NBA Draft 2007: Now That We Know...
Posted May 23 2007 6:53AM
SECAUCUS, NJ, May 22, 2007 -- So, now we know the order of the draft. We know that the Portland Trail Blazers are going to get their choice of Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. And we know that the Seattle SuperSonics will likely take the other one. But what happens after that?
Now that we know who's picking where, we can evaluate team needs. Then we can match those with mock draft projections to see what players are on the short list for each draft position.
Offensive Rank: Based on points per possession.
Defensive Rank: 26
Rebounding Rank: 12
The Blazers' future seems to be very bright. They've got the reigning Rookie of the Year in Brandon Roy, a do-it-all guard. They've got the best low-post scoring big of last year's draft in LaMarcus Aldridge. And now, they have the No. 1 pick of the 2007 Draft, which should be Greg Oden ... right?
Well, if you look at their existing personnel, which includes the 25-year old Zach Randolph, a skilled player like Kevin Durant (the other top two selection according to all projections) would actually be a better fit. But is Randolph part of their plans for the future? Or should they see if he can get them a shooter on the trade market? These are questions that Kevin Pritchard and company will need to answer in the coming weeks.
Defensive Rank: 27
Rebounding Rank: 21
The Sonics have Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, but Lewis has a player option for next season, which if he doesn't exercise by July 1, would make him a free agent. Does the prospect of having an impact player coming in make Lewis want to stay? Or does the fact that Kevin Durant plays the same position as Lewis make the veteran want to go elsewhere?
Seattle could use a low post scorer to compliment Allen (and Lewis if he stays), so a big man like Oden is probably a better fit for the Sonics. Of course, they don't get their choice of the two top stars in this draft. They have to settle (and I use that term loosely) for who the Blazers leave for them.
3. & 11. Atlanta HawksOffensive Rank: 29
Defensive Rank: 23
Rebounding Rank: 15
The Hawks need a point guard, but according to the mock drafts, the best point guard in this draft, Mike Conley Jr., is in the 6-10 range. Do they reach for Conley at No. 3, or do plan on taking a player like Acie Law at No. 11?
The mocks have Brandan Wright and Al Horford as the next best prospects after Oden and Durant. But Wright might be too similar a player to Josh Smith. And they took a bruiser power forward (Shelden Williams) with the fifth pick last year. So, Horford isn't an obvious selection either.
Defensive Rank: 30
Rebounding Rank: 25
The Grizzlies were the worst defensive team in the NBA last season. They have Pau Gasol, Mike Miller and Rudy Gay as their primary building blocks. So, unless they really liked what they saw in Kyle Lowry before he broke his wrist early last season, they might be in the market for a point guard like Conley. But Gasol could also use some rebounding help, so Horford could be a real possibility here.
Defensive Rank: 18
Rebounding Rank: 14
If they had won one of the top two picks, the Celtics would have become instant favorites to rise from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings to playoff position in 2007-08. They'll still get a solid player, and with Paul Pierce and Al Jefferson, a slasher like Corey Brewer (projected to go anywhere from 4-12) might be a nice fit, and Yi Jianlian is a possibilily. Of course, since a player like Brandan Wright isn't a great fit for either Atlanta (with their plethora of SFs) or Memphis (with Gay), he may be the Celtics' man.
At the point, they've got Rajon Rondo and Delonte West, so I'm not sure Conley fits here if he slips past Atlanta and Memphis. And Horford might be redundant with Jefferson already there.
Defensive Rank: 29
Rebounding Rank: 28
The Bucks is the team in the lottery which is most set at all five positions. Maurice Williams, Michael Redd, Bobby Simmons, Charlie Villanueva and Andrew Bogut is a solid starting five. And they're not exactly two-deep at any position, so Milwaukee has got to be thinking that they're going to take the best available player, unless Larry Harris is desperate for rebounding.
Best available could very well be Corey Brewer if the mock drafts are correct, but if Al Horford falls, he could certainly make the Bucks a tougher team.
Defensive Rank: 22
Rebounding Rank: 20
The Timberwolves have a lot of veterans who may not necessarily be in their long-term plans. Obviously, Kevin Garnett is their anchor, Randy Foye is their best young building block, and Rashad McCants showed flashes after returning from knee surgery. But after that, who are the T-Wolves building around?
According to the mock drafts, one of the Brewer-Brandon Wright-Yi trio should slip here, but a big like Joakim Noah could help Garnett on the boards.
Defensive Rank: 20
Rebounding Rank: 26
The Bobcats have a lot of talented youth with Raymond Felton, Adam Morrison and Emeka Okafor, as well as solid rotation players like Primoz Brezec and Sean May. Gerald Wallace could leave this summer, and the Bobcats could use a scorer. With plenty of cap room, they may look for a veteran to provide scoring punch, but an athlete like Julian Wright could provide some instant energy off the bench, and according to projections, he should be available at No. 8.
Defensive Rank: 1
Rebounding Rank: 6
The Bulls were 25th in the NBA in points in the paint this season and their top five scorers were all perimeter players, so they could sure use a big man who can put the ball in the basket.
According to most mock drafts, Spencer Hawes should be available for the Bulls, but so could Roy Hibbert. And one of them just might fill Chicago's needs.
10. Sacramento KingsOffensive Rank: 16
Defensive Rank: 21
Rebounding Rank: 29
The Kings have perimeter scoring in Mike Bibby and Kevin Martin and they have some decent frontline depth, but they need rebounding. Joakim Noah and Al Thornton are big men who could be available here according to projections.
Defensive Rank: 15
Rebounding Rank: 22
The Sixers are set at the point and small forward positions with the Andres -- Miller and Iguodala. They've got a shooter in Kyle Korver and an athletic big in Samuel Dalembert. Jeff Green might not be a prototypical power forward, but he could still be available when Philly picks, according to the mock drafts. Al Thornton may also be there.
Defensive Rank: 16
Rebounding Rank: 8
If the Hornets are healthy, they've got a solid core in Chris Paul, Peja Stojakovic, David West and Tyson Chandler. But Desmond Mason is a free agent this summer, so they may be looking for a swingman. According to projections, Julian Wright might be available here, but Thaddeus Young and Rudy Fernandez could be more likely.
Defensive Rank: 10
Rebounding Rank: 9
With Shaun Livingston possibly out for a long time, the Clippers might want to look at the point guard position, and Acie Law might be available here according to the mock drafts. They could also look for a swingman like Thaddeus Young, Nick Young, or Rudy Fernandez, who might also be available.