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2009 NBA Team Needs

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by jminges, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. jminges

    jminges Member

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    06/02/2009 - NBA Team Needs: Atlantic Division

    Boston Celtics 62-20
    Draft Pick #58

    Draft History:

    08: SG- J.R. Giddens (#30), SF- Bill Walker (#47), C- Semih Erden (#60)
    07: PG- Gabe Pruitt (#32), PF- Glen Davis (#35)
    06: PG- Rajon Rondo (#21), PF- Leon Powe (#49)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Rajon Rondo, Stephon Marbury*, Gabe Pruitt
    SG: Ray Allen, Eddie House*, Tony Allen, J.R. Giddens
    SF: Paul Pierce, Brian Scalabrine, Bill Walker
    PF: Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis*, Leon Powe*
    C: Kendrick Perkins, Mikki Moore*

    *Potential Free Agent

    Behind the Big Three, the Boston Celtics had another spectacular season, racking up 62 wins before falling in the second round to eventual championship contenders, the Orlando Magic. They might have gone farther, too, had they not lost Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe to season ending knee injuries. Their playoff defeat, if anything, proved how thin the Celtics bench truly was, and how vulnerable they were without their starting lineup logging upwards of 40 minutes per game.

    The off-season may present more questions than answers, however. Both Garnett and Powe’s long-term health must be called into question and four bench players are unrestricted free agents, which threatens an already delicate rotation. Similarly, despite these contracts coming off of the books, the Celtics’ salary cap stands at over $72 million, right on the brink of the luxury tax. It is needless to say that GM Danny Ainge has a lot of work to do this off-season if he wishes to build upon his legacy in Boston and find another solid supporting cast for his Big Three.

    While the Celtics are hoping for their young players such as Tony Allen, Bill Walker, and J.R. Giddens to crack the rotation in the fall and Ainge is known for draft day maneuvering, there may be a player or two available at the bottom of this year’s second round that could help fill holes on the bench—even if no one should expect any miracles.

    The Celtics will more likely look towards free agency for a veteran presence off the bench, either a defensive oriented big man who can rebound or a scoring guard who knows how to put the ball in the basket and can play defense. Luckily for the Celtics, the precarious financial situation of many NBA teams may leave a number of established players on the market late in the summer, and the goal of chasing a championship ring could help secure some of them. While the Celtics aren’t going to improve overnight and probably won’t get much better through this draft, they should be right back in the mix at the top of the Eastern Conference standings as long as they can stay healthy next season.

    New Jersey Nets 34-48
    Draft Pick #11

    Draft History:

    08: C- Brook Lopez (#10), PF- Ryan Anderson (#21), SG- Chris Douglas-Roberts (#40)
    07: PF/C- Sean Williams (#17)
    06: PG- Marcus Williams (#22), PF- Josh Boone (#23), SG- Hassan Adams (#54)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Devin Harris, Keyon Dooling
    SG: Vince Carter, Jarvis Hayes, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Maurice Ager*
    SF: Bobby Simmons, Trenton Hassell*
    PF: Yi Jianlian, Ryan Anderson, Eduardo Najera
    C: Brook Lopez, Josh Boone, Sean Williams

    *Potential Free Agent

    The first half of the season was promising for the New Jersey Nets, and it seemed as though the franchise was going to return to the playoffs. After the All Star break, however, it was a different story, as inexperience, injuries, poor depth, and a touch of bad luck situated the Nets just outside of the playoff picture before they finally fell out of sight as the season wound down.

    The good news is that there is a lot to like about this roster, from its star power to the improvement of its young players. There are few teams that boast the same degree of frontcourt depth and the perimeter tandem of Devin Harris and Vince Carter is nothing to scoff at, either.

    The bad news is that the Nets are a young team, equally rebuilding as well as contending for playoff position, and are losing quite a bit of money in the meantime. Last season’s collapse suggests that despite this team’s potential, there is still much work to do. Unless GM Rod Thorn decides to orchestrate a trade, there is not a tremendous amount of roster flexibility or even cash to pursue a free agent in the summer. And don’t forget that the Nets are still considered to be on the forefront of the LeBron James sweepstakes next summer, especially now that their move to Brooklyn appears to have the green light. Cap flexibility obviously comes at a premium.

    Short term, however, the Nets are looking to make a playoff push and can surely benefit from adding another young piece through this draft. Last year, the Nets drafted center Brook Lopez to fill their need for a scoring big man, and he far surpassed expectations. Ryan Anderson and, to a lesser extent, Chris Douglas-Roberts, cracked the Nets rotation and contributed after the All Star break.

    This year, the Nets are most interested in drafting a tough power forward who can rebound, though they are also considering pass first point guards or a versatile wing to play on the perimeter alongside of Harris and Carter. It seems as though all of these types of players should be available at the eleventh pick, giving the Nets a multitude of options going into the draft.

    First Round Candidates: Jonny Flynn, DeJuan Blair, Earl Clark

    New York Knicks 32-50
    Draft Pick #8

    Draft History:

    08: SF- Danilo Gallinari (#6)
    07: SF- Wilson Chandler (#23)
    06: SF- Renaldo Balkman (#20), SG- Mardy Collins (#29)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Chris Duhon, Nate Robinson*
    SG: Larry Hughes, Quentin Richardson*, Joe Crawford*
    SF: Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Jared Jeffries
    PF: Al Harrington*, Chris Wilcox*
    C: David Lee*, Eddy Curry*, Saer Sene*, Courtney Sims*

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Mike D’Antoni-era began slowly in New York last season, as the undermanned Knicks looked promising early on, but sputtered to a disappointing 32-50 finish. That said, D’Antoni did not have a tremendous amount of talent to work with, oftentimes opting to shorten his rotation to just seven players, and playing much of the season without prized draft pick Danilo Gallinari.

    Much like last summer, with the front office eyeing the summer of 2010, any free agent signings this off-season will be temporary and likely won’t contribute towards building a contender in the Big Apple. There are certainly some solid players on the roster, most notably David Lee and Nate Robinson, although it remains to be seen if either looks to remain in New York this summer. GM Donnie Walsh has a lot of work to do in order to develop this team into a contender, starting with somehow finding a way to unload the considerable deadweight that Isiah Thomas left for him when he took the job. The fact that he managed to clear off a good chunk of it already is commendable.

    The Knicks won’t be able to address all of the glaring holes in their roster with the eighth pick in the draft, but they’ll be able to add a quality basketball player, who can help them build a solid foundation for the future. Most importantly, whomever they draft must be a Mike D’Antoni basketball player, boasting solid basketball IQ, creativity on the offensive end of the floor, and perimeter shooting ability.

    While it seems as though the Knicks are primarily looking for a point guard to relieve Chris Duhon of his starting duties, there are a lot of versatile players, on perimeter and in post alike, who fit the bill of potential targets for D’Antoni and his fast paced system. The Knicks need upgrades at just about every position and should find a good player in this draft capable of helping them out immediately.

    First Round Candidates: Stephen Curry, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday

    Philadelphia 76ers 41-41
    Draft Pick #17

    Draft History:

    08: PF- Marreese Speights (#16)
    07: SF/PF- Thaddeus Young (#12), PF/C- Jason Smith (#20), SF- Derrick Byars (#42), PF/C- Herbert Hill (#55)
    06: SF- Rodney Carney (#16), SF- Bobby Jones (#37), PF- Edin Bavcic (#56)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Andre Miller*, Louis Williams, Royal Ivey*
    SG: Andre Iguodala, Willie Green, Kareem Rush*
    SF: Thaddeus Young, Donyell Marshall*
    PF: Elton Brand, Reggie Evans, Jason Smith
    C: Samuel Dalembert, Marreese Speights, Theo Ratliff*

    *Potential Free Agent

    When he was signed last summer, Elton Brand was expected to take the Philadelphia 76ers to the next level. Instead, they made the playoffs without him, which culminated a season that witnessed everything from the firing of Coach Maurice Cheeks to a disappointing first-round exit in the playoffs.

