The 2013 NBA Draft goes down on June 27th at the Barclays Center and many fans are looking forward to checking out what their respective favorite team does. However, this year’s draft is widely-considered to be weak, but I say let’s check it again in three-to-five years. Regardless, drafting is always a hit-or-miss proposition, and unless there’s another LeBron James coming out, decisions should mainly be based on what a team needs.
All free agents are listed as restricted (R), unrestricted (U), owning a player option (P), team option (T) or an early termination option (ETO).
Projected Draft Picks: 2 – 1.13, 2.14
2013 Free Agents: Rodrigue Beaubois (R), Darren Collison (R), Elton Brand (U), Mike James (U), Chris Kaman (U), Anthony Morrow (U), Brandan Wright (U), O.J. Mayo (P), Shawn Marion (ETO)
2014 Free Agents: Josh Akognon (R), Bernard James (R), Vince Carter (U), Dirk Nowitzki (U)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $48,489,849; 2014-15: $7,798,000
Team Needs: Probably point guard, especially when you consider that their current ones — Rodrigue Beaubois, Darren Collison and Mike James — will all hit free agency this offseason. Now if only “Shark Tank” wasn’t shooting that day Deron Williams came to visit last summer. Of course, they’ll want to be players for the services of Chris Paul. But there’s no guarantee that the Mavs will sign CP3 either, so it may be a safe bet to draft a lead guard this year. Unless they feel good about matching any offer to Beaubois and/or Collison in case Paul says no. However, if Mark Cuban is feeling really cocky about the CP3 situation, maybe he drafts one of the talented centers in the draft. Oh wait, he’ll get Dwight Howard too. Nevermind.
Projected Draft Picks: 1 – 1.27
2013 Free Agents: Timofey Mozgov (R), Julyan Stone (R), Corey Brewer (U), Andre Iguodala (ETO)
2014 Free Agents: None
Team Salary: 2013-14: $72,600,276; 2014-15: $46,905,628
Team Needs: The guard positions should be solid going into next year because I kind of doubt Andre Iguodala will terminate his contract to get a bigger one this offseason. Just not going to happen. Corey Brewer might have priced himself out of Denver with his solid play off the bench, so getting a back-up three late in the first round might be in order. There are some quality Euro-stash players whose value may be around where the Nuggets are picking if they want to save money next season. The roster going into next season is really solid, so it may be the “best player available” route for Denver.
Golden State Warriors
Projected Draft Picks: 0
2013 Free Agents: Jarrett Jack (U), Richard Jefferson (P), Carl Landry (P), Brandon Rush (P), Andris Biedrins (ETO)
2014 Free Agents: Kent Bazemore (R), Scott Machado (R), Andrew Bogut (U), Dwayne Jones (U)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $74,885,328; 2014-15: $25,641,213
Team Needs: It hella don’t matter because they don’t have any hella picks! Shout out to all my friends and fam in Fog City aka The Bay Area! Thizz, Mac Dre stylo (NSFW lyrics)! Actually, don’t thizz because it’s bad for you and I can’t publicly advocate it. Good looking out, Gilgamesh!
Projected Draft Picks: 1 – 2.4 (from Suns)
2013 Free Agents: Francisco Garcia (T)
2014 Free Agents: Greg Smith (R), Aaron Brooks (U), Carlos Delfino (U)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $38,063,852; 2014-15: $51,032,819
Team Needs: The Rockets won’t lose anyone through free agency if they keep Francisco Garcia. However, that doesn’t stop them from releasing players or participating in a trade or two or three in order to create even more cap space for possibly both D12 and CP3. Daryl Morey is slick like that, which is kind of an oxymoron when you consider his love of analytics. Anyway, if he actually pulls off this double-signing, H-Town is going to explode, as will the previously-mentioned Mark Cuban. With a second round pick, they could select a foreign player and let him marinate overseas and use that dough toward getting the top two free agents this offseason. Otherwise, they might go with a power forward, especially if the rumors are true and they trade away Thomas Robinson, a more expensive first round contract versus a non-guaranteed second round contract.
Los Angeles Clippers
Projected Draft Picks: 1 – 1.25
2013 Free Agents: Matt Barnes (U), Chauncey Billups (U), Ryan Hollins (U), Lamar Odom (U), Chris Paul (U), Ronny Turiaf (U)
2014 Free Agents: Eric Bledsoe (R), Maalik Wayns (R), Caron Butler (U), Grant Hill (U), DaJuan Summers (U)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $45,285,588; 2014-15: $34,522,811
Team Needs: The Clippers could potentially lose a very significant cast of players due to free agency. Since they’re solid at the four and five with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan moving forward, as well as Eric Bledsoe at the point guard position if Chris Paul leaves (although they obviously don’t want that), they’ll probably want to draft a wing player at the two or three. Most likely they’ll want a small forward since Matt Barnes can skip town this offseason, Caron Butler after next and Grant Hill recently retired.
