The 2012 NBA Draft goes down on June 28th and many teams and fans are looking forward to what’s considered to be a deep draft. However, deep or not, it’s always a hit-or-miss proposition when it comes to players transitioning from the college game to the NBA game. This week we start our draft coverage with each team’s needs and which way they’ll possibly go at the end of June.
All free agents listed are unrestricted unless noted as restricted (R), owning a player option (P), team option (T) or early termination option (ETO).
Projected Draft Picks: 1.23, 2.13 (43)
2012 Free Agents: Ivan Johnson (R), Jason Collins, Erick Dampier, Willie Green, Kirk Hinrich, Tracy McGrady, Jannero Pargo, Vladimir Radmanovic, Jerry Stackhouse
2013 Free Agents: Jeff Teague (R), Zaza Pachulia, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams (ETO)
Team Needs: The team’s needs are sort of in flux as they will likely try to trade Joe Johnson because of the length of his head-scratching contract, possibly for someone like Amar’e Stoudemire who also has a bad contract, but for less years. Since the temperamental Josh Smith will be an unrestricted free agent after next season, the Hawks will likely try to move him in order to receive some assets instead of losing him for nothing. They’re solid at point guard with Jeff Teague and the four/five with Al Horford. Marvin Williams never produced as Atlanta expected and they may look to fill the three position through the draft, in the hopes that Williams moves on after the season. Considering the wings they’ll likely lose through free agency, I’d expect them to go for a small forward, possibly power forward as well, if J-Smoove does get traded.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.21, 1.22, 2.21 (51)
2012 Free Agents: Greg Stiemsma (R), Ray Allen, Brandon Bass (P), Marquis Daniels, Keyon Dooling, Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green, Ryan Hollins, Sasha Pavlovic, Mickael Pietrus
2013 Free Agents: E’Twaun Moore (R), Sean Williams
Team Needs: The Celtics have to be thinking of life without both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen after this season, as well as the possible retirement of Paul Pierce if rumors are to be believed. If the eventual loss of Boston’s Big Three does happen, the Celtics will have some pretty big kicks to fill. The only position that is set for the Celtics is at point guard with both Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. They’ll likely look to fill the wing spots with athletes and/or shooters to fit Rondo’s ability to run and dish off to the open man, either on the outside or on the break. One thing that’s for sure is it’s going to be a different team in Boston.
Projected Draft Picks: 2.27 (57)
2012 Free Agents: Sundiata Gaines (R), Armon Johnson (R), Brook Lopez (R), Jordan Farmar (P), Gerald Green, Kris Humphries, Damion James, DeShawn Stevenson, Gerald Wallace (P), Deron Williams (P)
2013 Free Agents: Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro
Team Needs: This offseason is going to be an interesting one for the Nets with the re-signing of Deron Williams being the ultimate focus for the team. There aren’t many incumbents definitely moving to Brooklyn, but the team is likely to re-sign Brook Lopez and are hoping that Gerald Wallace re-signs along with D-Will. However, since the free agency period doesn’t happen until a few days afterward, the Nets have to deal with what they have and that’s their low draft pick. In all likelihood, they’ll take the best player available regardless of position, just to increase their talent pool. Of course, if you believe the NBA Draft Lottery conspiracies, the Nets will win it and be awarded with the first overall pick, which would mean Anthony Davis representing Brooklyn. Nets fans can only hope, but D-Will re-signing is still top priority.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.1, 2.1 (31)
2012 Free Agents: D.J. Augustin (R), Derrick Brown (R), Cory Higgins (R), D.J. White (R), Matt Carroll (ETO), DeSagana Diop (P), Eduardo Najera
2013 Free Agents: Gerald Henderson (R), Byron Mullens (R), Corey Maggette, Jamario Moon, Reggie Williams
Team Needs: Like it or not, Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson and Bismack Biyombo are the core of the Bobcats, which actually explains a lot. That said, if they do indeed win the lottery, adding Anthony Davis will boost the team’s re-re-rebuilding effort. No duh, right? However, if the basketball gods decide to continue to look unfavorably at the franchise, they’ll likely look to fill the small forward position, especially since Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes will be available at the fourth pick. But, man, wouldn’t that just suck for Charlotte if they lost the lottery. It’s probably some sort of karmic thing since owner Michael Jordan won all of those titles as a player.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.29
2012 Free Agents: Omer Asik (R), Mike James, John Lucas III, Brian Scalabrine
2013 Free Agents: Taj Gibson (R), Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson
