Catching Up on the NBA Offseason: The Southeast Division

Which team has had the best offseason so far in the Southeast Division?

A week ago, we started recapping the whirlwind NBA offseason by division. So far, we've covered the Atlantic Divison, the Southwest Divison, the Central Division, and the Northwest Division. Today, we're finishing up the East by analyzing the Southeast Division.

In this series, we hope to provide a one-stop spot for you to catch up on the flurry of trades and signings that have happened so far this summer, just in case you've fallen a bit behind or want an idea of the overall picture now that most of the dust has settled. For the sake of our analysis, we'll be using our in-house nERD metric as a point of comparison, focusing on nERD in and nERD out for each team.

If you're not familiar with nERD, it combines several offensive, defensive, and usage factors to produce one number that is meant to project a player's overall value to his team. That final number is an estimate of how many games above or below .500 a league-average team would win over an 82-game season with the player in question as one of its starters. It's comparable to Win Shares, but is meant to be predictive (projecting an 82-game season) as opposed to descriptive (how many wins the player has contributed to his team in the past). For the sake of this study, we'll use last season's nERD scores and leave out rookies (since they're so dang unpredictable).

There hasn't been much notable player movement taking place in the Southeast Division this summer. The biggest signing -- in terms of nERD -- was Tyler Hansbrough at 2.6, while the biggest free agent to walk was DeMarre Carroll at 5.8. The trades of Tiago Splitter (3.8) to the Hawks and Nicolas Batum (0.8) to the Hornets were certainly notable news stories, but beyond that, there weren't many moves that suggest there will be a big shift of power coming within the division. The Charlotte Hornets have certainly revamped their roster -- with six players coming in and six going out -- but it's hard to tell if they're any further ahead after the flurry of moves (but we'll certainly try to find out).

Let's see how the Southeast Division teams have fared so far this offseason, by comparing each team's nERD gained and nERD lost.

Atlanta Hawks

Players In How? nERD Players Out How? nERD
Tiago Splitter Trade 3.8 DeMarre Carroll FA 5.8
Justin Holiday FA -0.2 John Jenkins FA 0.8
Tim Hardaway Jr. Trade -5.5 Pero Antic Europe -1.1
      Austin Daye Waived -1.5

nERD in:
nERD out: 4.0
Net nERD: -5.9

The Hawks were faced with a conundrum in free agency, having to choose between All-Star forward Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll. After the Toronto Raptors threw a near-max deal at Carroll, it became obvious that the Hawks would only be able to afford to keep Millsap. The gap at small forward will be felt, as Carroll's nERD of 5.8 probably won't be adequately filled with a combination of Thabo Sefolosha (1.1) and Kent Bazemore (-2.2), especially seeing as how they're both more suited to play shooting guard. The addition of Tiago Splitter should work out well, as he'll be a good backup to Al Horford and Millsap, but the addition of Tim Hardaway Jr. could do more harm than good -- his -5.5 nERD was the 12th-worst in the whole Association last season. Overall, it looks like the Hawks might have a hard time finishing as the East's 1-seed for a second consecutive season.

Charlotte Hornets

Players In How? nERD Players Out How? nERD
Tyler Hansbrough FA 2.6 Bismack Biyombo FA 3.1
Nicolas Batum Trade 0.8 Noah Vonleh Trade -0.2
Jeremy Lamb Trade 0.7 Jeffery Taylor Europe -1.1
Elliot Williams FA -0.3 Gerald Henderson Trade -2.3
Jeremy Lin FA -2.7 Mo Williams FA -4.8
Spencer Hawes Trade -2.8 Lance Stephenson Trade -8.4

nERD in:
nERD out: -13.7
Net nERD: 12.0

The Charlotte Hornets turned their roster over pretty heavily this offseason, trading away two of their top six minute-getters from last year in Gerald Henderson (1st) and Lance Stephenson (6th), while letting key rotation cogs Mo Williams and Bismack Biyombo bolt in free agency. In a deal with Portland, they managed to bring in the biggest moving name in their division this offseason in Nicolas Batum, and he fills their shooting guard position and need for more shooting pretty perfectly. On the other hand, new Hornets Spencer Hawes, Jeremy Lin, and Tyler Hansbrough have had variable levels of success for their last few teams, and it's hard to say what exactly each of them will bring to the table in Charlotte.