    This 76ers won’t have any cap room this summer to significantly alter their roster, but will likely start next season without starting point guard Andre Miller, among others. While Brand’s return next season could signal better things to come, this is a team in flux, a core of young role players desperately searching for an identity. The 17th pick probably isn’t going to change any of this, but with the recent coaching change and a need to add bench depth, particularly at the point guard position, there is likely an opportunity for a polished player that can step in and contribute immediately.

    With Coach Eddie Jordan at the helm, the 76ers may play a more deliberate Princeton-style offense, requiring high IQ players and solid perimeter shooters. A point guard who knows how to put the ball in the basket seems to be the most pressing concern and in this draft, there should be a couple of candidates available by the time the 76ers are on the board. More versatile perimeter shooters wouldn’t hurt, either. With a new coach and a new system, the 76ers could go a number of different ways, but it seems as though they can find a solid role player in this draft.

    First Round Candidates: Ty Lawson, Eric Maynor, Jeff Teague

    Toronto Raptors 33-49
    Draft Pick #9

    Draft History:

    08: C- Nathan Jawai (#41)
    07: SF- Giorgos Printezis (#58)
    06: PF- Andrea Bargnani (#1), SF- PJ Tucker (#35)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Jose Calderon, Roko-Leni Ukic, Marcus Banks
    SG: Anthony Parker*, Jason Kapono, Quincy Douby*
    SF: Shawn Marion*, Joey Graham*
    PF: Chris Bosh, Kris Humphries, Pops Mensah-Bonsu*
    C: Andrea Bargnani, Jake Voskuhl*, Patrick O’Bryant*, Nathan Jawai*

    *Potential Free Agent

    When the Raptors announced that they had brought in Jermaine O’Neal to join Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani in the frontcourt, it seemed as though the Raptors had turned the corner and were ready to contend in the playoffs. What resulted was a miserable 32-50 season highlighted by a coaching change and a clear-cut lack of defense and toughness. With a popular coach at the helm and a healthy roster, the Raptors may not be nearly as bad as their record indicates. Some off-season moves, combined with a strong draft pick, could help turn this team around, which makes the Raptors one of the more interesting teams to watch on draft night.

    With the ninth pick, the Raptors may actually be able to address some of their most significant needs, most notably a wing who can create offense and play defense. They could also use an upgrade off of the bench at the point guard position in order to find a player that can reduce Jose Calderon’s minutes and possibly play alongside him as well. With the ninth pick, the Raptors have an opportunity to find a good fit for their offense and a player that can step up and contribute immediately. The biggest question mark moving forward will be whether or not they’ll be able to retain Chris Bosh once he hits the free agent market next summer, but we’ll likely have to wait a while for the answer to that.

    First Round Candidates: DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans
     
  2. jminges

    jminges Member

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    06/04/2009 - NBA Team Needs: Central Division

    Chicago Bulls 41-41
    Draft Picks #16 and #26

    Draft History:

    08: PG- Derrick Rose (#1), C- Omer Asik (#36)
    07: PF/C- Joakim Noah (#9), C- Aaron Gray (#49)
    06: PF- Tyrus Thomas (#4), SG/SF- Thabo Sefolosha (#13)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Lindsey Hunter*, DeMarcus Nelson*
    SG: Ben Gordon*, Anthony Roberson*
    SF: John Salmons, Luol Deng
    PF: Tyrus Thomas, Tim Thomas, Linton Johnson*
    C: Joakim Noah, Brad Miller, Aaron Gray*, Jerome James*

    *Potential Free Agent

    Behind a rookie point guard and a rookie coach, the Chicago Bulls made an improbable run into the post-season, falling only after taking the Boston Celtics to seven games. The Bulls are loaded with young talent and solid veterans, but as bright as the future seems in Chicago, there is just as much uncertainty. For one, there is a logjam in the backcourt, with Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, and Ben Gordon all demanding big minutes, with Rose being the only clear franchise priority. Tyrus Thomas’s future is also largely unknown, with rumors floating around that he may be dealt before the 2009-2010 season. Therefore, despite the tremendous strides made last season, this looks to be another action packed summer for the Bulls.

    There is no telling how the Bulls will conduct their off-season, but with two first round picks, they can certainly add some quality rotation players to their roster if they play their cards right. The team’s most glaring need lies in the frontcourt, where the team still lacks a consistent scoring presence. Similarly, the Bulls could also help on the wing, to either backup Ben Gordon or potentially replace him. With two picks the Bulls have options in this draft and despite the uncertainty that faces their roster this summer, they should be able to add some more quality young talent.

    First Round Candidates: (#16) Gerald Henderson, James Johnson, Terrence Williams, (#26) Sam Young, Chase Budinger, Omri Casspi

    Cleveland Cavaliers 66-16
    Draft Picks #30 and #46

    Draft History:

    08: PF/C- J.J. Hickson (#19)
    07: None
    06: SG- Shannon Brown (#25), PG/SG- Daniel Gibson (#42), PF/C- Ejike Ugboaja (#55)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Maurice Williams, Daniel Gibson
    SG: Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak*, Tarence Kinsey*
    SF: LeBron James, Sasha Pavlovic, Jawad Williams*
    PF: Anderson Varejao*, Joe Smith*, J.J. Hickson, Darnell Jackson
    C: Zydrunas Ilgauskas*, Ben Wallace, Lorenzen Wright*

    *Potential Free Agent

    After another post-season collapse, the Cavaliers are at a crossroads. During the regular season, Mo Williams took some pressure off of LeBron James and was a solid second option, but he could not deliver in the clutch and vanished during the post-season. Similarly, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao do not comprise a championship frontcourt, pointing towards another glaring hole in the Cavaliers rotation. While the organization will count on its young players, particularly J.J. Hickson, emerging as solid options, the team is at a crossroads with LeBron James’s free agency looming and just one year left to convince their star that a championship team can be assembled.

    Unfortunately, there is little chance of landing a difference maker in this draft. That said, the Cavaliers roster has a lot of holes that can be addressed given their somewhat poor draft position. Bench depth, primarily fortifying their post rotation should be a top priority. After all, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Joe Smith, Ben Wallace, and Lorenzon Wright aren’t getting any younger. A perimeter shooter with size would not hurt, either, as Wally Szczerbiak and Sasha Pavlovic came up empty throughout the season. Cleveland has more pressing concerns this summer, but they could add a rotation player or two if they make some wise choices in a few weeks. More likely, though, their salvation will have to come via free agency and trades.

    First Round Candidates: Omri Casspi, Marcus Thornton, Danny Green

    Detroit Pistons 39-43
    Draft Picks #15, #36, #39, and #44

    Draft History:

    08: SF/PF- Walter Sharpe (#32), PF/C- Trent Plaisted (#46), SF Deron Washington (#59)
    07: PG/SG- Rodney Stuckey (#15), SG- Arron Afflalo (#27), SG/SF- Sammy Mejia (#57)
    06: C- Chiekh Samb (#51), PG- Will Blalock (#60)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum
    SG: Richard Hamilton, Allen Iverson*, Arron Afflalo
    SF: Tayshaun Prince, Walter Herrmann*, Walter Sharpe
    PF: Antonio McDyess*, Jason Maxiell, Amir Johnson
    C: Rasheed Wallace*, Kwame Brown*

    *Potential Free Agent

    This season signaled the end of an era in Detroit, from the toast of the Eastern Conference to a bottom seed and first round exit in the playoffs. With much of the roster in doubt, including aging stars Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace, it seems as though it is time for Detroit to rebuild, a process that Detroit already started over the past few years. While it is likely that GM Joe Dumars will try to make some noise in free agency, where the Pistons should be able to control the market this summer, the draft is another place in which the Pistons can make some roster improvements. With four picks in this draft and a host of young prospects developing on the bench, there are a multitude of possibilities for the future.

    The Pistons have a lot of needs to address this off-season. With Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, and Kwame Brown possibly bolting in the off-season, the Pistons’ most glaring need lies along their front line. There are a variety of post prospects in different molds if the Pistons choose to pursue a big man in the draft. Similarly, with Allen Iverson surely on the way out and Arron Afflalo not ready to handle significant minutes, a wing player could also benefit the Pistons, as well. There are many possibilities in this draft, but a franchise-altering player is not very likely at this point, which likely means that Detroit elects to go with the best player available. The Pistons have drafted very well on occasion, and with four picks at their disposal, this could be a step in the right direction for this franchise.

