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Notable NBA Deadline Grades

On Feb. 10, 2022, the Association experienced arguably the most intense trade deadline that sports fans have ever witnessed led by a massive blockbuster. Some suspecting nothing would get done until the summer, others assuming it was imminent. Thursday was for sure a day to remember.

That being said, let us take a look and see how all the teams that made impactful acquisitions fared.

Image: Yong Kim/ Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Photographer

Brooklyn Nets: A+

As much as the organization did not have interest in breaking up what maybe could have been the best offense ever had they been able to be on the floor for more than 16 games, the Brooklyn Nets made out like bandits.

The problem clearly was not so much the fit, it was the durability issues that limited them on the court together.

Let alone the 10 game losing-streak, with Kevin Durant in the lineup they were at the top of the East, but they still had not finished and lost contests that they easily should have. Brooklyn had issues that needed to be solved.

With Brooklyn being clearly atrocious on defense, they got just that in Ben Simmons as he is one of the leagues most versatile defenders that can guard every position. Simmons adds plenty of playmaking as well as he is one of the best passers in the game in transition with a vision like no other.

Not that James Harden's point guard role with his 10 assists per game was not terrific with him transitioning his game as soon as he got to the Nets, but this attribute along with his strength and athleticism is what has made Simmons so special through his young career.

The team has shot 35 percent from the outside this season and even with the numerous different lineups due to injury, that number is still a surprise with that much talent. Seth Curry gives their perimeter game a boost with his 15 a night on 40% from three.

Brooklyn is also below average in rebounding with 44 a night. Not only does Simmons help that, but someone who has been known for his impact on the glass his whole career in Andre Drummond does also.

For what was already a championship conceding roster, the Nets just added more strength and youth led by both one of the greatest players and artists to play the game.


Philadelphia 76ers: A+

One of the premiere negotiators and studiers of basketball in Daryl Morey was able to pull it off and maybe sooner than expected. In the beginning of the season, the Sixers president had said that this staring contest between him and Simmons' camp could go on for multiple seasons indicating that Philadelphia's front office would not go down without a fight.

Morey could have settled for a lower-tier All-Star or starting caliber player, but his shorter than expected patience paid off. The noise and dysfunction of the Nets leading them to have to part early with his former star player in Houston in Harden contributed as well.

Already seeming like Joel Embiid could have brought the team to at least the conference finals with him playing like the best player in the league and being the possible MVP, the Sixers just added exactly what the missing piece was.

We hear comparisons of what could be like a Shaq and Kobe type of duo, which could definitely ring true. The dominance from both of their abilities to get to the line at will and now even go isolation is going to be a nightmare for all defenses. Especially the pick-and-role between the two.

The message from Morey has been clear. The Sixers are all in for a championship and their odds have risen through the roof with this deal and hungry duo.

Image: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Los Angeles Clippers: A

The Portland Trailblazers have clearly began to fully clean house with or without Damian Lillard moving forward. If anything was learned from Steve Ballmer and his Clippers this past week, it is that settling is not an option.

It is clear that once Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are back on the court and healthy next season the team will once again be in it to win it with them adding some help and protection on both sides of the ball for LAC's two stars.

They were able to add veteran leadership with plenty of postseason experience and shooting in Robert Covington and Norman Powell for role players that were unable to fit with the current roster in Eric Bledsoe, Keon Johnson and Justice Winslow. The Clippers also tossed Portland a 2025 second-rounder.

Powell adds championship pedigree and has proven these past two seasons that he can be an effective scorer to compliment any roster or tandem averaging over 18 points per game shooting over 46% and 40 from the outside. He can put the ball on the floor and run score at the cup running an offense when needed as well.

After sustaining a foot fracture this past weekend, the remainder of his season looks to be up in jeopardy, but Los Angeles will have all eyes on them for 2022-23.

Covington is a perfect three-and-d player to accompany LAC's stars. He can guard the best perimeter player on the opposing side and with his size, he can cover bigger wings/forwards as well. Covington shoots over 35% from deep for his career.

Image: Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks - Washington Wizards: D+

One could argue this may have been a pointless deal for both organizations.

