Biggest Needs For Each NBA Team in the 2018 Draft

THE time for talk is almost over. In under 48 hours, the 2018 NBA Draft kicks off as a new generation of stars entering the NBA fraternity. A fresh batch of stars will dictate everything early with nothing set in stone. Of course, each team entering Thursday’s draft will be targetting different things. Some will opt to move back salary dump while others will be gunning up to draft the next big thing. Here’s a team-by-team look at what all 30 franchises need to address.

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Atlanta Hawks

  • A dynamic playmaking point guard
  • Rim protection
  • John Collins’ frontcourt sidekick

Draft Picks: 3, 19, 30, 34
ATLANTA finds themselves in a tough yet luxurious position at No. 3 in Thursday’s Draft. They could address any of their big glaring holes with Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson and Marvin Bagley all potentially in play when it’s their turn to draft. I would even consider someone like Mohamed Bamba who is shooting up draft boards. However, if you find Doncic at this spot you have to pounce if you’re Atlanta.

Boston Celtics

  • Playmaking guards
  • Marcus Smart’s replacement
  • A backup big man

Draft Picks: 27
FOR Boston, success is just around the corner so it’s unlikely they break up this nucleus. Marcus Smart’s free agency might force Danny Ainge to let him walk and opt for a young reserve instead. Grayson Allen has been floated around and his shooting could be a nice punch off the bench. Donte DiVincenzo continues to rise and would be hard to pass up too.

Brooklyn Nets

  • High risk, high reward players
  • Shooters
  • Athletic wings

Draft Picks: 29, 40, 45
BROOKLYN has nearly made it through the dark days following Billy King’s infamous 2013 trade debacle. It makes sense for them to bide their time as they still need a few top picks to change their long-term fortunes. Josh Okogie and Anfernee Simons are worth taking a chance on late in the first round while the high basketball I.Q. of Landry Shamet is also appealing.

Charlotte Hornets

  • Players who can create their own shot
  • Scoring wings
  • A true sidekick for Kemba

Draft Picks: 11, 55
I will be the first to jump to Dwight Howard’s defense after the big man had a respectable season last year. If Charlotte wants to return to the playoffs though they need to get some serious help for Kemba Walker. I love the fit for Kevin Knox as a high-upside scorer, with Mikal Bridges and Lonnie Walker also in the ballpark. If a rebuild is what they want then they could trade their All-Star and take a point guard for the future in Collin Sexton or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Chicago Bulls

  • Defensive wings
  • Rim protection
  • Perimeter scoring

Draft Picks: 7, 22
IN a perfect world Chicago would love to get their hands on Mohamed Bamba at No. 7. It’s unlikely that he’ll still be on the board here though so they would be forced to move up to snare him. If they stay put then Wendell Carter or Michael Porter are great consolation prizes. With their second pick, they could take a flier on Chandler Hutchinson or, if he’s still there, Zhaire Smith.

Biggest Needs For Each NBA Team in the 2018 Draft 1Image from medium.com

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Perimeter defense
  • Playmakers
  • Best player available

Draft Picks: 8
STUCK in a truly unique position it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the Cavaliers are scheming. With their hands tied until LeBron makes his choice, it’s tough to identify what exactly they will need moving forward. There are a few different avenues they can go down though with Michael Porter, Wendell Carter and Trae Young all exciting choices. They could play it safe and stick with a great prospect like Mikal Bridges, and he would be a fine replacement if LeBron does bounce.

Dallas Mavericks

  • An interior defensive presence
  • Athletic wings
  • Shooting

Draft Picks: 5, 33, 54
THERE isn’t a lot to smile about at Dallas. Dennis Smith was exciting as a rookie but there isn’t much hope outside of their newest draftee. The Mavericks seems destined to go big with pick No. 5 unless Luka Doncic is somehow still on the board. There are a few different paths they could go and Jaren Jackson will be looked at hard. If I was them I’d try to get my hands on Mohamed Bamba, but failing that Micheal Porter might be a good choice. Trading back could see them target one of the Bridges’ (Miles or Mikal) later in the top-10.

