Well, tonight’s NBA Lottery had an ending that most didn’t contemplate – it looks like John Wall is going to be a Washington Wizard, I think. Personally, if I am coming off the debacle of the Wizards season, I play it safe and take Evan Turner to build around. But I am not running the Wizards, so I need to force myself to think like their front office, and those of the 13 other teams, as I present to you the best options for each of the lottery teams.
1) Washington Wizards – Coming off the nightmare of last season, it is safe to say that the Wizards need something to make Washington D.C. care about the team. John Wall will put fans in the seats, though he isn’t necessarily the best piece for their roster. As I stated above, if I am Ernie Grunfeld, I build the future of my team around Evan Turner.
2) Philadelphia 76ers – Since it is likely that Washington will take Wall, it is a safe bet that the 76ers will take Evan Turner, who will be a great fit with Jrue Holiday and Louis Williams, and makes the prospect of trading Andre Iguodala a bit more palpable. In a but of a stretch, the Sixers may choose to instantly upgrade their front-court and look at adding DeMarcus Cousins to the mix. But, that is a big stretch.
3) New Jersey Nets- And now, the big loser in the lottery, the Nets had a chance for the perfect marriage of a new owner, a move to Brooklyn, John Wall and possibly Lebron James. Now, they are looking at Derrick Favors, Wesley Johnson, or probably their best option, trade down a few slots and pick up an extra pick or two. They have needs at most positions other than center, so there is plenty of quality players available for them.
4) Minnesota Timberwolves - Ahh, the poor Timberwolves, missing out on their chance to add another point guard to the roster. The consolation prize – Wesley Johnson. Johnson would be a great addition to the frontcourt of Love and Jefferson. He gives them an athletic wing who can add scoring and can take the rebounding pressure off the big men.
5) Sacramento – While not in the Top 3, Sacramento can still fill their biggest need at #5 – a quality big man to pair with Jason Thompson, and to give Tyreke Evans some other options. Their choice – DeMarcus Cousins. When motivated, he will give them plenty of scoring and rebounding, giving Thompson some more room to operate on the baseline, and creating space for Evans to operate in. If Cousins doesn’t drop this far, look for the Kings to check out Cole Aldrich in this spot. Though not as athletic as Cousins, he provides quality rebounding, defense and shot-blocking.
6) Golden State – The Warriors desperately need to add some depth to their front-line, and Cole Aldrich would be a nice fit, providing the Warriors a legitimate center and a much-needed defensive presence in the middle. The other option they may consider here is Ed Davis, who is athletic enough to step right into the Warriors’ system and also provides a good presence down low.
7) Detroit - The Pistons need to add some toughness to their front-court, and though he isn’t the toughest player out there, Ed Davis will make players think twice about driving down the lane. Since they already have Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva to score, Davis won’t be pressured to contribute offensively right away. They may also look at Al-Farouq Aminu who will provide some more athleticism on the wing.
8) Los Angeles Clippers – With Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin forming a young nucleus, the Clippers will look to add a player who can provide the athleticism to keep with them and provide help inside and out. The best option for them would be Aminu, though the idea of adding Greg Monroe to their front-court will be very appealing to them.
9) Utah - The Jazz will find themselves in the position to replace the likely departing Carlos Boozer. If Ekpe Udoh is available, he will be a great fit for this team. As the series against the Lakers showed, they are seriously missing a strong defender in the post. Udoh can provide them with great shot blocking and he provides a much more athletic option than any of their current big men. If Udoh is gone at this spot, look for them to grab Greg Monroe if he is available.
10) Indiana -Indiana desperately needs another scoring option to take some of the pressure off of Danny Granger. While it may be a bit of a reach, I think James Anderson would provide them the extra scoring they need while solidifying their guard rotation. The other option would be to add an athletic big man to pair with the plodding Roy Hibbert and would target whichever the group of Udoh, Monroe, and Davis is still available. Any of these players would allow the Pacers to get out and run without worrying about Hibbert getting up and down the court.
11) New Orleans – With 2 solid point guards in Chris Paul and Darren Collison, look for the Hornets to try and boost their back-court with the scoring prowess of Xavier Henry. Henry would provide them with an athletic shooting guard who can also slide to small forward to let Paul and Collison play together. The other possibility, and one I am not a fan of, is adding to their big men with a player such as Daniel Orton or Hassan Whiteside, neither who I would see being a good fit with the current team.
12) Memphis – Look for Memphis to continue their luck with European players and add Lithuanian seven-footer Donatas Motiejunas to their roster. Motiejunas would provide them with an athletic wing who can play inside and out and can runt he floor well. His defense needs work and he needs to add some bulk, but he should provide the Grizzlies with a dimension that the team was lacking. The other option would be to look at adding some back-court depth and take a flyer on Avery Bradley, giving them a much needed defensive presence at the point guard position.
13) Toronto -Most likely, the Raptors will be looking for Chris Bosh’s replacement with this pick and may look to add Hassan Whiteside to make up for the lack of defense played by Bargnani and Turkoglu. Though he won’t help with the scoring loss of Bosh, he should prevent enough points to help out considerably. They may also look at Daniel Orton, giving them a more traditional post player, but a big stretch considering he didn’t play a whole lot in one year of college.
14) Houston- The Rockets are solid enough at most positions that they can be flexible with this pick. If they want to add depth to their frontcourt and a contingency to next Yao injury, look for them to pick whichever of Whiteside or Orton is left on the board. If they want to add some scoring from the forward position, they could take a look at either Gordon Hayward or Luke Babbitt, though I think Hayward would be a better fit. That’s my first take on the Lottery.
Make sure to check back daily as I continue my series on Team Needs and make the draft case for more players on the fringe.