Los Angeles Lakers
Projected Draft Picks: 1 – 2.18
2013 Free Agents: Devin Ebanks (R), Andrew Goudelock (R), Darius Morris (R), Robert Sacre (R), Earl Clark (U), Dwight Howard (U), Antawn Jamison (U), Jodie Meeks (T), Metta World Peace (ETO)
2014 Free Agents: Steve Blake (U), Kobe Bryant (U), Chris Duhon (U), Pau Gasol (U), Jordan Hill (U)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $78,186,630; 2014-15: $9,701,000
Team Needs: Dwight Howard. Nevermind, he’s not draft-eligible. In all seriousness, it’s still Dwight Howard. With a mid-second round pick, it’s more up in the air as to what kind of value the Lakers could grab, but it probably won’t be D12 level. You think?!?! So, I’m pretty sure you get the idea that the Lakers really need Dwight Howard back. Otherwise, I’ll guess that they’ll draft the best player available since they’re key guys are also old guys and maybe they can actually develop a player.
Projected Draft Picks: 3 – 2.11 (from Raptors), 2.25, 2.30 (from Heat)
2013 Free Agents: Austin Daye (R), Jon Leuer (R), Tony Allen (U), Keyon Dooling (U), Jerryd Bayless (P)
2014 Free Agents: Ed Davis (R), Quincy Pondexter (R), Darrell Arthur (P), Zach Randolph (P)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $60,467,539; 2014-15: $52,254,702
Team Needs: Considering Tony Allen and Jerryd Bayless both have the opportunity to bolt after fine individual seasons for both this offseason, the Grizz might look at a shooting guard and small forward. It may really depend on who the head coach is heading into next season. If it’s Lionel Hollins, who reportedly didn’t get along too well with Zach Randolph and Ed Davis, the team may look at power forwards to take their places should they not be on the team after next season. However, with three second rounders, they’ll be looking primarily at role players, so position need may not even matter. Although, shooting guard should be their first choice at the very least.
Projected Draft Picks: 4 – 1.9, 1.26 (from Grizzlies), 2.22 (from Nets), 2.29 (from Thunder)
2013 Free Agents: Chase Budinger (R), Nikola Pekovic (R), Andrei Kirilenko (P), Dante Cunningham (T)
2014 Free Agents: Malcolm Lee (R), Mickael Gelabale (U), Chris Johnson (U), Luke Ridnour (U), Greg Stiemsma (U)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $47,136,582; 2014-15: $23,437,286
Team Needs: Say it ain’t so! Nikola Pekovic could possibly leave the lakes of Minnesota? It’s a possibility, which is why the T-Wolves may go big with their first pick, depending on who’s there, but most certainly a center will be. If not, they could go with a shooter from either wing position as insurance for a possible Andrei Kirilenko defection.
New Orleans Pelicans
Projected Draft Picks: 1 – 1.6
2013 Free Agents: Al-Farouq Aminu (U), Lou Amundson (U), Xavier Henry (U), Roger Mason, Jr. (U), Jason Smith (T)
2014 Free Agents: Terrel Harris (R), Darius Miller (R), Brian Roberts (R), Lance Thomas (R), Greivis Vasquez (R)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $34,957,332; 2014-15: $23,390,438
Team Needs: I would think that the Pelicans are set in the backcourt with Greivis Vasquez and a “let’s cross our fingers he doesn’t snap in half” Eric Gordon, but I still see some mocks saying the Pelicans will draft a point guard. Doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe a shooting guard, but I’d be a bit more concerned about finding an athletic three, especially with the possibility of Al-Farouq Aminu going bye-bye, to complement Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson’s stretch-four ability. With the sixth pick, they should be able to get a solid rotation player from the get-go, if not even a possible starter at the small forward position.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Projected Draft Picks: 3 – 1.12 (from Raptors), 1.29, 2.2 (from Bobcats)
2013 Free Agents: Ronnie Brewer (U), Derek Fisher (U), Kevin Martin (U)
2014 Free Agents: DeAndre Liggins (R), Thabo Sefolosha (U)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $66,119,439; 2014-15: $59,362,920
Team Needs: It’s totally possible that Kevin Martin leaves Loud City this offseason and with the collection of picks that they have, albeit in a perceived “weak” draft, they could move them to a team to acquire a veteran, either to take Kevin Martin’s place or to add to a talented pool of players that mesh really well. If they keep the picks, they’ll be adding to a solid young bench already. Just in time to develop for when Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook are hitting their strides and important role players like Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins are gone. What a well-run organization. Sure, luck plays a factor too to some degree, but the Thunder make the most of their opportunities.
