While some NBA franchises have the option of drafting a project prospect and giving him time to develop, other teams aren't in that position. They are forced to look for players who can make an impact right away at the next level.
Luckily for those teams, this draft makes up for a lack of elite talent with depth, which should make that quest a lot easier than it has been in recent years. With that in mind, here's a look at three franchises that should target NBA-ready prospects in the opening round.
The Mavericks have an aging roster that's likely going to need a complete overhaul within a couple years. That said, they are better off keeping the key pieces for at least one more season and making another run at a title before making significant changes.
Heading into the draft, their biggest need is a perimeter scorer. Jason Terry has always been at his best coming off the bench, and Vince Carter can't be relied upon at this point in his career. A shooting guard who can pick up the slack would be a perfect fit.
Dallas will hope a player like Jeremy Lamb or Austin Rivers slides to No. 17, but that's starting to look like a long shot. A potential sleeper would be John Jenkins from Vanderbilt. There are weaknesses in his game, but he's a pure scorer and that's what the Mavericks need.
Like Dallas, Boston has a roster that's heavily reliant on older players. The emergence of Avery Bradley should give the Celtics a solid option if Ray Allen decides to leave in free agency, but there are still concerns in the paint.
Kevin Garnett has lost his early-career explosiveness, and Brandon Bass is better served as a secondary piece, not the main man. Because of that, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Celtics use their back-to-back picks to select two post players.
One player who has been sliding down draft boards is Jared Sullinger. The Ohio State star has limited upside, which will scare some teams away, but it makes him the perfect fit for Boston if he falls. Draymond Green and Fab Melo are a couple other names to keep in mind.
The Magic have to enter the draft pretending that Dwight Howard isn't even on the roster anymore. It's impossible to know what's going through his mind, and the team can't continue to be held hostage as they look to compete against the vaunted Miami Heat.
That means their main target would be a power forward or center. Nobody in this draft class outside of Anthony Davis can provide the same type of defensive impact Howard can, but there should be some prospects with offensive ability available.
Andrew Nicholson and Perry Jones are two forwards being mentioned in the area of Orlando's No. 19 pick. They are both capable of stepping right in to help the Magic if Howard does in fact leave. The names mentioned for the Celtics would also be an option.
First Round Draft Order
1. New Orleans Hornets
2. Charlotte Bobcats
3. Washington Wizards
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Sacramento Kings
6. Portland Trail Blazers (From Brooklyn Nets)
7. Golden State Warriors
8. Toronto Raptors
9. Detroit Pistons
10. New Orleans Hornets (From Minnesota Timberwolves)
11. Portland Trail Blazers
12. Milwaukee Bucks
13. Phoenix Suns
14. Houston Rockets
15. Philadelphia 76ers
16. Houston Rockets (From New York Knicks)
17. Dallas Mavericks
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (From Utah Jazz)
19. Orlando Magic
20. Denver Nuggets
21. Boston Celtics
22. Boston Celtics (From Los Angeles Clippers)
23. Atlanta Hawks
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (From Los Angeles Lakers)
25. Memphis Grizzlies
26. Indiana Pacers
27. Miami Heat
28. Oklahoma City Thunder
29. Chicago Bulls
30. Golden State Warriors (From San Antonio Spurs)
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