Lottery Team Targets
As the draft approaches, each team's scouting and coaching staff get together to create their team's draft board. If the player they are targeting is off the board by their pick, they will need multiple backup plans to prevent being caught off guard. Preparing for the draft is a long and tedious process, a process that brings up many tough calls when deciding when to take the best player, or the player that best fits your system and roster. Here's a look at the potential targets for each team in regards to ideal fits for their respective rosters...
1. Washington Wizards: Before I go to sleep every night, I wish I'll wake up a few inches taller. Not too much to ask for. Ernie Grunfeld goes to sleep wishing for a successful rebuilding process of his crumbling franchise, and the next day he gets the first pick in the draft! If this was a dating gameshow, the Wizards would be equivalent to the nerdy, depressed and suffering acne covered suitor #1, and John Wall would be equivalent to the gorgeous, relationship-seeking bachelorette, but with better court vision... and somehow, like a bad movie, the nerd defeats the odds by landing his destined love. (Maybe a stretch, but the idea is there) John Wall was penciled in as the number one pick back in November, and now, you can go over that erasable lead with a big fat black Sharpie. Wall is the best player in the draft no question, and having Arenas play off the ball will allow him to concentrate on what he does best which is scoring the basketball. A Wall and Arenas backcourt will immediately be one of the toughest to stop in the league. Not much else to say except the 76ers should already be on the clock.
Plan A - John Wall
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Philly needs a few things, but a reliable scorer tops the list. Yea Andre Iguadala is an excellent player, but he shouldn't, can't, and hasn't been the consistent scoring threat that will take this team to the next level. Here is the list of shooting guards on this team: Jason Kapono, Willie Green, Jodie Meeks. Not exactly a scary bunch. Evan Turner could fill that 2guard spot and add a much needed punch for a team who struggles to score. He can take over games, and draw attention away from Iguadala which in time will benefit both players. Turner and Wall have been the best 2 players in the country, and there is no reason why anyone should pass on Turner after Wall goes 1. Philly's other option could be to trade down to the 4 and draft Cousins, as Minnesota would love to move up to the 2 hole and take Turner. Cousins would provide scoring, rebounding and defense in the post to a team with an aging Elton Brand on the decline and Dalembert in the final year of his contract. Derrick Favors has as much upside as anyone, but with pieces like Maurice Speights and Thadeous Young already in place occupying similar positions, he would add to a crowded front court at the power forward position. Evan Turner should, and most likely will be the number 2 pick here unless Philly decides to shake things up and move down (possibly to 4).
3. New Jersey Nets: What a buzzkill. The Nets with their juggernaut Russian owner were on the verge of landing John Wall to go along with Brook Lopez, a possible max free agent, and the ability to keep or move Devin Harris. If Turner falls to them at the 3, it's a no-brainer. Assuming the 76ers or whoever ends up picking in the second spot isn't pounding tequila shots in their draft room, the next best available player is Derrick Favors. The Nets need an athletic 4 to compliment their prized center Brook Lopez, and Favors is exactly that. His athleticism, wingspan, defensive ability and work ethic will make him a long term player in this lineup, and he is the type of player who will improve with each year. Wes Johnson wouldn't be a bad fit here, but his upside isn't the same as Favors considering his inability to create off the dribble. Though disappointed about falling to the 3rd slot, I have a feeling Nets fans won't be too disappointed with what they will get.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Word out of the Timberwolves camp is that they are extremely disappointed after falling from possibly the 1 or 2 spot down to the 4. They really have had their eye on Evan Turner and I don't blame them, he will be an impact player for a team who lacks production from the shooting guard and small forward positions. If they can't trade up to get Turner, the next most logical pick is Wesley Johnson. Wesley can find the space, and help Jonny Flynn at becoming a better playmaker for his teammates by providing him a steady target in the drive and dish game. Wes can knock it down with a hand in his face, and block shots from the weakside which would add some excitement to an uninspiring team. Again, the listed small forwards on the Twolves include: Ryan Gomes, Sasha Pavlovic and Damien Wilkens. Suffice it to say they need an upgrade at this position. If not Wesley or Turner, DeMarcus Cousins could fill in at center, which could allow Al Jefferson to play the 4 and work against undersized forwards.