Denver Nuggets

  • Defense
  • Two-way wings
  • Backup ball handlers

Draft Picks: 14, 43, 58
WITH most of the foundations set Denver doesn’t need a home run in this year’s draft. Instead, adding the right pieces rather than the best talent should be their priority. Potentially packaging this pick with a contract to ease salary cap pressure is also reportedly on the cards. However, I’m sure Tim Connelly will be hesitant to trade a lottery pick after what happened last year. If they hold the pick there are some nice wing defenders like Zhaire Smith in that range and combo guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander also garners interest.

Biggest Needs For Each NBA Team in the 2018 Draft 2Image from si.com

Detroit Pistons

  • Three-point shooting
  • Backup guards
  • Players with high basketball I.Q.

Draft Picks: 42
GOOD luck addressing any serious needs this late in the draft. Still, we have seen in the past that the second round is far from irrelevant. If the Pistons could land someone to help make treys that would be an awesome addition. Dwane Casey has plenty of star power, but he lacks reliable guys, so taking a chance on Jerome Robinson or Landry Shamet could be a nice investment.

Golden State Warriors

  • Competent backup guards
  • Andre Iguodala’s long-term successor
  • Shooting

Draft Picks: 28
GOLDEN State’s depth has been a major key in building their dynasty, but they struggled a tad last year without some balanced contributions. We have seen them hit on unproven little-known talents before (see Jordan Bell and Quinn Cook) and there’s no reason why they won’t do it again at the end of the first round. It might sound crazy to say they need help shooting the ball but it’s true and someone like Grayson Allen, Kevin Huerter or Melvin Frazier should all be helpers making plays and hitting treys from day one.

Houston Rockets

  • Versatile defender
  • Shooting
  • Long-term prospect

Draft Picks: 46
IT seems like Houston is destined to run it back in 2018-19 barring anything shocking. Hitting big time on pick No. 46 would be unlikely and the Rockets would be looking for a specific player. They either need to be a knockdown shooter or a player that can switch and defend multiple spots. My guess is they take a chance on a prospect late in the piece or opt for the good old ‘draft and stash’ strategy.

Indiana Pacers

  • Another ballhandler
  • Deadeye shooter
  • Rebounding

Draft Picks: 23, 50
THE Victor Oladipo show is going to need help if the Pacers are going to take the next step. Myles Turner might need some frontcourt support to help him reach new heights and taking someone like Omari Spellman or Mo Wagner is in play. I think they would be better equipped to address their other needs by taking Kevin Huerter, who can seriously shoot or adding Aaron Holiday as a complementary ball handler.

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Athleticism
  • Players who can create their own shot
  • High upside guys

Draft Picks: 12, 13
OWNING back-to-back picks gives the Clippers a ton of flexibility entering draft night. They could look to package the picks and move up in the effort of landing a star, but I think they would be better served to stay put. They could add some serious talents like big man Robert Williams, a versatile guard, perhaps Lonnie Walker or Troy Brown, or they may instead opt to get their future floor general in Collin Sexton or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Los Angeles Lakers

  • Rim running big man
  • Best player available
  • A savvy backup point guard

Draft Picks: 25, 47
SALARY cap space means that the Lakers are being linked to every free agent with LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George all names that are swirling through trade machines/rumour mills around the globe. That probably means they won’t be doing a lot at No. 25, however, there are still able bodies who can help LA’s cause. The raw high schooler Mitchell Robinson has been strongly linked to the team after he was rumoured to be offering a promise they will draft him. I like the looks of Jaylen Brunson as well giving Lonzo a reliable back up for the future.

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Scoring
  • A future star
  • Someone dumb enough to take on Parsons’ contract

Draft Picks: 4, 32
IT seems like Memphis has two paths, both of which changes what they do with pick No. 4. On one hand, they could be a 50-win team and opt to take the guy that will have the greatest impact right away. Or, they could choose to deal away their best guys and bad contracts in an effort to completely bottom out. Either way, I think taking Bagley at four makes a heap of sense, that is assuming he’s still on the board. If Luka Doncic is still there then that will cause Chris Wallace plenty of headaches and moving down to lose Parsons’ contract will be a hard offer to pass up.

