On the clock: NBA commissioner David Stern at last year's Draft.
As the 2012 NBA draft inches closer, all 30 teams will have a chance to make major improvements and stuff the hollows of their rosters with propitious prospects.
Nobody is perfect in the world of professional basketball, and no starting five comes without a weakest link. Thursday's draft boasts one of the deepest rookie classes in years, and franchises around the league are ready to pounce.
Check out the glaring needs of all 30 NBA teams heading into the 2012 draft.
Speculation over guard Ray Allen and forward Kevin Garnett (pictured) continues to run rampant, but regardless of whether these veterans ink a return to Beantown, Boston desperately needs to get younger.
The Celtics are slated with two first-round picks, and could immediately fill Allen and Garnett's positions. Boston ranked dead-last in the league in total rebounding and yielded a paltry -4.41 differential on the glass.
The C's lack a true center, and general manager Danny Ainge will likely focus on drafting an interior talent before looking to replace Allen on the wing. With Rajon Rondo at the 1-spot and Paul Pierce at the 3, expect Boston to add a shooting guard and a big man.
Best First-Round Fits: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse; Andrew Nicholson, PF, Saint Bonaventure; Evan Fournier, SG, France.
While point guard Jeremy Lin (pictured) was granted early-Bird rights, his status in the Big Apple remains uncertain. What is certain, however, is the Knicks' need to improve in the backcourt.
New York enjoyed a bevy of ball-handlers last year, but still struggled to find consistency at the 1 spot. Adding a sure-fire guard would give the Knicks a much more balanced attack on the offensive end.
Forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, coupled with center Tyson Chandler, make for one of the most imposing frontcourts in the league. Perhaps the Knicks will look to a shooting guard if J.R. Smith can't be re-signed, as incumbent Landry Fields has struggled at times.
Best Second-Round Fits: William Buford, SG, Ohio State; Darius Johnson-Odom, SG, Marquette; Scott Machado, PG, Iona (New York does not have a first-round selection).
The Sixers were just a game removed from the Eastern Conference finals, and with a productive draft, they could emerge as serious competitors for 2012-13.
The biggest priority for Philly is landing a paint player to succeed Elton Brand (pictured), who may be amnestied for his colossal contract. Philadelphia could also stand to improve at the 1- and 5-positions, where neither point guard Jrue Holiday, nor center Spencer Hawes, have developed into top players.
Philly flaunts a deep roster, and general manager Rod Thorn acknowledged his desire to improve on the front lines. The 76ers ranked 24th in overall rebounding last year.
Best First-Round Fits: Jared Sullinger, C, Ohio State; Terrance Jones, PF, Kentucky; Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina.
The Raptors have a blinding hole at the 3-spot, and with the eighth pick in the draft, they could end up vying for an offensive-minded forward.
Toronto has a solid core of players comprising of guard DeMar DeRozan, forward Andrea Bargnani, and incoming center Jonas Valanciunas. If the NBA's Canadian constituency finds a small forward and a potential replacement for point guard Jose Calderon (pictured), they could make huge strides next year.
Best First-Round Fits: Austin Rivers, SG, Duke; Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF.
If standout point-guard Deron Williams doesn't make the move to Brooklyn with the Nets, this entire roster becomes one woebegone weak spot.
Center Brook Lopez and forwards Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries are all eligible to walk this offseason, and while Brooklyn will likely sign Lopez, a restricted free agent, not much else is certain.
The new-look Nets need help just about everywhere, and will probably start by snagging a mid-level scorer.
Best Second-Round Fits: Kris Joseph, SF, Syracuse; Khris Middleton, SF, Texas A&M; J'Covan Brown, PG, Texas (Brooklyn does not have a first-round selection).
Arguably one of the most complete teams in basketball, the Chicago Bulls are still pulling out all stops to land a lottery-level talent on Thursday, with talks of dealing All-Star forward Luol Deng (pictured) in exchange for a top pick.
With a throng of uncertainties surrounding Deng, the Bulls would be wise to pursue a forward. Shooting guard Richard Hamilton isn't getting any younger, and another wing scorer would do wonders for Derrick Rose's offense.
