The Biggest Winners and Losers of the NBA Trade Deadline
The NBA trade deadline was undoubtedly a busy one, and the final few minutes leading up to the final buzzer were about as frantic as could be.
Nearly 40 players were on the move, and things were tricky to figure out as they were happening. Details didn't emerge until later in the evening, but some of these moves included some pretty big names.
Recapping the Big Moves
The Suns wound up with a replacement point guard, though: Brandon Knight. Knight's arrival and pairing with Eric Bledsoe should give Suns fans optimism, but the moves the Suns made likely cost them a few wins this year.
Michael Carter-Williams was the replacement in Milwaukee, and Isaiah Thomas headed to Boston. Arron Afflalo was the key piece in a trade to the Portland Trail Blazers, but his current play indicates that the move doesn't move the needle for the Blazers.
Plenty of other players changed hand, as well, but how did these moves really affect the league? And which teams, though, benefited most from these deals in terms of wins and losses -- as well as playoff and championship odds?
Miami Heat: Playoff Odds +11.96%, Championship Odds +0.12%, Wins +0.99
As Brett Oswalt pointed out in his Dragic trade piece, the Heat bolstered their playoff odds significantly. Sure the Dragic move helped, but some other factors came into play as well, namely that most teams in the Eastern Conference didn't improve. The Heat saw nearly a 12 percent increase in playoff odds. No other team shifted by more than 4.7 percent. Even though their NBA Championship odds are up just 0.12 percent from zero, the Heat now have a 56.26 percent chance to make the postseason.
Golden State Warriors: Playoff Odds 0.00%, Championship Odds +4.83%, Wins +0.06
The Warriors didn't make any moves, but their NBA Championship odds increased dramatically. No other team saw a bump larger than 1.24 percent one way or the other. Why, though, did the Warriors' title chances improve to an astounding 37.03 percent chance? That'll become clearer when you see the losers of the trade deadline.
Memphis Grizzlies: Playoff Odds 0.00%, Championship Odds +0.42%, Wins +0.06
Cleveland Cavaliers: Playoff Odds 0.00%, Championship Odds +0.30%, Wins -0.04
Portland Trail Blazers: Playoff Odds 0.00%, Championship Odds +0.28%, Wins 0.05
None of these three teams saw an increase in playoff odds, as their odds were already maxed out, but these top-tier teams saw the next-biggest bump in championship odds in the league. As a result of some of the losers in this column, these three squads might end up with an easier path to the title even tough only the Blazers made a move.
The Grizzlies, Blazers, and Cavs rank seventh through ninth in championship odds, and these leaps weren't nearly as significant as the Warriors', but there might be an easier path ahead than there was before the deadline.
Charlotte Hornets: Playoff Odds -4.70%, Championship Odds -0.28%, Wins -0.10
Brooklyn Nets: Playoff Odds -4.15%, Championship Odds 0.00%, Wins -0.11
Indiana Pacers: Playoff Odds -3.47%, Championship Odds +0.04%, Wins -0.05
Remember how the Heat separated themselves from the pack in the East? This is partially why. The three biggest decreases in playoff odds after these moves all came from Eastern Conference squads. The Pacers and Hornets made no moves, and the Nets acquired Thaddeus Young, whose nERD of -4.8 ranks 123rd in the NBA among 140 qualified players.
The Hornets still have a 52.90 percent chance to secure the eighth seed, but they have been surpassed by the Heat (56.26 percent). As for the Nets and Pacers, the failure to improve these fringe teams has made their playoff pictures even blurrier, especially considering the Heat's anticipated improvement.
Phoenix Suns: Playoff Odds -29.1%, Championship Odds -0.10%, Wins -0.64
The Suns were active at the deadline, but as Bryan Mears pointed out already, those moves didn't help them in the immediate future of this season. The Suns now see their playoff odds at just 20.59 percent, and their NBA Championship odds now sit at, basically, 0.00 percent. The team ultimately took a step backward. They were already likely to miss the postseason, but the deadline moves have made that even more likely.
Los Angeles Clippers: Playoff Odds +0.00%, Championship Odds -1.24%, Wins 0.0
Oklahoma City Thunder: Playoff Odds -0.19%, Championship Odds -1.06%, Wins -0.30
Atlanta Hawks: Playoff Odds 0.00%, Championship Odds -1.05%, Wins -0.01
These three teams saw the biggest drop in NBA Championship odds, which speaks to the odds they had before the trade deadline. The Hawks still have the second-best odds in the league (16.95 percent), but the East didn't exactly improve (evidenced by the previous trio of teams), which might give a surging team like the Cavs an easier path to the Hawks.
The Clippers are still fourth in championship odds (7.36 percent), but the loss of Blake Griffin and the thinning out of the West near the eighth seed could give the insanely efficient Warriors less resistance in the playoffs.