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Which contender improved the most after the deadline?

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The NBA trade deadline ended more than a week ago and it passed with some significant action with some not-so-significant players involved. It has been a surprisingly busy week after the deadline, with some fairly significant moves coming during the buyout and waiver period. Here are the most notable signings this week.

  • Danny Granger signs with the Clipper. Granger had only played in 29 games this season (34 over the past two seasons) before being traded to the Sixers, where he played no games before being bought out. He hasn't played a game since February 19th, but looks to be a regular part of Doc Rivers' rotation in LA. Granger will provide a much needed defensive presence, as well as a more consistent outside shot at the small forward position. Expect Granger to get a fairly significant amount of minutes, especially when the Clippers play the NBA's elite small forwards and shooting guards.
  • Glen Davis signs with the Clippers. The Clippers have been pretty active during this period, as they have also picked up a solid back up power forward in Glen Davis, who was averaging 12.1 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game this year after coming back from his injury riddled 2012-2013 season. Davis is now the only Clipper to have championship experience, as he played for the Doc Rivers coached Boston Celtics in 2008.
  • Caron Butler signs with the Thunder. The 34 year old small forward is having one of his worst seasons of his career, as he is shooting a career low 38% from the field, though the Thunder are likely not worried about his offensive output. Butler may be having a horrid season offensively, but his defense is likely the reason why the Thunder signed him. It helps that Butler has maintained a high shooting percentage from three point land, hitting on 36% of his outside shots. Look for Butler's efficiency to rise, as he will no longer be called upon to create his own shot, instead being used to stretch the floor for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
  • The Grizzlies claimed Beno Udrih. Udrih isn't a glamorous name, or even a big name at that, but he is a better option as the back up point guard to Mike Conley than what the Grizzlies currently have. Udrih's role will likely remain unchanged, as the team will expect him to hold on to the ball and help run the offense for the second unit, whether that's scoring or passing.

It looks like the Clippers have improved themselves the most for the stretch run, having added a former star player in Danny Granger, and a solid back up power forward with championship experience in Glen Davis. The Clippers currently sit at 41-20, good for the fourth seed in the West, behind Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Portland; they certainly didn't need any help at the moment, however getting a guy who can cover the Manu Ginobilis and James Hardens of the West will be a massive upgrade in the playoffs, should Granger earn his way into the rotation. While Butler provides a similar skill set with Oklahoma City, he does not have the offensive potential of Granger, who is still considered to be in his prime at age 30, nor did the Thunder pick up another player to help their bench.

The Clippers are the overwhelming winners after the deadline; time will tell if Granger and Davis can contribute to a possible championship run by Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and co.

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