Following the blockbuster moves made this offseason involving Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Jimmy Butler, Paul George and a number of other All-Stars, it’s easy to forget about the smaller acquisitions NBA teams made to improve their roster. That includes teams expected to compete for a spot in the NBA Finals this season such as the Rockets, Thunder, Cavaliers and Warriors, as well as teams looking to take the next step in their rebuild such as the Nets, Lakers, 76ers and Kings.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five acquisitions in particular that have flown under the radar as we enter the 2017-18 NBA season. They won’t all make the same impact, but they each bring an important element their respective teams were missing last season.
Luc Mbah a Moute
As the starting small forward for the Clippers, Luc Mbah a Moute became known more for what he doesn’t do than what he does do. That should change now that he’s on the Rockets.
Although Mbah a Moute isn’t a volume three-point shooter, he’s a better floor space than he’s made out to be. 41.1 percent of his offense came from spot-ups last season, and he ranked in the 82.3 percentile with 1.14 points per possession. The bulk of those opportunities came from the corners, where he shot 41.8 percent on 3-point attempts. Considering the Cavaliers were the only team to attempt more corner three-pointers than the Rockets last season, it bodes well for how Mbah a Moute will complement James Harden and Chris Paul in Mike D’Antoni’s system.
Where Mbah a Moute really shines is on defense. He’s incredibly versatile in that regard, possessing the length and speed to guard multiple positions. Playing him at power forward or center at times alongside Harden and Paul should give the Rockets the sort of frontcourt specialist they needed last season to keep up with the Warriors, Spurs, and Cavaliers.