Needs: Center, scoring, ball-handling
Picks: 1, 16, 31, 59
Phoenix is coming off a season in which they had the absolute worst record in the league and have won 21, 24, and 23 games over the course of the past three seasons. Now, with the first overall pick, it might finally be time for Phoenix to turn things around. They have Devin Booker, who is a prolific scorer and a franchise cornerstone, but beyond that the roster is pretty bare. Josh Jackson is young and developing and could become a top wing if he fulfills his potential. One of the weakest links on the roster is at center, and luckily for them, the top prospect in the draft happens to be a center that possesses the versatility to be able to contribute both inside and outside the paint. Assuming they do draft Deandre Ayton first overall, they will still have holes to fill, but it would be an excellent first step to building a much-improved roster. The Suns also have the 16th pick, which might potentially net them another really good prospect if somebody slides on draft day, or they could opt to try and move up and jump back into the top ten tartgeting another high level player (Trae Young or Luka Doncic perhaps). The Suns have a myriad of weaknesses right now, but offense is an issue at the moment. They shot the 3rd worst percentage from the field this season and had the worst offensive rating in the entire league. The biggest thing holding them back offensively is the fact that they turn the ball over a lot (28th in the league) and don’t rack up assists (29th). Their defense isn’t much better, ranking dead last in defensive rating as well. The draft will be their primary means for improving the roster, but they will have some cash to spend in free agency. They have right around 23 million to spend before the holds associated with their draft picks. It’s incredibly unlikely they trade away the first pick, but because the other picks could potentially be swapped, it’s difficult to know exactly how much they’ll have to spend once free agency starts.
Needs: Rebounding, shot blocking, perimeter defense
Picks: 2, 37
The Kings are still in rebuilding mode after their wise decision to trade away DeMarcus Cousins having come to the conclusion that they weren’t going to be able to take the step to the next level. Some of their biggest struggles have been in the post where they’ve had trouble coming down with rebounds, especially on the defensive end, and they don’t block as many shots as you’d hope for a team who employs athletic bigs like they do. However, this draft may have the perfect solution for their issues. Marvin Bagley is likely the best option, but Jaren Jackson Jr. and Mohamed Bamba could both be potential fits for the Kings as well and would any of the three would help to shore up the Kings’ interior issues. The Kings, much like the Suns, are in the middle of a rebuild and will be looking not necessarily for the final piece to the puzzle, but for players that they can build toward the future with. They have De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield in the backcourt, so adding a frontcourt piece would make a big difference for the team. As far as free agency is concerned, the amount of money the Kings have available to them will come down to what happens with the player options of Iman Shumpert and Garrett Temple as well as the qualifying offer to Bruno Caboclo. Regardless of the outcome (most likely both player options get picked up) it’s unlikely the Kings make big signings and instead look to fill gaps in their lineup without hurting their future payroll too much.
Los Angeles Clippers
Needs: Power forward, point guard
Picks: 12, 13
The Clippers moved on from the Blake Griffin era and the team is in an awkward stage. They have a lot of high priced veterans such as DeAndre Jordan, Danilo Gallinari, Tobias Harris, Austin Rivers, and Boban Marjanovic on the roster. However, they may be best served conserving future cap flexibility and look to build toward the future. They have only 33 million on the books after next season, and the majority of that is Gallinari’s deal. With two lottery picks this season, they have a chance to really change the complexion of their team. After the trade of Griffin, there is a massive hole on the roster at power forward that the team may look to fill, and the roster also is in flux at point guard. Patrick Beverly will be back from injury next season, and Milos Teodosic will also be in the mix for the starting job. However, Beverly will be on an expiring deal next season and Teodosic, despite coming off his rookie year, is 31 years old. For this reason, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Clippers grab one of the top point guards in the draft when it’s their turn to pick. They would love to see Collin Sexton or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander fall to them and then could look to pair them with somebody like Kevin Knox, Miles Bridges, or Robert Williams. Knox and Bridges would be more outside oriented forwards while Williams would be similar to Griffin in a lot of ways, so it would depend on how Doc Rivers envisions the team composition moving forward.
Los Angeles Lakers
Needs: Star power, three point shooting
Picks: 25, 47
Everybody knows by now what the Lakers’ goal is this offseason. They need to come away with at least one star player, and ideally, two. Obviously their top targets will be LeBron James and Paul George. There is no guarantee they land either one of them, but they seem to be at least a viable option for both, if not the outright favorite. This offseason, a star player is not a want, but an absolute need. With the moves they’ve made to ensure they have room to add two max deals, it will be very difficult to go back to their fans with just a resigned Julius Randle and a second tier free agent or two. They have Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram to build around, but if they can add a star or two, it totally changes the projections moving forward for the franchise. So the Lakers’ offseason is primarily about the free agency period. Before they get to that point, though, they’ll be taking part in the draft, where they have the 25th pick of the first round. There have been rumors that they may have promised Mitchell Robinson if he’s still there, but even if that’s the case, there is no guarantee he is still there at 25. They would likely prefer to pick a big man in hopes of being able to leave room on the roster for their free agent targets.
Golden State Warriors
Needs: Haha, yeah right…
The Warriors once again won the NBA Championship behind strong efforts from Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. Durant could potentially become a free agent, but he is expected to return to Golden State to continue building a dynasty. The Warriors have just about everything a team could need, so this offseason will likely only see relatively minor changes. They could stand to enhance their bench, as many of their bench players are free agents this offseason. However, as we’ve seen in the past, it’s not hard for dominant teams to find players willing to take on a bench role in order to potentially win a championship. Honestly, the two biggest orders of business this offseason are to retain Durant and attempt to convince Klay Thompson to sign an extension, something both players appear amenable to. As long as the team is able to keep their core in place, they will be in position to potentially find themselves in the Finals again next season. With the 28th pick, expect the Warriors to take the best available player and trust that Steve Kerr can find that player a role that will help the team.