Every team in the NBA would like to win the No. 1 overall selection, but a few of these franchises need it more than others.
This NBA draft class isn't receiving a lot of hype, but there is some difference-making talent at the top. Kentucky center Nerlens Noel will likely be the first pick. Noel has a dominant defensive game and the potential to develop into a solid offensive weapon.
These next three teams don't necessarily need Noel, but they need the value of the No. 1 pick. These floundering franchises could either take Noel, trade the pick or even take another player (likely Kansas guard Ben McLemore).
We'll get into those three teams below, but first, here is your guide to this year's lottery.
When: Tuesday, May 21, at 8:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com
Odds of Winning Top Pick (via NBA.com)
|New Orleans Pelicans||27-55||8.8|
|Portland Trail Blazers||33-49||1.1|
No. 1: Charlotte Bobcats (19.9% chance of winning draft lottery)
The Bobcats need all the help they can get. This is a franchise that appears to be lost at sea.
Last year, after one of the most unsuccessful seasons the sports world has ever seen, the Bobcats missed out on the top overall selection and the opportunity to draft Anthony Davis.
Karma has to be on their side this time, right?
All of this said, the Bobcats are not without young talent. They have point guard Kemba Walker and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. These are two solid pieces to a winning foundation, but they aren't complete enough players to do it on their own.
This team needs a big boost down low. It could also use a shooting boost on the perimeter. The Bobcats' best hope is actually to win the No. 1 pick and then find a couple of assets via a trade. Still, this downtrodden franchise needs all the value it can find right now.
No. 2: Orlando Magic (25.0%)
Finishing with the league's worst record, the Magic have odds on their side to win the top pick, and they need it.
The season after trading franchise big man Dwight Howard saw the Magic take a huge step backward.
This team is not without young talent in the likes of Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson. However, much like the Bobcats, these guys can't turn around the franchise on their own.
Also, like the Bobcats, the Magic's best option would be a trade for the No. 1. However, even if they couldn't pull off a desirable trade before the draft, they could down the road. HOOPSWORLD's Steve Kyler shows he feels this is the strategy with this retweet:
Winning this lottery would put the Magic on the fast track to rebuilding.
No. 3: Phoenix Suns (11.9%)
Other than Goran Dragic at point, the Suns need to upgrade all over the court.
This is a franchise headed in the wrong direction. With new GM Ryan McDonough looking to build through the draft, landing the No. 1 pick would be a way to jump start the rebuilding process.
And while Dragic is a solid point guard, he isn't the kind of elite scorer who can lift an offense by himself. He needs more talent around him.
If the Suns took Noel, it would allow them to get back to being the kind of fast-break team that can run other teams out of the gym. And McLemore would give this team the kind of perimeter shooting it needs to help space the floor.
And both potential impact players would definitely be a step in the right direction.