NBA Lottery 2012: 4 Teams Who Must Strike Gold in This Year's Draft
Usually the NBA Draft is built for struggling teams to improve as soon as possible, and add depth to established winners. A few teams under .500 are in a prime position to add valuable draft prospects to their roster and take the next step to success.
On the other side, there are plenty of playoff teams who desperately need to capitalize in this summer's draft. Whether dealing with an aging roster, health concerns, or free agency issues, a number of teams must come out winners in June.
Here are four teams who must find success in this year's NBA draft.
1. Portland Trailblazers
A handful of teams have two first round picks, including the Portland Trailblazers. If Portland makes a splash with both of their selections in the draft, they could be well on their way of retracing their successful ways.
The Western Conference is always in a competitive battle for the best seeds, especially in the bottom half of the standings. With teams like the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns possibly on the decline, a window of opportunity opens up for teams like the Portland Trailblazers.
After acquiring the New Jersey Nets' first round pick from trading Gerald Wallace, Portland had the luxury of selecting the best player available. They could use depth on the wing with a guy like Harrison Barnes, or add talent in the front court with the plethora of big men coming out this year.
2. Chicago Bulls
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The Chicago Bulls are running the risk of not having Derrick Rose in 2012-13 after tearing his ACL against the Sixers in the playoffs. John Lucas III and C.J. Watson were great in the absence of Rose last season, but the Bulls won't win a championship with their MVP sitting on the bench.
There aren't many players like Rose in the draft, or even in the world. It will be extremely difficult filling his void, but Chicago must find the next best answer come June. Players like Tyshawn Taylor should be available on Chicago's draft board late in the first round.
Carlos Boozer also has yet to pan out as the $80 million-acquisition the Bulls have hoped for. Boozer's inconsistency could put the Bulls in the hunt for a big man in the second-round if not the first.
3. Boston Celtics
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It's no secret the Boston Celtics are running their last lap with the "Big Three" still in tact. With Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen hitting free agency this year, plus Paul Pierce getting no younger, it's time for the Celtics to make moves for the future.
For a good portion of this season, Rajon Rondo was foolishly apart of many trade offers. Rondo has easily become the best, and most valuable piece to Boston's success these past couple seasons. Trading Rondo would put the Celtics in the backseat of the Eastern Conference.
It's time for Danny Ainge and the Celtics' front office to build around their star point guard. They could use depth and improvements in just about every position, making the best available theory a wise one for Boston.
4. Phoenix Suns
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Steve Nash has more than likely played his final game in a Phoenix Suns uniform. Nash makes any team legitimate, including the Suns. However, Nash is hungry for his first NBA title and will be looking for a contender to sign with.
The Suns have been playing a high-pace offensive style for the past several years, and don't expect that to change if Nash leaves. Kendall Marshall from North Carolina should be high on the Phoenix draft board. Marshall has all the intangibles and leadership to be a successful point guard in the NBA.
Phoenix is certainly on the decline, but a point guard like Marshall will keep their future bright. The Suns can't afford to fumble in this summer's draft.