Needs: Point guard, three point shooting
Picks: 10, 36, 38
The Bucks gave Giannis Antetokounmpo an opportunity to be a point guard, which if it continues to work, may just be the most fun thing in the world to watch. However, Milwaukee should probably have a backup plan in case that plans fails, and if Michael Carter-Williams is your plan B for anything, you really don’t have a plan B. The Bucks have some good pieces, but also some questionable fits roster wise. Antetokounmpo is super long and super athletic, but can’t shoot. The problem is he doesn’t really have shooters around him outside of Khris Middleton. In fact, the Bucks were dead last in three point shots made and attempted, making only 34.5%. That really detracts from the spacing they need for their players to be able to drive to the rim. Greg Monroe and Jabari Parker are both younger players that could become really good pros, but haven’t found their place in the Bucks’ system. However, if the Bucks can find shooters to put around them, it will make it much easier for them to find room to operate offensively.
The Bucks will need to spend almost 20 million dollars this offseason just to hit next year’s salary floor. Jeremy Lin, Arron Afflalo and Evan Fournier could be some interesting options for the Bucks as they look to bolster their backcourt and shooting. There are also rumors surrounding if the Bucks will trade Monroe to find a better fit. When it comes to the draft, they will have the opportunity to add a quality piece with a top ten pick. Some options at 10 could potentially include Marquese Chriss, Domantas Sabonis, Malachi Richardson, or if he slides, Jaylen Brown. Nobody available there appears to be a perfect fit for the Bucks, but the team will likely be looking to add talent and leave it up to Jason Kidd to figure out how to put all the pieces together.
Needs: Power forward/center, point guard
Picks: 14, 48
With Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah likely departing the Windy City, the Bulls will need to add some players to the frontcourt. Add that to the fact that Derrick Rose has regressed since his multiple knee injuries while his contract keeps growing and the likelihood of the Bulls looking to add to their backcourt and it becomes apparent that the Bulls need to overhaul a large part of their roster for next year. A really weird wrinkle to all of this has been the rampant rumors surrounding Jimmy Butler. While it may amount to nothing and may have no substance backing it, the thought of trading their best player would build up the roster depth, but would sacrifice easily their best player. It’s going to be an interesting free agency period for the Bulls. Do they look to sign a young big man like Hassan Whiteside, or do they opt for an established big man like Dwight Howard? The Bulls need to find additional pieces that can help take the franchise back to the playoffs. One way to do that is by adding a player with the 14th pick in the draft. They could be looking at somebody such as Deyonta Davis, Skal Labissiere, or Henry Ellenson if they opt to choose a post player. If, however, they opt to bolster their backcourt, Wade Baldwin or Dejounte Murray both make sense.
Needs: Someone that can put the ball in the basket, a perimeter defense presence
Picks: 18, 49
The Pistons made the playoffs this past season despite lacking a player that could routinely go out and create offense. They were able to succeed with balanced scoring and spreading the ball around. Ultimately, though, the team will go as far as Andre Drummond will take them. He averaged 16.2 points and 14.8 rebounds. If they can find a player that draws a defense’s attention away from the paint, it would go a long way towards making their team even more dynamic. The Pistons’ real problem is on the defensive side. They gave up more three point shots than all but one team while sending opposing players to the free throw line more than all but two teams. They need to find a player that can lock down perimeter players and take pressure off of Drummond inside since they don’t have any other rim protectors inside. Stanley Johnson could develop into that type of lockdown defender, but the Pistons would be wise to hedge their bets by finding somebody this offseason to help out in that regard. The draft doesn’t seem to have a lockdown defender around pick 18 where the Pistons select. However, they could potentially pick up another rim protector in Damian Jones or Brice Johnson.
Needs: Power forward, point guard
Picks: 20, 50
The Pacers have the benefit of employing Paul George, one of the elite young players the game has to offer. With the way the Pacers are currently constructed, George has to do too much of the heavy lifting, though. George Hill, Monta Ellis, and Rodney Stuckey can all score from the perimeter, but are all far more combo guards that look for their own offense first than point guards that set up others. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the Pacers could benefit from having a guard that can create easier looks for those players. In the frontcourt, the team is really hurting. Myles Turner is young and developing, but outside of him the only post player they have is Lavoy Allen. The Pacers are still transitioning away from traditional lineups like those that featured Roy Hibbert. The Pacers’ primary goal this offseason should be to build their frontcourt up to balance out their roster. Cheick Diallo, Bryce Johnson, Stephen Zimmerman, or even Juan Hernangomez could all be ideal fits for the Pacers. Indy will also have approximately 35 million dollars to spend and could target such players as Al Horford, Pau Gasol, Ryan Anderson, Joakim Noah, or Al Jefferson. If the Pacers are able to land one of the aforementioned players it could be enough to push them deeper into the playoffs.
The Cavaliers are coming off the first title in franchise history and it’s very likely LeBron James is going to stick around. With Kyrie Irving not going anywhere and Kevin Love in the fold, the Cavs aren’t going to have a lot of salary cap room. There is always a chance they opt to trade Kevin Love after he has fallen short of expectations in Cleveland, but that’s far from a given. Ultimately, the Cavaliers main goal this offseason should be to surround Irving and James with shooters. J.R. Smith, possibly the team’s most dangerous outside threat, is a free agent, and that is a big problem for the Cavs. James and Irving tend to run a lot of isolation plays and that bogs down when help defenders can sag into the paint. The only way to combat that is by surrounding those two with players that can stretch the court. Tristan Thompson showed that he has to be on the floor with the way he produces on the boards and he’s another non-shooter. Cleveland was able to top the Warriors in game seven despite shooting a paltry 6-25 from deep, and as currently constructed, the team will be a worse shooting squad than this year’s group. While they showed that it doesn’t preclude them from winning, it’s not going to be easy to win that way. The Cavaliers won’t be able to bolster their roster through the draft unless they swing a trade. However, they will no doubt be looking to add players through free agency that are willing to take a cheaper contract in order to chase a championship.