Trade Up, Down or Stay Put? What Every NBA Team Should Do on Draft Day
Should my team trade up, trade down or stay put? That is a question posed by every NBA GM each year when preparing for the draft. Luckily for them, I'm here to tell them what to do this year.
While trading down or up isn't as prevalent in the NBA Draft as it is in the NFL Draft, it can happen occasionally. It should happen quite a bit in this year's draft.
Here's what each team should do on draft day.
1. New Orleans Hornets
The New Orleans have the opportunity to get one of the best players to come out of the draft in recent memory. While Anthony Davis is still a bit skinny and not quite physically ready for the NBA, his upside is too great to turn down here.
Plus, the Hornets also have the No. 10 pick in this draft, allowing them all the benefits of trading down without actually having to give anything up.
2. Charlotte Bobcats
Right now, the Charlotte Bobcats don't need to do anything fancy. They just need to stay where they are and pick the most talented player available. Whether that player is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson, Brad Beal, Andre Drummond or someone else remains to be seen.
3. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards need a solid wing player to add to the already promising mix of Nene and John Wall. Both Brad Beal and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would be great for the team, with MKG probably having the edge if both are still there. Trading up or down really doesn't help.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers could become the next Oklahoma City Thunder if they continue to get such great draft picks. After having two lottery picks last season, they have a Top 5 pick this year. Getting another really good young player to pair with Kyrie Irving makes more sense than trading down. Brad Beal would be a good fit, and we could possibly see Andre Drummond go here too.
5. Sacramento Kings
It's obvious that the Sacramento Kings have not done a good job in the past four or five years with lottery picks and putting together a team that can work together. It's time to recognize that and trade down for multiple picks in this draft or drafts to come.
6. Portland Trail Blazers
The Gerald Wallace trade to the New Jersey Nets paid off big for Portland with the sixth overall pick in the draft. Portland could use a lot of different things to make its team better, so it should just take whichever player is the best left at a position they need. Damian Lillard could be a possibility, although it feels a bit too high. Harrison Barnes might also be a good choice.
7. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are another team that simply needs to draft the best player available. They appear to have all the winning ingredients, except solid defense that is. Harrison Barnes would be a good choice if he is still available, but might not offer the defensive punch they need.
8. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors need a guard who can score the basketball. Jeremy Lamb of UCONN will still be available here and should be the pick. He's a solid two-guard who can shoot and create his own shot, which will take some of the offensive pressure to create off Jose Calderon.
9. Detroit Pistons
It may seem dumb to trade down for Detroit, but the truth is that this team isn't devoid of talent. What it really needs is a strong power forward and since the best two (Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson) will be long gone by this time, the Pistons can probably trade back a few picks and still get their guy. That guy will probably be Jared Sullinger.
10. New Orleans Hornets
Just think about this: the New Orleans could re-sign Eric Gordan, draft Anthony Davis and draft another solid player in just one offseason. That combination of moves is pretty likely and would greatly speed up the rebuilding process. The Hornets should nab the best available player here at PG, SF or C. Davis' Kentucky teammate Terrence Jones could be a possibility or maybe North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall.
11. Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard will probably be the pick here, as the Trail Blazers need a permanent answer at point guard for the future. That could mean Raymond Felton's time in Portland is about to come to an end.
12. Milwaukee Bucks
Trading up to get a defensive-minded player like a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Andre Drummond would be ideal for the Bucks, especially since they shipped out center Andrew Bogut for the offensively-gifted and defensively-unmotivated Monta Ellis. He and Brandon Jennings need a solid defender who can bail them out.
13. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns should just take the best player available here and hope that whoever it is is enough to convince Steve Nash not to leave. Damian Lillard would be an intriguing pick if he is still there. John Henson and Kendall Marshall could also help out this Suns squad.
14. Houston Rockets
Stay Put (or Trade Up)
The Houston Rockets need a center and their pick is in exactly the right spot to get a decent one. Both Meyers Leonard of Illinois and Tyler Zeller of North Carolina will probably still be on the board here. Each is a legit seven-footer who can play defense and has some upside.
They also have the 16th pick, which they could package with this one to possibly move up into the Top 10. More on that in a bit.
15. Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers will likely lose starting center Spencer Hawes in free agency this offseason. Just as with the Rockets, centers Meyers Leonard and Tyler Zeller will be around at this point in the draft. Expect Philly to take whichever one Houston doesn't.
16. Houston Rockets
Stay Put (or Trade Up)
As I stated about the 14th pick, this pick could be packaged with it to move up into the draft. While the better course of action would probably be to just take a center and then the best available player with the two picks, Houston is desperate for a star and just might try to get one in this draft.
17. Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks should stay where they are and draft a player to complement the core they will try to build in free agency around Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams. Any player with starting potential at the SG, SF or C will do. Dion Waiters of Syracuse might be a good fit.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves have the electric point guard in Ricky Rubio and the great big man in Kevin Love. All they need now is the athletic wing man who can score. That type of player should be available here in the form of Dion Waiters of Syracuse or Terrence Ross of Washington.
19. Orlando Magic
If the Orlando Magic are going to keep Dwight Howard long-term, they need a player who can create his own offense to pair with Howard to take some of the offensive load. Austin Rivers could be the perfect addition. Terrence Ross, Dion Waiters or even big man Arnett Moultrie could also work well in that role.
20. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets are one of the most balanced teams in the NBA, but they need a star to win at a high level in the playoffs. It will be difficult to get one in free agency and keep all their pieces, so it would be best to try and get one in the draft.
21. Boston Celtics
This draft is very important for the Boston Celtics because it could be one that shapes the future of the franchise after the era of the Big Three. However, they should not trade up, mainly because they need those future picks and players to build themselves back to dominance.
22. Boston Celtics
See the previous slide.
23. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks should trade down and hoard draft picks because they are going nowhere fast. Getting into the playoffs every year and losing in the first round isn't any fun, and it won't end soon for this team. They need to begin rebuilding for the future.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers have another opportunity to get a quality player at this pick in the draft. It is a bit of a mystery who they'll take and it probably depends on what they do with their first pick. However, French wing player Evan Fournier could be a possibility, either for now or as a draft and stash pick.
25. Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies have their core team already assembled and will just need to look for a player to complement what they already have. A big man to establish frontcourt depth would be good or a backup point guard.
26. Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers are the Memphis Grizzlies of the Eastern Conference, a tough scrappy team that has a solid core without a true superstar. They too need to merely find a guy to fit in with what they already have. Royce White of Iowa State would be a good choice, but Doron Lamb of Kentucky might be a better one.
27. Miami Heat
Trading up would require the Heat to give up players that they wouldn't want to and trading down is just dumb. The Heat should look to find a guy that can help inside. Fab Melo or Andrew Nicholson would be solid.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are a championship contender and appear to have all the right pieces to challenge for one. However, they could use help in a few area. Jeffery Taylor, Fab Melo and Andrew Nicholson could all be the pick here.
29. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls should draft Doron Lamb of Kentucky, and I believe they will. Lamb is a talented player who knows how to play within the offense and hit outside jumpers. That's exactly what Derrick Rose needs in a two-guard. Lamb could very easily be a First Team All-Rookie selection.
30. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors probably can't trade up from here without giving up too much. They should look for a solid defensive player with this pick, someone who can help immediately on that end of the floor. Draymond Green or Jeffrey Taylor might be good if still available.