Needs: Backup PG, Backup SG/SF
The Bulls had the top record in the conference this past season. Had Derek Rose not suffered his catastrophic knee injury they very well could have faced off against the Thunder in the NBA Finals. But, Rose did get hurt, and they were eliminated by Philadelphia in the first round. Now, the team will look to get Rose back up to speed without rushing him. They will need a capable backup point guard for Rose as they saw just how hard it was to win in the playoffs without their best player. Rose will likely miss part of next season and the team could use somebody to fill in for him.
They don’t have a ton of needs, but they could also use another wing scorer. They should be able to find a talented scorer in the draft, despite picking 29th. Luol Deng had a breakout year and Rip Hamilton is still one of the best in the league at using screens but they need another player that can come in and make things happen on the offensive end. Ultimately, the most important thing for the Bulls will be to get Rose back to full strength and not rush him back onto the court.
Needs: SG, SF, C
Picks: 4, 24, 33, 34
Well, the Cavs have Kyrie Irving, but after that the cupboards are pretty bare. Anthony Parker and Antawn Jamison, two of the team’s most consistent players last season are set to become free agents. The Cavaliers need some quality pieces at virtually every position around Irving if they are going to get back to relevance in the NBA. With two first round picks (4, 24) and two early second round picks (33,34) they have a chance to put more franchise building blocks on their payroll. They drafted Tristan Thompson last summer, but they still need another big body to pair with him and Anderson Varejao. With the fourth pick, they could address this need with big such as Andre Drummond or land a wing player such as Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. No matter which way they go, it will help them take a significant step forward.
Needs: SF, PF
Picks: 9, 39, 44
The Pistons are set at guard with Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey, and could look to bolster their frontcourt on draft night. They have Tayshaun Prince, who seems to find his way into trade rumors every year. As a savvy vet with good size, he could be a valuable trade chip for Detroit. With Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko they have two players with similar size who could step in, but both have a lot to prove still. Detroit could look to bring in a new small forward, or look to find a complement to Greg Monroe inside. Monroe has been a good player for them, but doesn’t seem to be a natural fit alongside the undersized Jason Maxiell, who is a free agent. With pick 9, Detroit is in a position to find a big such as Meyers Leonard or Tyler Zeller who could play the center spot and allow Monroe to shift to the power forward spot. They could also look to bring in an athletic power forward like John Henson, Perry Jones or Arnett Moultrie who could play the four alongside Monroe. Then, with their second round picks they will likely take the best player available.
Needs: Backup SG/SF, Backup C
The Pacers have one decision this offseason that will ultimately determine how much of a chance they have to build on this season’s success: make sure Roy Hibbert returns. He’s a restricted free agent, so they can match any offer. Typically, I am not in favor of teams bringing back their restricted free agents if they sign a deal that’s probably overpaying the player. In this case, there is no way Indiana can let him walk, no matter how much he gets offered elsewhere. Is he a perfect player? No, but the team needs his ability inside. Paul George is a bright, young talent, Granger can score and David West is deadly in the mid-range. The team fits together nicely.
With only the 26th pick of the draft, they may have to settle for the best player available, but with a roster like theirs with no obvious holes, all they need is a little more talent coming off the bench to take that next step. This team is on the rise, and they will go into the draft looking to add a talented piece and won’t be losing much in free agency (assuming they don’t let Hibbert escape town).
Needs: SF, PF, C
Picks: 12, 42
This past season they put together what they hope is their backcourt of the future with Brandon Jennings and Monte Ellis teaming up. They could still use a guard with some size to come off the bench behind those two. However, their biggest need is to figure out their frontcourt. They went into last season feeling comfortable with Andrew Bogut and Ersan Ilyasova playing center and power forward. Now, Ilyasova is a free agent and has the Brooklyn Nets among other teams eyeing him while Bogut is now in Oakland playing for the Warriors.
They own the 12th pick in the draft and if they elect to keep it, they will almost certainly take someone that can fill in one of those spots. This is a team that is going to focus on guard play by necessity. They need to find somebody that can score from the post and somebody that can rebound all the misses that the guards produce. They won’t be able to solve the problem of such an imbalanced roster just through this year’s draft, but they will be able to take a step in that direction.