Elon v DukeImage from nba.com

Miami Heat

  • Shooting
  • Athletic bigs
  • Backup point guard

Draft Picks: None
MIAMI has a habit of finding undrafted guys and turning them into adequate pros. Finding these diamonds in the rough is usually easier with draft picks, but if they do invest in some rookies, via the draft or afterwards, then they could look to add someone behind Goran Dragic. Another option is finding a big man to eat up Hassan Whiteside’s minutes (let’s admit it, he’s a goner).

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Playmaking guards
  • Catch and shoot talents
  • Post defense

Draft Picks: 17
THANKS to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s versatility the Bucks would be smart to target a guard with their only draft pick on Thursday. There is uncertainty around Jabari Parker and his place in Milwaukee’s long-term future as his restricted free agency nears, but there is no need for more big forwards. They have the right to match whatever Parker gets offered, but the majority of the core should be back next season. Jerome Robinson, Donte DiVincenzo, Aaron Holiday and Troy Brown all make sense at No. 17.

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Defensive talents
  • Shooting
  • Wing depth

Draft Picks: 20, 48
IT’S no secret that Thibs isn’t a big fan of playing rookies a ton. Getting someone who is an immediate contributor at one of the wing spots could be a massive bonus for a team that is somewhat hamstrung to their current contracts. Sharpshooter Kevin Huerter is soaring up boards right now and he would be an awesome fit on the Wolves current roster.

New Orleans Pelicans

  • 3-and-D wings
  • A potential Boogie replacement
  • Shooting

Draft Picks: 51
NIKOLA Mirotic cost them their first-round pick so the Pelicans will be left with a late, late second rounder to try salvage something from draft night. Getting a decent small forward would be a bonus with all signs pointing to the Pels bringing DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo back for another run.

Biggest Needs For Each NBA Team in the 2018 Draft 4Image from sbnation.com

New York Knicks

  • Perimeter defense
  • Athletic wings
  • Playmakers

Draft Picks: 9, 36
DARE I say it, the Knicks are heading in the right direction. The tortured fans from NYC are wary of what happens when you dare to dream, but the foundations are set for the Knicks of the future to be a competent NBA team. Unfortunately, they find themselves out of the range of drafting a true superstar, unless someone slides to them. From a point guard perspective I’d like to see them take Collin Sexton over Trae Young should they be forced to do so, but with Mudiay and Ntilikina already rostered it doesn’t make a ton of sense. If not then both Mikal or Miles Bridges would fit a need with Michael Porter high up on their draft board.

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Depth
  • Sharpshooters
  • Athletic forwards

Draft Picks: 53, 57
WITH both Paul George and Jerami Grant potentially coming off the books, there will be a glaring hole among the Thunder forwards. Sure they still have Melo, but behind him, Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams they lack a lot of depth. I would like to see OKC snare a pair of guys who could play right away and maybe emerge as possible steals with their picks in the 50’s. That’s a hell of a lot easier said than done though.

Orlando Magic

  • Hope
  • Talent
  • Everything

Draft Picks: 6, 35, 41
SORRY Magic fans, there isn’t a lot on your team sheet that I like the looks of right now. I was a big fan of Aaron Gordon taking a leap last season, but he seems destined to be a poor man’s Amare Stoudemire. Not all hope is lost and they seem destined to get a great talent at No. 6 to add to the mix that includes the promising Jonathan Isaac. My guess is the pick goes towards Trae Young or Mohamed Bamba and with three picks virtually inside the top-40 surely this is the year they get it right…right?