For Washington, the idea of trying to satisfy or impress Bradley Beal before his free agency hits is not that sharp considering the Wizards already tried to with their blockbuster with the Lakers and Kristaps Porzingis cannot say on the floor. Kyle Kuzma has become a surprise of a young building block, but their hot start to the season did not last very long.

Porzingis has had a tough time maintaining longevity of staying on the court for years now with him consistently coming down with injuries. Suppose Washington chose to roll the dice in their attempt to persuade Beal to stay this upcoming summer, but it most likely is not that tempting.

There were rumors of Spencer Dinwiddie not being very welcomed within the locker room of the Wizards with his poor shooting performances and mediocre production in his comeback from a big injury with his new team. They apparently labeled him as, "a shell of his old self."

Davis Bertans was also a mistake of an extension for Washington as a free agent with him making $16 million for the next multiple seasons when he has mainly been a DNP. He can space the floor with his range and his play does fit the Mavericks likes, but this trade really could not be more of a dud for one of the better teams in the West.

Dinwiddie puts up 12, four rebounds and five assists in a season where he is making a comeback from a partially torn ACL. He has shot 37% from the field and 31 from the perimeter and while many suspect he just could not be a fit next to Beal, Dinwiddie has also looked rather unplayable at times.

The veteran was averaging 18, five boards and almost eight assists without Beal while shooting in the mid-40's, but Dinwiddie's last six without him dwindled down to 12, six and four shooting 35%.

He could find new life as another ball-handler in Dallas, but it could also be hard to imagine next to Luka Dončić, who has been absolutely on fire.

Image: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Charlotte Hornets: B

The Hornets have been one of the leagues top scoring teams all season long even with key players in and out of the lineup due to COVID or injury as they are one of the best teams in offensive efficiency and second in assists.

Their main issue was clearly defense and it is not hard to determine why. Charlotte's main five spot was held between Mason Plumlee, P.J. Washington and Nick Richards with all three providing below-average play on that side of the ball.

Montrezl Harrell is not the greatest of defenders himself, but even at six-foot-seven he has plenty of experience under his belt at the center position and can be a menace when it comes to blocking shots.

For Ish Smith and Vernon Carey Jr., the acquisition is more than worth it, especially when the Hornets have long-loved Harrell since basically when he first came into the league. Not to mention, he has chemistry with Terry Rozier from their Louisville days.

Image: NBAE via Getty Images/Rocky Widner

Indiana Pacers - Sacramento Kings: C+

This blockbuster-type deal can be looked at from either side: Terrible and unnecessary or a plus for both squads.

The Pacers have shown full interest in going into another rebuild, while no one can ever really decipher what the Kings front office is trying to do.

Tyrese Haliburton, in year two, has made it clear that he has superstardom rising in his game as an all-around point guard that impressively plays like he has been in the biggest moments for a long time now. If Sacramento had anything to be positive about, it was the 12th pick of the 2020 draft.

Whether it were due to knickknack injuries, inability to fit with his young backcourt member or even despondent because of the organization around him, De'Aaron Fox for most of the season had not been playing like himself. It did not seem too usual with the former Kentucky guard being close to an All-Star appearance last year.

How did the Kings solve that problem? They did the most Kings move ever and shipped out the arguably more-talented guard who is 21-years-old and brought in two-time All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis.

It was even more outlandish because Haliburton had always shown his support for the franchise in hopes to be that face to turn it around and give it a better reputation.

The team has won their first two contests with Sabonis, as him and Fox have combined for over 49 and 42 points in each. Sacramento has their duo of the future and are in hopes to win enough games to sniff a spot in the Play-In Tournament.

Indiana now has their primary ball-handler and star for the future in Haliburton. Even though they have dropped his first two games, the Pacers' new cornerstone performed in signs of the player that he will be for the franchise dropping 23 and six and 22, 16 assists and five boards. He shot 60% in the first game and 50 in the second.

This could be a better and fresh look for both teams as time goes on.

Image: AP Photo/Derick Hingle

New Orleans Pelicans: B-

Regardless of the teams' situation and where they stand, David Griffin and the New Orleans Pelicans deserve a ton of credit for their trying efforts.

To receive CJ McCollum at the price the Pels did is a no-brainer as it just represents the direction Portland is going in to full potential.

