There were a lot of trades and signings in the offseason this year, and players are still getting moved around to this day. Here are five players that had either surprising or interesting trades and a grade for their performances with their current team.
After the tension began in Houston, Russell Westbrook demanded a trade and was sent to Washington in return for John Wall and a 2021 projected first-round pick. As exciting as this trade seemed, Westbrook has not been able to do much for several reasons. Before the quad injury that is sidelining him for at least a week, Westbrook averaged 19.3 PPG, 11.3 APG, and shot 37.8% from the field. Washington’s 3-8 record puts them at 13th in the Eastern Conference, and they can’t seem to find any good luck. Aside from the rising positive cases of COVID-19 on the team, Bradley Beal puts up impressive numbers every night in losses, and centre Thomas Bryant just suffered a season-ending torn ACL. Westbrook has not been able to provide enough for the Wizards, and his +/- average in his past five games has been -6.2. Hopefully, the former MVP can bounce back from this injury and bring his explosive game to the Wizards, amid some of the other problems they need to fix.
Gordon Hayward: A-
After coming back from injury and searching to be more than a backup guy, Gordon Hayward managed to get a sign-and-trade to the Charlotte Hornets. So far, he’s been leading the team with 22 PPG, and out of the last five games he’s played, the Hornets won four of them. Hayward is an important piece to this Hornets team, and hopefully, the hip injury he sustained on January 13 doesn’t become something serious. The Hornets are on a two-game losing streak without him playing for the entirety of the game. They have a 6-7 record and are 8th in the Eastern Conference, with another matchup against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. If Hayward can stay healthy, this team might be able to push to make the playoffs.
Steven Adams: C
Steven Adams was sent to the Pelicans in part of the Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee deal and hasn’t been seen since. Okay, I’m half-joking, but Aquaman hasn’t been able to make an impact for the Pelicans in their last 5 games, all resulting in losses. Adams has been averaging around 30 minutes per game and hasn’t put up impressive numbers in the recent ones. In last night’s loss against the Lakers, Adams caused more harm than good. His +/- was -21, and even if you don’t usually like this stat, it was obvious just by watching him.
Steven Adams is not the best big guy out there, but he has the skills to get back to being more consistent.
Seth Curry: A*
There is an asterisk next to Seth Curry’s name because the grade given is only evaluating his performance in the eight games played before his positive COVID-19 test and 76ers drama.
Already, Curry has been averaging 17 PPG, being an all-around reliable shooter. He is shooting close to 60% from three, and his awareness on the court has been very helpful.
As you can see in this highlight reel from his game against the Magic, Curry’s ability to catch-and-shoot as well as make important passes was one of the reasons Philadelphia started out hot with a great record. Unfortunately, after the contact tracing mess, the Sixers fell to 4th in the Eastern Conference, with a respectable 9-5 record. Once Seth Curry returns to the lineup, the 76ers may be able to get a sense of consistency once again.
Chris Paul: B+
The Phoenix Suns became one of the more exciting teams last season, going undefeated in the bubble and just missing the playoffs. Moreover, they added Chris Paul during the offseason, the earliest big trade to happen ahead of 2020-2021. Although they haven’t turned into an immediate contender, they have turned into a competitive team. They’ve had a couple of games postponed due to health and safety protocols, but stand at 4th in the Western Conference. Chris Paul is averaging 13.3 PPG and 8.6 APG, and the latter is probably more impressive than the former. Paul hasn’t needed to be the center of attention for the Suns and his assists show that. One of Paul’s best qualities is his playmaking, and if he can lift his level a bit more, the Suns can continue to be one of the few competitive teams in the Western Conference.
Whether or not you agree with these grades, this season has been hard to adjust to for many players. With COVID-19 and the NBA’s health and safety protocols, there are multiple factors to consider when judging this season. Hopefully, the league can get through January and some of these postponed games can get wrapped up while staying safe. In a time when sports maybe shouldn’t be played, I think we should appreciate what we can.