With the NBA season only a month old, the impact of the off-season's most significant moves is starting to be seen. After selling four out of five starters, including All-star players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz are almost atop the Western Conference. Mitchell's new squad, the Cleveland Cavaliers, recorded an 8-1 start before their disappointing five consecutive losses. However, the Cavaliers are still thick on the East's playoff scene.
Mitchell and Gobert are just two of the over 200 transactions done this summer, with 31 trades. While these trades dominated the headlines, there were several other moves, big and small, that have started paying dividends this soon into the season.
Here are top players' and executives' trades that have had the biggest impact early into the 2022/2023 NBA season. According to NBA expert predictions, there's also a lot more in store, starting with the Sacramento Kings' attempt to make it to the postseason since 2006.
Sacramento turns around
After the Sacramento Kings finished 24th in offensive efficiency with a 3-point advantage during the 2021/2022 season, general manager Monte McNair made the team's priorities clear during the offseason. The shooting was the team's sole focus during the off-season, and after hiring Mike Brown as the coach, the Kings drafted Keegan Murray as the No 4 overall. The team also signed Malik Monk as a free agent from the Lakers and acquired Kevin Huerter through a trade with the Hawks.
At the moment, Sacramento is ranking second in the offensive efficiency sheet, sixth in three-point percentage and second in scoring with 120.3 points. In their recent six-game winning streak, Sacramento has led the league in offensive efficiency.
Monk was a casualty of the salary cap with the Lakers, and he accepted a two-year contract when his free agency started on 30th June. Today, he's shooting 36.7% and has recorded double-digit points in nine games.
The Damian Lillard timeline
How can you expedite a restructuring around a 32-year-old guard Damian Lillard? That's the task that the Trail Blazer's general manager Joe Cronin was faced with during the last offseason. After trading veterans Larry Nance Jr, CJ McCollum, Tony Snell, Norman Powell and Robert Covington in February, the simplest solution would have been moving Lillard next and launching a full-scale restructuring centered on draft equity.
Cronin and his squad actually did the opposite. Instead, they took advantage of the $20.8 million trade exception that McCollum created and a 2025 first-rounder from Milwaukee and acquired forward Jerami Grant. The forward currently averages 19.7 points with 58.2% three-pointer shooting, ranking him top five among players with 50+ attempts.
Grant has impacted Portland's defense significantly, as it has ranked among NBA's last five over the previous three seasons. Currently, the Blazers are ranking seventh, and Grant has played a key role in that achievement. Additionally, Portland only allows 0.87 points this season when Grant is defending the ball handler. As such, Grant is ranking among the top 10 when it comes to on-ball screens defended.
The Malcolm Brogdon trade
Indiana's president Kevin Pritchard is retooling his roster, and the multistep process that kicked off with the additions of Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton has proven useful. Pritchard also continued the offseason with the Malcolm Brogdon trade to Boston. The trade gave Indiana future financial flexibility as he's owed $67.6 in the next three years, but also gave Hield, Haliburton and rookie Bennedict Mathurin more playing time.