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Nuggets Fans Are For Sure Getting High Off Their Own Supply As We Look At Some Early Trade Deadline Returns

Bart Young. Getty Images.

Tomorrow will mark two weeks since the March 25th trade deadline. Certain contenders went for it, some rebuilding teams made smaller moves to help around the edges, but we're starting to get a little bit of a clearer picture of how all these moves are panning out. Obviously, this is a small sample that can certainly change down the home stretch of the season, most have played around 4-7 games and there are some guys who we haven't even seen yet like Gary Harris or George Hill. But I was curious how guys were doing in their new environment and how their addition has impacted the team as a whole. There's really one clear winner here which we'll get to, but let's have a look.

Chicago Bulls

Record at deadline: 19-24

Current record: 21-28

Nikola Vucevic: 6 games putting up 22.7/11.0/3.8 on 51/35%

Daniel Theis: 4 games putting up 6.3/3.8/2.0 on 47/25%

By pretty much all accounts, the Bulls were the big suprise team at the deadline. They absolutely went for it with hopes to slide into the play in/top 8. From an individual production standpoint, things have been as advertised. Theis' shooting has gone down a little bit but his role is now different as a reserve big and he's doing a great job of somehow defending without fouling. Vucevic is giving you the same All Star production you were expecting, it just hasn't translated to wins. They are just 2-4 since the deadline, but their 2 wins in a row have them in 10th. They are still alive in the play in dream and if you get there well anything can happen.

If I were a Bulls fan, I would still be happy with these moves.

Boston Celtics

Record at deadline: 21-23

Current record: 26-26

Evan Fournier: 4 games putting up 11.5/1.8/1.8/1.3 on 42/47% 

Luke Kornet: 6 games putting up 5.0/3.5/1.0 on 44/40%

You'll never believe this but an underachieving team hovering around .500 before the deadline is still an underachieving team hovering around .500 after the deadline. Just 4-3 since March 25th, their situation is a little different. Evan Fournier has been put in health and safety protocols twice, and his numbers are a little wacky. It started with an 0-10 debut, and then he rebounded well in his last two games making 10 straight threes. So his shooting percentages are probably somewhere in the middle of what we've seen through his first four games.

With Kornet, he really only got serious run because Tristan Thompson has been in health and safety protocols for the last 13 games. Anything he gives you is house money, but at the same time I wouldn't exactly say he and Moe Wagner have fit the bill when it comes to replacing what Daniel Theis gave them. That feels like a regression.

As a Celts fan, I'm mostly just frustrated because we haven't really seen Fournier play and won't for another week. If he plays like he did in his last two, he helps drastically.

Miami Heat

Record at deadline: 22-23

Current record: 26-25

Victor Oladipo: 4 games putting up 10.0/3.3/4.0/1.3 on 31/14%

Nemanja Bjelica: 5 games putting up 4.4/2.6/1.2 on 42/23% splits

At the deadline, there was a lot of praise for what Pat Riley was able to pull off. He basically got these two players for nothing. The good news is they are 4-2 since the deadline after dropping 5 in a row heading in. The bad news is that turnaround really isn't coming from their new additions. I don't think those Oladipo numbers are what Heat fans had in mind, their defense still has issues and if Bjelica is supposed to be a stretch big, he needs to shoot better than 23% from three. 

Again it's not a huge deal considering they were probably done with Bradley/Olynyk anyway, but the idea that Oladipo was going to drastically turn into his All Star version just because he was now part of Heat Culture certainly hasn't happened yet. In fact, he's going backwards. 

If I was a Heat fan I might be nervous, but still optimistic because you are finding ways to win without having to rely on these guys

Toronto Raptors

Record at deadline: 18-26

Current record: 20-31

Gary Trent Jr: 7 games putting up 15.9/3,34/1.4/1.0 on 42/38%

Look, the Raptors have had a year from hell. It's not even their fault. Covid fucked them, being in Tampa all year is unlike anything another team has to deal with, they never replaced Gasol/Ibaka, so I don't fault them for their record. It's a lost year.

The important part is Gary Trent Jr, who is a RFA this season, has come over and been the exact player he was for the Blazers. A SG/SF with good size who can get you buckets. He just had a game winner for them the other night. Now a starter, he's responded well. Considering they were probably losing Norman Powell in free agency, this is a nice save by that front office. His defense has actually look slightly better as well, which will be big moving forward.

If I was a Raptors fan I would be happy with this move despite the record. You might not be getting the same 19 points from Powell, but Trent Jr has been as advertised and someone they will probably match on this summer.

Portland Trail Blazers

Record at deadline: 26-18

Current record: 30-20

Norman Powell: 6 games putting up 18.0/3.2/1.2/2.0 on 45/41%

The Blazers felt like they needed additional scoring help, and Powell has done that for the most part. Just a slight dip from what we saw in TOR but that makes sense since both Dame and CJ McCollum are back. He's taking about 1 fewer shot a night on average which helps explain his 1.6 drop in points. 

As we know though, when it comes to the Blazers it all comes down to their defense, and Powell has most certainly not helped there. He has a 116 Drtg so far as a Blazer which is the highest of his career. However, if he's going to keep putting up 32 like he just did last night against the Clippers, maybe it won't matter. The Blazers are sort of stuck in the 6 spot at the moment (depending on what the Lakers do) and the Mavs are coming in hot to get out of that play in. 

If I were a Blazers fan, I'd be "meh" about this trade. It's been fine. Not a drastic change really compared to what they were pre-deadline, only now they have to worry about Powell leaving in free agency.

Denver Nuggets

Record at deadline: 26-18

Current record: 33-18

Aaron Gordon: 5 games putting up 13.2/4.6/2.6/1.0 on 62/33%

And here we have our overwhelming winners so far coming out of the trade deadline. I mean holy shit. To say that Aaron Gordon has slid into this roster and thrived would be a massive understatement. He's completely changed how he plays, it's pretty clear that he is thriving playing off Jokic, and the results speak for themselves. Not only are the Nuggets 7-0 and within 1 game of the 3 seed, but they have the #1 offense and #2 net rating in the entire league since the trade. 

Their defense still needs some help, currently 16th since March 25th which is about where they were before the deadline, but there is no denying that with Gordon in the mix the Nuggets have turned into an offensive monster. Since the deadline going up against teams like ATL/PHI/LAC is pretty legit.

If I were a Nuggets fan I would clearly be over the moon. This trade so far has worked out better than they probably expected, and the Nuggets are playing their way into being a legit contender in that next tier of teams out West that aren't a healthy Lakers team. Basically the UTA/PHX/LAC group.

It'll be interesting to see how guys like George Hill will help the Sixers point guard depth once he's finally active, and obviously the jury is still out what Fournier looks like on the Celts with an extended run. Overall though I wouldn't say any team or fanbase regrets their moves so far, but not all of them have exactly translated to wins just yet.