The NBA playoffs are in full gear and for eight teams, there is still hope of living that championship life. The other 22 teams? Not so much. However, hope springs anew on June 23 when the NBA Draft goes down and teams get to select new jack NBA hoopsters to help them eventually win an NBA title. At least that’s what they tell themselves.
That all said, we begin where all NBA teams will begin — doing an inventory of what an organization has and what it will likely need. All players are unrestricted free agents, unless noted. (ETO = Early Termination Option, P = Player Option, R = Restricted, T = Team Option.)
Projected Draft Picks: 2nd – 18
Free Agents: Hilton Armstrong, Jason Collins, Jamal Crawford, Josh Powell, Etan Thomas, Damien Wilkins
Team Needs: It will be difficult to specifically fill any need through the draft considering where the Hawks are picking, so it’s probably going to be the Best Player Available (BPA) route for ATL’s team. However, considering how many bigs they could lose through free agency, that could be the way to go.
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 25; 2nd – 25
Free Agents: Jeff Green (R), Ray Allen (P), Carlos Arroyo, Glen Davis, Nenad Krstic, Troy Murphy, Shaquille O’Neal (P), Sasha Pavlovic, Von Wafer, Delonte West
Team Needs: Getting younger would be nice. They’ll probably keep Green to hopefully justify the Kendrick Perkins and Allen will probably re-up with the squad, but getting another forward at either spot will help transition away from the Big Three’s inevitable decline.
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 9, 19, 2nd – 9
Free Agents: Dante Cunningham (R), Garrett Temple (R), Kwame Brown, Boris Diaw (P), Dominic McGuire, Joel Przybilla
Team Needs: The Bobcats will need to think about trying to make the playoffs next season — as they almost did this season with a late push — or trade players like Stephen Jackson to totally rebuild. Of the players above, Diaw seems like the only player that will come back and the team is solid in the backcourt with D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson, so going big should be the team’s focus.
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 28, 30; 2nd – 13
Free Agents: Rasual Butler, Brian Scalabrine, Kurt Thomas
Team Needs: The team will basically remain the same next season as this one, which is a great thing considering they had the best record during the regular season. The Bulls have multiple picks in what looks like a fairly weak draft. I’d combine them if possible and get an extra pick in next year’s projected jam-packed draft. Otherwise, look for a scorer.
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 2, 8; 2nd – 2, 24
Free Agents: Ryan Hollins (P), Anthony Parker
Team Needs: Everything! The Cavs have a shot to take the two potential draftees that can actually make a difference next season in the NBA — Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams. They should also look to find a wing that can shoot and score by creating for himself. However, that could be tough in this draft. Trying to get extra picks next year sounds like a good idea since the Cavs have the draft assets.
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 7; 2nd – 3, 22
Free Agents: Jonas Jerebko (R), Rodney Stuckey (R), DaJuan Summers (R), Tracy McGrady,
Tayshaun Prince, Chris Wilcox
Team Needs: The Pistons may keep Stuckey and they have a budding big man in Greg Monroe. Prince will likely leave and things can be contentious at any moment with Richard Hamilton. The Pistons need solid scorers from the wing and with three-point range since the Pistons are deficient from beyond the arc.
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 15; 2nd – 12
Free Agents: Mike Dunleavy, T.J. Ford, Jeff Foster, Solomon Jones, Josh McRoberts
Team Needs: The team is definitely improved and can get better. The Pacers have to hope Darren Collison reaches the upside he showed while with the New Orleans Hornets, as well as having Tyler Hansbrough, Roy Hibbert, and Paul George continue to develop. At this point, it’s looking like BPA, but another four that can board should be the focus.
Projected Draft Picks: 2nd – 1
Free Agents: Mario Chalmers (R), Mike Bibby, Erick Dampier, Eddie House (P), Juwan Howard, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (P), James Jones (P), Jamaal Magloire
Team Needs: Big men. They have the offensive facilitators on the wings already in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but they don’t have an inside presence. It will be difficult to find one with such a late pick, but the respective player will almost automatically be better than Joel Anthony on the offensive side of the ball.
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 10; 2nd – 10
Free Agents: Chris Douglas-Roberts (R), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (R), Earl Boykins, Michael Redd
Team Needs: There are enough wings for the Bucks, especially if they decide that CDR and his Twitterific ways are needed. A back-up to Brandon Jennings and a solid big man with size to spell Andrew Bogut are what’s needed most.
New Jersey Nets
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 27; 2nd – 5
Free Agents: Ben Uzoh (R), Brandan Wright (R), Dan Gadzuric, Kris Humphries, Sasha Vujacic, Mario West
Team Needs: Without question a small forward that can create his own shot and finish at the rim. However, a four is also possible if the Nets don’t think they can re-sign Humphries for under double-digit dollars per year.
New York Knicks
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 17
Free Agents: Derrick Brown (R), Anthony Carter, Jared Jeffries, Roger Mason, Ronny Turiaf (P), Shawne Williams, Shelden Williams
Team Needs: A solid big man that can run the floor and stop opposing offenses from scoring at the rim. Kevin McHale-type post moves would be nice too, but that’s not happening here. A strong shooting guard is also a possibility considering how much Landry Fields regressed after that big trade that you might have heard of.
Projected Draft Picks: 2nd – 23
Free Agents: Malik Allen, Earl Clark, Jason Richardson
Team Needs: The Magic are cash-strapped thanks to the trades for Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu that didn’t exactly work out quite as hoped. So, they’ll need to improve in the draft, and where they’re picking it’s all about BPA.
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 16; 2nd – 20
Free Agents: Antonio Daniels (R), Spencer Hawes (R), Thaddeus Young (R), Tony Battie, Jason Kapono, Darius Songaila
Team Needs: If I’m the Sixers, the main focus during the offseason is re-signing Young. Elton Brand had a very solid season, but there’s a dearth of bigs in Philly and they need to fill up with some fours and fives. They’re pretty much set at the guard and three spots.
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 3
Free Agents: Joey Dorsey (R), Sonny Weems (R), Julian Wright (R), Alexis Ajinca, Leandro Barbosa (P), Reggie Evans
Team Needs: DeMar DeRozan was a revelation this past season and Ed Davis shows a lot of promise, and Jerryd Bayless isn’t bad either. Getting a solid scoring three or a legitimate five would do wonders for the Raptors and would maybe make them be one of those teams on the rise once again.
Projected Draft Picks: 1st – 4, 18; 2nd – 4
Free Agents: Othyus Jeffers (R), Larry Owens (R), Hamady Ndiaye (R), Mustafa Shakur (R), Yi Jianlian (R), Nick Young (R), Maurice Evans, Josh Howard
Team Needs: The Wizards will probably want to re-sign Young, who became their top scorer this past season. He, John Wall, and Jordan Crawford should be a solid rotation in the backcourt for the next few years, plus Young can play some small forward. JaVale McGee is a monster in the middle and Andray Blatche can be really good when he wants to be. A small forward to put into the rotation as well as back-ups at the point and big spots are needed.
Agree or disagree with your favorite team’s needs? Leave comments and/or attack Dennis on Twitter to let him know your blatant disgust. Next time, the Western Conference.