Here’s a look at what each NBA team might be looking for on draft day, which is June 28, while the lottery to determine the Top 14 picks will be held this Wednesday. I’ve also listed each team’s prominent pending free agents.
UFA = Unrestricted Free Agent
RFA = Restricted Free Agent
ETO = Early Termination Option
PO = Player Option
Atlanta – 23rd pick
Kirk Hinrich UFA
Needs – C, SF and backup PG
The Hawks are set at PF and SG with Al Horford, Josh Smith and Joe Johnson, and possibly SF if they’re able to use Horford at PF and Josh Smith at SF. Jeff Teague also appears to be a solid point guard option going forward. With Hinrich being an unrestricted free agent, they could certainly use another guard. But as usual, center is their glaring weakness, while Marvin Williams is better served off the bench than in the starting lineup. If they can get a starting center, like Fab Melo from Syracuse, they could start Horford at PF, Smith at SF, Johnson at SG, Teague at PG and bring Williams off the bench. But starting a rookie like Melo at C is risky business, meaning veteran C Zaza Pachulia could be in the starting lineup on opening night.
Boston - 21st and 22nd picks (from Clippers)
Ray Allen UFA, Kevin Garnett UFA, Brandon Bass PO
Needs – C and PF
It’s anyone’s guess as to whether any of the above players are back in Boston next year, but we do know that they are set at point guard with Rajon Rondo, have Avery Bradley (after shoulder surgery) set to replace Allen, and badly need a center in their current state. And if Bass leaves, they’ll also need a power forward. Andrew Nicholson from St. Bonaventure and Fab Melo from Syracuse will be two guys they’ve got their eye on.
Charlotte – High lottery pick
Needs – PF and SF
Bismack Biyombo looks like a promising center, while Kemba Walker, D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson have the guard positions covered. It’s hard to see Corey Maggette having much left in the tank, while Byron Mullens may not be the answer at power forward. This team needs forwards badly, and should target them in the draft. And if they happen to get lucky and hit the lottery, Kentucky's Anthony Davis will not only be the best player available, but would also fill a gaping hole.
Chicago – 29th pick
Needs – Best player available
With Derrick Rose, Richard Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah as the starting five, and solid backups, the Bulls simply need to take the best player available late in the draft. Vandy SG John Jenkins will be on their radar, while C.J. Watson could be the starting point guard in Chicago next year with Rose likely out for most of the season.
Cleveland – High Lottery Pick and No. 24 (from Lakers)
Antawn Jamison UFA, Alonzo Gee UFA, Anthony Parker UFA
Needs – SG and SF
Kyrie Irving is the most promising young point guard in the league, while the Cavs should get a healthy version of Anderson Varejao back next year. And with big man Tristan Thompson also showing a lot of promise, their focus should be on wings. Sure, Alonzo Gee, Samardo Samuels, Omri Casspi, Daniel Gibson, Luke Harangody, Alonzo Gee and Manny Harris all have some potential, but the Cavs could easily upgrade with a high lottery pick. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist seems to be an ideal pick for the Cavs.
Dallas – 17th pick
Jason Kidd UFA, Jason Terry UFA
Needs – PG, SG and C
Dallas is hoping to land Deron Williams, but that’s obviously not a guarantee. They are somewhat set with Shawn Marion at SF and Dirk Nowitzki at PF, but after that, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. Maybe Ian Mahinmi and Brendan Haywood can take care of the center duties again, leaving their potential focus on the two guard positions. Dion Waiters from Syracuse will be a guy they look at closely here.
Denver – 20th pick
Andre Miller UFA
Needs – Best player available
With Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee, the Nuggets are pretty set with starters. They could use depth at every position, especially point guard if Miller is gone. UK SG Doron Lamb is a real possibility here.
Detroit – Low lottery pick
Needs – PF and backup C
The Pistons are set at point guard and center with Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe, and have solid players across the board with Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince, Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye, Jason Maxiell and Charlie Villanueva, but could use a guaranteed stud at power forward and a backup center, with Ben Wallace basically done, whether he retires, or not. Baylor’s Perry Jones would make sense.
Golden State – Mid-lottery pick and No. 30 (from Spurs)
Needs – Backups at PG and C
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Brandon Rush, Dorell Wright, David Lee and Andrew Bogut give the Warriors a surprisingly solid foundation, although to say Curry and Bogut have injury concerns is a huge understatement. Therefore, their first priority should be backups at PG and C. UNC PG Kendall Marshall and Vandy C Festus Ezeli would make sense for their two first-round picks.
Houston – Low lottery pick and No. 16 (from Knicks)
Goran Dragic UFA, Marcus Camby UFA
Needs – C and backup PG
Even if Dragic and Camby leave they still have Kyle Lowry at PG, Kevin Martin and Courtney Lee at SG, Chandler Parsons and Chase Budinger at SF, Luis Scola and Patrick Patterson at PF and Samuel Dalembert at C. Kevin McHale is not a big Dalembert fan, as his fantasy owners painfully learned this season, so that would appear to be their biggest need, as well as replacing Dragic if he’s gone. Illinois center Meyers Leonard might be a target.