Best First-Round Fits: Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt; Evan Fournier, SG, France; Tony Wroten, PG/SG, Washington.
If restricted free-agent center Roy Hibbert (pictured) returns to the Hoosier State next year, watch out: Indiana will secure an efficient, productive starting five.
The Pacers could use some depth off the bench and will likely draft by a "best player available" mantra. Point guard George Hill is fairly expendable, and Indiana may draft big as a precaution for Hibbert.
Best First-Round Fits: Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt; Tyshawn Taylor, PG, Kansas; Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky.
Monta Ellis (pictured) and Brandon Jennings spearhead a formidable backcourt in Milwaukee, but the Bucks will need a better paint presence to stay afloat in the East.
Former center Andrew Bogut is now a Golden State Warrior, while current center Ekpe Udoh is expendable. Forward Ersan Ilyasova is a free agent and could leave the Milwaukee frontcourt completely desolate with a move to Brooklyn this summer.
With a throng of promising bigs in the draft, the Bucks need to bulk up, plain and simple.
Best First-Round Fits: Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina; Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois; Jared Sullinger, C, Ohio State.
The Pistons struggled out the gates last year and will look to augment their forward presence. The Detroit backcourt is set, with Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight at the helm.
Center Greg Monroe (pictured) could use some help in the inside, though, and power forwards run deep this year.
One question facing the Motor City is whether Monroe should be shifted to the 4-spot in favor of prospective Pistons Meyers Leonard or Tyler Zeller. Regardless, expect the Pistons to go tall with pick No. 9.
Best First-Round Fits: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois; John Henson, PF, North Carolina, Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina.
With guard Anthony Parker and forward Antwan Jamison set to test the free-agent market, Cleveland needs to haul in a supporting act for point guard and former top pick Kyrie Irving (pictured).
Slated at the fourth spot, the Cavs have been busy with trade talk, hoping to land Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal as Parker's successor. Beal and Irving would make for one of the most exciting guard tandems in all of basketball.
Cleveland could use a mid-level scorer and some help down low as well, coming in last season at 25th in total scoring and a -0.43 rebounding differential.
Best First-Round Fits: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida; Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky.
Bosh is a natural power forward, and the rest of the South Beach centers (Ronny Turiaf, Eddy Curry, Dexter Pittman) aren't quite starter-worthy.
With a dynamic young center, Miami's renowned defense gets even better. The Heat may pursue an upgrade at the point, but with rumors of a pursuit of Steve Nash, look for the defending champs to secure a post player in Round 1.
Best First-Round Fits: Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt; Draymond Green, PF, Michigan State; Miles Plumlee, C, Duke.
Atlanta has a dependable core of players in guard Jeff Teague, forwards Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, and center Al Horford.
Newly-promoted general manager Danny Ferry will likely look to throw a young shooting guard in the mix to replace free agent Kirk Hinrich (pictured), who registered the lowest PER of the Hawks' starting five in 2011-12.
There's a slew of spot shooters in this year's draft, and Atlanta could look the way of France's Evan Fournier or Washington's Terrance Ross.
Best First-Round Fits: Evan Fournier, SG, France; Terrance Ross, SG/SF, Washington; Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor.
The perpetual saga that surrounds Dwight Howard (pictured) will once again be a major factor in determining Orlando's draft strategy.
The Magic have to shift their primary focus to the point, with Jameer Nelson's uncertain future in Florida. The Magic could also look to grab a preliminary replacement for Howard. Power forward Ryan Anderson had a breakout 2011-12 campaign, and new GM Rob Hennigan may look to couple him with a big-time center.
Incumbent small forward Hedo Turkoglu isn't getting any younger either, and the Magic could always seek out a replacement through the draft. Finding a young, explosive wing scorer would be a step in the right direction toward retaining Howard.
Orlando will be engulfed in trade talk until the Howard matter is settled. For now, pencil them in for the best talent available at No. 19.
Best First-Round Fits: Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor; Fab Melo, C, Syracuse; Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina.
The Wizards are quietly building a cadre of able players in guard John Wall (pictured), center Nene, and newly-acquired forwards Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. Throw in a lottery-level guard and the Wizards are well on the upswing.