5. Sacramento Kings: After losing their go-to scorer in Kevin Martin last year via trade, the Kings really need someone who can compliment last year's rookie sensation Tyreke Evans. They need someone who can knock down shots, and play in rhythm with Tyreke to add more of a threat to the offense. This is where the draft gets interesting, as the Kings can go in a number of a different directions. Favors would be great running with Evans, but most likely he will be off the board by 5. If Wes Johnson is available, he would be hard to pass on with his length, range and defense, but at the same time with emerging Omri Casspi and the improved play of Donte Green down the stretch, they might shy away from another quintessential small forward. This leaves the Kings with DeMarcus Cousins and Al-Farouq Aminu (who can play both the 3 and 4). Cousins is a talented big man, but if I'm the Kings I worry he will clog up the lane which could hurt Evans when it comes to getting to the rim since he's not much of an outside threat. Al-Farouq Aminu is a dynamic athlete who can get up and down the floor with Evans on the break, and if a power forward ends up guarding him, they have a tough time keeping up. He has the potential to be an excellent defender, and if he can start hitting that jumper with more consistency, Aminu and Evans could be one of the most electric tandems in the league sometime soon.
6. Golden State Warriors: This is an important draft for the Warriors, who need to add some toughness inside, offensively and defensively. Patrick Patterson is probably the toughest, most fundamentally sound interior player in the draft. He might be considered a reach here, but he measured extremely well and proved that he can knock down outside shots this year - a must for a Nellie player. He may lack the upside of his teammate DeMarcus Cousins, but he also lacks the baggage and red flags. Golden State really lacks size and either Cousins or Patterson would help provide that. The Warriors were excited about the progress Brandon Wright had made over the offseason before he went down with a season ending injury. Whether he can reach his potential is yet unknown. If Wes Johnson falls to them at 6, he might be too talented to pass up. A tremendous shooter, he also registered the highest no step jump in the entire draft class. Aminu would be real fun to watch in the Nellie-System also and would benefit playing with a guard such as Curry, but fun doesn't always translate to victories.
7. Detroit Pistons: The Pistons should be targeting the most talented, lengthiest headcase in this draft, DeMarcus Cousins. Since the departure of Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace, Detroit basketball has been lacking excitement, competitiveness and most importantly talent. They need a big man who can score, and take the pressure off Stuckey, Hamilton and Ben Gordon, who are all complimentary players who would thrive playing off a scoring threat in the post. A space eater down low, he can dominate in the paint, and grab rebounds when he's in no position to grab them due to his "Stretch Armstrong" like wingspan. He can hit the midrange jumper, or use his soft pillow-like hands to score in the paint. Since Gordon and Hamilton are more perimeter threats, I like Cousins the most for this team because they won't have to worry about him clogging the lane for penetrating guards. He can clean up missed shots, and in time will be a nice change of pace option for a team lacking an interior presence. Greg Monroe would also be a solid upgrade at center, as he can control the game from the paint by looking to score or find the open shooter. Aminu would improve their athleticism up front, help them run a little bit more and provide a spark to a frequently lifeless team.
8. L.A. Clippers: On paper the Clips look good, but they have a gaping hole at that small forward position. If I'm LA I like Travis Outlaw coming off the bench, with a more reliable shooter starting at the 3. Wes Johnson fits in this lineup like a size 23 shoe fits Shaq. Assuming he's off the board, Aminu would be a great consolation prize with his ability to D up, and run the floor and soar to the hoop with hopefully a healthy Blake Griffin, Baron Davis and Eric Gordon. Paul George is another small forward who is capable of spreading the floor with his range. He is supersmooth, and one of those guys who you just know is going to contribute at the next level. Luke Babbitt wowed folks at the combine in all areas, and can score in a variety of ways and I like him playing the 3. At the combine he mentioned he thinks he can be a stretch 4, but defensively he would get manhandled against power forwards in the NBA.
