NBA draft based on needing the right player is key!
Now that the NBA lottery draft order is known who should teams choose based on their true need to improve their roster.
The draft is only a small part of the off season all teams will go through that includes resigning key players, luring available free agents if having available the cap space and the continual team to team trades that will occur. Here is a look at the draft, simply done based on who do the teams really need based on positions on the floor being upgraded. Let’s also assume teams will do everything they can to keep highly desired free agents from going elsewhere. The analysis is not based on who everyone in the media thinks is the best player but more so on the reasons teams should choose the suggested player based on positional needs of the club. The following are the first ten picks of the draft.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – The baby wolves are going to get even younger. If Kevin Martin (over 30 years old) is removed from the starting lineup the starters of Levine, Adreian Payne, Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng average 22 years of age. But here is where it gets interesting. Payne and Anthony Bennett at power forwards, Dieng , Pekovic and Hamilton as centers with 18 fouls per game to give, small forwards of Budinger, Hummel and of course Wiggins. A guard rotation of Rubio, Lavine, Martin with Gary Neal and Shabazz Muhammad a capable backup. The real need of the Wolves is a pure player playing the needed position he was meant to. Scoring this year came from Martin and Wiggins so let’s not mess with the SG or SF position. Payne and Bennett must provide a combined stability at the power forward position. That leaves the positions of center or PG remaining. As Levine became a rookie all-star and the return of a healthy Ricky Rubio shores up the PG position the available need is at center…Best need by position pick… Jahlil Okafor of Duke
- Los Angeles Lakers – The Lakers need help everywhere and that includes the SG position occupied by Kobe because of ongoing health and age issues. The one bright spot this past year, PG Jordan Clarkson. Assume a healthy Kobe returns as the contributing SG. Assume a healthy PF in Julius Randle. What is left is a bench of role players that include Ryan Kelly as a SF/ stretch 4, Ed Davis PF, Center combination of Tarik Black, Robert Sacre and Jordan Hill, guards Jeremy Lin and Nic Young. LA will no doubt enter the free agency sweepstakes market this off season. Therefore, the Lakers in this draft might think about a phone call to Orlando to swap picks. The Lakers in a trade agree to draft Karl Anthony Towns and ship him to the Magic for C Nikola Vucevic and the Magic #5 pick of Justice Winslow. Winslow will fill in the SF position, Vucevic the new center. The Magic get Karl Anthony Towns and possible one other player to be named. Add in free agent Lamarcus Aldridge and perhaps Rajon Rondo and welcome back playoffs. Pick with trade in mind…Karl Anthony Towns
- Philadelphia 76ers – The Sixers perhaps like the Timberwolves might finally begin to see some light in the tunnel but coming out of the tunnel is still a long way off. However, twin tower pieces of Nerlens Noel and a healthy Joel Embid is a start. A capable SG appears to have been found in Tony Wroten. The small forward combination of Covington and Mbah a Moute combined for 23 ppg/9.5 rb per game. Bigger expectations will certainly be needed from key role players such as Isaiah Canaan, Glenn Robinson and Thomas Robinson if he remains. So what really is the priority…Other than Noel and Embid getting on the floor together playing the PF and C positions and Tony Wroten’s continued development, pick a position. What really is needed is a true point guard that is the future leader. Detroit years ago selected Isaiah Thomas and thus began the Piston’s Bad Boy years. Perhaps the Sixers might look to the past and reprise the roll for a new age “Bad Boys” to begin…Best need based upon position Emmanuel Mudiay
- New York Knicks – NY has money…they have got MSG and the “city that never sleeps”…but the needs of the team are everywhere…30M of cap space means NY will be a player in free agency. Jose Calderon and Melo’s salaries are 30M of it. So other than PG and SF positions occupied by these two every other position is in need. The only question is whether to go big or not. If the front court is the choice then Willie Cauley-Stein is the pick. If the choice is to go small and in the process add 2 guard firepower D’Angelo Russell becomes the choice. In the free agency market add solid players such as Thomas Robinson, Gerald Green, Paul Milsap and perhaps Draymon Green. These are players who for the most part will not break the bank and add with current roster players Alexy Shved, Tim Hardaway and Cleanthony Early and the Knicks at least might be competitive in the east. Pick based on need…D’Angelo Russell