Team Needs: Do I dare say point guard considering how long Derrick Rose will be out? Unless someone like Marquis Teague falls to the end of the draft, the Bulls will likely draft a combo/shooting guard or for depth. The team is set in the frontcourt with Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, and Carlos Boozer, as well as valuable sub Taj Gibson. I expect them to go guard, especially considering where they’re drafting, as there are some interesting players to consider like Tony Wroten and John Jenkins who may be available.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.3, 1.24, 2.3 (33), 2.4 (34)
2012 Free Agents: Semih Erden (R), Alonzo Gee (R), Luke Harangody (R), Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker
2013 Free Agents: Omri Casspi (R), Manny Harris (R), D.J. Kennedy (R), Samardo Samuels (R), Donald Sloan (R), Daniel Gibson, Luke Walton
Team Needs: The rebuilding post-LeBron James continues with Kyrie Irving being the main component in doing so. They have the point guard, a power forward with potential (Tristan Thompson), and with the third overall pick, can go with someone like Andre Drummond at center, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the small forward or Bradley Beal at shooting guard, to form an excellent young backcourt bursting with big-time potential. They have another first round pick towards the end of the round and will likely pick one of the positions not taken with the third overall pick, assuming they don’t get pushed out at the lottery. Either way, the Cavs will have a shiny future ahead of them with team as the focus and not on an individual as it was with LeBron.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.9, 2.9 (39), 2.14 (44)
2012 Free Agents: Vernon Macklin (R), Walker Russell (R), Jason Maxiell (P), Ben Wallace, Damien Wilkins
2013 Free Agents: Austin Daye (R), Will Bynum, Ben Gordon (P), Charlie Villanueva (P)
Team Needs: Don’t worry Pistons fans, the bloated contracts of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva are almost over! The only two positions I have faith in the future for are at the lead guard with Brandon Knight and at center with Greg Monroe. At the ninth pick there are some interesting bigs for the team to consider — John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones. With their later picks, shooting guard and small forward will likely be the priority to fill in depth and eventually replace the aforementioned Gordon and Villanueva’s spots.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.26
2012 Free Agents: Roy Hibbert (R), George Hill (R), A.J. Price (R), Louis Amundson, Leandro Barbosa, Kyrylo Fesenko, Dahntay Jones
2013 Free Agents: Darren Collison (R), Tyler Hanbrough (R), Jeff Pendergraph (R), David West
Team Needs: I love this team, and not just because they’re giving the highly-praised Miami Heat a strong run for their money while doing it with a “built not bought” mantra. Except David West, of course. The team has talent at every position right now and I’m a huge fan of Paul George. The Pacers should retain their big man, Roy Hibbert, during this offseason and hope to keep George Hill and the rest of this very good collection of players together. At their draft position, they’ll likely take the best talent available, with perhaps a focus at the wing position considering the free agents they have this offseason. Power forward is also a possibility, considering West could leave after next season.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.27
2012 Free Agents: Terrel Harris (R), Eddy Curry, Juwan Howard, Ronny Turiaf (P)
2013 Free Agents: Dexter Pittman (R), Mario Chalmers (T), James Jones (P)
Team Needs: A big man, most definitely, with apologies to Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem. However, the Roy Hibbert’s dominance on the boards should make the choice obvious, shouldn’t it? The problem is that there won’t be many solid big men at the end of the draft and they may have to settle for the best talent available, like they’re not already fully loaded with talent already.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.12, 2.12 (42)
2012 Free Agents: Kwame Brown, Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, Beno Udrih (P)
2013 Free Agents: Jon Leuer (R), Jon Brockman, Monta Ellis (ETO), Mike Dunleavy, Shaun Livingston
Team Needs: The Bucks are set in the backcourt with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, who seem to be co-existing fine despite both being volume shooters. Ersan Ilyasova will be a desired quantity this offseason by many teams and will likely leave the Bucks for big money. Ekpe Udoh showed some potential last season and Drew Gooden stepped up as well. The Bucks will likely go for a wing position, but unfortunately, all of the solid shooting guards and small forwards will likely just be out of their grasp. Considering the fours that will probably be there, the Bucks could look to replace a departing Ilyasova and provide a solid bench contributor with the hope of the player developing into a solid starter. With their second pick, they could go with a two or three.