Projected Draft Picks: 3 – 1.5, 1.30 (from Heat), 2.27 (from Nuggets)
2013 Free Agents: Diante Garrett (R), Wesley Johnson (U), Jermaine O’Neal (U)
2014 Free Agents: P.J. Tucker (R), Shannon Brown (U), Marcin Gortat (U), Hamed Haddadi (U), Channing Frye (P)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $53,369,140; 2014-15: $36,617,500
Team Needs: They could probably use a strong four here and will likely have a real shot of getting a player like Anthony Bennett, but he has to face the ubiquitous “tweener” question. Plus, you have Luis Scola there, as well as the Morris Brothers, who have shown flashes. Also, Michael Beasley can play the position. So, an athletic wing player could be in order to change the dynamic from Wes Johnson and Jared Dudley.
Portland Trail Blazers
Projected Draft Picks: 4 – 1.10, 2.9 (from Timberwolves), 2.10, 2.15 (from Celtics)
2013 Free Agents: Eric Maynor (R), Luke Babbitt (U), J.J. Hickson (U), Nolan Smith (U), Elliot Williams (U)
2014 Free Agents: None
Team Salary: 2013-14: $60,173,703; 2014-15: $51,335,472
Team Needs: Going big because I doubt they’ll bring back J.J. Hickson who wasn’t so great down low in the post and I’m not really sure what Meyers Leonard could do, although he did respond when he received more minutes post All-Star break. With the tenth pick, they should have a very good shot to get a big.
Projected Draft Picks: 2 – 1.7, 2.6
2013 Free Agents: Toney Douglas (R), Tyreke Evans (R), James Johnson (R), Cole Aldrich (U)
2014 Free Agents: DeMarcus Cousins (R), Patrick Patterson (R), Isaiah Thomas (R)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $40,707,644; 2014-15: $23,693,750
Team Needs: It’s been an emotional time for Sacramento Kings fans, but their team will be staying! I think with the instability of everything around the team, it continues on with the on-court product this offseason. There are rumors of trading DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans could be gone, what’s Isaiah Thomas’ worth to the team? There are lot of questions and there doesn’t seem to be one player that’s “dat dude” in Sactown. So, with a relatively high pick, the Kings might just go with the best player available strategy and hope someone high on their draft board falls in their laps.
San Antonio Spurs
Projected Draft Picks: 2 – 1.28, 2.28
2013 Free Agents: Gary Neal (R), DeJuan Blair (U), Manu Ginobili (U), Tracy McGrady (U), Tiago Splitter (U), Boris Diaw (P), Patrick Mills (P)
2014 Free Agents: Nando de Colo (R), Matt Bonner (U), Tim Duncan (P)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $41,831,628; 2014-15: $26,886,446
Team Needs: Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter should be coming back, but the other players are questionable. Still, the team should have their starting five coming back, so the Spurs may draft a player and allow them to develop overseas. If a back-up center is available late in the first round that could possibly help them this coming season, they’ll likely do that if DeJuan Blair and/or Boris Diaw show indications they may leave.
Projected Draft Picks: 3 – 1.14, 1.21 (from Warriors), 2.16
2013 Free Agents: DeMarre Carroll (U), Randy Foye (U), Al Jefferson (U), Paul Millsap (U), Earl Watson (U), Mo Williams (U), Marvin Williams (ETO)
2014 Free Agents: Derrick Favors (R), Gordon Hayward (R), Kevin Murphy (R)
Team Salary: 2013-14: $25,696,809; 2014-15: $1,795,000
Team Needs: The Jazz have two high-quality bigs hitting the free market in Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, but the team does have a lot of cap space heading into next season, so at least one of them should be re-signed. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are waiting for a full-blown shot to show what they can do and are likely salivating at the prospect of getting more burn. I suspect that the team may let Mo Williams leave via free agency, so a good young point guard to go with the good young bigs should be in order.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, look at what the Eastern Conference needs. Mock Draft 2.0 coming up. And, of course, a special shout-out to my TBJ guys on their 1000th episode! Thanks for letting me be a part of the TBJ magic! RESPECT!