With the third selection in the draft, the Wiz will be controlled by what Charlotte does at No. 2. Florida's Bradley Beal would be an ideal fit.
Best First-Round Fits: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky; Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina.
The lockout-shortened season wasn't friendly to the Bobcats, who finished with a historically bad .107 winning percentage. Point guard Kemba Walker (pictured) is perhaps the only starter that Charlotte won't target for upgrade this summer.
With two picks in Round 1, including the second overall selection, the 'Cats have a chance to re-sculpt their roster and take the franchise in a new direction. Charlotte was last in the NBA in total scoring, and 27th in total defense.
Best First-Round Fits: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky; Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas; Bradley Beal, SG, Florida.
The Thunder are a young, balanced team with no true glaring weakness, although the Western Conference champs could use some more depth off the bench.
Oklahoma City has just one pick this year and they'll look to nab the best talent on the board. Perhaps a center to back up Kendrick Perkins is in the cards, or a young wing player to complement Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (pictured).
Best First-Round Fits: Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt; Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt; Will Barton, SF, Memphis.
Despite lacking a true star player, the Denver Nuggets have established themselves as a well-organized competitor in the West. If the Nuggets can re-sign center JaVale McGee this offseason, their starting five will lack a definite weak spot.
Denver's situated far too low in the draft to snag a prospect with superstar potential, so barring a trade, general manager Masai Ujiri will be hauling in another role player to an already deep roster.
Forwards Al Harrington and Danilo Gallinari performed well last season, but there's room for improvement in the frontcourt.
Best First-Round Fits: Perry Jones, PF, Baylor; Royce White, PF, Iowa State; Arnett Moultrie, PF/C, Mississippi State.
Like Northwest Division rivals Oklahoma City and Denver, Utah touts a deep lineup with a solid core of scorers. Devin Harris (pictured) mans the 1-spot, with big men Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson down low.
But the Jazz lack a strong wing presence. During last month's loss in Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals to San Antonio, starting 2-guard Gordon Hayward failed to score a single point. Utah also struggled to find a true small forward for much of the season.
This team could be in for a fruitful 2012-13 with the addition of a stronger wing man.
Best Second-Round Fits: Jae Crowder, SF, Marquette; Darius Johnson-Odom, SG, Marquette; Scott Machado, PG, Iona (Utah does not have a first-round selection).
As one of two teams with multiple lottery picks, the 2012 draft will redefine the Portland locker room. With glaring holes at center, shooting guard and point guard, there's a few ways the Blazers can attack this year.
One-guard Raymond Felton may be on his way out, while the Trail Blazers lacked serious production at the 2 and the 5. A low-post complement for LaMarcus Aldridge (pictured) will be necessary.
Best First-Round Fits: Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State; Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina; Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse.
Point guard Ricky Rubio (pictured) emerged as a bona-fide star last season, while power forward Kevin Love has unbridled potential and is already one of the league's best big men.
Besides these two cornerstones, however, Minnesota doesn't have much to work with. Small forward Michael Beasley has yet to develop as a dominant wing scorer, while starting shooting guard Martell Webster averaged just 6.9 points a night.
Best First-Round Fits: Jared Sullinger, C, Ohio State; Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor; Terrence Ross, SG/SF, Washington.
Los Angeles doesn't have much to work with this year, holding just one second-round selection. The Lakers could explore trade options, or sit back and nab a lesser talent.
Best Second-Round Fits: Tu Holloway, PG, Xavier; Khris Middleton, SF, Texas A&M; J'Covan Brown, PG, Texas (Los Angeles does not have a first-round selection).
Point guard Chris Paul and power forward Blake Griffin (pictured) led the Clips to a breakout 2011-12 campaign, but they'll need a better wing presence if they want to contend for a title out West next year.
Incumbent small forward Nick Young is a free agent, as is shooting guard Chauncey Billups. Like the Lakers, the Clippers have just a second-round pick to work with, but could still land a solid perimeter shooter.
Best Second-Round Fits: William Buford, SG, Ohio State; Kevin Murphy, SG, Tennessee Tech; Kris Joseph, SF, Syracuse (Los Angeles does not have a first-round selection).