New York Knicks
Projected Draft Picks: 2.18 (48)
2012 Free Agents: Landry Fields (R), Jeremy Lin (R), Mike Bibby, Baron Davis, Dan Gadzuric, Jared Jeffries, Steve Novak, J.R. Smith (P)
2013 Free Agents: Toney Douglas (R), Josh Harrellson (R), Jerome Jordan (R), Renaldo Balkman
Team Needs: The depth at point guard could be a focus, regardless of whether the team re-signs Jeremy Lin or not. Iman Shumpert, when he returns, fits better at the two and it seems all faith has been lost in Toney Douglas. However, with a middle-round pick in the second, the Knicks may not have any choice pickings for that position and could look for a wing player in case they cannot retain the services of Landry Fields, Steve Novak or J.R. Smith.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.19, 2.19 (49)
2012 Free Agents: Ryan Anderson (R), DeAndre Liggins (R), Earl Clark (P), Jameer Nelson (P), Daniel Orton
2013 Free Agents: Justin Harper (R), Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick, Quentin Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu (ETO)
Team Needs: The offseason could end up being very messy down in Orlando with the recent GM and head coaching change, Jameer Nelson reportedly opting out, and of course, the Dwight Howard saga. Will the team go in total rebuild mode and say goodbye to their franchise center, now that their head coach and GM are gone? Ryan Anderson, a revelation at the starting power forward position this season, is a restricted free agent, but will likely be replaced by Glen Davis should Anderson leave. Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu are the albatross contracts inhabiting the two and three spots. All that said, which way do the Magic go in the draft? Likely best talent available since there could be a lot of holes to fill for the short-term or the long-term, depending on how the Magic deal with their current mess.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.15, 2.15 (45), 2.24 (54)
2012 Free Agents: Lavoy Allen (R), Jodie Meeks (R), Sam Young (R), Tony Battie, Elton Brand (ETO), Spencer Hawes, Lou Williams (ETO)
2013 Free Agents: None
Team Needs: The Sixers could look to move Andre Iguodala and his fat contract, especially with Evan Turner’s emergence. The offseason move to watch is likely if Lou Williams opts out to become a free agent and seek long-term security. Elton Brand won’t leave $18.1 million on the table and should come back, but will Spencer Hawes? The Sixers will likely re-sign Williams if he opts out and keep the solid guard rotation of him, Jrue Holiday, and Jodie Meeks, a restricted free agent. So, that said, look for the team to go big with both of their mid-round picks in the first and second round for the eventual replacement of Brand. Meyers Leonard is a possibility with the 15th overall pick.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.8, 2.7 (37), 2.26 (56)
2012 Free Agents: Solomon Alabi (R), Alan Anderson (R), Ben Uzoh (R), Jerryd Bayless, Aaron Gray, Jamaal Magloire
2013 Free Agents: Gary Forbes (R), Jose Calderon, Amir Johnson, Linas Kleiza
Team Needs: The Raptors are going to have a lot of cap space and that will obviously play into their draft strategy. Will they go all-in on Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, maybe even Goran Dragic or do they just draft a point guard such as Austin Rivers (more of a scorer) or Kendall Marshall (more of passer)? They’ll have a lot of options with their eighth overall pick and other than Andrea Bargnani and the still-promising though somewhat disappointing DeMar DeRozan, there really isn’t any player that’s untouchable as a starter. I’d expect the Raptors to go with the best talent with their picks regardless of position since they’ll need to increase the talent on the team and hope someone develops into an excellent NBA player.
Projected Draft Picks: 1.2, 2.2 (32), 2.16 (46)
2012 Free Agents: Brian Cook, Maurice Evans, Cartier Martin, Roger Mason, James Singleton
2013 Free Agents: Shelvin Mack (R), Rashard Lewis
Team Needs: The Wizards aren’t so magical right now. Rashard Lewis’ ugly contract will come off the books after next season when he’s owed $23.8 million. Ouch. How horrible must John Wall feel right now when it looked rosy being the first overall pick a couple of seasons ago. He’s about the only good thing for the team with Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin being solid cheap players for the team. They’ll have a chance to make some noise next offseason when they should have some cap space to sign free agents and move out of the cellar. In the meantime, they’ll have to hope on hitting with their top pick. Do they go big with either Thomas Robinson or Drummond OR do they go for a three in Kidd-Gilchrist or Barnes? All four players seem to be solid choices, but I’d be scared of Drummond who could be a Hasheem Thabeetish bust in the NBA. The Wizards don’t need that because, seriously, haven’t they suffered enough?