Toronto Raptors free agency 2019: Who in East got better, who got worse

Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Brooklyn Nets

No team improved their long-term championship odds more than the Brooklyn Nets this offseason. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, and Garrett Temple were all added to what was already a playoff roster. The Nets are officially set up for long-term success.

But are they contenders next season? Durant isn’t expected to play, and after his Finals experience, it seems even more unlikely he would want to rush back from injury. So in regards to next year’s team, it’s essentially like the Nets added Irving, Jordan, and Temple, while sending out D’Angelo Russell, Jared Dudley, and Ed Davis.

Temple is a quality rotation player on the wing. He’ll likely be the team’s second guard off the bench –behind Spencer Dinwiddie — and should provide some defense. He’s a nice but uneventful piece.

Although he signed for a sizeable amount of money, DeAndre Jordan isn’t the player he used to be. He’s become a bit of a defensive liability and needs to be within 5-feet of the hoop on offense. If it weren’t for his friendship with Irving and Durant, he probably wouldn’t have received the offer he did.

Jordan hasn’t exactly been playing his hardest while out of contention, so it’s possible he turns it around next year. While Jarrett Allen is the better player at this point. The two should share the minutes somewhat evenly next season. Still, not a major acquisition.

Really, to It depends on how much you value Irving compared to Russell. Irving is a more efficient scorer, a better playmaker, and about even on defense (both pretty bad, but not horrendous). He does many of the same things Russel does but does them better.

Irving has been followed by off-the-court drama, and that’s not a coincidence. He’s a weird guy, who can rub certain teammates the wrong way.

But don’t expect that to kick in during the honeymoon first season. The Nets got significantly better with their acquisitions this summer, and with most players on the right side of the aging curve, should have some internal development as well.

Sentence long review: They’ll need KD to be NBA title contenders, but the Nets have an outside shot at the East.