    First Round Candidates: James Johnson, Earl Clark, Austin Daye

    Indiana Pacers 36-46
    Draft Picks #13 and #52

    Draft History:

    08: SG/SF- Brandon Rush (#13), C- Roy Hibbert (#17)
    07: C- Stanko Barac (#39)
    06: SG/SF- Shawne Williams (#17), SG/SF- James White (#31)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Jarrett Jack*, T.J. Ford, Travis Diener*, Jamaal Tinsley
    SG: Mike Dunleavy Jr., Brandon Rush, Stephen Graham*
    SF: Danny Granger, Marquis Daniels*
    PF: Troy Murphy, Josh McRoberts*, Maceo Baston*
    C: Roy Hibbert, Rasho Nesterovic*, Jeff Foster

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Indiana Pacers had a rollercoaster season, which featured a breakout season by Most Improved Player, Danny Granger, but concluded just shy of a spot in the playoffs. This is a team with a lot of solid rotation players, but very little star-power or cohesive identity. At some point the Pacers will probably have to decide whether they are content just competing for a spot in the playoffs, or if they are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to join the NBA’s elite. The front line largely exceeded expectations, from a statistical standpoint at least, but there are very few players that are untouchable on this roster. That being said, if the Pacers want to get back to the playoffs, they probably have to look deeper than this draft.

    With the thirteenth pick, however, the Pacers will have the opportunity to find a solid prospect, especially in this point guard heavy draft. There are a tremendous amount of point guards this year, capable of playing a multitude of styles, a few of whom could have their hand in turning around the franchise. If the Pacers sour on the available point guards, there should be solid options available at other positions, as well. There are a number of different directions that the Pacers could go in this draft, and while it likely won’t turn around the franchise, they can certainly get better with the right pick.

    First Round Candidates: Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson, Eric Maynor

    Milwaukee Bucks 34-48
    Draft Picks #10 and #41

    Draft History:

    08: Joe Alexander (#8), Luc Richard Mbah A Moute (#37)
    07: Yi Jianlian (#6), Ramon Sessions (#56)
    06: David Noel (#39), Damir Markota (#59)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Luke Ridnour, Ramon Sessions*, Damon Jones*
    SG: Michael Redd, Charlie Bell, Keith Bogans*, Salim Stoudamire*
    SF: Richard Jefferson, Joe Alexander
    PF: Charlie Villanueva*, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Malik Allen*
    C: Andrew Bogut, Dan Gadzuric, Francisco Elson*

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Milwaukee Bucks looked ready to make a run at the playoffs last season until injuries to Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut condemned them back to the lottery. There are some proven players on this roster, and alongside coach Scott Skiles, they should have the toughness to make it back to the playoffs. When healthy, Michael Redd, Andrew Bogut, and Richard Jefferson are talented enough to carry this team. The problem is that those three have largely strapped the team from a financial standpoint, which will make it difficult to retain the other pieces to the puzzle.

    The one area in which they could really stand to improve is their bench. Comprised of aging veterans and inexperienced young talent, the bench needs immediate upgrades in its frontcourt, particularly at the center position. Another tremendous weakness will be determined when Milwaukee figures out whether to resign Ramon Sessions, or commit to Luke Ridnour as the point guard of the future. Should the Bucks neglect to re-sign Sessions, there are plenty of point guard prospects to choose from with the tenth pick in the draft. The same goes for their decision to re-sign Charlie Villanueva or not, although he might be replaced by the cheaper Ersan Ilyasova. Which direction they head in in this draft should tell us quite a bit about how they feel about resigning their top two free agents.

    First Round Candidates: Jonny Flynn, DeJuan Blair, Jrue Holiday
     
  3. jminges

    jminges Member

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    06/09/2009 - NBA Team Needs: Southeastern Division

    Atlanta Hawks 47-35
    Draft Picks #19 and #49

    Draft History:

    08: None
    07: PF/C- Al Horford (#3), PG- Acie Law IV (#11)
    06: PF/C- Shelden Williams (#5), PF/C- Solomon Jones (#33),

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Mike Bibby*, Speedy Claxton, Acie Law IV
    SG: Joe Johnson, Ronald Murray*, Mario West*, Thomas Gardner*
    SF: Josh Smith, Maurice Evans
    PF: Marvin Williams*, Solomon Jones*, Othello Hunter*
    C: Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia*, Randolph Morris

    *Potential Free Agent

    After taking the Celtics to seven games during the 2007-2008 season, the Hawks returned in 2008-2009 and logged their most impressive season in years, cumulating with a second round sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thus, the season was bittersweet, one in which the Hawks showed their potential as one of the top teams in the NBA, but also their tremendous vulnerability. Despite possessing one of the most athletic starting lineups in the NBA, the Hawks had trouble replacing injured combo-forward Marvin Williams and finding players to step up when star Joe Johnson went cold. This team needs a second unit capable of stepping up in the clutch and helping to take some of the responsibility off its stars, but they also face plenty of uncertainty at the point guard position as well.

    If this post-season proved anything, it was that the Hawks are a team on the cusp, missing a few essential components before they can consider themselves an elite team in the NBA. The most significant problem lies in the weakness of the bench. Any bench anchored solely by Flip Murray, Maurice Evans, and Zaza Pachulia is badly requiring an upgrade. While the Hawks could use reserves at every position, the shooting guard and small forward positions badly need an infusion of youth, talent, and versatility. Bringing Josh Childress back to Atlanta would be a very positive step in the right direction, while former draft pick David Andersen would also fit in very well with the team’s existing personnel. With Mike Bibby rumored to be looking for a long and very expensive contract now that he’s a free agent, the team will reportedly look in the direction of Ramon Sessions as a cheaper and younger option.

    Since Acie Law failed to make the next step in the right direction, it makes sense for Atlanta to look at the depth of this year’s terrific point guard class and see if they can pluck a productive rotation player from this group. With how shallow their bench is, though, any player that unexpectedly falls out of the lottery should be considered regardless of position. The Hawks have a lot of different options in this draft, but have the potential to get better. While this draft might not put them over the top, the Hawks could get a solid role player to fortify their bench.

    First Round Candidates: Ty Lawson, Eric Maynor, Jeff Teague, Earl Clark

    Charlotte Bobcats 35-47
    Draft Picks #12, #40, and #54

    Draft History:

    08: PG- D.J. Augustin (#9), PF/C- Alexis Ajinca (#20), PG/SG- Kyle Weaver (#38),
    07: SF/PF- Jared Dudley (#22)
    06: SG/SF- Adam Morrison (#3), PF/C- Ryan Hollins (#50)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Raymond Felton*, D.J. Augustin, Sean Singletary*
    SG: Raja Bell, Dontell Jefferson*
    SF: Gerald Wallace, Vladimir Radmanovic, Cartier Martin*
    PF: Boris Diaw, Sean May*, Juwan Howard*, Alexis Ajinca
    C: Emeka Okafor, DeSagana Diop, Nazr Mohammed

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Bobcats had their most successful season in franchise history, landing just outside of the playoffs. While this finish may seem like a disappointment for some teams, the season concluded with more optimism than any season in the Bobcats’ short history. Larry Brown, in his first season following his disastrous performance with the Knicks, instilled his strict offensive and defensive philosophy and, in the process, maximized the potential of one of the NBA’s most talent-starved franchises.

    This off-season, however, presents an interesting situation for the Bobcats: part with starting point guard Raymond Felton and hand the reigns over to D.J. Augustin. Felton was finally starting to feel comfortable in Larry Brown’s offense by the end of the season, but during his tenure with the Bobcats, he has yet to take the next step as a scorer and still is somewhat turnover prone.

    With their three draft picks, the Bobcats have the opportunity to pick players that fill immediate needs on their roster, with the most pressing appearing to be at the wing positions. With their first round pick, the Bobcats have the opportunity to find a player that they’ve needed for quite some time, a shooting guard who can plays hard on both sides of the ball and can create his own offense. If the Bobcats choose to let Felton walk, they will need a back-up point guard to spell D.J. Augustin. Another position in need of an upgrade is on the wing, a utility player capable of letting Gerald Wallace rest and deepening the rotation.

