Needs: C, SG, PG
Picks: 11, 35, 42
Philadelphia has a lot of needs, mainly because many of their players will be free agents. Their most pressing need is at center. That doesn’t mean they’ll look to the draft to fill it though, as they may not give up on Andrew Bynum (who didn’t play a single game this past season). Something they may look at doing is taking a power forward that they could play next to Bynum or provide them a low post presence in case his health limits his availability. Jrue Holiday took a major step forward this past season and is the team’s point guard moving forward. However, they may want to find a suitable backup for him if possible to avoid forcing him to play too many minutes. Dennis Schroeder could be a good fit to fill that role with the 11th pick if they decide to go that route. Probably their biggest need is at the off-guard position, though. They have the aging Jason Richardson and young Evan Turner under contract for next year. Turner can play a few positions and even possibly be moved to the 3, and so they could look to bring in another shooting guard such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to play alongside him and Holiday. Kelly Olynyk is another possibility to fill their center position.
Needs: SF, PF/C
The Celtics appear to be in a state of flux, as they question what to do with their aging roster. They only have one pick to help reshape their roster this offseason if they decide that it’s time to start over. There are rumors that the team will buyout Paul Pierce’s contract this offseason, leaving a hole on the perimeter. Should they decide to go that route, they would look to build their new team around Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, and Jared Sullinger. Boston will likely be looking at bigs such as Kelly Olynyk, Steven Adams, and Lucas Nogueira. If they don’t like the fit for any of those big men or they prefer to find a perimeter player they’ll likely look at guys such as Shabazz Muhammad, Tim Hardaway Jr, or Tony Snell. The aging Celtics roster will eventually have to be broken up and the team will have to build around younger players. Boston was one of the teams that took an extended look at Greek SF Giannis Adetokoubo, and he would be a nice long term gamble. This draft gives them the opportunity to get one of those players, but only time will tell if Danny Ainge believes it’s the right time to say good bye to vets such as Paul Pierce and/or Kevin Garnett.
Needs: PF, Depth
Brooklyn really doesn’t have many needs, as they have capable players all over the court. They may want to find a big man to play alongside Brook Lopez, or may simply look for depth behind their starters. It really wouldn’t surprise me if Brooklyn opted to attempt to trade out of this draft as opposed to give guaranteed money to a late round pick in a weak draft. The question would be whether they could find a taker for that pick that would give them any sort of value in return. Assuming they keep the pick, some players available at 22 that they may be interested in include Giannis Adetokoubo of Greece, Gorgui Dieng of Louisville, Tony Mitchell of North Texas, or Rudy Gobert of France. If they look at power forwards or centers, one of the main things they will consider is if Lopez would be able to complement them in the frontcourt. Lopez is more of an offensive oriented player, so the Nets would benefit from pairing him with somebody that can rebound and block shots, like Dieng.
New York Knicks
The Knicks have one pick and one very glaring need: point guard. Jason Kidd is 40 and finished last season playing like it. Pablo Prigioni is a 35 year old free agent, and Raymond Felton is probably best as a backup option. Unfortunately for the Knicks, there are only two point guards that seem to have a chance at going in the late first round: Shane Larkin and Erick Green. Larkin could be a fit for them, but he may be gone at 24 and Green is more of a scorer and the last thing New York needs is another gunner. If they wanted to reach a bit, Nate Wolters could be a great fit for that roster, but taking him at 24 is probably a bit higher than they’d like to take him. The Knicks lack anybody (outside of Tyson Chandler) that can contribute to the team when not scoring. They need to find somebody that can make players around them better. They may decide to look at players such as Gobert and Dieng also, to lessen the burden on Chandler down low. Ultimately, the Knicks appear to be an elite point guard away from being a legitimate contender to the Heat, Pacers, and Bulls in the Eastern conference, but this draft doesn’t seem to afford them the opportunity to fill that need.
The Raptors are simply in need of talent and depth. They have players at every position that have potential, but a team is sometimes less than the sum of its parts, and that’s the Raptors right now. Whoever takes over the GM role (Masai Ujiri is the hot name right now) will be looking to move the team forward with limited roster flexibility. This draft will do nothing to help that cause, as they are without a pick thanks to the Kyle Lowry trade. That’s not necessarily a terrible thing since this is the best possible draft to be without a pick, but the team will have to find a way to improve if they don’t want to find themselves watching the playoffs on t.v. again next season. The new GM will have to make a decision on Andrea Bargnani and if he ultimately decides the team is better off without him, he may be able to net a draft pick in exchange for the Italian forward. It would likely be a mid to late round pick and that would allow the Raptors to take the best talent available. Unless a trade happens, though, expect a quiet draft night from Canada’s lone NBA franchise.