For the teams lacking incredible luck (and David Stern’s help), how will each organization play their hand in the upcoming NBA draft?
This could be the best chance for the Magic to shop Dwight Howard around the league. A dominant big man is hard to come by in the NBA, so Orlando could very well get multiple draft picks in return for Howard.
Howard has gone back and forth (and back and forth and back and…) about whether or not he wants to stay in Orlando. The Magic recently created these “Dwight Howard Loyalty” shirts to celebrate the contract extension he signed for the 2013 season.
Loyalty? Really? So is “loyal” also the word to use if a husband tells his wife she was beaten with an ugly stick and he is going to cheat on her, only to never do anything and come home with a bouquet of roses? Don’t be so naïve. He’s going to leave after 2013, so go ahead and get whatever you can for him. Pawn the wedding band and move on.
The Houston Rockets will also be divorcing one of their own players in the near future. Let’s just say they won’t even bother making shirts for SG Kevin Martin. Martin, who has averaged over 20 points per game a few times in his career, demanded a trade last season because of issues with head coach Kevin McHale. PG Kyle Lowry also displayed uneasiness with the coach.
Some sort of package could be created using Martin and one of the Rockets’ two first-round picks (and Lowry if they want to give him up). Houston holds the 14th and 16th picks, but it might help to trade up to the fifth through seventh picks in order to grab someone like SG Bradley Beal from Florida. Five teams are projected to take guards before the 14th pick, so it would make the most sense for Houston to be on the move.
The Portland Trail Blazers also have a fair amount of trade value should they want to trade up in June. Portland is in desperate need of a center and could fill that hole with a guy like Jared Sullinger using their sixth or 11th first-round selections.
But there are a lot of questions surrounding Sullinger’s NBA potential. Sullinger is too short to be a true center and he’s also fairly slow up and down the floor.
A much better pick for the Trail Blazers would be 6'11" Andre Drummond from UConn. He is projected to go as high as No. 2 in some analysts' mock drafts, and with the Charlotte Bobcats open to the option of trading down, it could be a great switch for both teams. Portland also has two second-round picks should they need to throw in extra incentives.