    The Bobcats are in somewhat of a tough situation at the moment, as they have sacrificed all potential financial flexibility with some very short-sighted trades over the past few years that leaves them being too good to land any more high draft picks, but nowhere near good enough to advance past the first round of the playoffs. This team lacks some serious star power, without any real hope of being able to land that coveted all-star that can take them to the next level. To add insult to injury, their owner seems to have lost interest in the team and is now desperately trying to cut his losses.

    The Bobcats should be able to another rotation player or two in this draft, but will probably have to look towards the free agent market and trades this summer as a means of really improving their chances in the East.

    First Round Candidates: Gerald Henderson, DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Williams

    Miami Heat 43-39
    Draft Picks #43 and #60

    Draft History:

    08: SF/PF- Michael Beasley (#2), PG- Mario Chalmers (#34)
    07: SG- Daequan Cook (#21)
    06: None

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Mario Chalmers, Chris Quinn*
    SG: Dwyane Wade, Daequan Cook, Luther Head*
    SF: Jamario Moon*, James Jones, Dorell Wright, Yakhouba Diawara
    PF: Udonis Haslem, Michael Beasley, Mark Blount
    C: Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Magloire*, Joel Anthony*

    *Potential Free Agent

    After a dismal 2007-2008 season, Coach Erik Spoelstra engineered a stunning turnaround, which culminated prematurely with a disappointing first round playoff loss to the Hawks. The heart and soul of this team is still superstar combo guard Dwyane Wade, who does it all on both sides of the ball. While there are some nice supporting players, including last year’s second pick, Michael Beasley, there is also a disproportionate mix of players either on the wrong end of 30 or too raw to command heavy minutes.

    Clearly Pat Riley and the rest of Miami’s front-office has work remaining ahead of them in terms of adding pieces to put around Dwyane Wade. The Heat did well in drafting Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers last season, both of whom played heavy minutes and were significant contributors to a playoff team. Thanks to some shrewd salary cap management, they are also in pole position to make a huge splash in the free agent market of 2010.

    Unfortunately, the options to get significantly more competitive in 2009 look somewhat limited at the moment, particularly not through the draft. With the 43rd and 60th picks in this draft, it is unlikely that Miami will acquire a player that will be much of a factor in the near future. Their most pressing need lies in fortifying their front line with size and toughness. Given their draft position, the odds of finding someone who can play here are certainly not in their favor. This draft likely won’t ease their burden, but if they are lucky and opportunistic, then they may be able to add a player who can develop into a rotation type in time.

    Orlando Magic 43-39
    No Draft Picks

    Draft History:

    08: SG- Courtney Lee (#22),
    07: PF/C- Milovan Rakovic (#60)
    06: SG- J.J. Redick (#11), PF/C- James Augustine (#41)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Jameer Nelson, Rafer Alston, Anthony Johnson, Tyronn Lue*
    SG: Courtney Lee, Mickael Pietrus, J.J. Redick
    SF: Hedo Turkoglu*, Jeremy Richardson*
    PF: Rashard Lewis, Tony Battie
    C: Dwight Howard, Marcin Gortat*, Adonal Foyle*

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Orlando Magic are in the midst of a stunning post-season run and, though they are in a 0-2 hole against the Lakers, this season is one of the biggest successes in franchise history. Behind their franchise center Dwight Howard and high quality starters Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson, and Hedo Turkoglu, the Magic fielded one of the more talented rosters in the NBA. There are, however, some problems, most notably what to do with Rafer Alston now that Jameer Nelson has returned to action. Also with the likes of Hedo Turkoglu and Marcin Gortat potentially bolting in free agency, and the team staring the luxury tax right in the face, the Magic look to have some rotation questions to address.

    The Magic do not have any draft picks and are already over the cap. One solution may be to add Fran Vasquez, the Magic’s former draft pick, who brings similar things to the table as Gortat, but he may not be ready to come to the NBA just yet. Most likely, though, the team tries to resign Turkoglu and attempts to make some minor tweaks through the free agent market. This team is in great shape at the moment, and should be amongst the NBA’s elite for years to come.

    Washington Wizards 19-63
    Draft Picks #5 and #33

    Draft History:

    08: PF/C- JaVale McGee (#18)
    07: SG- Nick Young (#16), SF/PF Dominic McGuire (#48)
    06: PF/C- Oleksiy Pecherov (#18), PF/C- Vladimir Veremeenko (#48)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Gilbert Arenas, Mike James*, Javaris Crittenton
    SG: DeShawn Stevenson, Nick Young, Juan Dixon*
    SF: Caron Butler, Dominic McGuire
    PF: Antawn Jamison, Andray Blatche, Darius Songaila, Oleksiy Pecherov
    C: Brendan Haywood, JaVale McGee, Etan Thomas

    *Potential Free Agent

    This season was pretty much a disaster for the Washington Wizards. Their 19-63 record was a result of a series of crippling injuries, youth and inexperience, and a lack of depth. Everything that could have gone wrong did just that. While the Wizards’ young players, particularly Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, and Nick Young, had their moments, nobody consistently stepped up to the plate, which leaves a lot of questions unanswered during this off-season. Similarly, with Gilbert Arenas finally coming back from injury and Antawn Jamison not getting any younger, this teams’ durability is in question, as is their ability to make roster moves considering their precarious cap situation.

    A substantial chunk of the Wizards’ salary cap is devoted to just three players, and the team is rumored to be under pressure to cut costs and avoid the luxury tax. That could very well be a dominating point of discussion in the team’s war room as they decide which direction to head in on draft night.

    With the fifth and 33rd picks in the draft this year, the Wizards have the chance to add some young players to the fold that have the potential to contribute right away and carry a larger load if one of the team’s stars gets injured. The problem is, considering the age of their roster, the team’s window to win looks very small at the moment, which is probably not something that is conducive to adding another rookie player to the fold. For that reason, the Wizards have been linked with numerous trades over the past few weeks, and could very well decide to move the pick if the right deal offering salary cap relief and a proven veteran comes along.

    If they do decide to improve through the draft, the most glaring holes on the roster likely lie on the perimeter, where they could an elite young point guard or shooting guard, a player capable of playing with Gilbert Arenas, on or off of the ball, and capable of hitting shots. With the fifth pick, there are a lot of options, ranging from point guards like Stephen Curry, a wing player like James Harden, or a hybrid like Tyreke Evans, all of whom could fulfill this role. Another significant concern is the frontcourt. Though Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee were solid contributors, neither player was consistent enough to consider the frontcourt rotation set. Jordan Hill will likely be on the board here, if that is the direction that they choose to pursue.

    First Round Candidates: James Harden, Stephen Curry, Jordan Hill, Tyreke Evans
     
  4. jminges

    jminges Member

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    06/12/2009 - NBA Team Needs: Southwest Division

    San Antonio Spurs 54-28
    Draft Picks #37, #51, and #53

    Draft History:

    08: PG/SG- George Hill (#26), SF- Malik Hairston (#48), PF- James Gist (#57)
    07: PF/C- Tiago Splitter (#28), SG/SF- Marcus Williams (#33)
    06: None

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Tony Parker, George Hill, Jacque Vaughn*
    SG: Roger Mason Jr., Manu Ginobili, Marcus Williams*
    SF: Michael Finley*, Bruce Bowen, Ime Udoka*
    PF: Tim Duncan, Kurt Thomas, Ian Mahinmi*
    C: Matt Bonner, Fabricio Oberto, Drew Gooden*

    *Potential Free Agent

    Despite playing all season with an aging and injury depleted roster, and the second half of the season without the services of star swingman and sixth man Manu Ginobili, the San Antonio Spurs demonstrated that chemistry, great coaching, and experience can make an average team great. Unfortunately for the Spurs, this combination could only take them so far, and ultimately; they failed to make their mark on the playoffs. Now, it looks to be the end of an era in San Antonio, as this team is only getting older. Similarly, with Manu Ginobili entering a contract year, next season may be the last time that the Spurs’ legendary core suits up together. After making a number of trades to shore up their playoff hopes over the past few seasons, and unluckily missing out on signing Tiago Splitter, this team lacks young talent and significant assets, which puts pressure on GM R.C. Buford to make something happen during this off-season.

