, or it could mean the Pelicans’ desire to win now trumps the ability to land an Andrew Wiggins- or Jabari Parker-type player next summer. There is the caveat that if New Orleans doesn’t win as much as they envision next season, that pick could still fall to them if it’s inside the top 5—where Parker and Wiggins are likely to go.

The thinking of Demps centers on the maturation of the 2012 No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Davis, who struggled with injuries in an up-and-down rookie campaign, but who showed enough potential to surround him with players that can turn them into a consistent winner. There is one move that no one can wrap their head’s around It involves the sign-and-trade deal Demps struck to send Greivis Vasquez to Sacramento, Robin Lopez to Portland and brought Tyreke Evans‘ in with a four-year $44 million deal that might be the worst of the summer.

Or it might not.

Evans was the ROY once upon a time, but he’s seen his numbers and his skills atrophy under the Maloof-ian hegemony that may have ruined his chance to be great. Or he was always going to come down from his peak rookie season—similar to the fall by Damon Stoudemire after his ROY turn in Toronto morphed into a cannabis-drenched time in Portland with the Jail Blazers.

With Evans, Holiday, and Eric Gordon all expected to start—with Evans playing as a small forward and with Gordon as an off-guard, they appear to have a back-court to build around. Except, Holiday’s play tapered off towards the end of last season, Evans was terrible in Sacramento last year, and Gordon’s knee is still as janky as ever—though he seems happy to be in New Orleans after initially wishing that they had not matched Phoenix’s offer sheet last summer.

The Pelicans could be the new fun surprise 8th or 7th seed in the West, or they could be awful and experience injuries to Gordon and Davis while regretting the Evans signing immediately if he doesn’t show improvement on defense in his shooting.

Find out who else lost out this off-season.

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  • Thomas McCrone

    You must mean Derrick Favors

  • disqus_hu6ktlpCtW

    of course the jazz would regress with derrick williams.

  • 2cents

    I think the Bucks should be number 1 on this list. How do you turn Bogut into Ellis into Mayo and still have a job as GM?

  • JackPackage

    With the exception of Milwaukee and possibly Phoenix, I couldn’t disagree MORE with this article.

    New Orleans: In a win now mode, added a young all-star PG for the price of 2 draft picks. Arguably they could have added Trey Burke and next year’s pick but they were told to win now. Can’t argue with what they did. Tyreke Evans will be a bargain on that $44 million contract, IF they use him correctly. Sacramento only used him correctly his first season… He dropped 20/5/5 and looked like a franchise piece, don’t let the King’s misuse of him cloud your judgement. Tyreke doesn’t belong anywhere near the ‘worst free agent signings’ list, not even close.

    That being said, I don’t think he’s a good fit on a team that just traded for Jrue Holiday and already has Eric Gordon.

    Tyreke is a scoring PG like Derrick Rose until a team utilises him as a primary ball-handler and scorer, alongside two wings who can shoot and defend, you’ll never see him at his best.

    Philadelphia were stuck in 8th seed hell for the forseable future, now they have a clear and defined path. They added a franchise C piece and a PG with a high-ceiling, they’re free to add two forwards in next year’s draft. Even if they don’t get Wiggins, they’re looking at something like Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon. They had one of the best off-seasons IMO. They retooled in the best possible way, they can also look to trade Evan Turner at the deadline for even more picks.

    Utah came into the draft desperately needing a PG of the future and came out of the draft with the best PG available and a true team leader. To go along with Favors and Kanter. Again, they have the pieces in place to not only draft a star wing player next year but also clear a ton of cap room. How is that anything but a win? If Utah had picked up Jamaal Franklin or Glen Rice Jr with their second round pick, I’d have declared it a perfect off-season for them.

    If Phoenix decide to build around Len and Bledsoe, then that’s a good move but then why did they sign Goran Dragic to a long term contract only a year ago? They seem a little direction-less, then again. You add a high draft pick to a core of Bledsoe and Len and you have a promising young team.

    Milwaukee made the play-offs last year despite having a losing record and a terribly balanced team. They’re one of the worst teams to try and tank because nobody wants to play/live in Milwaukee. They needed to build on their ‘success’ last year and build their reputation as a play-off regular. Milwaukee should have gone the Indiana/Memphis route of adding good, quality players, rather than stars and building a balanced team of good players with no egos.

    Why they decided to go with OJ Mayo for 3/25 rather than say, handing they keys to the franchise to Tyreke Evans for 4/44, is beyond me.

    If you look at Milwaukee, Sanders & Ilyasova are keepers plus they added Brandon Knight for basically nothing. They should have explored adding borderline all-star talents to create a balanced team, instead they regressed utterly and completely.

    They should have gone hard after Tyreke Evans, re-signed Reddick (who IMO is the perfect player to complement Evans), and added Corey Brewer for depth.

    Some NBA GM’s just seem utterly clueless.

  • JackPackage

    Also, they traded the best defensive small forward in the league, for two second round picks.

    Granted, that makes me deliriously happy because I’m a Kings fan until Seattle or Vancouver get a team again but it is a full-retard move for Milwaukee.

    Mbah a moute is one of the most underrated players in the league.