NBA Trade Deadline (02/21/2014)

By John Ewing
NBA trade deadline – how did the moves that occurred impact the playoffs?


 
The NBA trade deadline, as per usual, was all talk and no action. Teams like the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks that were associated with many trade whispers essentially held pat. Sure deals happened, but more were like the “get under the cap” variety then actual game changers. The biggest deal involved an oft-injured former All-Star (Danny Granger) being traded for a player (Evan Turner) most likely to come off the bench.
 
Nonetheless, how did the moves that did occurred impact the playoffs?
 
Note: All teams have been updated for the players they both acquired and dealt by the trade deadline. We only discuss four teams below but you can check our full season projections to see how all teams were impacted by the trade deadline.
 
Philadelphia 76ers
The 76(Tank)ers traded their leading scorer, Evan Turner, to the Pacers and starting center Spencer Hawes to the Cavaliers. As you can imagine, trading two of the best players on a 15-win team does not help, unless your goal is to not win games.
 
After dealing away their best players, Philly (in full tank mode) is projected to finish the season going 6-21. The 76ers are the worst team in our Power Rankings
 
Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers have won six straight games but are still three games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The addition of Spencer Hawes makes Cleveland a better team but does it really matter?
 
Cleveland improves from No. 27 in our rankings to No. 24. However, we did not project the Cavs to make the playoffs before the trade deadline and though their projected record (32.3-49.7) does improve, we still do not project the team to reach the postseason.
 
Indiana Pacers
The Pacers acquired Evan Turner at the deadline, it appears that Turner will provide depth and a scoring option coming off the bench – Turner is averaging a career-high 17.4 points per game.
 
Depth and scoring is usually a good thing for a team but we anticipate the addition of Turner to actually hurt the Pacers. It's not a dramatic impact but Indiana's projected record decreases from 61.8-20.2 to 61.0-21.0. Still, we were already projecting Indiana to win it all. The trade does not improve the Pacers but Indiana is still our most likely team from the East to reach the NBA Finals.
 
Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC was the big winner at the trade deadline. No, the Thunder did not acquire any notable assets. However, they did get healthier with the return of Russell Westbrook. The return of their starting point guard is enough to make them No. 1 in our Power Rankings, they were No. 2 behind Indiana last week.
 
We simulated the playoffs earlier this week; OKC was the second most likely team to win the title (21.6%). With the return of Westbrook their odds improve to 33.3%, just behind Indiana at 33.9%.