Charlotte Hornets
Needs: Efficient scoring
Picks: 2, 27, 34, 39, 41

This past season, the Hornets were a mess. LaMelo Ball was injured, and never looked like himself in the 36 games he played. You have to believe him coming back healthy will help alleviate some of the issues with the Hornets’ league worst offense. They have a choice to make with the second pick. They could go with the presumptive second best prospect in Scoot Henderson, but he and Ball seem like they overlap a bit too much, and neither is very effective if the ball isn’t in their hands. The other possibility is going with Alabama’s Brandon Miller (pictured). At 6’9”, he has good height for the forward spot and can really score the basketball. It is likely that Miles Bridges will be back on the roster next season, and he could slide into a forward spot next to Bridges. I view him as a guy with a far lower floor than Henderson, but it wouldn’t shock me in the least to see Charlotte select him at #2. Charlotte also has to deal with the restricted free agency of PJ Washington, and very well could let Kelly Oubre Jr. walk in free agency as well. Adding shooting could be important for this roster. Miller will help that, and with their later picks (which they won’t use all of) they could target players such as UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez or Amari Bailey, Houston’s Marcus Sasser, or Santa Clara’s Brandon Podziemski to fill the role of shooter off the bench. Charlotte has the midlevel exception to add someone in free agency this offseason, but it’s probably more likely that they look to bring in a couple smaller additions since they are still years away from competing for anything of note.

Orlando Magic
Needs: Point guard, shooting
Picks: 6, 11, 36

If you just look at their record, you would think that the Magic were disappointing, but they actually made progress last season in becoming a good team. They nailed the Paolo Banchero pick, Franz Wagner took another step forward, and they even turned Bol Bol into a unique player that contributed after he was all but written off in Denver. They really need a point guard in the worst way to help bring these pieces together. Banchero, Wagner, and Bol are all players with dynamic offensive games, but would all benefit greatly by being set up by a playmaking point guard and the team would become worlds more efficient as a result. With two lottery picks, they are in a good position to help address this need. Anthony Black of Arkansas could be a good fit, and has the size that Orlando’s front office loves. If Amen Thompson slides (which while unlikely, is not out of the question, would be another great option for the team). The other major thing they need is shooting, as they shot 34.6% from three as a team last year. Jordan Hawkins of UCONN and Gradey Dick of Kansas, could be solid options available at either of their first round picks. They could also look at someone like Cason Wallace of Kentucky at number 11, and while he doesn’t address their primary issues, would give them a defensive playmaker that their current roster lacks. If Orlando nails this draft, they could be a team primed to take a significant step forward this season, but they have to fix their glaring issues.

Washington Wizards
Needs: Point guard, a long-term plan/direction
Picks: 8, 42, 59

Washington seems stuck in the mud right now. They resigned Bradley Beal and gave him a no trade clause, but rumors of trading him have started popping up again. It has become clear that Washington can’t win with him as their star player, so if they can unload him this offseason, it’s probably in their best interest to do so, even though his leverage with the no trade clause will ultimately force them to take pennies on the dollar for him. Kristaps Porzingis has a player option, and if he opts into it, he will be a free agent next season. If they can clear his and Beal’s deals from their ledger, they could jump start the rebuild with lots of cap space and their #8 pick this year. However, if that becomes their goal, do they resign free agent Kyle Kuzma? He has a player option and his play has warranted a hefty raise. If Washington goes into rebuild mode, do they lock in Kuzma as one of their core pieces? If they opt against a rebuild, how do they add enough talent around Beal, Porzingis, and Kuzma to become a playoff contender? It starts with the draft, where they could target Arkansas’ Anthony Black, OTE’s Ausar Thompson, UCF’ Taylor Hendricks, and Houston’s Jarace Walker. They really need a point guard, but unless Black falls to them at 8, they will likely need to look elsewhere to fill the need. Monte Morris is really good, but seems better as an off the bench option for them long term. An outside option Washington could explore is attempting to deal Beal to Portland in a deal that could net them the third pick, Anfernee Simons, and Jusef Nurkic. If they could do that, they could add someone like Scoot Henderson to the fold and attempt to change things up that way.

Atlanta Hawks
Needs: Thin the front court, shooting
Picks: 15, 46

Ooh boy, this league comes at you fast. The Hawks looked like a team that might be primed to become one of the top teams in the conference. They made a shrewd move to bring in Dejounte Murray who balances out some of Trae Young’s shortcomings. Despite the move, the Hawks couldn’t put it all together. Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu overlap with each other to such a degree that a team can’t be successful playing them together, John Collins can’t find a role that works for both him and the team, Trae is their star, but is extremely high usage and struggles to defend opposing guards. As a result, the Hawks ended last year 41-41 and need to remake their roster. If they don’t trade Collins this offseason, it’s essentially front office malpractice. In addition, they may even need to make a decision between Okongwu and Capela and trade the other. Kelly Iko of the Athletic has reported the Rockets may have interest in re-acquiring Capela, so the Hawks could look to move him. It’s unlikely that the Hawks move Young, but there have been whispers, so clearly all is not well in Atlanta. The team needs to add shooting around Young and Murray, and in the draft, they could target Nick Smith of Arkansas, Kobe Bufkin or Jett Howard of Michigan, or Leonard Miller of the G-League. While none of those guys are great shooters, all of them project to be good shooters at the next level that can do other things that would help the Hawks moving forward. If the Hawks try to keep the current roster intact, they are just delaying the inevitable. If they make some moves, we could see a very different Hawks team taking the floor next season.

Miami Heat
Needs: Point guard, backup center
Picks: 18

Miami cannot make the mistake of settling after their strong playoff run. After a trip to the Finals, the Heat are riding high, and proved a lot of people wrong. But they had to sneak into the playoffs and nearly choked it all away against the Celtics, so it’s imperative that they keep pushing forward to get over the final hump. A few of their biggest contributors are free agents, including point guards Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and big man Kevin Love. If possible, I believe Miami will want to bring them all back. However, this is Miami we are talking about, and they are always looking to hit a homerun. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them use Kyle Lowry’s expiring contract to make a deal for a major star. After seeing what the team looked like when Tyler Herro was injured, would they be willing to move him alongside Lowry? Expect them to explore deals for Bradley Beal, Dame Lillard, Pascal Siakam, Kyrie Irving, and Karl-Anthony Towns. Whether they can pull one of those off is anybody’s guess, but Miami is always looking to make a deal for a big name. Assuming they come up short on landing one of those people, it becomes important to resign their free agents, and land a player at pick 18 that can be a role player from day one. Jalen Hood-Schifino of Indiana would be a great fit for them, GG Jackson of South Carolina could be a serviceable, high upside, backup to Bam Adebayo, and Kris Murray could play a similar offensive role to what Kevin Love gave them this season. Miami is probably the best team in the league right now at filling holes in their roster with unheralded players that can play a role, but they need to make sure that they don’t let those pieces leave this offseason so that they can build off of their second Finals appearance in four seasons.


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