They are now able to pair Brandon Ingram on the ball with one of the leagues most-loved leaders and veterans who is a skillful guard that can drop 20 on any given night.

Assuming the organization speaks up to Zion Williamson about his conditioning as he grows and eventually returns to action for the team, Griffin now adds a third player that his two cornerstones can feed off of while McCollum makes life easier for them. He can work as a third scorer and another playmaker.

There are a lot of powerful teams in the West, but the Pelicans can certainly lurk around the bottom of the pack if not better at full health.

Image: AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Cleveland Cavaliers: A

This trade that the Cavs made may be the biggest win of the deadline. Cleveland gave up Ricky Rubio's expiring contract after his torn ACL is forcing him to sit the remainder of the season along with a first-round pick and two seconds that which the team does not need.

The Cavs are one of the NBA's best stories and now teams this season as they have been sitting top-three in the East for some time now winning seven of their last 10 games.

Darius Garland could have been a starter in the All-Star game and now Jarrett Allen deservingly gets his spot with Harden sitting. They have a valuable collection of vets in Rajon Rondo and Kevin Love to go with Evan Mobley, who is probably this year's best rookie.

Caris LeVert, once teammates with Allen in Brooklyn and an Ohio native, is the missing piece to make the Cavs even more superior.

With their youth and young star-caliber talent everywhere, Cleveland is here to stay as a powerhouse and will not be going anywhere any time soon.

Image: Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

Boston Celtics: A

With the Celtics riding a big winning streak, becoming the leagues top defensive team and transforming themselves into a completely different ball-club on offense with ball-movement everywhere, many suspected the team could be buyers come Feb. 10. That is exactly what they were.

Boston got out of the luxury tax dumping a lot of dead salary in their Orlando trade and sending Dennis Schröder, Bruno Fernando and Enes Freedom to the Houston Rockets for old friend Daniel Theis. Theis provides a backup big for the second unit that can take pressure off of Al Horford as the postseason nears and switch anything on defense with his high-level versatility with the switching and shot-blocking ability on that end to go with pick-and-roll usage offensively.

The only player the Celtics have used as a backup big as of late was Grant Williams with Freedom and Fernando being unplayable at the five spot. Now, Williams can be more comfortable with his all-around role. Theis can mix with either Williams or Horford.

Schröder's production on both sides slowly drifted to go with his minutes as he became more of a ball-stopper with poor decision-making as Marcus Smart returned from COVID and began playing maybe the best basketball of his career. Not to mention, his name being brought up in trade rumors all season long with the one-year deal he is on.

Boston acquired Derrick White who has playing experience with Head Coach Ime Udoka and Assistant Coach Will Hardy in their days with the Spurs. The three also built a relationship at Team USA's Select Camp in previous summers with the Celtics core of Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Josh Richardson as a stellar defender, struggled to provide consistent offense and Romeo Langford had not gotten consistent playing time since the first part of the season with the roster at full strength as he also had durability issues since he was drafted.

The team could afford to part with the draft pick that they did considering they are looking to add veteran talent around Tatum and Brown and again, their already relationship with White along with the coaching staff.

There is also no need for Boston to add more youth with the bench already having an improving Williams and second-year talents Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith fighting for playing time. Pritchard now rightfully gets his job back as the Celtics backup point guard.

Brad Stevens had stated how the trade with San Antonio was too good to pass up with the relationship the group had already built and White fitting the Celtics' needs and style of play.

White can work as a point guard or ball-handler with a knack for assisting and rebounding. He can take pressure off of the Jays with his ability to space the floor and put the ball on the floor and score. He is an ideal complimentary two-way guard for the surging duo with them having worked together in past summers.

Per StatMuse, Boston is now sixth in the East as they have won eight straight contests. They are 7-0 since Brown tweeted that the energy was about to shift and 12-1 in their last 13 with Smart. The Celtics are second in defensive rating this season, first in net rating and defensive rating in 2022 with the best defense since Christmas, one of the best offenses since the new year.

The Celtics have won eight consecutive games winning 10 of their last 11 and 15 of their last 19. White has had the best plus/minus on the roster as a +23 in his first two outings in Boston as he instantly entered the team's crunch-time lineup. He dropped 15 and 14 points with five threes in the two contests.


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