Needs: SF, Versatile PF/C
Picks: 1, 19, 31, 33
Cleveland has been no stranger to high lottery picks over the past decade. In 2003, they spent the top pick on Cleveland’s version of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. They wasted a top ten pick the next year on Luke Jackson. Then, more recently, they landed the top pick and selected Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and landed Texas forward Tristan Thompson with the fourth pick in the 2011draft. Last year, possessing the fourth overall pick for a second straight year, they selected Dion Waiters to complete their backcourt of the future. Now, in 2013, they find themselves with the top pick yet again. Unfortunately for them, the general consensus is that the top two picks in this draft should be Ben McLemore (a shooting guard) and Nerlens Noel (a power forward): two positions that they’ve used fourth overall picks on the last two years. They have a need at the small forward spot, and should they draft for need as opposed to best available talent, they could opt to go for Otto Porter. Porter, a 6-9 forward from Georgetown, is a player who could fill a Tayshaun Prince type role for the young Cavs.
The Cavs not only have the top pick, but also possess the 19th pick, which could net them a big man such as Lucas Nogueira , Gorgui Dieng, or Rudy Gobert. Yes, they have Thompson and Anderson Varejao, but there have been rumblings the past couple seasons that Varejao could be moved and finding a young big man would allow them to move Varejao without leaving a gaping hole in their lineup. Even if they opt to keep Varejao, it would give them an insurance policy for him, as he’s played only 50 games in the last two seasons combined. Cleveland also has the luxury of having two of the best value picks, as they own the 31st and 33rd picks (AKA two of the first three second round picks). They’ll almost certainly be looking to take the best player available with each of those picks.
Needs: SF, SG with size
Picks: 8, 37, 56
The Pistons have the 8th pick, and have what they believe to be the cornerstones of their franchise in place in big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, along with guard Brandon Knight. After trading away Tayshaun Prince this past season, the Pistons finally signaled a willingness to move forward with young players with an eye towards the future. They have a need on the wing and would preferably like to find a wing with good size. Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight make a talented backcourt, but it makes it difficult for them to match up with taller guards. The small forward position is more problematic, though. They relied heavily on Kyle Singler at the position last season, but I don’t think they see the former second round pick as the long term solution. If they are lucky, Anthony Bennett or Victor Oladipo could slide to them at pick number 8, or they may select somebody like Alex Lan or Cody Zeller and opt for talent over need.
Needs: Offensive minded PF/C, SF, G to replace Jennings or Ellis
Picks: 15, 43
The Bucks are in a tough position as they don’t know what their team’s backcourt will look like next season. Brandon Jennings is a restricted free agent, meaning they can keep him if they really want to, and in addition to that, Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick are unrestricted free agents. Jennings will be looking for a big payday and the Bucks and Jennings’ camp are far apart on what he’s worth. If Jennings is able to find a team willing to break the bank for him, and that’s a big if, Milwaukee may opt to let him go. Outside of those three assets, Larry Sanders, and Ersan Ilyasova, the Bucks don’t have a lot of build on moving forward. Something they really need moving forward is somebody that can go down in to the post and get them a bucket when they need it. Their power forwards and centers last season included defensive minded Sanders, Samuel Dalembert, Ekpe Udoh, and John Henson. That group includes some nice players, but none of them are consistent options on the low block on offense. With the 15th pick they would be wise to look for a PF/C that could provide some offense, such as Kelly Olynyk. If they don’t like their chances of holding on to at least two of their guards, they may have to look at drafting a guard such as Dennis Schroeder or Tony Snell. If they can retain their guards and there isn’t a big man that they feel can help them, their best bet would probably be to take Giannis Adetokoubo who can handle the ball while having great size.
Picks: 20, 49
The Bulls are a team that really don’t have many needs. All-world point guard? check. Small forward who can play both sides of the ball well? check. PF that can score the basketball from the low post and midrange? check. Center that provides fantastic defense and endless amounts of energy? check. Derrick Rose will eventually come back (right?) and that will make a huge impact for them. Boozer and Deng are not number one options (even though last season they were kind of forced into being number one options at times) but are good second and third options. Joakim Noah really makes the team go with his defense and rebounding. Even Jimmy Butler has become a quality player already in his young career. This team has no major needs other than for Rose to come back. Therefore, the 20th overall pick is a rich get richer pick. They’ll almost certainly just take the best player available on their board and go on about their business of trying to get back to legit contenders in the East. They’d probably like to find a shooting guard that can score the ball to take pressure off Rose in much the way they’d hoped Richard Hamilton would. Unfortunately for them, there doesn’t seem to be many of those types of players in this draft. They could opt for somebody like Tony Snell or Tim Hardaway Jr., but ultimately, the Bulls are in good shape no matter who they select at number 20.
Needs: PF (if they let David West go), Depth
Picks: 23, 53
The Pacers are a very good team with quality young pieces and very few obvious needs. They certainly could use a power forward should they let David West leave via free agency but both sides seem amicable to him returning next season. Assuming that happens, their biggest need becomes depth. Their starters have played way too many minutes together in the post season. Coach Vogel’s inability to go to his bench to get his starters a rest makes the team vulnerable. Should Danny Granger come back healthy next year that will alleviate some of that problem, but even then his value as an expiring contract would likely outweigh what he can provide on the court. The Pacers have a budding superstar in Paul George and one of the few true low post presences on offense and defense in Roy Hibbert. I think the Pacers would be best served by finding somebody that can provide shooting for them. Tim Hardaway Jr. could be a good option. They could even opt for somebody like DeShaun Thomas. While I don’t see Thomas as a first round talent, his shooting ability would be a good fit for Indiana. It really doesn’t matter what position the Pacers go with, just as long as they find a player that can provide quality minutes off the bench and provide the starters with rest throughout the season. When it comes to the second round pick, Ryan Kelly is the obvious choice assuming he is still available at pick 53. He provides a power forward that can step out and stretch the defense with his jumpshot.