While the NBA playoffs are in full swing, the best franchises are working on multiple fronts to win today and tomorrow. With just eight teams still vying for the title, most of the league has already turned their attention to the NBA draft and finding a can’t-miss prospect to add to their respective roster.
For each team, the idea of a “can’t-miss” prospect means something different due to their position. Sure, Victor Wembanyama would be a can’t-miss prospect for every team, but it would be a trite article to print his name thirty times over. Instead, finding a great player to fit into a system depends on where each team is picking.
The priorities of each team are also different depending on how close they are to contending. As much as a team like the Celtics would love to add Brandon Miller to their core, they don’t have the touches, minutes, or opportunities for him to reach his ultimate ceiling. Thus, a can’t-miss prospect for Boston would instead fill a whole like back-up center or bench guard for their team.
When looking through each of the teams that have draft picks, their can’t-miss prospect comes from their highest pick. Also of note is that the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, and Chicago Bulls don’t have a draft pick, so they’ll have to hope for an undrafted free agent to be the missing piece to their puzzle.
Boston Celtics: Jordan Walsh
Although they have two All-NBA forwards, the Celtics are a bit thin behind their franchise stars. Jordan Walsh needs some time in the G-League to work out the kinks in his offense, but if his defense and athleticism translate, he could see minutes off of the bench early in his career.
Brooklyn Nets: Dariq Whitehead
It’s hard to gauge exactly where Dariq Whitehead’s draft stock sits amongst the 30 NBA teams, given he had an iffy season due to a nagging foot injury that never healed. If teams get leery of his medicals, the Nets should grab a player who has tangible star upside to form a great versatile wing duo with Mikal Bridges.
Toronto Raptors: Anthony Black
Even if Fred VanVleet decides to stay in Toronto, the team is lacking in difference-makers at the guard position. Anthony Black would give them great positional size, dominant defense, and all-star upside if he ever figures out how to shoot from range.