    If any NBA team could turn three second round picks into a solid draft, it would be the Spurs. Adding talent through this draft is essential, and the Spurs front office has shown the foresight in the past to find underrated domestic and international role-players who could inject life into their team. While the second round is anything but certain, and this draft class is weaker than in past years, there could be a few prospects worthy of a look should the Spurs choose to use their draft picks. They are rumored to be angling to move up, possibly into the end of the first round, where there is a bit more talent than in the very shallow second round.

    The Spurs need upgrades at almost every single position, but their most urgent needs lie in the post, to find a starting center or a back up for Tim Duncan, and on the wing. They’ve been looking to find a successor for Bruce Bowen for some time now on the wing, and will have to find a way to make an upgrade at the small forward position sooner rather than later. Considering how well they’ve scouted internationally over the past few years, it’s not out of the question that one or more picks comes from Europe. Regardless of what direction they choose to pursue, the Spurs need to have a very productive off-season if they want to continue their winning ways, and maximizing their assets in the draft wouldn’t be a bad way to start.

    Houston Rockets 53-29
    No Draft Picks

    Draft History:

    08: PF/C- Joey Dorsey (#33), PF/C- Maarty Leunen (#54)
    07: PG/SG- Aaron Brooks (#26), PF/C- Carl Landry (#31)
    06: SF/PF- Steve Novak (#32), SF/PF- Lior Eliyahu (#44)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Aaron Brooks, Kyle Lowry
    SG: Tracy McGrady, Von Wafer*
    SF: Ron Artest*, Brent Barry, James White*
    PF: Shane Battier, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Brian Cook*
    C: Yao Ming, Luis Scola, Dikembe Mutombo*, Joey Dorsey

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Houston Rockets were a surprise this season, winning a playoff series without Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady while showing the world that their young talent and role players were not too far away from contending. This off-season, though, they will be back at the drawing board, trying to make moves that allow them to keep pace in the ultra-competitive Western conference. Ron Artest and Von Wafer are free agents with major long-term question marks, McGrady and Ming will be returning from serious injuries, and Dikembe Mutombo is finally retiring. Regardless of what the Rockets choose to do with Ron Artest, this team is at a crossroads. 2/3rds of their cap is committed to two superstars who have proven to be among the least dependable and durable in the NBA, and they won’t have much wiggle room underneath the luxury tax to make big moves if they resign Artest. Luckily Houston has been able to surround their top options with championship caliber role players such as Shane Battier, Luis Scola, Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry, shrewdly doing so on the cheap, no less.

    Without a draft pick, improving the roster to the necessary extent may prove to be quite difficult, especially without a tremendous amount of cap flexibility. The free agent class this summer, however, should offer some nice alternatives and this front office will definitely put the leg-work in to uncover players who will be undervalued and underrated. That might start on draft-night already, where Houston appears to be willing to buy their way into the late first round. The Rockets are a unique blend of potential and star power, and if they can find a way to stay healthy next season, they’ll be right in the mix amongst the top teams in the West.

    Dallas Mavericks 50-32
    Draft Pick #22

    Draft History:

    08: SG- Shan Foster (#51)
    07: PF- Nick Fazekas (#34), SF- Reyshawn Terry (#44), SG/SF- Renaldas Seibutis (#50), SG/SF- Brad Newley (#54)
    06: SG/SF- Maurice Ager (#28)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Jason Kidd*, Jason Terry, Jose Juan Barea
    SG: Antoine Wright, Jerry Stackhouse, Matt Carroll
    SF: Josh Howard, Devean George*, Gerald Green*, Shawne Williams
    PF: Dirk Nowitzki, Brandon Bass*, James Singleton*
    C: Erick Dampier, Ryan Hollins*

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Mavericks were on the verge of a disappointing season, but a late season run and an inspired playoff performance both salvaged the season and provided optimism for the future. While Jason Kidd’s free agency is a major issue, the Mavericks proved that when Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard are healthy, this team has the potential to be very good. On the other hand, the Mavericks are not getting any younger and may lack depth, particularly in the post, which compounds the off-season further if Jason Kidd walks. Brandon Bass will surely be targeted by other playoff contenders as well, and will likely demand a big raise. The fear is that the window may be closing on this roster and that the only direction left is to rebuild. Thankfully for the Mavs, they’ve been pretty smart about managing their cap situation, and should be in a position to retool fairly quickly.

    While free agency will likely be the priority in order to reinvigorate this roster, the 22nd pick in the draft certainly has the potential to aid this process. Looking at the Mavericks, three positions are in immediate need of help: point guard, shooting guard, and center. If Jason Kidd leaves, then there is a gaping hole in the point guard rotation, creating room for a pass first point guard. At the shooting guard position, Antoine Wright has certainly gotten better over the years, but he is not an NBA caliber starter. Neither is an aging Jerry Stackhouse, who is likely to be bought out and has a very attractive non-guaranteed contract that could fetch an excellent asset from a team that is struggling financially. Similarly, Erick Dampier and Ryan Hollins comprise a fairly uninspiring center rotation, and may not complement Nowitzki in the most optimal way.

    Being at the top of the standings and extremely active on the trade market, the Mavericks haven’t had many opportunities to get better through the draft. With the picks they had, they have not drafted incredibly well. Addressing any of their primary needs would signal a successful draft for the Mavericks, but things might first need to get a lot worse in the next season or two before they are able to get much better.

    First Round Candidates: Jeff Teague, Tyler Hansbrough, Darren Collison, Nick Calathes

    New Orleans Hornets 49-33
    Draft Pick #21

    Draft History:

    08: None
    07: SG/SF- Julian Wright (#13), SG/SF- Adam Haluska (#43)
    06: PF/C- Hilton Armstrong (#12), PF/C- Cedric Simmons (#15), SF/PF- Marcus Vicinius (#43)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Chris Paul, Antonio Daniels
    SG: Rasual Butler, Morris Peterson, Devin Brown*
    SF: Peja Stojakovic, James Posey, Julian Wright
    PF: David West, Sean Marks*, Ryan Bowen*
    C: Tyson Chandler, Hilton Armstrong, Melvin Ely*

    *Potential Free Agent

    After a solid start, the Hornets collapsed as the season wound down and skidded to a seventh seed in the playoffs, before making an embarrassing first round exit. There were many reasons for this collapse, from exhaustion and injuries to a lack of confidence in the coaching staff and a complete lack of depth and talent outside of Chris Paul. The Hornets second unit was among the worst, if not the worst, in the NBA, which was exposed in the post-season. Their stars were asked to play far too many minutes and this resulted in fatigue, injury, and a lack of chemistry. Ultimately, despite possessing the best point guard in the league and coming off an exciting post-season run just one year ago, the Hornets regressed and are once again on the playoff bubble. This off-season presents an opportunity to change that and return the Hornets back on their track to contention. The question is—will ownership be willing to spend in order to make that happen?

    Depth is their biggest concern, and with just one draft pick and the team in cost-cutting mode, this summer might not yield the types of personnel changes that the Hornets require if they want to contend once more.

    Their most pressing roster need is in terms of bench depth at the center position. Tyson Chandler’s future with the team is unknown, as is his ability to stay healthy, and any team that plays Hilton Armstrong and Sean Marks for significant stretches is not going to win a championship. The Hornets need another big man who can defend, rebound and finish on the pick and roll off Chris Paul’s assists, but these players aren’t exactly growing on trees, and they surely aren’t cheap.

    Having another scoring guard to take pressure off Chris Paul would be very beneficial as well—bringing back Jannero Pargo certainly would make sense. If Peja Stojakovic’s back is unable to hold up, then more firepower on the wing will be needed too.

    This off-season is crucial for the Hornets, as they are in a precarious position, and desperately need to get healthy and find a way to get back the swagger they had in 2008 if they are to keep their superstar point guard happy.

