The 10 NBA Teams That Have Had The Best Summers

  • Dante Exum
    10. Utah Jazz

    B-
    Is it just me or did the Utah Jazz not get enough credit for a solid haul at the NBA Draft? It started with the No. 5 pick, which Utah used on Dante Exum, the seldom-seen Australian point guard who is known for his quickness. But the Jazz didn’t stop there. Utah landed Duke guard Rodney Hood—who was projected to go in the middle of the first round—at No. 23. This past season with the Blue Devils, Hood scored 16.1 points per game on 42 percent three-point shooting. Of course, Utah’s offseason grade goes down the drain if Gordon Hayward goes to Charlotte.

    1 of 10
  • Kyle Lowry
    9. Toronto Raptors

    B-
    True, the Toronto Raptors did draft an unknown, 18-year-old Brazilian—a guy they could have snagged in the second round—with the No. 20 pick in one of the deepest drafts in recent history. Regardless of how good Bruno Caboclo becomes, that was probably stupid. What was not stupid, though, was re-signing Kyle Lowry. The point guard was huge for the Raptors a season ago, averaging 17.9 points and 7.4 assists per game. Another smart move? Picking DeAndre Daniels in the second round. The former UConn wing had some big games in the NCAA tournament and could develop into a solid 3-and-D guy in the NBA.

    2 of 10
  • Aaron Gordon
    8. Orlando Magic

    B
    Out with the old and in with the new: that’s been the theme for the Orlando Magic this offseason. The Magic traded away Arron Afflalo—who will be 29 next season—and waived Jameer Nelson, 32. In return for Afflalo, Orlando received Evan Fournier, who is just 21 years old despite his two seasons in Denver. Then on draft night, the Magic picked Aaron Gordon, 18, and Elfrid Payton, 20. Pair those three with last year’s No. 2 overall pick, 22-year-old Victor Oladipo and 21-year-old Tobias Harris, and the Magic has a solid young core. Payton has already shown promise in summer league, nearly recording a triple-double (12 points, eight rebounds, nine assists) in just his second game. On top of all that, the Magic has also added veterans Channing Frye and Ben Gordon.

    3 of 10
  • Jordan Farmar
    7. Los Angeles Clippers

    B+
    Darren Collison, who averaged 11.4 points per game for the Clippers last season, departed, taking a three-year deal with the Sacramento Kings. Even so, it’s been a good offseason for L.A.’s top team. The Clippers picked up Jordan Farmar to spell Chris Paul and also signed Spencer Hawes to a four-year, $23 million deal. Though 7-1, Hawes can shoot the ball (last season he went 41.6 percent from beyond the arc). Needless to say, it should be fun to see him run the pick-and-pop with CP3.

    4 of 10
  • Marcus Smart
    6. Boston Celtics

    A-
    Aside from landing Kevin Love, the Celtics couldn’t have asked for much more from the offseason at this point. It started on draft night with Boston making two strong selections at No. 6 and No. 17. First the Celtics landed Marcus Smart, a guy who should be able to step into the rotation from game one. And at No. 17, Boston lucked into James Young, a high-upside wing with the potential to be a high-volume scorer. One week later, the Celtics got a four-year deal done with Avery Bradley. Though some questioned the price tag—$32 million—Bradley, 23, is already an elite perimeter defender and his offensive game continues to improve. And to top it all off, Danny Ainge essentially pulled a first-round pick out of thin air in a trade with Cleveland and Brooklyn.

    5 of 10
  • Russ Smith
    5. New Orleans Pelicans

    A-
    The Pelicans’ interior defense has gotten even scarier. New Orleans already had a prolific shot blocker in Anthony Davis. Now the Pelicans have a second defensive stalwart thanks to a deal with the Houston Rockets. For the price of a 2015 first-round pick, New Orleans landed Omer Asik, a guy who averaged 7.9 rebounds and .8 blocks per game in 2013-14 while playing with Dwight Howard. And not only that, the Pelicans also landed rookie Russ Smith, a guy who averaged 18.2 points per game as a senior at Louisville.

    6 of 10
  • Tyson Chandler
    4. Dallas Mavericks

    A-
    After posting a 49-33 record and taking the Spurs to seven games in the first round, the Dallas Mavericks were knocking on the door in 2013-14. The Mavericks didn’t come close to landing Carmelo Anthony, but Dallas has already made moves to help the team reach the next level. The Mavs scored another Knick, Tyson Chandler, who was integral to the Mavs’ title run back in 2011. They also re-signed Dirk Nowitzki (three years for $30 million) and Devin Harris (three years for $9-plus million) at major discounts. And if the Mavs do in fact land Chandler Parsons—a guy who scored 16.6 points per game for the Rockets a year ago—you can bump this grade up to a solid A.

    7 of 10
  • Pau Gasol
    3. Chicago Bulls

    A-

    Chicago didn’t land Carmelo, but the Bulls have still had a successful summer. It started on draft night when they moved up to land Doug McDermott. The former Creighton star shot 44.9 percent from three as a senior and should be able to add a new dimension to the Chicago offense. That offense could also get a big boost from Pau Gasol – the four-time All-Star tweeted this weekend that he’ll join Chicago. Though he’s 34, Gasol still put up big numbers for the Lakers last season, averaging 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds.

    8 of 10
  • Patty Mills
    2. San Antonio Spurs

    A
    For the defending champs, the key to a good offseason was simple: keep the team together. That started with Tim Duncan, who exercised his option to return to San Antonio for the discount of the summer: $10.3 million. Next came backup point guard Patty Mills and do-it-all forward Boris Diaw. But that’s not all. The Spurs also lucked out on draft night when UCLA’s Kyle Anderson fell to No. 30. Anderson is not only tall (6-9) and a good passer, he is also known for having a high basketball IQ. Sounds like a perfect fit for Gregg Popovich and the defending champs.

    9 of 10
  • Andrew Wiggins
    1. Cleveland Cavaliers

    A++

    Talk about a stellar offseason. Seriously, as far as offseasons go, you couldn’t dream up a much better one. The Cavaliers landed the No. 1 pick in the draft, which they used on Andrew Wiggins, the guy with the biggest upside not named Joel “injury-risk” Embiid. They got their best player, Kyrie Irving, to commit to five more years in Cleveland. And then, after all that, they got the best player in the world to come home. Not too shabby.

    10 of 10
  • Dante Exum
  • Kyle Lowry
  • Aaron Gordon
  • Jordan Farmar
  • Marcus Smart
  • Russ Smith
  • Tyson Chandler
  • Pau Gasol
  • Patty Mills
  • Andrew Wiggins

There’s still a long way to go this NBA offseason, but, now that LeBron James has made up his mind, the summer is beginning to take shape. Franchises have been busy this offseason. The much-hyped 2014 NBA Draft has come and gone, and a number of talented players — both young and old — have changed jerseys.

With those moves in mind, here’s a look at the 10 teams that have done the most to get better this offseason… so far.

Follow Martin on Twitter at @MartinKessler91