Team Needs: PG, wing shooters, interior muscle and defensive presence
Picks: 1st, 30th, 35th
Washington was able to rid itself of most of their non-Arenas veterans and create a much more attractive future condition financially. It also opened up minutes and touches for Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Al Thornton, Nick Young, and Shaun Livingston. The arrangement was basically that their current young players received minutes and amassed numbers while the team lost enough games to get the ping pong combinations to have a decent chance of getting lucky. Now, they have John Wall, cap room, and hope. Only in the NBA. It also means that they will likely have seven players under contract going into the summer, and four of those will be on rookie scale contracts.
After David Stern announced that the sun rises in the East and shakes hands with John Wall, the Wizards will shift their focus to their pair of picks in the 30s. It is difficult to decipher a trend in Grunfeld’s draft history other than he does not like rookies. He dealt the draft rights to Devin Harris for Antawn Jamison, moved the pick that turned out to be Ricky Rubio for Mike Miller and Randy Foye, and sold the 32nd pick last year and 47th pick in 2008 for cash. Given that the franchise is rebuilding, he has no choice but to make use of their picks. With the team having the ability to create $17 million in cap space this summer and an uncertainty as to how it will be spent, it makes little sense to think that they will try to address a need. Other than the franchise point guard spot they will fill with the first pick, they need just about everything. Blatche and McGee are not without promise, but they certainly can use more capable bodies up front. The team will address its lack of perimeter shooting at some point in the offseason. Bringing in a quick point guard, the team might want to surround him with players who will spread a defense and give him room to operate. Mike Miller was their best shooter, but he is likely leaving for a team with a chance to play past mid-April. Nick Young came on towards the end of the year, but still has not shown any level of consistency. Unfortunately, this is not the best draft to get wing shooters who are taller than 6’3 in the 30s. Da’Sean Butler, Lazar Hayward, Nemanja Bjelica, and Theo Robertson might be the most draftable shooters available for Washington with their second and third picks. If one of them is not found to be appealing, they can certainly find no shortage of cheap shooters in free agency.
Options at 1:
John Wall, Johnathan Hildred Wall, Little Johnny from Raleigh- Any of those three would be great centerpieces for the Wizards in their rebuilding effort.
Options at 30 and 35:
Keith Gallon- Gallon is far from being NBA-ready, but his combination of size, skill, and athleticism opens the possibility of him developing into a Glen Davis-type. He needs to learn to go harder, which might be easier if he trims down from 301 lbs, and one cannot know if that would have played out had the NCAA not been gift-wrapped a case that he took money from an OU booster. The story forced him out and makes him a greater gamble than he would be if teams were able to see how he adjusted from his freshman to sophomore seasons.
Derrick Caracter- Caracter is one the best post scorers in the draft. Down the stretch, Caracter went right at Hassan Whiteside, Jerome Jordan, and Matt Howard with a good deal of success. If not for his history at Louisville, he would probably not be viewed with such a skeptical eye.
Trevor Booker- Booker would be a cleaner option as he does not have the question marks of Gallon or Caracter. For a prospect widely regarded as a second rounder, he is probably the safest player to project as having a ten-year NBA career. He has toughness, athleticism, a respectable offensive game facing the basket, and is willing to offensive rebound and defend. It might not be a star caliber career, but high character, hard working, athletic, semi-skilled front court players tend to stick around the league.
Stanley Robinson- While Robinson probably does not possess the great awareness or feel for the game to maximize the great physical traits he has, he plays hard enough and does enough things well so that one can expect him to be a decent contributor off some team’s bench. In the late first or early second, there is value to finding a back of the rotation talent with his length.