Philadelphia 76ers

  • 3-and-D wings
  • Shooters
  • Frontcourt depth

Draft Picks: 10, 26, 38, 39, 56, 60
I’M going to go out on a limb and say I don’t think Philly will be bringing six rookies into camp. They are poised perfectly with the option of moving down, up, or out of the draft altogether if they really wish. Their assets should see them flirt with acquiring Kawhi Leonard, but I think they should stay put at No. 10. With plenty of veterans hitting free agency a young wing like Lonnie Walker or Mikal Bridges could come into play as a great piece to add to their flourishing young core. A team that owns one-tenth of the entire draft is bound to have an impact somehow.

Phoenix Suns

  • Point guard
  • Center
  • High-potential guys

Draft Picks: 1, 16, 31, 59
WE all have our personal preference between Luka Doncic and DeAndre Ayton, both of whom address a need for the Suns. One of these supreme talents is going to be drafted first overall and with a gaping hole at center, Ayton is rumoured to be the guy. If they do go big first up then expect the rest of their picks to be on the table in an effort to move up and snare perhaps Collin Sexton or another guard/wing. I love the idea of taking Zhaire Smith with No. 16 as well.

Portland Trailblazers

  • Frontcourt depth
  • Wings that can shoot
  • Salary cap relief

Draft Picks: 24
PORTLAND is somewhat stuck and anything could happen with their first and only pick late in the first round. They might opt to take someone like Mitchell Robinson, easing the pressure on resigning Jusiuf Nurkic, they could take one of the talented wings around this range (Melvin Frazier, De’Anthony Melton, Josh Okogie or Donte DiVincenzo), or they could even deal the pick. Anything’s possible.

Sacramento Kings

  • Best player available
  • A true franchise guy
  • Go-to scorer

Draft Picks: 2, 37
LET’S be honest the draft really begins at No. 2 this year. Unless Phoenix shocks the world, Deandre Ayton will go first, leaving Sacramento with their pick of the bunch. I would passionately be pushing for Luka Doncic if I was in the Kings front office, but Marvin Bagley and Michael Porter are gathering a ton of steam. Is it all smoke and mirrors from Vlade Divac though?

San Antonio Spurs

  • Wing talent
  • Scoring
  • Youth

Draft Picks: 18, 49
CONSIDERING Kawhi Leonard already has one foot out the door and Rudy Gay has declined his player option, then wings are an immediate need for San Antonio. Luckily between picks 15-25, there are a plethora of guys that will be available with Donte DiVincenzo, Melvin Frazier, Keita Bates-Diop and Dzanan Musa to choose from.

Toronto Raptors

  • Defensive wings
  • Shooters
  • Potential boom or bust guys

Draft Picks: None
THERE isn’t a ton Toronto can do to change their fortunes on Draft night. Their bench is full of young talents and their starters are fairly set in stone. The only potential thing I could see happening is the Raptors dropping a bombshell and trading one of their All-Star guards (my bet is Lowry) for a package that includes a solid pick. Don’t rule out Toronto somehow trading their way into the second round too.

Utah Jazz

  • Derrick Favors’ successor
  • A high-risk backcourt running mate for Mitchell
  • Shooting

Draft Picks: 21, 52
I’M sorry Jazz fans, but it’s time to part ways with Derrick Favors. A fresh start will benefit both sides and open up some minutes for the young big man that Utah signs/drafts. Mitchell Robinson could be that guy, although he’s being linked to every team drafting in the 20’s. I like the idea of taking another guard who can form a nasty trio with Rubio and Donovan Mitchell. If not they have plenty of sharpshooting wings that are adequate gets.

Washington Wizards

  • Atheltic bigs
  • Perimeter depth
  • A backup point guard that is actually good

Draft Picks: 15, 44
PERSONALLY, I would love to see one of the premier big men join John Wall and Bradley Beal, forming an awesome exciting group. They won’t be getting their hands on the top talent guys, but Robert Williams is a perfect fit and could overtake Marcin Gortat in a few seasons. Kevin Knox is another great choice and he could be a scoring threat right away. The revolving door that is backup point guard could be addressed later in the draft as they find a nice guy (Brunson?) who can perform while John Wall rests.

Peace ✌

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