9. Utah Jazz: Depending on Carlos Boozer's intentions in regards to free agency for next season, the Jazz will have some tough decisions they'll have to make. Most likely Wes Johnson and possibly Greg Monroe will not be left by the 9th pick, which would leave them with a few centers to choose from. Cole Alrich is the most likely type of player the Jazz would look to, as he has drawn the Greg Ostertag 2.0 comparisons. A reliable pick without much risk. Of the other big men most likely available, I like Patterson who could fill in for Boozer, or play side by side with him. A different look would be targeting Xaveir Henry, a scoring guard/forward who can get to the line and knock it down from behind the arch. The Jazz are really missing that type of production outside of the point guard position. With Henry, Deron Williams will be able to focus more on pure point guard responsibilities as opposed to having to score 30 plus to beat the elite teams in the West.
10. Indiana Pacers: The Pacers are in a tough spot here with the 10th pick after a headscratching late season run to position themselves out of the top few picks. They really could use a point guard, but any point guard behind Wall (Armon Johnson or Eric Bledoe) would be a reach at 10. They need to find an effective complimentary scorer to go along with their go-to scorer Danny Granger. With the 10th pick, the legit scoring options could be limited, but Xavier Henry strikes me as the best inside scoring option available. he surprised with his combine athleticism numbers, and we already know he's a great shooter. Ed Davis is another possibility due to his length and potential, granted he missed most of his sophomore year and failed to stand out when he did play. Udoh is an intriguing player... he's an excellent athlete who can shoot and block shots, and his offensive game is really developing. His improved midrange game is what shot him up the draft boards, and if the Pacers feel he can add to their weak offensive arsenal, he could be their guy. In a draft with very few surefire guards, Armon Johnson and Eric Bledsoe are guards who could eventually play the point, but it's uncertain if they can be productive right away, so if they really like one of them they could trade down 8-10 spots and most likely still get their man.
11. New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets are another team in need of an athletic big man to run with Chris Paul. The thought of Aminu and Chris Paul running on the fast break is the coolest thought I've had since picturing Lebron in orange and blue (take a guess where I'm from).... Motiejunas is a Bargnani type player, in that he is a 7 footer with 3 point range and a scorers touch, but he's a better athlete and can run the floor. Motiejunas in the drive and dish game, along with the versatility he brings being a 7 foot athlete who can post you up and create his own shot, would be an intriguing compliment to go along with Chris Paul and Darren Collison. It will take him a few years to adjust, not to mention he's not even 20 yet, but who better to learn with than the Hornets starting point guard. Udoh would help them offensively and defensively and provide athleticism to a non-athletic front court. He can fill the role of Tyson Chandler from a few years back when him and CP3 lead the league in Alley-Oops. Avery Bradley is one of the few guys who enters the draft with a lock-down defender reputation. By adding a defender at the shooting guard position, it allowed emerging outside threat Marcus Thornton to be a scorer off the bench, giving the Hornets a very strong second unit with Collison backing up Paul. Daniel Orton only averaged 3 points in college and played behind the country's most elite big men, so it will take time for him to develop since he didn't see the minutes his potential should have allowed him to see.
12. Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies are much improved, and if Rudy Gay stays, some added depth to that bench could make them a playoff team in the West (maybe not this coming year, but soon, i feel it..) Patrick Patterson would add a physical, reliable forward to spell Z-Bo who really struggles playing interior defense. Patterson is the safest bet, but if Memphis was looking to add a project and be willing to take time to develop their soon to be newest rookie, Montiejunas is worth a look. If Gay is looking to leave, it changes a lot. Paul George is a smooth small forward with deep range, and could fill in at the 3 spot. Babbitt plays a similar position who can create and provide instant offense, but wouldn't give you a boost on the defensive side of the ball. With 3 first rounders, plus the fact that the team is in a tough spot financially, they may need to make some deals to get rid of so many young players taking roster spots.
