Detroit Pistons
Needs: Scoring, Jerami Grant trade
Picks: 5, 46

Detroit is a team with one of the worst rosters in the entire association. They landed top pick Cade Cunningham in last year’s draft, but it didn’t make a ton of difference as they went from finishing last in the conference to second to last. The team, aside from lacking the same talent level as many of its counterparts, has a poorly constructed roster in which many of the parts don’t fit together. Cunningham is a fantastic talent, but his best trait is that he does a lot of things well, but isn’t necessarily going to blow you away in any one facet of the game. Jerami Grant is their highest paid player, but he isn’t a star player. He’s best suited (despite what he may personally believe) to be a role player on a good to great team. He will be a free agent after next season, so Detroit could let him leave and create more cap space after next year, but with Detroit being far from a premiere free agent destination, they’d be better off looking to trade him for a package of picks and players that fit around Cunningham. While Detroit was bad in many areas, probably the most important for them to address in the offseason is scoring. Cunningham can score, but it’s in the team’s best interest to take some of the scoring burden off of him and allow him to facilitate more. With the fifth pick, Detroit could land Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, Iowa’s Keegan Murray, Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe, Arizona’s Benedict Mathurin (pictured), or Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis]. Any of those players would provide a little extra scoring punch. With the salary cap set at 122 million for this season and the Pistons at about 46 million in cap space, they could look to add some talent, although it would be surprising for them to add a top tier free agent and they would likely have to overpay to land a second tier player. They could and should focus on improving largely through the draft, and look to trade Grant for a package that will net them future draft assets that will better fit their timeline since they are unlikely to be true contenders in the near future.

Indiana Pacers
Needs: Power forward, perimeter defenders
Picks: 6, 31, 60

After moving on from Domantas Sabonis, the Pacers have a core in place that includes Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner, and with shooters like Buddy Hield and Chris Duarte around them, the Pacers have some pieces to work with. Bubble TJ Warren was fun while it lasted (are we seriously sure that wasn’t just some shared Covid fever dream we all experienced together?) but he hasn’t been able to take the court since then and the team can’t count on him to return to that form. They would also like to move on from Malcolm Brogdon and his large contract, and while there isn’t a huge demand on the trade market for those players, the Pacers could find themselves very busy on the trade market. With approximately 30 million in cap space, they could also make a push for free agents such as Jalen Brunson, Zach Lavine, or Miles Bridges. Whatever they do, they need to add better perimeter defenders to the roster because as good as Myles Turner is at blocking shots, he can’t be relied upon to stop everything. With the 6th pick in the draft, the Pacers could target many of the same players mentioned above for Detroit as well as Duke’s AJ Griffin. At 31, they may look to target Milwaukee’s Patrick Baldwin, or Ohio St.’s EJ Liddell.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Needs: Replace Ricky Rubio, shooting guard
Picks: 14, 39, 58

Cleveland surprised a lot of people last year when they went against the grain and started a massive lineup featuring Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Lauri Markkanen in the frontcourt. Darius Garland took a big step forward, and so the Cavs have a young core capable of making some noise for years to come. However, they aren’t there yet, as they need a couple more pieces to take that final step. When Ricky Rubio went down and was subsequently traded, the team missed his veteran presence in leading the younger Cavaliers on the court. Finding a veteran capable of helping the younger players grow should be priority number 1. They could look to do this through signing someone in free agency, although they are over the cap so they would have to utilize an exception to do so. Some options could include bringing Rubio back, or targeting Goran Dragic or Pat Connaughton. The other free agent that will warrant watching is if they can retain their own restricted free agent in Collin Sexton. With him coming off a major injury, the Cavs could end up getting him back cheaper than anticipated, but there’s always a chance that another team with space makes a major offer and the Cavs feel uncomfortable matching. They could also explore trading the expiring contract of Kevin Love, who regained a lot of his value after a strong season last year. Then there’s the draft where the Cavs hold the 14th pick. At 14 they could target Ohio St.’s Malaki Branham, Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan, or the G’League’s Dyson Daniels or Jaden Hardy.

Chicago Bulls
Needs: Resigning Zach LaVine, rebounding, shot blocking,
Picks: 18

The Bulls were a really good team last season prompting some to pronounce them contenders in the East and ultimately finished 6th in the conference behind the stellar play of DeMar DeRozan. They are also in excellent position moving forward as they have approximately 22 million in cap room and they do have Zach LaVine as a free agent that they’d like to resign. If they are able to bring LaVine back, they will likely look to run it back. But if not, they may look to use the cap space in a trade to take back more salary than they send out. Coby White and Patrick Williams would be obvious candidates to be on the move and if combined, the Bulls could bring back around 36 million in contracts to replace LaVine’s hole in the roster. Some options the Bulls could look at could include attempting to swing a deal for Brad Beal, Julius Randle, Jerami Grant, Kevin Love, or John Collins. However, the more likely scenario is simply retaining LaVine. The other need the team needs addressed is their inefficiencies in the rebounding and shot blocking departments. Nikola Vucevic is a good big man, but he needs some help protecting the rim and finishing off defensive possessions. That’s where the 18th pick in the draft comes in. Duke’s Mark Williams, and Arkansas’ Jaylin Williams could both be options that could help in those areas without adding another player that needs the ball in their hands on offense.

Milwaukee Bucks
Needs: Center
Picks: 24, 54 (forfeited)

Milwaukee’s season flamed out in the playoffs against Boston due in large part to Khris Middleton’s knee injury. Without Middleton, Milwaukee just didn’t have enough to get past the Celtics, and nobody was surprised when they were eliminated as a result. It would be foolish for them to panic, as had they been full strength there is a very real chance they would have found themselves in the Finals. They do need to address the center position however, as Bobby Portis has a player option that will make him a free agent and Brook Lopez, whose age is catching up to him, will be a free agent after next season. The Bucks have the 24th pick in the draft and the midlevel exception with which to add talent this offseason. They can likely find a decent player looking to win a ring with the midlevel while the 24th pick is likely going to be a bit trickier to come away with an impact player. Their options might include Auburn’s Walker Kessler, Fresno St’s Orlando Robinson, or even hometown kid Patrick Baldwin of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. There is a chance that Milwaukee will lose not only Portis but also Pat Connaughton this offseason, so it will be important that they find replacements for those two major role players if they want to keep their window open in the East. As a side note, the Bucks must forfeit their second round pick (number 54) as a result of their failed signing of Bogdan Bogdanovich in free agency for failing to wait until it was legal to negotiate.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.