    First Round Candidates: Tyler Hansbrough, Jeff Teague, Eric Maynor, Sam Young

    Memphis Grizzlies 24-58
    Draft Picks #2, #27, and #36

    Draft History:

    08: PG/SG- O.J. Mayo (#3), PF/C- Darrell Arthur (#28)
    07: PG- Mike Conley Jr. (#4)
    06: SF- Rudy Gay (#8), PG- Kyle Lowry (#24), PF/C- Alexander Johnson (#45)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Mike Conley Jr., Mike Wilks*
    SG: O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Greg Buckner
    SF: Rudy Gay, Quinton Ross*, Darius Miles*
    PF: Darrell Arthur, Hakim Warrick*
    C: Marc Gasol, Darko Milicic, Chris Mihm*, Hamed Haddadi

    *Potential Free Agent

    Memphis made a lot of moves last summer that injected their roster with some much-needed talent. That said, their 24 win season indicates that there is a lot of work left to do, as there are gaping holes throughout the rotation, and very little in the ways of veteran leadership. Despite the plethora of talented young players on this roster, it is still to be determined whether or not O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay are capable of leading this franchise to the next level. The two players did not always have the greatest chemistry at times—seemingly looking more interested in their own stats than winning games, and it will be interesting to see if they can play better alongside one another next season, with a stable coaching situation and a more mature Mike Conley Jr. at the helm.

    With two first round picks and a high second round pick, the Grizzlies have a very good chance of improving their roster through this draft. Their most immediate need is for a guard to play alongside O.J. Mayo, who can provide scoring and distributing when needed. This is a draft filled with solid options at the point or combo guard positions, and the likes of James Harden and Tyreke Evans will be getting long looks. Another direction that the Grizzlies could pursue is at the power forward spot, where they have a plethora of young and raw big men, big on potential and short on experience. Finding an active, athletic, rebounder who can run the floor and complements Marc Gasol would be a major coup for this team.

    The Grizzlies are in an enviable position as far as roster flexibility is concerned, as they are under the cap, have very few bad contracts on their books, and have stockpiled a number of attractive assets over the last few years, including this year’s #2 overall pick. With that said, it’s not quite clear what Memphis’ window to compete looks like at the moment, as there is plenty of uncertainty regarding the ownership’s willingness to spend on building a competitive bench and coaching staff that can compete with the top franchises in the NBA. That's one of the reasons why arguably the second most talented player in this draft, Ricky Rubio, is doing everything he can to avoid playing here.

    The Grizzlies can pursue any number of options in this draft, and though the playoffs might not be in their immediate future, the team has a tremendous opportunity to turn things around in the coming years.

    First Round Candidates: James Harden, Hasheem Thabeet, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans
     
  5. jminges

    jminges Member

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    06/17/2009 - NBA Team Needs: Pacific Division

    Los Angeles Lakers 65-17
    Draft Picks #29, #42, and #59

    Draft History:

    08: SG- Joe Crawford (#58)
    07: PG/SG- Javaris Crittenton (#19), Sun Yue (#40), Marc Gasol (#48)
    06: PG- Jordan Farmar (#26), SG/SF- J.R. Pinnock (#58)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar
    SG: Kobe Bryant*, Sasha Vujacic, Shannon Brown
    SF: Trevor Ariza*, Luke Walton, Adam Morrison, Sun Yue*
    PF: Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom*, Josh Powell*
    C: Andrew Bynum, D.J. Mbenga*

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Lakers put together one of their most dominant seasons in history, capping off 65 wins with an NBA championship, won in convincing fashion over the Orlando Magic. While superstar shooting guard Kobe Bryant certainly deserves a tremendous amount of credit, coach Phil Jackson and GM Mitch Kupchak were integral to this team’s success. Jackson crafted a rotation that continued to expand and diversify even as the season drew to a close. He devised a game plan that was balanced from the inside on out, between Bryant’s perimeter scoring to Pau Gasol’s inside presence.

    Mitch Kupchak engineered this roster, acquiring Gasol and Trevor Ariza, drafting and then refusing to trade Andrew Bynum, and as late as this season, trading for Shannon Brown, a player who contributed minutes in the playoffs. The off-season revolves around whether or not Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza, both integral parts of this roster, are resigned. Regardless of what happens, though, this team still seems capable of contending next season and seems to have a solid core for the future.

    In terms of the draft, the Lakers could stand to improve their bench, but lack ideal positioning to really make a big splash. They still could use some more consistency and depth on the perimeter behind Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, at both point guard and shooting guard positions, but will need to find a player who is smart enough to pick up the nuances of the triangle.

    Despite possessing a low first round pick, there should be a few solid guards still available and, if not, there will definitely be a shooting guard. With their two second round picks, the Lakers should address their need for depth at the power forward spot, especially if they are unable to retain Lamar Odom this summer. With Josh Powell and D.J. Mbenga probably not being long term solutions, the Lakers should consider one of the undersized, yet underrated big men that often end up occupying the beginning and middle of the second round.

    First Round Candidates: Wayne Ellington, Jonas Jerebko, DaJuan Summers, Darren Collison

    Phoenix Suns 46-36
    Draft Picks #14, #48, and #57

    Draft History:

    08: PF/C- Robin Lopez (#15), PG- Goran Dragic (#45)
    07: SG/SF- Alando Tucker (#29), SG/SF- D.J. Strawberry (#59)
    06: None

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Steve Nash*, Leandro Barbosa, Goran Dragic
    SG: Jason Richardson, Alando Tucker
    SF: Grant Hill*, Matt Barnes*, Jared Dudley
    PF: Amare Stoudemire, Louis Amundson*
    C: Shaquille O’Neal, Robin Lopez, Stromile Swift*

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Phoenix Suns are at a seminal point in franchise history. The team is anchored by three aging veterans and lacks the depth, chemistry, and talent to contend. Shaquille O’Neal’s massive contract still guarantees him $20 million dollars a year, which alongside Steve Nash’s free agency and Amare Stoudemire’s annual inclusion into trade rumors, leaves this Suns team as one of the true enigmas of this off-season. There are a multitude of directions this team could go in, but literally all are contingent on major front office decisions. The moves made this summer will likely determine whether or not the Suns can contend for a playoff spot or be relegated back to the bottom half of the Western Conference and the lottery for the second straight year. This summer, it is essential that the Suns establish an identity around whatever players they decide to resign, and find some solid young talent to move along the inevitable process of rebuilding.

    The Suns have actually drafted good players in the past few years. The problem, however, has been that they have sold or traded away pretty much all of them, including Luol Deng, Rajon Rondo and Rudy Fernandez. This season, with the 14th, 48th, and 57th pick, the Suns have a chance to add a rotation player or two to reinvigorate their roster, but also address some of their most pressing roster holes. Their most significant need lies on the wing, where they have some good role players and solid veterans, but lack a real standout starter. Finding a combo forward, who could play productive minutes behind Amare Stoudemire would not hurt either, as versatility is a premium in Alvin Gentry’s up tempo offense. Since Steve Nash won’t be around forever, picking the best available point guard that drops to them could be an option as well.

    With their second round picks, the Suns could eye a shooter to pick up minutes at the end of the bench and provide some depth behind Richardson and Tucker, or take a flyer on a European player to stash overseas.

    First Round Candidates: Earl Clark, James Johnson, Austin Daye

    Golden State Warriors 29-53
    Draft Pick #7

    Draft History:

    08: SF/PF- Anthony Randolph (#14), PF/C- Richard Hendrix (#49)
    07: PF/C- Brandan Wright (#8), PG/SG- Marco Bellineli (#18), Jermareo Davidson (#36), Stephane Lasme (#46),
    06: C- Patrick O’Bryant (#9), C- Kosta Perovic (#38)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Monta Ellis, CJ Watson*
    SG: Jamal Crawford*, Anthony Morrow*, Marco Belinelli
    SF: Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette, Kelenna Azubuike
    PF: Brandan Wright, Anthony Randolph, Rob Kurz*
    C: Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf, Jermareo Davidson*

    *Potential Free Agent

    Despite their 29-53 record and the general sense of chaos that surrounded the season, the Warriors are not in as bad of a place as it seems. They do still have a glut of multi-purpose wing players and rail-thin big men, but at various points during the season, especially once Monta Ellis returned from injury, they actually looked and played like a team. Or, as close to a team as coach Don Nelson’s group has looked since their last playoff run. Next year, with health, improvement, and experience on their side, the Warriors look like they have a chance to compete for a playoff spot. As in most years, though, the Warriors’s success has a lot to do with Nelson’s handle over his team. They must find a consistent rotation early on, as well as assemble a group of players that satisfy Nelson as well as the front office. They have the personnel to execute a successful up tempo system and with a good summer and a bit of luck on their side, things are looking in the Bay Area.

