Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

By Eric Williams
Updated: September 21, 2008

nba PHILADELPHIA — With a flurry of free agent activity this offseason – not to mention a 2008 draft that could help several teams immediately – the 2008-09 NBA regular season figures to be one of the most exciting and thrilling seasons in recent memory.

In this NBA wagering-related article, I will provide NBAbasketball enthusiasts with the inside scoop on which NBA teams did the best jobs of improving their respective rosters while increasing their individual chances of winning more games in 2008-09 than they did this past NBA season.

With NBAtraining camps set to get underway later this week, now is the time for NBA enthusiasts to get all the knowledge they can in order to make winning wagers throughout the entire 2008-09 NBAseason — and this NBA original, will help basketball wagering lifers to do just that.

Here is a look at the biggest offseason winners in the NBA heading into the 2008-09 NBA season.

Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers made the best offseason free agent signing of any team in the league by managing to persuade perennial all-star power forward Elton Brand to leave the Los Angeles Clippers and sign a long-term deal with the club for over $80 million. The Sixers followed that move up by re-signing, (and overpaying) athletic small forward Andre Iguoadala and blossoming combo guard Louis Williams in addition to drafting young center Marreese Speights out of the University of Florida. Talk about a team headed in the right direction and Philadelphia is right at the top of the list.

Portland Trailblazers

The Blazers didn’t make any major free agent signings this offseason, but the drafting of point electrifying point guard Jerred Bayless, who lit up the summer league this summer and could start right away, cold turn out to be an absolute stroke of genius. The Blazers also will have 2007 first-round draft pick Rudy Fernandez, already a star in Europe, on the team this season to add depth to a backcourt that already features blossoming shooting guard Brandon Roy. With last season’s No.1 overall draft pick, center Greg Oden, available after missing his entire rookie season due to microfracture surgery, it’s easy to see that the Blazers have the look of a postseason participant in 2008-09 even in the powerful western conference.

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers moved aging forward Jermaine O’Neal for point guard T.J. Ford and also added another underrated point guard in veteran Jarrett Jack while drafting two players who should be staples to the Pacers roster for years to come in swingman Brandon Rush and center Roy Hibbert. While these moves won’t guarantee a playoff spot for the Pacers in 2008-09, the team did set themselves up for future success pretty nicely if you ask me.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors added Jermaine O’Neal to go along with Chris Bosh up front and by trading Ford, handed the starting point guard job to the capable Jose Calderon. While these transactions ma not seem very moving on the surface, the addition of O’Neal and elevation of Calderon could be just the tonic the Raptors needed.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets made a serious statement that they are serious about winning the Western Conference by adding enigmatic forward Ron Artest in a trade with the Sacramento Kings that will give this team the attitude that ‘nice-guy’ superstars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming are clearly lacking – if Artest doesn’t pull one of his ‘head case’ acts at some point during the regular season.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks made a great move by adding no-nonsense head coach Scott Skiles who will force his players to actually play some defense this season. The addition of small forward Richard Jefferson will help immensely, though I don’t understand why the team drafted another small forward in former West Virginia star Joe Alexander.

New York Knicks

Go ahead and laugh all you want, I say the addition of head coach Mike D’Antoni and the team’s new overseer of its total basketball operations, veteran NBA front office leader, Donnie Walsh, will pay dividends for the lowly Knicks at some point in the near future. Now, if only the team can get rid of underachieving players like Eddy Curry, Stephon Marbury and Jerome James, then, the Knicks would really be saying something.

TOMMORROW: 2008 NBA offseason losers.