Others- Jordan Crawford, Willie Warren, Quincy Pondexter, Lazar Hayward, Nemanja Bjelica, Jerome Jordan,
Team Needs: PG, SF, PF, C, possibly depth at SG
Picks: 18th, 41st, 42nd, 48th
Miami will have four picks, but Pat Riley has gone on record as saying that he does not view the Miami Heat as being a team that builds through the draft. For a large segment of the population who views this article that may seem blasphemous, but the truth is that if Dwyane Wade does not re-sign the team can come away with four All-Rookie team players in the draft and still be looking at a top five pick in 2011. The complicated story that is the Miami Heat’s offseason can be simplified a bit. If they maximize their space by renouncing all non-Wade unrestricted free agents, decline their option on James Jones, and pick up their sub-million QO on Joel Anthony, the Heat have the possibility of doing something really unique. The team could max out Dwyane Wade and still have just under $25 million in cap room. The rumored offer of Michael Beasley for the non-guaranteed contract of Keyon Dooling would further speak to the notion of Riley’s vision for rebuilding the Heat. Moving Beasley for a player whose contract can be waived with minimal repercussions would allow them to not only resign Wade but also two other players for contracts approaching $15 million to start. What this means for the draft is that they might look to package the pick and Beasley for more cap room. Getting Beasley’s contract and the cap hold on the 18th pick off the balance sheet would allow them Wade and two other max contracts. Imagine if you will Wade with Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemire, and then reconsider how precious that draft pick is. If you are still in doubt, consider Riley’s list of undrafted rookie signings during his Miami tenure: Bruce Bowen, Anthony Carter, Malik Allen, Mike James, Udonis Haslem, Chris Quinn, and Joel Anthony. No stars, but a few GMs have drafted fewer ten-year vets over that time.
I they keep the pick, projecting who they may draft is difficult, in part because of its overall lack of importance. Miami cannot draft for need because they basically will be operating with an empty roster. An educated guess would be that if they keep the pick at 18, Pat Riley might simply wish to come away with a big man who has a “high floor.” If he does not expect whoever he drafts to be the centerpiece of their future, he might find value in grabbing a rotation-caliber big man who can be locked into a rookie scale deal for four years. With the three second round picks, it would appear as though Riley would again see if any mature players who can fill a supportive role of the stars he plans to acquire in free agency fall to him. If he cannot find those guys, he will probably find someone to spend a year or two oversees while they retain their rights.
Options at 18:
Luke Babbitt- A shooter with deep range who can make a comfortable living for himself spreading the floor and waiting for Wade to kick out.
Devin Ebanks- A safe option for Miami as his length, athleticism, and defensive ability would make him a natural alongside Wade and the other to-to-be-named-later maxes. He is also younger and has more potential than most other prospects likely to still be on board at 18, but he really needs to improve his ability to operate as a spot up shooter to fulfill it.
Damion James- High floor and low ceiling option. A team can feel comfortable knowing that he will always play hard, attack the glass, play solid defense, and hit an open shot.
Dominique Jones- If Jones can continue to shoot the ball as well as he has in pre-draft workouts, he can make the case for playing alongside ball-dominant shooting guards like Wade or Roy. His ability to get into the lane and get to the line is as good as any guard in this draft, and if he can show that he is capable of hitting from perimeter should be a strong possibility in the second half of the first round.
Gani Lawal- Not a particularly sexy option, but Lawal is a strong rebounder who can do the dirty work in the paint. His offensive game is limited, but Miami will look to buy scorers later in the summer.
Ekpe Udoh- Much like Lawal, Udoh can be a worker bee big man for Miami. He has a more developed offensive game, but his lack of strength is concerning for how he would translate to a team so committed to half court play.
Options at 41, 42, and 48- Darington Hobson, Lazar Hayward, Jerome Jordan, Jarvis Varnado, Sherron Collins, Jon Scheyer, Jerome Randle, Ben Uzoh, Andy Rautins, Patrick Christopher, Greivis Vasquez, Luke Harangody, and Dexter Pittman.
