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Steve Kerr's Offseason Opinions

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[editor's note, by Wes Cox]This was originally posted on July 28th.

Steve Kerr listed the six teams he feels made the shrewdest offseason acquisitions on Yahoo yesterday. These aren't the teams he thinks made the biggest signings, but the teams who made the best under-the-radar and good value moves. There were two Mavs related snippets.

He loved the Bulls signing of Adrian Griffin.

"Unfortunately for Dallas, Griffin played so well last season that he earned himself a three-year contract with the Bulls. Chicago has an interesting mix of young and old, and Griffin is the type of player who can help build a winning culture. Griffin is also a big defender at the guard spot. He'll help the Bulls deal with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade."

The last sentence caught me off guard since Wade killed Griffin during the Finals to the point that Avery ended up using Harris and Howard on Wade more than Griffin. Adrian was still a good piece for the Mavs last year though, and the Mavericks had hoped to resign him but didn't feel comfortable matching the three year deal that the Bulls offered.

Fortunately, the Mavs signed Greg Buckner a week before Griffin left, another move that received high praise from Kerr.
"To replace Griffin, the Mavericks brought back Buckner, the former Mav who is not only a tough defender but also a much improved shooter. By the end of last season, he was Denver's best three-point shooter. And he'll provide a good veteran influence in the locker room."

Buckner has improved his shooting, but it didn't take much to lead the Nuggets in three-point shooting last season. Denver was the worst three-point shooting team in the league, making just 32.5% of their attempts. Greg Buckner shot 39.5% from beyond the arc last season, but the Mavs had three players shoot better than 40%. For the Mavs he'll be there to stretch the floor as a threat, but he won't be looked to as a consistent long range weapon. He's here for his defense.

One non-Mavs related signing I wanted to point out is the Spurs signing of center Jackie Butler. Steve Kerr highlighted it as well.
"As for Butler, he showed flashes of brilliance in New York. He's young and athletic and has a chance to be a good player, particularly by learning from Duncan."

Butler is a 21 year old center who started to show signs last season that he might be finally be figuring it out. He was a restricted free agent, but the Knicks gave up on him and didn't match the Spurs three year 7 million dollar offer. Last season his minutes progressed throughout the year and in the final month of the season he averaged 9.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 21 minutes per game. Young centers usually take a long time to adapt to the NBA and poorly run teams, like the Knicks, often make the mistake of losing patience and cutting their ties after the rookie contract expires. It's how the Mavs got Diop last offseason, and I think Butler might be ready to make a similar impact for the Spurs next season.