    During this draft, there is one need that can and likely will be addressed: finding a point guard. Monta Ellis showed potential to be the starting point guard and Jamal Crawford and C.J. Watson did a decent job during their minutes at the position, but this team needs a solid back up with potential to play on or off of the ball if necessary. There are all sorts of point guards available and, with the seventh pick, there will likely be a number of good options that fit well in Don Nelson’s system. The Warriors should jump at the opportunity to fill a need and add another good young player, hopefully a player who can help take this team to the next level.

    Los Angeles Clippers 19-63
    Draft Pick #1

    Draft History:

    08: SG- Eric Gordon (#7), C- DeAndre Jordan (#35), PG/SG- Mike Taylor (#55)
    07: SF- Al Thornton (#14), PG- Jared Jordan (#45),
    06: PF/C- Paul Davis (#34), PG/SG- Guillermo Diaz (#52)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Baron Davis, Mardy Collins, Mike Taylor
    SG: Eric Gordon, Fred Jones*, Alex Acker*
    SF: Al Thornton, Ricky Davis*, Steve Novak*
    PF: Zach Randolph, Brian Skinner*
    C: Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby, DeAndre Jordan

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Los Angeles Clippers were one of the most hapless teams in the NBA once again, groaning to a 19-63 record and missing the playoffs for the third straight season. There are few faultless Clippers, from the coaching staff on down. The Clippers refused to stray from their deliberate, half-court style, despite the fact that their core group of players, particularly Baron Davis, Zach Randolph, and Marcus Camby, thrive in up-tempo offenses. This clash of style, personnel and chemistry resulted in a disastrous season, in which a tremendous amount of talent and potential was squandered. One bright spot, however, was the emergence of rookie Eric Gordon, who showed that he can score with the best of them and has the potential to develop into a special player down the road. The Clippers also won the draft lottery, which provides additional optimism, but likely will not help this franchise out of the NBA’s doghouse unless it is accompanied by significant other changes from top to bottom.

    The Clippers’ draft night desires are no mystery, as they have publicly stated that they will take power forward Blake Griffin with the top overall pick. Though their frontcourt is stacked, Griffin is the clear-cut best player in the draft and he could help out immediately in terms of size, athleticism, toughness and intangibles. It would be unfortunate to pass on such a talent just because of positional concerns, and the rotational logjam can easily be remedied through trades. A player like Griffin can team up alongside of Eric Gordon and Al Thornton and create a youthful core that has the potential to turn this team around on and off of the court.

    First Round Candidates: Blake Griffin

    Sacramento Kings 17-65
    Draft Picks #4, #23, and #31

    Draft History:

    08: PF- Jason Thompson (#12), PG- Sean Singletary (#42), SF/PF- Patrick Ewing Jr. (#43)
    07: PF/C- Spencer Hawes (#10),
    06: PG/SG- Quincy Douby (#19)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Beno Udrih, Bobby Jackson*
    SG: Kevin Martin, Rashad McCants*
    SF: Andres Nocioni, Francisco Garcia, Donte Greene
    PF: Jason Thompson, Ike Diogu*, Kenny Thomas
    C: Spencer Hawes, Cedric Simmons*, Calvin Booth*

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Kings had their most disastrous seasons in recent memory. They had a good draft, but overpaying for Beno Udrih and Francisco Garcia marred an otherwise successful summer. Just when the team looked like it could at least be respectable in the Western Conference, Kevin Martin suffered an ankle injury that he never recovered from and played hurt for most of the season. The players clearly resorted to looking for their own stats, and the plummeting attendance of outdated Arco Arena further damaged their owners’ already hurting bank accounts. In addition, the season was divided by a coaching change that altered very little, and ultimately the Kings missed out on the opportunity to sign their top two coaching candidates before settling for Paul Westphal, in large part due to financial considerations. The draft lottery only brought more bad news to Sacramento when the Clippers claimed the top overall pick and the Kings shockingly were relegated to picking fourth. Now, it is time for this franchise to lick their wounds and start over. There is a new coach, developing young talent, and while the word “potential” is thrown around frequently, this team has a lot of work to do before returning to the playoff form they showed just a few short seasons ago.

    With the fourth, 23rd, and 31st pick in the draft, the Kings can make strides towards becoming more competitive in the Western Conference. Their primary need is at the point guard position, as Beno Udrih has severely underperformed on both ends of the court and there is are glaring holes behind and clearly in front of him. The Kings will have their choice of any point guard in the draft, which should allow them to add a floor leader who can step in and contribute from day one, and possibly also help them in the ticket sales department. Later in the draft, they should look to address their lack of frontcourt depth with a solid post prospect at the bottom of the first round and at the beginning of the second, a player who can provide solid back-up minutes while allowing Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson, and perhaps Ike Diogu to improve. This draft won’t be what turns around Sacramento’s fortunes overnight, but it is a chance to make a substantial step forward.

    First Round Candidates: Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday
     
  6. jminges

    jminges Member

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    06/22/2009 - NBA Team Needs: Northwest Division

    Denver Nuggets 54-28
    Draft Pick #34

    Draft History:

    08: SG/SF- Sonny Weems (#39)
    07: None
    06: None

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Chauncy Billups, Anthony Carter*, Jason Hart*
    SG: Dahntay Jones*, J.R. Smith
    SF: Carmelo Anthony, Linas Kleiza*, Sonny Weems
    PF: Kenyon Martin, Renaldo Balkman
    C: Nene Hilario, Chris Andersen*, Johan Petro*, Steven Hunter

    *Potential Free Agent

    This season was one of the Nuggets’ most successful in quite some time, culminating with an appearance in the Western Conference Finals. The Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups deal worked splendidly, as Billups was a leader on both ends of the floor and in the lockerroom and inspired this team to follow George Karl’s coaching scheme.

    Similarly, what looked like an average off-season seemed very smart in May when Dahntay Jones and Chris Andersen emerged as unsung post-season heroes. Trading Marcus Camby to the Clippers looks brilliant in hindsight, since that’s what gave the Nuggets the financial flexibility to trade Iverson’s expiring contract for Billups’ long-term deal. Mark Warkentien was named Executive of the Year for a good reason it seems.

    Despite the successful season, however, there is plenty of room to improve. After all, the Nuggets never found an answer for the Lakers’ star players, and looked tired towards the end of the series. This is a team with some significant decisions to make during this off-season, beginning with whether or not to re-sign Jones and Andersen, both of whom will likely command significantly more than the minimum. A similar decision will have to be made about Linas Kleiza.

    With that in mind, the Nuggets are in need of some additional depth, a concern that could potentially be addressed in the draft. Their bench is shallow in the frontcourt and on the perimeter and could use a back up point guard, more depth at the shooting guard position, or a post player able to play either power forward or center. With the 34th pick in the draft, the Nuggets have a chance of filling some of these needs, particularly a back up shooting guard, who can put quick points on the board.

    Portland Trailblazers 54-28
    Draft Picks #24, #33, #38, #55, and #56

    Draft History:

    08: PG/SG- Jerryd Bayless (#11), SG/SF- Nicolas Batum (#25)
    07: C- Greg Oden (#1), SG/SF- Rudy Fernandez (#24), PG- Petteri Koponen (#30), PF - Josh McRoberts (#37), PG - Taurean Green (#52)
    06: PF/C- LaMarcus Aldridge (#2), SG - Brandon Roy (#6), PG- Sergio Rodriguez (#27), C- Joel Freeland (#30)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Steve Blake, Sergio Rodriguez, Jerryd Bayless
    SG: Brandon Roy, Nicolas Batum
    SF: Martell Webster, Rudy Fernandez, Travis Outlaw
    PF: LaMarcus Aldridge, Channing Frye*, Shavlik Randolph*
    C: Greg Oden, Joel Przybilla, Michael Ruffin*

    *Potential Free Agent

    Portland overcame the obstacles of youth, injury, and inexperience and won 54 games, making it to the playoffs for the first time since 2003. The Blazers are still a young team, but behind their core of Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge and solid contributions from rookies Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez, and Nicolas Batum, there is a lot to like and quite a bit of potential yet to achieve before this team is at its peak.

