Needs: Power forward, small forward
Picks: 5, 51
Orlando could really use a forward, especially a power forward to help complete their starting lineup. Nikola Vucevic is a talented center who averaged a double-double last season. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t have a lot of help down low with this team. And even though there is a possibility that somebody like Emmanuel Mudiay could slip come draft day, the Magic have Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo on the roster. Having used lottery picks on those two in recent years, it appears now is the time to add some size to the team. As a team that was 25th in the league in total rebounding despite Vucevic being sixth in the league as an individual, the Magic could use a rebounder. But they also have a real difficulty shooting the ball as their recent picks have all stressed defense.
While the team is said to be very high on Willie Cauley-Stein a trade down with a team like Charlotte makes more sense for him. The player that makes the most sense for them is Kristaps Porzingas. Porzingis is a stretch four with great shooting ability and also offers a lot of long term potential. He also figures to be in an ideal situation with Orlando with less immediate fan and media pressure to be the team’s savior as with high profile situations such as Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles. Orlando seems like the best option for a shy, humble kid that will be adapting to a new culture. Not to mention going fifth holds lower expectations than going 4th or 2nd. They could also opt for Justise Winslow who, while more of a small forward, projects to be a plus-rebounder at his position and plays the type of hardnosed game that could benefit a team such as Orlando. Another interesting possibility, albeit an unlikely one, would see Orlando opt for Mario Hezonja. He would provide additional size on the perimeter, but the biggest thing would be the fact that it would add some much-needed shooting. Whichever route they choose to go, Orlando will simply be looking to add to their talent base. They aren’t in a position to be a contender right now, but if they can continue adding talent the hope is that they will get to that level.
Needs: An efficient scorer
Picks: 9, 39
Charlotte should look to find somebody capable of putting the ball in the basket in an efficient manner, regardless of position. Charlotte was dead last in three point shooting percentage last season and second to last in 2 point shooting. Kemba Walker is a good player and somebody the Hornets plan on building around, but he is wildly inefficient as a scorer. He shot right around 30% from deep and just under 42% from inside the arc. Unfortunately, the team is pretty reliant on him for their offense. Al Jefferson is terrific on the post, but outside of those two the team features Lance Stephenson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Not exactly players that set the world on fire with their offense.
So, who should the Hornets be targeting in the draft? An upgrade at the PG position is a real possibility with Murray State’s Cameron Payne potentially being the pick at 9. Devin Booker could give them a shooting stroke that the team is sorely lacking. Stanley Johnson could give them a strong driving oriented guard on the perimeter. Either one would make it easier to move on from the Lance Stephenson era after they clearly regretted acquiring him. Stephenson didn’t fit in, so it’s important that they find somebody that can not only make the team better, but fit with the existing team.
Needs: Best Player Available
Picks: 10, 40
With Dwayne Wade, Goran Dragic and Luol Deng all free agents the team has some decisions to make. The biggest news surrounding Miami this offseason revolves around Dwyane Wade and his ability to opt out. It remains unlikely that he leaves despite the rumors, so it comes down to figuring out just how Pat Riley is going to build this team around, presumably, Wade and Chris Bosh. With Dragic a free agent, the team may be looking for insurance in case he leaves. However, there is only one point guard likely to be available at number 10 that would not be a big reach: Cameron Payne. Their other biggest need is center. Many people might scratch their heads at that after the season Hassan Whiteside just had. However, the other Heat bigs, Chris Andersen and Udonis Haslem, are up there in age and even if Whiteside can avoid the sophomore slump, the team could benefit from adding some size to the lineup. Miami was dead last in both rebounding and assists last season, so either route would potentially help them. Luol Deng is a free agent so taking someone like Stanley Johnson as the best player available is another possibility.
If they opt to go the point guard route, Payne is probably the only viable option with the tenth pick. If they elect to take a center, Frank Kaminsky makes the most sense for a team looking to contend. Kaminsky could play in the low post alongside Bosh, or can go to the perimeter when playing beside Whiteside. Other more athletic, long term options they may have when it comes to centers would be Myles Turner or Willie Cauley-Stein. There are many options available should Miami elect to fill their needs. If they go with the best available talent, it could open up a lot of different possibilities.
Needs: LeBron Stopper, Beat Player Available
Picks: 15, 50, 59
I don’t know if you noticed, but Atlanta was a pretty darn good team this past season. They’ve got a good blend of talent as Al Horford and Paul Millsap man the posts, Jeff Teague runs the offense, Kyle Korver makes just about every jumpshot he takes, and DeMarre Carroll is a shut down defender. They finished the regular season with more wins than any team other than the Warriors. Now, they get the opportunity to add the number 15 pick to the roster as they look to improve. Ultimately, keeping their frontcourt intact is the most important thing because Millsap and Carroll are free agents this offseason. If they can keep them both in Atlanta, they are in position to possibly win the conference next season. In terms of how to improve the team from the outside, it’s basically going to amount to who is the best player available.
This is a team that doesn’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses, so they can go in any number of directions. That makes it hard to predict just what they’ll do come draft night. It’s fairly unlikely they’ll look to select a point guard, as the team is pretty set at the position. Anything else is on the table. Montrezl Harrell, Frank Kaminsky, Kelly Oubre all seem like legitimate options. If the team feels Carroll is ready to leave, they would most likely spend more time prior to the draft keying in on a guy like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson that could fill the defensive stopper role. If they think Millsap wants to move on, expect them to spend more time looking at Kaminsky or Harrell.
Needs: 3rd guard, Forwards
Picks: 19, 49
Washington has its backcourt of the future in place with John Wall and Bradley Beal, so they don’t need to look to make upgrades there. However, a third scoring guard with combo ability is said to be an area they may target. Paul Pierce is nearing the end of his career (and can become a free agent, so there’s no guarantee he’ll stick around) and Nene has a lengthy injury history, making it difficult for the team to count on him for an entire season. Kevin Seraphin’s days in Wacshington may be coming to a close so a rebounder like Montrezl Harrell would make sense. Marcin Gortat is in place at center, meaning the focus will almost have to be on the forward positions this offseason. Otto Porter seemed to figure it out as the season progressed last year, so there’s isn’t an immediate need, but something that they may want to address now.
At 19, there should be some quality forwards available. Kelly Oubre, Kevon Looney, Justin Anderson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, or Bobby Portis could all be good fits in Washington if they are still available. If they elce for a scoring guard, Jerian Grant is a player that makes a lot of sense. Washington will have choices and, while they likely won’t be drafting somebody that will have a huge impact this season, they should be able to find somebody that can step in and fill a role immediately.