NBA Draft: Teams That Will Reach Too High
As with any draft, this upcoming NBA Draft will be full of GMs wondering whether their desired player will “fall” to their pick.
For those aggressive GMs who have no patience and desire to win now, there is the option of trading up to insure the drafting rights of their “missing piece.”
While historically the top five picks are more superstar material, players such as Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, and Dirk Nowitzki were all drafted outside the top five.
The current blueprint for the draft is the Oklahoma City Thunder, as they were built by drafting stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden between 2007-2009. The lesson to be learned: the draft holds an NBA champion somewhere as all that is required is patience, commitment to the rebuilding phase and luck.
All teams (besides maybe the Heat and Thunder) are candidates for moving up in the draft as everyone could use a top 10 player. That said, only a few teams have the urgency, foundation and momentum to ascend.
Despite the following analysis, expect very little movement on draft day, as basketball doesn’t produce the same draft day excitement as the NFL.
The following are six teams to watch who could make the move (or mistake) of trading up in the draft for potential stars.
Los Angeles Clippers
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“Lob City” will look to improve upon arguably the most successful and fun season in franchise history.
How can the Clippers regenerate the buzz that was humming throughout the lockout shortened season? By moving up and drafting a wing positioned scorer who can complement CP3.
Shooting Guard Terrence Ross from the University of Washington is the perfect player as he is a natural scorer who averaged 16.4 PPG during his freshman year in Seattle.
As perfect as Ross may be though, the price would surely include many of the bench pieces that helped the Clippers succeed. But as long as a strong nucleus is intact, moving up should be an option.
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Last season, after the long awaited arrival of Ricky Rubio, the Wolves jumped out to a hot start and had the playoffs in sight. If Rubio hadn’t torn his ACL, they might have made it.
As great as Rubio is though, the true star of the Wolves is power forward Kevin Love, who finished his fourth season averaging 26 points and 13.3 rebounds a game.
If the Wolves are going to continue to ride Love, they are going to need to draft someone who can take some of the low-post/interior pressure off him.
Any of the numerous big men in this year's draft will suffice, but don't be surprised if the Wolves get aggressive and move up to draft either of the true seven footers in this draft class—Meyers Leonard or Tyler Zeller.
Zeller may be somewhat more desirable because of the experience gained as a four-year player, but either would do the job of relieving pressure off of Love.
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Realistically, the Celtics will not move up in the draft as they have much larger free-agent issues to worry about.
That said, the biggest question nagging the Celtics this last season was age, so what better way to get young than to trade for draft picks.
While Rondo will be the centerpiece in the next rebuild for the Celtics, they need a scorer who will presumably take Paul Pierce's role in the next few years.
While Austin Rivers may seem like a good selection because of his relation to head coach Doc Rivers, a better choice I think would be Terrence Jones.
Jones, who spent two years at Kentucky, was a glue guy that played strong defense and always seemed to have patience in Calipari's run-and-gun system. Jones averaged 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds a game last season and is a smart player who can finish with both hands and spread the defense with his shooting ability.
If the Celtics can keep two members of their Big Three and draft Jones, this team would have the pieces to make another run to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Golden State Warriors
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As Mark Jackson truly begins his rebuilding process behind his big three of Curry/Lee/Bogut, there is a lot of talk about Warriors' lack of defense.
A possible answer—moving up in the draft to get Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. This would require the trading of draft picks (which the Warriors have plenty of) and young talent (which the Warriors lack).
Kidd-Gilchrist, who is one of John Calipari's one-and-dones, would provide a defensive presence the Warriors don't have.
If Jackson truly does believe in changing the culture in Golden State, Kidd-Gilchrist is a defensive option that would answer the call.
After exchanging franchise center Andrew Bogut for guard Monta Ellis, the Bucks quickly found themselves with a large vacancy in the middle.
The perfect big man for the Bucks is someone who doesn't demand touches in the post to produce, as with guards Brandon Jennings and Ellis, post touches may be few and far between.
While the Bucks sit in a late lottery position, they might want to consider moving up to assure they draft a solid big man such as Jared Sullinger, Meyers Leonard or Tyler Zeller..
While moving up to the top five may cost a lot, moving up three spots to sneak into the top 10 to get their guy should not be ruled out.
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Will Dwight Howard be traded or not? And if he is, will a 2012 first-round draft pick be part of the compensation?
The Magic should seriously consider shopping their big man in hopes of landing a top player in this year's draft. Howard has become a huge distraction as it appears more and more likely he won't end his career in Orlando.
Sometimes the reset button is the way to go, and the Magic have an opportunity to pair a new coach with a new star.
The key with any draft is making sure not to strip down the entire team in exchange for the rights to one player. This leads to a frustrated star and losing seasons, which no fans or players want to experience—just ask Dwight.