    There are some question marks, however, most notably in terms of their perimeter depth, as they lack a set rotation at the point guard and small forward positions, and could still stand to get tougher in the post. Brandon Roy desperately needs some help on the perimeter, as he is the focal point of the Blazers offense and was exposed at times by opposing defenses who took advantage of how heavy a role he’s forced to shoulder in one on one situations at the end of games.

    Despite these weaknesses, this team has a bright future and will only get better in subsequent years as its young talent gets better. Portland also has a decent amount of cap space which should allow them to sign one of the better free agents that falls between the cracks.

    Kevin Pritchard has been one of the most active General Managers in the NBA and has engineered some of the most ambitious draft coups in recent memories. This year, the Blazers have five draft picks, even though they lack optimal draft positioning. Therefore, expect Pritchard to be active as usual, pursuing depth at the point guard and power forward positions, likely through trades. The team has been very vocal about the fact that they do not need to get any younger, so they may not use any of the picks on players for next year’s roster. This is not a strong draft, but there will be plenty of maneuvering to be done to help shuffle around their assets and make the team even more of a contender going into next season.

    First Round Candidates: DeJuan Blair, Tyler Hansbrough, Nick Calathes

    Utah Jazz 48-24
    Draft Picks #20 and #50

    Draft History:

    08: PF/C- Kosta Koufos (#25), C- Ante Tomic (#44), PF- Tadija Dragicevic (#53)
    07: SG/SF- Morris Almond (#25), C- Kyrylo Fesenko (#38), PF- Herbert Hill (#55)
    06: SG/SF- Ronnie Brewer (#14), PG- Dee Brown (#46), PF- Paul Millsap (#47)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Deron Williams, Ronnie Price*, Brevin Knight*
    SG: Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver*, Morris Almond*
    SF: C.J. Miles, Andrei Kirilenko, Matt Harpring
    PF: Carlos Boozer*, Paul Millsap*
    C: Mehmet Okur*, Kosta Koufos, Jarron Collins*, Kyrylo Fesenko

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Utah Jazz is another NBA franchise at a significant crossroads. With a new (yet familiar) owner at the helm, an aging coach, and a roster that might look very different after free agency, this is a team that could be in line for some changes. The Jazz has the potential to be a very good basketball team, with Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mehmet Okur. They also have some nice young talent, headlined by wing Ronnie Brewer and big men Paul Millsap and Kosta Koufos. Unfortunately, Boozer, Okur, and Millsap will be sought after players in free agency and if they choose to bolt elsewhere, the Jazz will lack the depth to contend in the future. Ownership’s willingness to pay the luxury tax in order to keep the frontcourt core together will likely be the deciding factor in how this team looks next season.

    With just two picks in this year’s draft, the Jazz neither will be able to address all of their needs nor will they be able to prepare for a worst-case scenario in the future. Their most glaring needs are in the post, where they may need to start grooming a gritty power forward to take either Carlos Boozer or Paul Millsap’s minutes. They could also use a point guard to back up Deron Williams assuming Ronnie Price and Brevin Knight do not return. The team still hasn’t found a real go-to guy on the wing to take ball-handling pressure off Williams either. They might not find all the answers in this draft, but there should be some quality rotation players available if they play their cards right. The Jazz needs to have a productive summer in addition to the draft, however, if they want to remain in the playoff picture and sustain their success in the future.

    First Round Candidates: Tyler Hansbrough, James Johnson, Sam Young

    Minnesota Timberwolves 24-48
    Draft Picks #6, #18, #28, #45, and #47

    Draft History:

    08: PF/C- Kevin Love (#5), PF/C- Nikola Pekovic (#31)
    07: SG/SF- Corey Brewer (#7), PF/C- Chris Richard (#41)
    06: PG/SG- Randy Foye (#7), PF- Craig Smith (#36), C- Loukas Mavrokefalidis (#57)

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Randy Foye, Sebastian Telfair, Bobby Brown, Kevin Ollie*
    SG: Mike Miller, Rodney Carney*
    SF: Ryan Gomes, Corey Brewer
    PF: Kevin Love, Craig Smith, Brian Cardinal, Shelden Williams*
    C: Al Jefferson, Jason Collins*, Mark Madsen

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Minnesota Timberwolves struggled through injuries last season, and despite winning a meager 24 games, there were more moments of optimism than expected. There is a great deal of young talent on this team, most importantly, Al Jefferson, though recent draft picks Randy Foye and Kevin Love showed potential of heading a solid supporting cast throughout the season. Many questions remain surrounding this team that needs to be settled before next season begins. They still do not have a coach or a team culture, and many of the players on the roster are not seasoned winners. There are also questions surrounding whether or not Randy Foye is a long-term solution at the point guard spot. If last week’s massive point guard workout was any indication, he is not, and the Timberwolves are looking for a long-term option in the draft, which is clearly the right direction to head in. New General Manager David Kahn has brought a great deal of energy to the team’s front office, and it seems like the T’Wolves will be very proactive in trying to make moves.

    With two first round picks and five draft picks in total, the Timberwolves have the chance to infuse their roster with young talent and add depth in a few key areas. It seems as though they are set on drafting a point guard with the sixth overall pick, although there is a possibility they try to move up to improve their options. With their other picks and considering that much of their underachieving bench is approaching free agency, there are a number of different directions that they can pursue. While their bench is a bit thin across the board in terms of talent, they could use the most help in the post, where they lack depth at the center position. Adding another talented swingman who can create his own shot probably wouldn’t hurt either. The Timberwolves could get better immediately if they make the right decisions and definitely are a team to watch on draft night.

    First Round Candidates: Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry

    Oklahoma City Thunder 23-59
    Draft Picks #3 and #25

    Draft History:

    08: PG- Russell Westbrook (#4), SF/PF- Serge Ibaka (#24), PF- D.J. White (#29), PF/C- DeVon Hardin (#50), PF/C- Sasha Kaun (#56)
    07: SG/SF- Kevin Durant (#2), SF/PF- Jeff Green (#5)
    06: None

    Depth Chart:

    PG: Russell Westbrook, Earl Watson, Shaun Livingston*, Chucky Atkins
    SG: Thabo Sefolosha, Kyle Weaver, Damien Wilkins
    SF: Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Desmond Mason*
    PF: Nick Collison, Malik Rose*, D.J. White
    C: Nenad Kristic, Robert Swift*

    *Potential Free Agent

    The Thunder’s first year in Oklahoma City was a mixed bag, but certainly left fans excited about the team’s future. Kevin Durant emerged as a legitimate NBA star, showing his critics that he could score efficiently, get his teammates involved in the offense, and contribute even without the ball in his hands. Durant’s supporting cast got better, as well. Combo-forward Jeff Green played more efficient basketball and Russell Westbrook not only emerged as a starter, but also looks to be the franchise’s point guard.

    Add the acquisition of Nenad Kristic to the equation and the Thunder has a roster filled with rapidly improving young talent. In addition, the team is in about as enviable a situation as any franchise in the NBA in terms of their financial flexibility and long-term assets. Playing behind a coach that they trust and respect, the team has a chance to take a big step forward next season. This summer, though, is essential, as this team needs to find more veteran leadership in free agency and has two first round draft picks at their disposal.

    The Thunder’s most significant need lies in the post, where the previous regime drafted unsuccessfully in the past. They are due for an upgrade at either the power forward or center positions. With the third pick in the draft, they can take their pick of this year’s top, draft-eligible big men, particularly a more defensively oriented player. They may opt to shore up their backcourt somewhat, though, adding another playmaker and perimeter shooter who is willing to play unselfishly within the team’s existing pieces. With their late first round pick, they can find another solid player to bring off of their bench and deepen their frontcourt rotation.

    First Round Candidates: Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, Ricky Rubio
     
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