Team Needs: SF, SG, and possibly a backup PG
Picks: 29th 50th
The spin on Orlando’s season can be taken any number of ways. Many are going to criticize the decision to allow Hedo Turkoglu to leave and replacing him with Vince Carter. Certainly Vince Carter scoring 3 points in Game 4 made that argument easier, even though Orlando won that game. Dwight Howard is going to get hit for not improving his game, because his 21-11 in the series was the worst 20-10 in the history of 20-10. The problem that so many people make is that they assume because Orlando made it to the Finals last year that they were a better team instead of the road that they had was easier because Boston was not as good. In 2009, it took Orlando seven games to beat a Boston team that was without Kevin Garnett and playing Brian Scalabrine 24 minutes per game. Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis were playing over 30 minutes per game. This season’s Boston team had Brian Scalabrine in a suit while Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace were combining for 19 points, 10 rebounds, 1.5 blocks in 48 minutes of combined time. It is possible that might be better production than Scalabrine would have given, and that might have had as much to do with Orlando making the Finals as the now sainted Hedo and the mismatches he created. Once again, this might be an assumption, but he was not going to effectively guard Paul Pierce or Ray Allen either. What this means is that I do not expect Orlando to try to recreate what they had in 2008-09 by trying to force a deal to bring in a point forward.
Going forward, it is possible Matt Barnes and J.J. Redick might have priced themselves out of Orlando. Barnes might opt out in order to get more minutes than he saw in the playoffs and money than the $1.6 million option he has for 2010-11. J.J. Redick might have gotten enough hype to get himself a Boobie Gibson/Sasha Vujacic/Jason Kapono level awful contract. Neither player is irreplaceable, but they will likely have to do so with the 29th and 59th picks. Addressing the issue in free agency might be out of the picture as the purse strings might get tighter. The team will be about $10 million over the tax line with only nine players under contract and a late first round pick on the books. Even with a new arena opening, ownership went all-in this season and missed the Finals. It would appear more likely that they would be looking to sell off some of their more expensive bench players than adding another. 6’3 shooters are easy to come by. Jordan Crawford and Elliot Williams could be possibilities at 29 if they want a 2-guard who can shoot and defend. Andy Rautins, Jon Scheyer, A.J. Slaughter, and David Kool can hit threes. They might be around at 59. A rangy defender on the wing who can fill the void should Matt Barnes leave will be much more difficult.
Options at 29:
Armon Johnson- Quick and athletic point with the size that Nelson lacks. He still has quite a bit of work to do as a shooter and defensively, but could have find success in spot duty early on.
Jordan Crawford- Crawford, as a talent, is one of the most complete wings in this draft. He is a great athlete with deep range on his shot, and is an underrated creator for his teammates. Some call him undersized, but he measured out to be as big as O.J. Mayo did in 2008, which would indicate he is plenty big given his athleticism and skill set. The concern for a team like Orlando is that it is fair to question his character a bit. He was part of the cleaning out process that took place at Indiana following the 2008 season. Former teammate Eric Gordon mentioned rampant drug use among the players who transferred out, though did not mention anyone by name. Certainly any and all teams will perform their due diligence on his maturity and his past, and that is probably the greatest concern about him as a prospect. To his credit, he has done a better job of keeping his nose clean at Xavier than Armon Bassett did at Ohio who was charged with assaulting a nightclub bouncer last month.
Willie Warren- Like Crawford, Warren is a talent with baggage. Like Johnson, he faces questions as to whether he will make it as a point guard. If those questions were not so prevalent, his draft stock would be much higher. It is not, so a team like Orlando can be in position to take him and attempt to get him to mature.
Elliot Williams- An intriguing player who improved mightily at Memphis after his freshman year at Duke. He showed tremendous promise as a scorer, but also as a wing defender.
