SECAUCUS, NJ, May 20, 2008
-- Now the real fun begins. With the completion of the Draft Lottery, we know now the order of the 2008 NBA Draft. And we can now start guessing what players will go where.
The following is a look at the 14 teams in the lottery, what their needs are, and who may be available at their pick to address those needs. For more projections, check out our Consensus Mock Draft.
Offense: Points scored per 100 possessions.
Offense: 105.2 (27)
Defense: Points allowed per 100 possessions.
Rebounding: Percentage of available rebounds attained.
Defense: 108.6 (13)
Rebounding: 50.2 (15)
It can be argued that the Bulls were the second best team here in Secaucus, behind the Warriors. They're just a year removed from a 49-win season and they still have much of their core together. Heck, a lot of us picked them to win the East
this year. Of course, they didn't give Ben Gordon and Luol Deng extensions last year, so they're both restricted free agents this summer.
Trying to determine if the Bulls should take Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley can get complicated. Their point guard is Kirk Hinrich and their power forward is Drew Gooden. Hinrich is more of a keeper than Gooden, so Beasley seems like a more logical pick. But Rose is from Chicago, so there could be some pull for the point guard.
Offense: 102.1 (29)
Defense: 111.8 (26)
Rebounding: 46.6 (30)
The Heat have an All-Star scorer in Dwyane Wade. They have an All-Star small forward in Shawn Marion (if he doesn't exercise his early termination option. If he does, they have cap space). And they have a solid power forward in Udonis Haslem.
They need a point guard and they need a center. They have to be hoping that the Bulls go for Beasley, so that Rose will fall in their lap. Otherwise, they may look to find a buyer for Haslem to make room for Beasley. That shouldn't be too difficult.
Offense: 105.4 (26)
Defense: 112.9 (27)
Rebounding: 49.8 (19)
The T-Wolves showed some promise in the last half of the season, going 17-26 over their last 43. They've got young and talented building blocks in Al Jefferson, Randy Foye and Corey Brewer. They could use another big man or a perimeter scorer.
After Rose and Beasley, the next group of prospects according to mock drafts should be guards O.J. Mayo and Jerryd Bayless and big man Brook Lopez. Bayless may be too much like Foye, but Mayo could be the scorer they need and Lopez, as more of a finesse big man, could be a nice complement to Jefferson.
Offense: 101.9 (30)
Defense: 111.1 (21)
Rebounding: 50.3 (13)
With Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Nick Collison and Chris Wilcox, the Sonics have some nice pieces to build around. Like several teams here tonight, they need a point guard.
Jerryd Bayless is more of a combo guard, but he could a nice change of pace from Luke Ridnour. Mayo and Indiana's Eric Gordon are also possibilities.
Offense: 106.9 (21)
Defense: 113.5 (29)
Rebounding: 48.3 (26)
With Rudy Gay and Mike Conley, the Grizzlies have the beginnings of a team that can fly up and down the court. But with a returning frontline of Darko Milicic and Jason Collins, they definitely need some help down low. So, if Lopez falls here, that may be the way to go. But they might prefer Anthony Randolph from LSU, who could be more of a defensive presence than Lopez.
If they don't bring back Juan Carlos Navarro, who's a restricted free agent, they may go for Mayo or Gordon, if available.
Offense: 106.2 (24)
Defense: 113.5 (28)
Rebounding: 49.9 (18)
As always, the Knicks have a ton of talent, but not much cohesion and not much defense. They desperately need a point guard to bring the pieces together, but at No. 6, points like D.J. Augustin and Russell Westbrook are both probably too much of a stretch. And given the overall state of their roster, they shouldn't be too picky.
Italian playmaker Danilo Gallinari may be right up Mike D'Antoni's alley. If Bayless slips though, he may be what they want.
Offense: 102.9 (28)
Defense: 110.9 (19)
Rebounding: 47.9 (28)
The Clippers' immediate future depends a lot on the early termination options of Elton Brand and Corey Maggette. If Brand and Maggette stay, then the Clippers can be a solid team again in 2008-09. They have Chris Kaman and they picked up a scorer in Al Thornton with the 14th pick last year.
With Shaun Livingston's future still in doubt, the point guard position should be a priority. So, Gallinari, Russell Westbrook or D.J. Augustin are possibilities. Eric Gordon could also go here if he slips.
Offense: 106.7 (22)
Defense: 114.3 (30)
Rebounding: 50.6 (11)
The Bucks have talent, but like many of the other teams in Secaucus, they underachieved this season. They also have two very good building blocks in Andrew Bogut and Yi Jianlian. Is Michael Redd still their franchise player, or do they need to trade him in order to move forward?
If Redd is considered expendable, they may have their eyes on Gordon. If he's not available, they may choose to go with another big like Randolph, Kevin Love or DeAndre Jordan.
Offense: 106.4 (23)
Defense: 111.2 (23)
Rebounding: 48.2 (27)
With Jason Richardson and Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats are set at the wings, and Raymond Felton is a solid enough point guard that they should focus on the frontline, where Okafor is a restricted free agent and Sean May hasn't panned out.
So, you would think that Randolph, Love or Jordan go here.
Offense: 105.5 (25)
Defense: 111.1 (22)
Rebounding: 50.1 (17)
The Nets are in the underachievers group, but they did, of course, make a major move at the trading deadline to shakeup the roster. And according to reports, they're looking to make more major moves
The No. 10 pick and/or their selection at No. 21 could certainly be part of a trade, but if they keep the pick (and the rest of their core together), they probably need to go big here as well. So, here's another slot for the Randolph-Love-Jordan triumvirate.
Offense: 107.8 (18)
Defense: 109.2 (15)
Rebounding: 48.7 (24)
Jermaine O'Neal has an early termination option, which, after playing just 42 games this season, he's likely to decline. Jamaal Tinsley is probably not a part of their future plans. The only real building blocks they have are Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy, so they could go for a point guard like Westbrook or Augustin, or one of the bigs.
Offense: 109.0 (14)
Defense: 111.4 (25)
Rebounding: 48.9 (23)
The Kings were a solid team for most of the year, despite getting just 118 total games from Kevin Martin and Ron Artest. If they don't resign Beno Udrih (unrestricted), then they need a point guard. If they keep Udrih, then they're pretty solid at all positions and should select the best player available.
Offense: 108.6 (15)
Defense: 109.7 (16)
Rebounding: 49.4 (20)
No other team in Secaucus is in a better position to grow than the Trail Blazers. They've got Brandon Roy at the two and Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge up front. If they bring Rudy Fernandez over, he's their three of the future. With Jarrett Jack and Sergio Rodriguez, the point isn't really an immediate need. So, they should go for the best player available. Jordan, Darrell Arthur or Kosta Koufos may be that guy.
Offense: 113.5 (4)
Defense: 111.2 (24)
Rebounding: 47.9 (29)
Baron Davis has an early termination option and Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis are both restricted free agents, but the Warriors are obviously in good shape. They could still use some help down low though. So, if any of the bigs previously discussed falls, that could be their man.