Golden State Warriors
Needs: SF, backup PF
Picks: 7, 30, 35, 52
The Warriors were lucky that the ping pong balls tumbled just the right way for them during the lottery, allowing them to keep their pick instead of shipping it to Utah. With that pick, they could really use a small forward. They used their amnesty clause on Charlie Bell, which means they will be unable to clear Richard Jefferson’s massive contract until it expires after the 2013-2014 season (unless of course Jefferson bumps his head and opts out a season early). Because they owe so much money to Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, David Lee and the oft-injured Andrew Bogut, they could really use another good player on a rookie contract to join Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. The Warriors would love to see Harrison Barnes fall to them at 7, but that appears to be very unlikely. The club is said to be actively shopping the pick for a veteran SF, a move that could help them possibly make the playoffs in the short term, but wouldn’t add anything to their young nucleus.
With their other picks they will likely concentrate on adding depth to their roster, especially a big to backup Lee and help fill in if Bogut spends more time on the injured list. They could have a big draft with two first round picks and an early second round pick. They made headlines for starting 5 rookies late in the season, so they don’t exactly have a need for more youth, but they need an influx of talent in the Bay if they want to make the playoffs.
Los Angeles Clippers
Needs: SG, Backup PF, Backup C
Well, on the bright side for the Clips, whoever takes former GM Neil Olshey’s place won’t have a ton of pressure on him in the draft. The Clippers have exactly one draft pick in the upcoming draft and it’s way down at the bottom of the second round at 53. At that point in the draft, they’ll probably settle for the best available player, unless they can find a way to move up.
They are in need of a decent shooting guard capable of putting the ball in the hoop. Nick Young was a good fit for them and may still resign with the team, as may Chauncey Billups who would once again play alongside Chris Paul. With Kenyon Martin also becoming a free agent, they need some more size inside. If Coach Del Negro survives the front office change, he could use another big man who he would feel comfortable playing behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Ultimately, this draft/offseason will probably be pretty forgettable for the Clippers, unless they make an aggressive move in an attempt to convince Paul to sign on to remain with the Clips.
Los Angeles Lakers
Needs: PG, SF, Backup PF/C
Like their arena-mates the Clippers, the Lakers will probably have a slow night at the office on draft night due to having only the last pick in the draft. This won’t help appease a fan base that was unhappy with the team’s performance this past season. Mid-season pickup Ramon Sessions is going to become a free agent and if he leaves, the team will need to address the point guard position, despite Steve Blake’s good late season shooting. The small forward position very well may need to be filled too, as Ron Artest, or Metta World Peace, or whatever he is calling himself these days, is rumored to be a prime candidate to be amnestied this offseason and Devin Ebanks (a restricted free agent himself) is not the answer.
The single most surprising player wearing Laker gold this post season, at least in my personal opinion, was Jordan Hill. The young big man was very good in college at Arizona but struggled to find his niche in the pro ranks. This post season, though, he gave the team great minutes off the bench. It’s unlikely he’ll be able to turn that playoff series into a Jerome James type contract this offseason, but he stands to get a significant raise from somebody in the league and if that somebody isn’t the Lakers, Mike Brown will have a hole on his bench to fill.
Needs: PG, SG, PF
Phoenix is a team in transition and will hope to find a face of their franchise in the draft, which will be easier said than done picking 13th. Steve Nash looks likely to leave the team to join a contender. It’s been reported that he has agreed to help the Suns by participating in a sign-and-trade so that they don’t lose him for nothing (and allow Nash to sign a more lucrative contract). In addition to losing Nash, they look likely to lose another veteran locker room presence in Grant Hill, who is also a free agent. Shooting guard Shannon Brown also may elect to sign elsewhere. The Suns will have to decide if they want to match any offers to Aaron Brooks or Robin Lopez.
With all their free agents, the Suns could look to replace any of those players on draft night. At small forward the team has Jared Dudley and Josh Childress so they will most likely look to draft either a guard or a big man, as the team lacks a game changing post player. Whoever they draft will have an uphill battle trying to take over a team that looks as if they will be losing their former MVP and face of the franchise.
Needs: SF, Athletic PF/C
Picks: 5, 36
The Kings had some success at their reclamation project named Terrence Williams this season and he wants to come back. With that said, there is a good chance that an upgrade at the position could be had at pick 5 in the upcoming draft. The Kings are in need of a playmaker to go along with Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Thornton and even Isaiah Thomas and should be able to get just that on draft night. A mature, high character guy such as harrison Barens would be just what the doctor ordered for a team that has been unable to play to its abilities.
One of the biggest things this team lacks is an interior player that can disrupt the other team with his athleticism. Cousins is good, but he plays below the rim. Same can be said for Chuck Hayes who stands only 6’6”. They thought Hassan Whiteside might fill that role, but he’s given them very little and Jason Thompson, while showing flashes of promise, has not been able to consistently produce at the level the Kings would like. The Kings could also get a quality player at 36, as there could be some draftees selected around that area of the draft that end up being steals, like Will Barton of Memphis or Kevin Jones of West Virginia. The Kings had a less than stellar draft last season, selecting Jimmer Fredette over Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Iman Shumpert, and Kenneth Faried. The team did, however, redeem themselves a bit with their selection of Thomas with the last pick in the draft. This year, they’ll look to make the most of the draft in hopes of getting the team to the playoffs.