Options at 59: Andy Rautins, A.J. Slaughter, Reggie Holmes, Obi Muonelo, Tommy Mason-Griffin, Jermaine Beal, Tweety Carter, Jon Scheyer, Denis Clemente, Jerome Dyson, Scottie Reynolds, Marqus Blakely, Seth Tarver, Landry Fields, Elijah Millsap, Tyren Johnson, and Delroy James
Team Needs: PG, SG, C
The Bobcats have no picks, and are in a horrible position with regard to the cap. It is going to be tremendously difficult to improve their roster, and much of the offseason might end up being about trying to avoid falling back into the lottery. The fact that they do not have any picks probably looks worse than it really is. Larry Brown does not want to play rookies, so a developmental flier on an undrafted player or purchasing a 2nd round pick for the same purpose will probably have little to do with how they attempt to craft their rotation for the upcoming season.
Tyrus Thomas cost Charlotte a 2012 lottery-protected pick, and will be a restricted free agent. He has never played well enough to merit the $6 million qualifying offer Charlotte will offer him, but teams around the league are still infatuated with the potential of the player who has been a tease for four years. It is entirely possible that a team can try to “steal” him from Charlotte by offering Thomas a long-term contract and challenge Charlotte to go into the tax to keep him. The possibility of the team and Thomas coming to terms on a reasonable extension early in free agency does not seem likely to happen. The cap situation is further hurt by Raymond Felton being a free agent in a summer where there are not a ton of established starting point guards on the market. While it is not crazy to think that D.J. Augustin can capably replace Felton’s average play, it does mean that Charlotte has to find a backup point guard with no cap room or picks. Charlotte will certainly look to veteran point guards willing to play for the veteran’s minimum or slightly more. NBDL and oversees prospects could also get a look. For what it is worth, on this front, Justin Dentmon has already committed to playing with the Bobcats in the summer league. He went undrafted last year before averaging 20 points per game for Hapoel Afula in Israel.
It also makes for a reasonable destination for undrafted rookies to try to earn a roster spot and learn under one of the best teachers in the league. Assuming the Bobcats retain Thomas, they will have ten players with guaranteed contracts entering the summer. Derrick Brown is signed for 2010-11, though his deal is only guaranteed for $100K. The positive for Charlotte is that the difference in the quality of point guards that they would draft with a 2nd round pick and that will be available to them as undrafted rookies is minimal, so they might be able to come away with someone who they feel can make their team. Jeremy Lin, Ben Uzoh, Tommy Mason-Griffin, Jon Scheyer, Sherron Collins, Denis Clemente, Mikhail Torrance, Greivis Vasquez, Jerome Randle, Donald Sloan, Matt Bouldin, Ish Smith, Tweety Carter, Dee Bost, Scottie Reynolds, and Louis Dale are all not getting drafted. Each player might have advantages on others in certain areas, but they are all imperfect prospects which is why they face the possibility of going undrafted. Charlotte might be able to take a point guard and hope to groom him while he operates as their 3rd string point guard for a couple years. The option would also be there to grab a center. Jordan Eglseder, Omar Samhan, Jeff Foote, Chas McFarland, and Hamady N’Diaye all have legitimate size to play the center spot in the NBA, but are all in their own way projects.
Undrafted possibilities: Deon Thompson, Manny Harris, A.J. Ogilvy, Jordan Eglseder, Wayne Chism, Ryan Wittman, Tyren Johnson, Omar Samhan, Hamady N’Diaye, Landon Milbourne, Jeff Foote, Damion Johnson, Chas McFarland, Tweety Carter, Dee Bost, Ish Smith, Donald Sloan, Delroy James, Jeremy Lin, Louis Dale, and Artsiom Parakhouski
Team Needs: SF, C, PF
Picks: 24th, 53rd
It is easy to look from the outside and assume that the Hawks are completely willing to accept Joe Johnson is leaving, but it is difficult to know the levels of conversation that are taking place in Atlanta’s front office concerning their offseason. Obviously, they would rather not lose Joe Johnson without compensation. In as much as the stain on his reputation is still fresh from the series with Orlando, the team won 53 games. The offense was overly reliant on isolations, and they were sub-.500 on the road, but it was the most successful season since 1997 and it would not have taken place without Joe Johnson. The other consideration is that if Johnson leaves, they would also have to renounce their rights to Josh Childress in order to be under the salary cap. Even then, the team would not be looking at a max player. With heavy money invested in an aging Mike Bibby as well as Marvin Williams and Zaza Pachulia, the opportunities to replace Johnson’s impact are going to be few.