13. Toronto Raptors: Hard to say what Toronto should do, considering their star player is strongly considering leaving them through free agency... If Toronto believes they can persuade him to stay, Xavier Henry could fill the role of Hedo " I already got paid" Turkoglu who had an abysmal season after signing a monster contract. Henry can be an immediate impact player with his money stroke from outside, especially when he could be playing next to a guy who attracts doubleteams like old sandwiches attract flies. Paul George is similar in that he can stretch the defense, but just needs to add a little more consistency to his game. Whiteside is the definition of project, but could in a few years be really, really good. He can play both center and power forward, next to bosh or without him. He's a monster defensively, and since Bargnani isn't exactly an intimidating post defender... well put it this way...Whiteside is.
14. Houston Rockets: With Yao Ming supposedly returning at 100%, the Rockets could be a dangerous team next season. Most improved player Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza, Yao Ming, and newly acquired scorer Kevin Martin could be a tantalizing foursome that combines quickness, outside shooting accuracy, inside scoring and strong defense. Add Scola and Battier to the mix, and the Rockets have every position covered. In their case, I'd go with a backup and insurance policy to Yao Ming, who will be approaching free agency, not to mention health-wise he's not the most reliable. Hassan Whiteside is a 7-foot center with a huge upside. With the ability to watch Yao Ming in practice and take notes, a Houston-Whiteside realtionship would be mutually beneficial. I like Epke Udoh, but at 6'10, he's undersized at the center position, and wouldn't be much of an upgrade from Chuck Hayes who filled that center role at 6'6 this past year. Daniel Orton is more of a pure center, and another strong candidate to learn from Yao and develop after a few years. Larry Sanders is a little more physical than Scola at the 4, and could be a nice energy spark off the bench, however he's very raw offensively.
WHy in the bloody world do they need another power forward like Patterson? Cousins should be there main guy just like Curry was even though he is not expected to be there just like Curry was. Patterson won't even be on our radar, it'll be Cuz, Monroe,Johnson,Aminu and George. If you guys remember when Cuz was in HS he was known for being able to shoot out too 15. We have no need for another stretch 4 who can shoot mid range shots, we got Randolph to do that and be our future 4. Wright will be competing for time as well. When was the last time Nellie was afraid of taking a red flag player? Last time I checked he loved Jack and Jack loved him, he was mad with the FO not Nellie. Baron and Nellie loved each other as well. You guys got the W's all messed up
I would love Henry in the Pacers, was surprised that Bradley didn't pop-up in their plans though. He will be pretty high on the Pacers radar i feel.
Son, what the hell are you talking about? Warriors fan here too, and while I agree we shouldn't take Patterson, I find it stunning that you seem to think Nellie is a good coach nowadays. Not only was he CLEARLY disliked in in conflicts with the likes of Jax and Diddy, but his ego has taken more importance than the team actually winning. The most important thing for the Warriors this off-season is not the draft, it's to find a new owner and fire Nellie.
It will be interesting to see which direction Riley and Nelson go in this draft, knowing that they probably won't be around next season to see their pick take the floor. Cousins (though I severely doubt he's there at six),Johnson, Aminu, Monroe, Patterson... I wouldn't be surprised by anything.
Whom ever this is, I agree with you. The Warriors will not touch Patterson with a ten foot poll. We have Randolph for the future( who has extreme potential) we need either cousins or Johnson. If none of them are still on the board then I say take Aminu. Huge upside to his game, and with the rebuilding warriors he might fit perfectly.
the kid is gonna be great. inside/outside game legit 7 footer who can add on plenty of muscle. european players seem to get overlooked every year. if he gets on a team that needs scoring he'll be in the running for rookie of the year.
