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Teams looking for help on the wing eye Harden, DeRozan

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
Posted Jun 23 2009 11:51AM

Shooting guard and small forward are the easiest positions to fill in the NBA. Talented players that are 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-7 are a dime a dozen in the D-League and throughout the college ranks.

In this Draft, though, especially in the lottery, it will be easier to find a point guard or combo guard than a true wing player. Still, a few guys fit the mold and are worthy of a top-14 pick.

Arizona State's James Harden looks to be the leader of the pack, with fellow Pac-10 product Demar DeRozan not far behind. Personal preference will determine which wings go next.

Here are the lottery teams that need a 2 or 3 the most (first-round pick in parentheses):

1. Toronto Raptors (9)

Under contract: Quincy Douby

This is one team that will likely draft for need. Anthony Parker, Shawn Marion and Joey Graham are all free agents this summer (though Parker and Graham are restricted), so to say that the Raptors are in need of help at the wings in an understatement. Even with those guys, Toronto still needs more scoring from the perimeter. If DeRozan is available, he may be their guy. Otherwise, they could look at Gerald Henderson.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (3 and 25)

Under contract: Kevin Durant, Thabo Sefolosha, Kyle Weaver

The Thunder are in a pretty good position. They could draft a point guard like Ricky Rubio with the third pick and move Russell Westbrook to the two. If they feel Westbrook is better suited at the point, they could get another wing like James Harden to complement Durant. Or, they could take Hasheem Thabeet (if he's still on the board) to give them a defensive presence in the paint and have Nenad Krstic come off the bench.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves (6, 18 and 28)

Under contract: Mike Miller, Ryan Gomes, Corey Brewer

If Brewer returns healthy and if Miller gets back to being an aggressive scorer, this group works pretty well. But that's two unknowns, and both Miller and Gomes are free agents next summer. So the Wolves could use another wing, preferably one that can shoot to give Al Jefferson some space to operate down low.

4. Phoenix Suns (14)

Under contract: Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, Alando Tucker

It's hard to fathom the Suns in need of perimeter talent, but it's also hard to fathom them being a lottery team. Matt Barnes and Grant Hill are free agents and if they don't return, there's a hole to fill in the lineup unless Steve Kerr makes a trade. Kerr's first priority obviously needs to be defense. And if Duke's Gerald Henderson or Louisville's Terrence Williams is available, either could help get the Suns on the right track.

5. Charlotte Bobcats (12)

Under contract: Raja Bell, Gerald Wallace, Vladimir Radmanovic

Bell helped give the Bobcats a boost when he was acquired in December, but he'll be 33 in October and is a free agent next summer. The Bobcats need scoring from somewhere, and getting more at the shooting guard position is a logical plan of action.

6. New Jersey Nets (11)

Under contract: Vince Carter, Bobby Simmons, Jarvis Hayes, Chris Douglas-Roberts

The Nets will continue to shop Carter in order to rid themselves of the final three years on his contract. They should also see if there are any takers on Simmons' expiring deal. And no matter what happens with those two, the Nets are in need of a defensive-minded shooting guard or small forward who won't hurt them on the offensive end. Henderson and Williams both seem like good fits.

Other lottery teams

7. New York Knicks (8) -- Donnie Walsh's best building blocks are Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, but Gallinari's back has to be a concern.

8. Los Angeles Clippers (1) -- Eric Gordon and Al Thornton are terrific, but the Clippers need depth.

9. Memphis Grizzlies (2 and 27) -- See above and replace Gordon and Thornton with O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay.

10. Indiana Pacers (13) -- With Mike Dunleavy, Danny Granger and Brandon Rush, the Pacers are strongest at the wings, but they could use some defense.

11. Washington Wizards (5) -- They have an All-Star (Caron Butler), a guy who thinks he is (DeShawn Stevenson) and instant offense off the bench (Nick Young).

12. Sacramento Kings (4 and 23) -- Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia provide the offense and Andres Nocioni provides the toughness. As bad as this team was, their needs are elsewhere.

13. Milwaukee Bucks (10) -- With Michael Redd and Richard Jefferson, the Bucks have a lot of money invested in their wings. They just need to stay healthy before we can determine if it's a good investment.

14. Golden State Warriors (7) -- The Warriors' roster is basically 13 wings and Andris Biedrins.

Non-lottery teams most in need of a wing

Atlanta (19) -- If Marvin Williams (restricted) leaves via free agency, the Hawks will need to replace him.

Dallas (22) -- Neither Antoine Wright nor Jason Terry is a complete player.

Cleveland (30) -- The frontline is a bigger priority, but the Cavs need a wing off the bench if Wally Szczerbiak doesn't return.

If you have a question or comment for NBA.com's John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail. You can also follow him on twitter.

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