Team Needs: Southeast Division
Needs: Point guard, power forward
Picks: 4, 12
Orlando may only have two picks, but with them both falling in the lottery the Magic find themselves as one of the teams in the driver's seat of this season's draft. Victor Oladipo appears to have a bright future in this league, but most see him as a shooting guard despite Orlando's attempt to convert him to the point. Jameer Nelson's team option may not be picked up, which means there is a strong chance that the Magic look for a point guard to pair with Oladipo in the backcourt. If they go point guard early, Dante Exum (upside) of Australia or Marcus Smart (safe) of Oklahoma State would be the obvious choices. With either of those guards in the fold the Magic backcourt wouldn't be great in terms of shooting the basketball, but would be very difficult to defend none the less. If the Magic wait until the 12th pick to select a point guard they would have to take a risk on either Elfrid Payton, who might actually be off the board or Zach Lavine who struggled to contribute in college at times or reach for one of the other lead guards in the draft. Thus, expect a guard to come off the board at number 4. With the 12th pick they very well may look to address their lack of talent at the power forward position. Mo Harkless and Tobias Harris can both spend time at the "4", but neither have the size and post game considered ideal for the position. They may have some options as the draft looks top heavy with power forwards, but each year it seems somebody unexpectedly drops and if a power forward drops to 12 the Magic could end up with quite a haul. It's unlikely that Orlando would reach for a power forward if none of the top forwards slide on draft night. With the 12th pick they will be able to get a highly talented player and it wouldn't make much sense to pass up somebody that is high on their draft board simply because they have a particular need. After all, they have cap space available to them that can be used to patch holes in their roster after draft day.
Needs: Scoring, talent in general
Picks: 9, 24, 45
First, for those that may not pay very much attention to that team in Charlotte that Michael Jordan runs, don't worry - you haven't been sent back in time to 1995. The Charlotte Hornets are back - after being rebranded to the Bobcats, they've been rebranded back to the Hornets, and they hold the 9th, 24th, and 45th picks to go along with cap space this offseason and it has Jordan excited about what the franchise can become. Al Jefferson led a resurgence in Charlotte and the Hornets want to build on that by adding some players that can continue their upswing. Their defense was very good last season, but they struggled to score. Kemba Walker and Jefferson are known as offensive players, but the rest of the lineup isn't quite as potent. Luckily for Charlotte, there are a number of players expected to be available when they are on the clock who can compete on defense while being able to score. Rodney Hood would make some sense for them, as would Gary Harris, Doug McDermott , Nik Stauskas, or Zach LaVine. MJ has stated recently that he thinks that the team can add another prominent free agent this offseason and use these draft picks to build around their nucleus. For that reason, it doesn't appear that the Hornets will select a boom or bust prospect (at least I'd hope not with Jordan's track record when it comes to drafting, and GM Rich Cho's conservative approach), but instead focus on getting a prospect or two that can come in and fill a role on the team moving forward.
Needs: Center, depth
Picks: 15, 43
Poor Atlanta, they seem to be stuck in the land of NBA mediocrity. Year in and year out they are just good enough to get into the playoffs (preventing them from landing a franchise-altering draft pick) but never seem to have the feel of a true championship contender. They let Josh Smith go and remained right there in the bottom half of the playoff seeding in the East. Even with Al Horford injured and only able to play 29 games they made the playoffs, but even with him nobody expected the Hawks to be able to reach the conference finals. They find themselves with some cap space to use this summer and the 15th pick in the first round of the draft with which to hopefully turn things around. The team has seemingly been dying to find a true center to put beside Horford so that he can move to his more natural power forward position, but unless they can find one in free agency it appears that will have to wait for another year unless they take a big time risk on Jusuf Nurkic of Bosnia. Realistically, the Hawks will look to take the best player available to them when they pick and they could go a number of different directions based on how the draft unfolds in front of them. Kyle Anderson would be an intriguing option as he lacks elite athleticism but is essentially a 6-9 point guard in a power forward's body (7'2 wingspan). Atlanta was middle of the pack in terms of number of possessions per game so having the man they call "Slo-Mo" wouldn't be a detriment to the way they play. GM Danny Ferry is a spurs disciple so using Anderson in a similar fashion as Boris Diaw would seem to make sense. Other names to keep an eye on for the Hawks: Elfrid Payton, TJ Warren could all fit in well in Atlanta.
Needs: Center, point guard, youth
Picks: 26, 55
The Heat have two obvious needs with their roster position wise: center and point guard. Ultimately, with the versatility of the Wade, James, and Bosh they don't have to have a true center or point guard on the roster, though. Ultimately, the oldest team in the league needs to add some youth to the equation. The best blue print for the Heat to use would be that of their Finals opponent, the Spurs. The teams were initially put together in different ways, but as the Spurs' stars were aging, they added a young play maker in Kawhi Leonard to take the burden off of the stars a little bit. Now the Heat need to find a young, athletic player to add to the mix. Whoever they draft must be able to play well off the ball. Some options for the Heat would be Adreian Payne (if he slides) who could play a stretch four alongside Bosh, center prospects Mitch McGary, Johnny OBryant or one of the foreign big men in Tavares, Nurkic, of Clint Capela. This is all assuming that the all important trio sticks together. They all have the right to opt out after this season. The team will have lots of holes to fill as the only players with guaranteed contracts are Norris Cole and the aging Chris Andersen. Udonis Haslem and the big three all have player options. That makes it really important that Miami finds players to fill out the roster, especially since they won't have the cap space to make a significant splash in free agency. They would benefit greatly if they can find a way to find a capable player in this year's draft.
Needs: Power forward/center
The Wizards have an up and coming young group led by guards John Wall and Bradley Beal. In the front court the only players under contract next season are Otto Porter and Nene (although Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker will likely return). This means the Wizards have some work to do on bulking up their front line. Marcin Gortat played well for them and they will likely want to resign him. They have the cap space to go out and find some players, but it's yet to be seen how big of an impact they will have on the free agent market. Their one pick could be of help to them if they choose wisely, their pick isn't until the middle of the second round. A big man such as Cameron Bairstow could make the team and contribute. The guard positions are manned with talented players but the Wizards' lack of forwards and centers on the roster beyond an injury-prone Nene could cause problems for a team that showed some very real promise this season.