Detroit could probably get both Cousins and Monroe if they trade R. Hamilton to Utah for the #9 pick (if the money works). Utah gets a consistent veteran with a high work ethic to team with Williams (taking over some of the scoring pressure and providing insurance in case Boozer leaves) in the backcourt, which would be more desirable than a rookie who may not be ready to contribute for 3+ years. Hamilton would benefit from a halfcourt-oriented system (that runs opportunistically) and Detroit would get 2 stud 4/5s that could be mentored by B. Wallace for 2-3 years (get them into the weight room, if he comes back).
Cousins and Johnson will be for sure gone by the GSW pick, so that left the Warriors with Monroe, Patterson, Aminu, or other swingman like Henry, Bubbit, George.
if it's not Johnson the Warriors should not draft other swingman cause they have many players at 2-3 position and not sure it will be an upgrade, Monroe is too slow for the GSW system, he can't play PF and they already have Biendris who they count on him for their future center, not enough minutes for Monroe to draft him here, Aminu is too much like their other young players Randolph and Wright so it's also not good pick for Warriors, that left us with Patterson, Patterson has solid size, he can play upfront with Biedrins and also with Randolph and Wright in a fast lineup that the Warriors like to put, Patterson has great work ethic and motor so it will be smart and safe pick.
I have a feeling the Raptors will go with Ed Davis unless someone drops to them. I think Colangelo will draft high upside.
I doubt Henry or George will be around when the raptors pick. But it would be a great problem to have
I hope the pacers are smarter than taking Xavier Henry at 10. He's going to be a good player in this league for a long time, but him and Brandon Rush have very similar games. Their best case scenario is having Greg Monroe fall to them.
I'm not saying that 'cause he's white ( I'll let other people say that). He's a hero from Indiana, he can play the 2/3 along with Granger. Dunleavy isn't panning out and he's an upgrade on Rush who would be a good fit off the bench. Did I mention he's a Birdlike player from Indiana?
Cousins is a kid who still does not realize this is a league for men, an the Warriors already have enough of those (Anthony Randolph/ Brandon Wright). The Warriors need to bring in professionals to contribute immediately in their style of play. Cousins showing up out of shape and not participating in drills and measurements is a Red Flag to me. The Warriors have a solid team right now with scoring and finally health by the time the season rolls around.
Curry was supposed to be a sign that the organization wanted to head in a new direction of high character, hard working players. Much like the makeover the Trailblazers did from the old "Jailblazers".
Wesley Johnson would work, as he could allow them to trade of Monte Ellis to get his contract off the books while not loosing athleticism or scoring, and hand the team over to a far better face of the franchise Stephen Curry (a better leader too). Patrick Patterson fits the mold of NBA ready, tuff, focused, high character, athletic, skilled big man. He could definitely help the Warriors slight interior presence and defender the more physical 4's in the league, which Randolph and Wright lack the physicality to do at this point.
Indiana would most likely settle for a PF or a PG in this year's draft. If they draft a big wingman like Henry or Hayward, it could be expected that either Rush or Dunleavy is on the way out. It would be quite difficult to deal Dunleavy with his injuries so he's probably going to play the last year of his contract in Indiana.
I'm hoping either Udoh or Patterson, Monroe will not get past the 8th i believe.
Though drafting Bradley or Bledsoe is quite a reach at number 10, either can be had by trading down. They can offer the 10th pick with maybe TJ Ford for a lower pick and a young back-up big man.
There have been rumors that the Warriors would love to get the Wolves pick.
The Wolves are taking a liking to Anthony Randolph.
So what would be the trade you guys think.
A.Randolph+ pick6 for pick 4 + filler or A.Randolph+C.Magette+pick6 for A.Jefferson+pick4+ filler