We have seen many moves and changes in this year’s offseason, as a lot of teams have reshaped their rosters and put together groups they think can win. Sure we know all about Lowry going to Miami or DeRozan joining the Bulls, but what about those under-the-radar moves good teams made that nobody is talking about. Some teams missed only a piece last year, and some of them may have just filled that hole. Here are some of the most underrated moves of the 2021 offseason nobody is talking about that could put teams over the edge:
Larry Nance Jr., Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers had an interesting offseason. From having Damian Lillard on the out to hiring Chauncey Billups as their head coach, the offseason was nothing shot from eventful. But here we are, and Dame is still a Blazer. Portland’s main problem over the past few years has been getting out of mediocrity. Sure, a great team, but only good enough for making the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference. With all the big contracts, the Blazers had really not much flexibility to add to their roster, but they managed to pull out a pretty good trade with Cleveland and get Larry Nance Jr. on their roster.
Nance is a modern big man who can play both the 4 and 5 positions and bring a breath of fresh air to Portland. Resting Nurkic at the center position and even filling at the power forward position will give Nance a lot of opportunities. In his late 20’s, Nance has developed a reliable jumper next to his great athletic ability. A dedicated team guy that can fit in anywhere and especially in such a talented team. That will for sure help Portland’s defense, which was horrendous last season. With Billipus changing the culture, the Portland Trail Blazers could finally take the next step if everything falls into place.
Patty Mills, Brooklyn Nets
As if the Nets don’t already have enough firepower with their three superstars, getting the Australian guard Patty Mills was a luxury. The veteran guard has a great career behind him, serving primarily as a scoring punch from the bench. The Nets need this, as Mills is a very reliable and consistent source of buckets that could sometimes bring the team up if their stars are struggling on a particular night.
We all saw how good Mills is when playing with Australia. If given a more prominent role, he could definitely be averaging significant numbers. Considering the Kyrie situation, maybe Mills even slots into the starting lineup. But whichever role Nash finds for Mills, he will be of great use in Brooklyn’s hunt for a championship.
Rudy Gay, Utah Jazz
Even though he was known as a scoring small forward for most of his career, during his four years in San Antonio, Rudy Gay became a typical stretch four, adjusting to the evolution of the game. Gay adapted and had a very solid season last year, proving he could play the same role on a contending team. And the Jazz saw that and swooped him up for a relatively cheap price. The Jazz were the best team in the league last season, but they flamed out in the playoffs due to their lack of depth and flexibility.
Gay could play a significant role, as even the small ball 4 or 5 if teams decide to go short versus them. Gobert could then go to the bench and give the Jazz a counter for small-ball. With the team basically staying the same while adding names like Gay, Whiteside, and Paschall, the Jazz could have another great season and probably do much better in the playoff than last year.
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks
The whole point of the Mavericks roster has become surrounding Luka Dončić with capable players that can shoot, play defense, and help in any way possible. Considering Luka is already good enough to carry a team, all that is missing is some glue 3&D guys that can show consistency. Last year everybody thought Josh Richardson would be the solution, but that proved to be a flop.
Now the Mavericks have decided to give it another shot and sign Reggie Bullock. Bullock played last season with the Knicks and proved to be a very valuable piece in the Knicks’ surprisingly great season. A sharpshooter with good size that can defend multiple positions is a perfect fit for the Mavericks, who could really use better perimeter defending. Also, surrounding Luka with shooters is probably a smart idea. If he finds his role and touch, Bullock could be of great value to the mavericks in the regular season and especially the playoffs.