The 2020 NBA trade deadline featured a great assortment of different teams heading in different directions. With trades such as Marcus Morris to the Clippers, some teams are evidently adding support to already dominant rosters.
On the other hand, teams such as the Hawks are trying to build for the future. With the All-Star break underway and most of these players already getting minutes for their new team, we can get an early sense of what the playoff picture this year will look like and how teams may grow in the coming years.
Russell to Timberwolves, Wiggins to Warriors
With the Warriors sending away 2019 All-Star D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves and the Timberwolves sending Wiggins with a first and second rounder back to Golden State, this was easily one of the biggest moves made at the deadline.
While both of these players are very talented, neither of them were in an environment that benefited their playstyle. As the Warriors are waiting on the return of both Curry and Klay, Russell was never going to be a long-term asset for the Warriors. Additionally, Wiggins is going to a situation where he can eventually thrive as the 3rd option.
In the three games that Wiggins played for the Warriors, he played solid on both offense and defense. On Wednesday night against the Suns, Wiggins dropped 27 points along with 2 steals and 4 blocks. While this is a limited sample and Wiggins has yet to play with Curry and Klay, his ceiling can only go up with them.
For Russell, in the two games that he played for the Timberwolves, he showed much promise despite both games being losses. Unlike Wiggins, whose starting roster will be completely different next year, Russell’s spot will be roughly the same. Because of this, it’s a good sign for him dropping 11 assists in his second ever game with new teammates along with 26 points.
Morris to Clippers, Burks and Robinson to 76ers
With these trades, both teams are trying to gather assets and support areas where they lack. By adding a more dependable big in Marcus Morris, the Clippers are trying to support Leonard and George by limiting the amount of time either of them would need to play the 4.
Through this trade, the Clippers are able to keep Landry Shamet as their sixth man, so he can provide offense and playmaking from the bench. While Harkless was alright for the Clippers, he was only given about 22.8 minutes per game, whereas Morris was given 35 minutes in only his second game with them.
Similar to the Clippers, the 76ers looked to support their stars with cheap assets. As the 76ers are in the bottom half of teams in 3P% and in great need of depth, Burks and Robinson were solid, low-risk, additions that only cost three second-round picks.
Both Burks and Robinson played under 15 minutes in their only game in Philly, so neither of them have stood out thus far. However, come playoff time, the 3-point shooting they will provide off the bench should be greatly beneficial to the 76ers’ success.
Capela to the Hawks, Covington to the Rockets
In a 4-team deal with the Nuggets and the Timberwolves, Clint Capela was sent to the Hawks and Covington was sent to the Rockets. While the Hawks solidified a more dominant center in Capela, the Rockets are focusing their roster in a very different direction.
By picking up Covington and moving on from their only bigs in Capela and Nene, the Rockets are honing in on a “small-ball” playstyle. Despite this untraditional gameplan, it has been somewhat effective so far as evident by a 10 point win against the Lakers (one of the largest teams in the League) in Covington’s debut.
Unlike the Rockets, who are aiming to get smaller, the Hawks have added some much needed size in Clint Capela. Paired with John Collins, the Hawks front court should be significantly better than it was previously due to better defense and rebounding.
As Capela is currently sidelined with a thumb injury, he has yet to debut for the Hawks. However, it should be interesting to see how Trae Young benefits from a now-loaded Hawks front court.