As the impending loss of point guard Steve Nash (pictured) looms over the desert, the Suns need a lot of help to return to contention.
Forward Grant Hill and guard Shannon Brown will be free agents, and Phoenix lacks an established scorer. Sitting on the 13th pick, the Suns can go a lot of different ways, but will likely opt to find a ball-handler to replace Nash.
Best First-Round Fits: Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina; Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut; Moe Harkless, SF, Saint John's.
Stephen Curry (pictured) and the Dubs were middling underachievers in 2011-12, but their four picks in the draft could turn things around in a hurry.
Andrew Bogut and David Lee man the paint, while Curry and guard Klay Thompson head the backcourt. With a top-tier forward, this team will be tough to beat.
North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes is the ideal candidate for resuscitating the boys from the Bay, but it's unlikely he'll fall to No. 7. Perhaps the Warriors will trade up or hold out on their forward until later in the first.
Best First-Round Fits: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina; Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut; Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt.
The Kings need a forward, and the 2012 draft class has plenty of them.
Harrison Barnes and Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are both viable options at small forward. DeMarcus Cousins is set as the team's center for now, while Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans (pictured) provide scoring from the guard/wing slots.
If Sacramento can get their hands on a physical forward, they should see drastic improvements in 2012-13.
Best First-Round Fits: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky; Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas; Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina.
With point guard Tony Parker (pictured) being one of just seven Spurs under contract, San Antonio will be busy this offseason. Much to GM R.C. Buford's chagrin, however, they'll stay pretty quiet come draft night—the Spurs have just one pick on Thursday, the 59th overall selection.
The Spurs lacked production from the forward spots, where Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw averaged a combined 14.3 points per game. Pickings might be slim when the Southwest Division champs are finally on the clock, but they'll take what they can get.
Best Second-Round Fits: Leon Radosevic, PF, Italy; Kris Joseph, SF, Syracuse; Khris Middleton, SF, Texas A&M (San Antonio does not have a first-round selection).
Marc Gasol (pictured) leads a talented Grizzlies team into 2012-13 without any major weaknesses, so the Grizz may pursue a shooter to potentially replace guard O.J. Mayo.
Memphis ranked just 25th in team assists, and 26th in three-point field goal percentage. Adding a dependable guard would be a seamless fit.
Best First-Round Fits: Evan Fournier, SG, France; Tony Wroten, PG/SG, Washington; John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt.
Point guards Jason Terry and Jason Kidd are already one foot out of the proverbial door, and the Mavs will be hard-pressed for replacements. Landing coveted free agent Deron Williams is a possibility, but Dallas could still look to the draft for some help.
Elsewhere, Brendan Haywood scored just over five points a night at center, while Shawn Marion (pictured) isn't getting any younger at small forward. The Mavericks have a slew of holes to fill, and they could go in just about any direction with No. 17.
Best First-Round Fits: Moe Harkless, SF, Saint John's; Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor; Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut.
Guard Kevin Martin (pictured) and forward Luis Scola are the only sure things in Houston's revolving, rebuilding puzzle. With two first-round picks, the Rockets have their work cut out for them.
Samuel Dalembert and Marcus Camby had minimal impacts at center, while no true small forward emerged. Point guard Goran Dragic came into his own toward the tail-end of the year, but if North Carolina's Kendall Marshall or Duke's Austin Rivers is available, Houston may still pounce.
The Rockets are also engaged in trade talks, eager to snag a top pick. Anything will go for this team on draft night.
Best First-Round Fits: Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina; Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut; Arnett Moultrie, PF/C, Mississippi State.
Retaining shooting guard Eric Gordon (pictured) is the first order of business in the Big Easy. Picking Kentucky's Anthony Davis is second.
The Hornets also have the 10th overall pick, which could be used to fill a number of voids in their lineup. New Orleans lacks a point guard presence and could use another wing scorer as well. Taking on Rashard Lewis and his hefty contract won't make much of an impact on the floor.
Best First-Round Fits: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky; John Henson, PF, North Carolina; Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State.