- Orlando Magic– As mentioned the Magic wind up with Karl Anthony Towns if they listen to the offer from the Lakers. Add Towns into the mix of a rapidly improving more than adequate back court of Victor Olidipo and All rookie selection Elfrid Payton. The continued development of Aaron Gordon at PF and Tobias Harris at SF and suddenly a nice young nucleus for the new Magic coach to mold. Include a bench of Channing Frye, Kyle O’Quinn, Andrew Nicholson, Devyn Marble, Maurice Harkless, Dwayne Dedmon and Evan Fournier. It all means the loss of Vucevic will be easily overcome. Pick with trade in mind …Justice Winslow
- Sacramento Kings – The core of Sacramento is under contract in Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins, Carl Landry, Darren Collison, Jason Thompson, Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas. The most notable position of need last year is the power forward spot. The other four spots provided consistent scoring by NBA standards. So who might be the best position pick on the board for the Kings? Two selections come to mind, the first is Willie Cauley-Stein. Cauley-Stein’s offensive game is going to be a work in progress however he is a mobile, pass first, shot blocking defensive presence that next to Cousins would form a particularly intriguing frontline partnership. The second is college POY Frank Kaminsky, a solid workhorse type of player that is and could be an extremely interesting stretch four, pick and roll player for the likes of McLemore, Gay and Collison as well as a high-low partner with Cousins. The question becomes is it a Kentucky reunion of sorts or the College POY? Based on the fact that the Kings rank 13th in PPG in the NBA which is within playoff range but rank 21st in opponents PPG, the pick based on need should be …Willie Cauley-Stein.
- Denver Nuggets –The Nuggets already are committed to almost 55M towards salary cap for next year so their options are limited. The core group of Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Fareid, Randy Foye and Danilo Gallinari offer PG, SF and PF position pieces. Immediate real needs are either a true SG or center position player. Assuming Frank Kaminsky is available he would certainly fill a center spot or the Nuggets could opt for Croatian SG Mario Hezonja. Based on the unknown variables of Hezonja the pick based on need should be Frank Kaminsky.
- Detroit Pistons – Can the Pistons convince Greg Monroe to resign? With NY, LA and others in the FA market that might be tough. If they can Monroe, Brandon Jennings, Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond, KC-Pope and Jodie Meeks is a nice nucleus. Small forward is the glaring need within that framework unless of course the Pistons do indeed lose Monroe in which case PF is also a glaring deficit. The two most likely candidates at SF would be either Stanley Johnson of Arizona or Kelly Oubre of Kansas. If in fact the Pistons do lose Monroe they could also consider Bobby Portis, Trey Lyles or Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia although he might opt to stay in Europe another year or two to fill the vacant PF spot. As we assume teams will resign important pieces and Monroe certainly is important to the Pistons the pick based on need should be Stanley Johnson
- Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets continue to add pieces and certainly it is most important to secure Al Jefferson and possibly Gerald Henderson as free agents. Charlotte has pieces with Lance Stephenson, Mike Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker and Cody Zeller to round out all 5 starting positions of the floor if they do. Marvin Williams and Noah Vonleh will have to progress as well. Perhaps the Hornets should be the first team to just take the best possible player available on the board no matter the position. That would be power forward Bobby Portis.
- Miami Heat – Does Chris Bosh resume playing? Is Hassan Whiteside the real thing? Will Michael Beasley finally realize he could be a true force it he wants it bad enough? How much longer can D-Wade and Luol Deng provide this team direction and leadership? Will Josh McRoberts ever be a quality 6th man roll player? Will Wade, Deng and Goran Dragic leave in free agency? So many questions but one thing is for certain. Miami takes the best available big man…and that is center Myles Turner of Texas.