Regardless, the Hornets ridding themselves of Lance Stephenson might prove to be their best move of the summer, considering his -8.4 nERD was the second-worst in the whole NBA last year. You wouldn't think it at first glance, but the Hornets have easily had the best Net nERD in their division this offseason and one of the best in the whole league at 12.0. Stephenson (-8.4), Williams (-4.8), and Henderson (-2.3) were such anti-nERD players, that losing them subtly makes the team look quite a bit better on paper for next year (at least by our metric).

Miami Heat

Players In How? nERD Players Out How? nERD  
Amar’e Stoudemire FA 2.3 Zoran Dragic Trade -0.5
Gerald Green FA -2.4 Henry Walker Waived -1.6
      Shabazz Napier Trade -3.1

nERD in:
nERD out: -5.2
Net nERD: 5.1

The Miami Heat will almost certainly be better next season than they were this past year by virtue of the fact that they should have a healthy Chris Bosh back to round out a strong starting lineup that includes last season's deadline acquisition and newly re-upped point guard, Goran Dragic. Throw in Justise Winslow dropping in the draft and being gifted to them with the tenth pick and the Heat should have no trouble getting back to the top half of the Eastern Conference after a year in the lottery. Free agent additions Amar'e Stoudemire and Gerald Green are decent enough depth pieces and the Heat didn't lose anyone all that important this summer, so their offseason certainly gets a passing grade with a very good Net nERD of 5.1.

Orlando Magic

Players In How? nERD Players Out How? nERD  
C.J. Watson FA 2.0 Kyle O’Quinn Trade -0.3
Shabazz Napier Trade -3.1 Luke Ridnour Trade -1.6
Jason Smith FA -5.5 Moe Harkless Trade -2.1
      Ben Gordon Waived -2.9

nERD in:
nERD out: -6.9
Net nERD: 0.3

The Magic tinkered with the bottom of their rotation this summer, trading or waiving four players that all played fewer than 1,000 minutes last season. Kyle O'Quinn has the chance to grow into an impactful player, but guys who can't crack 1,000 minutes on a 25-win team aren't exactly what you would call big losses. In the meantime, C.J. Watson and Jason Smith should jump right into contributing roles in the rotation, while Shabazz Napier will make a fine third-string point guard with upside behind Elfrid Payton and Watson. The team's Net nERD of 0.3 is negligible, but having more steady and reliable depth to go with an ever-improving youthful core in Orlando should mean more wins for the Magic in 2015-16.

Washington Wizards

Players In How? nERD Players Out How? nERD
Jared Dudley Trade 1.8 Paul Pierce FA 3.9
Alan Anderson FA -1.2 Kevin Seraphin FA -2.0
Gary Neal FA -4.2    

nERD in:
nERD out: 1.9
Net nERD: -5.5

The Wizards will likely feel the loss of no longer having a grizzled veteran like Paul Pierce on their roster, but Jared Dudley had a productive year with the Bucks last season and should replace a decent portion of the Truth's on-court production this year, even if he can't quite match the intangibles. The team's Net nERD from this offseason is a lowly -5.5 -- mostly thanks to the un-nERDy season that incoming free agent Gary Neal had for the Hornets and Wolves in 2014-15 -- but another year of growth for John Wall and Bradley Beal should mean the Wizards will continue to inch closer to contention in the Eastern Conference. 


Team nERD In nERD Out Net nERD
Atlanta Hawks -1.9 4.0 -5.9
Charlotte Hornets -1.7 -13.7 12.0
Miami Heat -0.1 -5.2 5.1
Orlando Magic -6.6 -6.9 0.3
Washington Wizards -3.6 1.9 -5.5

Every single team in the Southeast Division has brought in players that combine for a negative nERD score this summer, so it's hard to declare one a "winner" in the truest sense of the word. Even so, the Charlotte Hornets stand out above the rest for having the best Net nERD in the division with a whopping 12.0. This is about the clearest case of "addition by subtraction" you'll find in this series of articles, as Lance Stephenson's -8.4 nERD from last season was the worst mark of any player that changed zip codes this summer. It'll likely take a while before we see if Charlotte's six-player swap out was for better or worse overall, but our metrics suggest that the Hornets' getting clear of Stephenson and his putrid 2014-15 may very well have won them the offseason, so to speak.