In all likelihood, the Hawks are not going to be able to find an offensive talent at 24 or 53 to make up for the loss of Johnson, and there is a great level of uncertainty about how the rest of their roster will be shaped when the team reassembles in the fall. Assistant GM Dave Pendergraft recently said that he does not expect the players who will be available at that point to be capable of finding a role in their rotation next season and predicted whoever it is will likely spend time with their NBDL affiliate. The two facts seem to strongly imply that the Hawks will take the player with the greatest potential who falls to them.
Options at 24:
Hassan Whiteside- One of the few centers to measure out with the prototypical height and length at the recent NBA Draft combine. Whiteside’s problems are his lack of bulk, inexperience against high level competition, and questionable maturity. He has enough potential so that some team will gamble on him to grow up and put it all together. It is more or less a question of how early someone takes that risk. If he starts slipping, Atlanta has long been a franchise that is willing to take the athlete and teach him to play later.
Larry Sanders- A very similar physical being as Whiteside, though did not produce the same eye-catching numbers against mid-major competition. In some respects, he is less of a gamble because teams and scouts have seen his skill level grow dramatically from his freshman to junior years. His work ethic and maturity is not a question mark, though whether he will be able to put on the requisite strength necessary to play anytime soon for a playoff team is.
Keith Gallon- As mentioned earlier, Gallon probably should not be in this draft and even he knows it. He wanted to return, but the TMZ story forced his hand. If Atlanta is willing to be patient, Gallon has tremendous potential.
Derrick Caracter- Of the list, Caracter is probably the most likely to be able to crack a regular rotation on a playoff team. His game is the most polished, and teams are quickly finding that a 22-year old Caracter might be more mature than he was at 18-year old. He still needs to continue working on his body, but he would be a great prospect to have in a backup role early on and have his minutes grow as his conditioning improves.
Jerome Jordan- Jordan is the oldest prospect on this list, though in many ways he is the youngest because he has only played the game for seven years. His offensive game did not grow as much as NBA people would have liked over the past couple years, but part of that comes from the difficulty associated with being a 7-footer at a mid-major university. They simply do not get the practice or game repetitions against the kind of size and athleticism they will face on the next level. What Jordan has going for him is that he physically looks the part of a center more than anyone else. It is a big reason why it would not be surprising to see his name reemerge in first round discussions as the draft approaches.
Kevin Seraphin- This is where using the NBDL as a mechanism for development can be transitioned to Europe. Seraphin is nowhere near ready to contribute on the NBA level, but would potentially be an option to stay oversees and off the official payroll while he polishes his game.
Solomon Alabi- Alabi is every bit as raw as Seraphin. He has struggled mightily against the higher levels of opposition in his two years at Florida State, and in an ideal world would not be on an NBA roster for another two years. Unfortunately, the NBA does not operate in that world and legitimate 7-footers with any sort of athleticism and potential do not grow on trees.
Others- Willie Warren, Lance Stephenson, Jordan Crawford, Elliot Williams, and Dominique Jones.
Options at 53: Dexter Pittman, Charles Garcia, Samardo Samuels, Paulo Prestes, Mac Koshwal, Brian Zoubek, Hamady N’Diaye, Dwayne Collins, Latavious Williams, Marqus Blakely, Tyren Johnson, Arinze Onuaku, Ryan Thompson, Jordan Eglseder, Jeff Foote, Aubrey Coleman, Greivis Vasquez, Miroslav Raduljica, Artsiom Parakhouski, Omar Samhan, and Tim Ohlbrecht.