NBA Draft 2014: Final Team-by-Team Needs, Fits and Predictions
Every NBA team has a need.
Yes, even the San Antonio Spurs, who are coming off one of the most dominant performances ever witnessed in the NBA Finals. From the Spurs to the Philadelphia 76ers—who lost 26 games in a row during the 2013-14 season but still have a bright future—each and every squad has a weakness that needs to be shored up.
Question is, can it be addressed in the draft?
That's trickier, seeing as draft positions change which teams have realistic access to certain players. You can't count on an elite prospect falling, but you also can't—well, shouldn't—reach for a second-round prospect in the teens.
Now, every team might have a need, but not every team will be addressed in this article. The Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers don't have a pick during the June 26 proceedings, so none of them will be appearing in the coming slides.
Before you take to the comment sections, just remember how difficult it is to make a pick in the draft with no selections at your disposal. And without making a pick, how can you possibly address a need?
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 15, No. 43
Biggest Need: Help on the wings
The Atlanta Hawks had some serious holes in the frontcourt during the 2013-14 season, but those are likely to be shored up due to the additions of two players who don't need draft picks spent on them. Al Horford will be returning from his torn pectoral, and Lucas Nogueira—last year's first-round pick who spent the year abroad—should be joining the team.
That thrusts the focus to the wings, where Atlanta could use some upgrades even if DeMarre Carroll, Lou Williams and the rest of the shooting guards and small forwards were capable stopgaps. Mike Budenholzer's system prioritizes three-point shooting, making a companion for Kyle Korver the No. 1 priority.
At No. 15, the Hawks can go in plenty of directions, but the ideal scenario sees one of Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris, James Young or Zach LaVine falling to them. Preferably in that order, as Stauskas' two-way potential and elite shooting make him the ideal fit.
LaVine wouldn't be a bad option, but he's too raw to make an immediate impact, and shooting is one of the athletic guard's primary weaknesses.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 6, No. 17
Biggest Need: Offensive help
The Boston Celtics struggled to score the basketball throughout the 2013-14 campaign, both when Rajon Rondo was hurt and after he'd returned. Even with the infusion of the All-Star point guard's talent, the C's couldn't generate offense because there weren't enough quality options.
Getting Rondo help has to be the first priority, especially because another season of Jeff Green serving as the top scoring option would be disastrous.
That has to be the focus of both picks, though No. 6 should be used more to address the overall talent deficit. General manager Danny Ainge should be taking the best player available, desperately hoping that the navicular fracture causes Joel Embiid to fall out of the top five.
If the Kansas big man is available to Boston, we should see the rare first-round situation in which a pick is announced well before the timer counts down to triple zeros. After all, he's the perfect fit for Boston's frontcourt and could be the next superstar in Beantown.
But if Embiid is gone, the C's should target Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh or Julius Randle at No. 6 before hoping they can continue opting for the best player available with their second first-round pick. Dario Saric is another intriguing option, as this team can afford to wait a few years before the Croatian forward makes his NBA debut. Sportando reports he'll be playing in Turkey for two more years—at least—but the rebuilding plan in Boston still revolves around free agency and trades, not just the draft.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 9, No. 24, No. 45
Biggest Need: Shooting
According to Basketball-Reference, the Charlotte Hornets (then the Bobcats) ranked No. 25 in three-pointers made, No. 27 in three-point attempts, No. 23 in three-point percentage and No. 27 in three-point rate last year.
That's after trading for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour in an attempt to shore up the shooting woes. Is it any wonder that finding a sharpshooter is the No. 1 priority?
Fortunately, the Hornets have plenty of options.
At No. 9, they should have access to either an elite shooting guard prospect, like Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris or James Young, or to the best all-around shooter in this class—Doug McDermott. Considering the working backcourt of Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson, it's in Charlotte's best interest to go with the Creighton product, realizing that any comparisons to Adam Morrison are seriously, seriously flawed.
But even if the Hornets elect to go a different route with No. 9—say Joel Embiid or Julius Randle drop further than expected, for example—they have another pick in the first round to address the issue. Targeting P.J. Hairston out of the D-League would be great at that point in the proceedings.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 16, No. 19, No. 49
Biggest Need: Backcourt help
The Chicago Bulls are in great shape, boasting two top-20 picks, expecting Nikola Mirotic—a former first-round selection who has played in Europe ever since being selected in 2011 but carries high hopes—to join the team for the 2014-15 campaign and having a legitimate shot at securing an elite free agent.
But what do they need in the draft?
Finding backcourt help would be nice, seeing as Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell are the only point guards and shooting guards with guaranteed contracts heading into the offseason. Even if the team re-signs D.J. Augustin or Kirk Hinrich, more bodies are still needed, especially given the inherent uncertainties surrounding a former MVP's knees.
Shabazz Napier is the ultimate fit here, as he's a point-creating floor general fully capable of carrying an offensive load, which he proved time and time again at Connecticut. But if he's off the board, the Bulls have to be hoping for Tyler Ennis.
There are other options, sure, but they're all relying on draft-day falls or gigantic reaches on Chicago's part. Those two stand out as realistic and ideal.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 1, No. 33
Biggest Need: More talent at forward
"They are torn," an anonymous source told ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman and Chad Ford. "They met for three hours and all they talked about was those two guys."
Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker would be the unnamed antecedents of the final pronoun.
Either forward would be a fantastic fit for a Cleveland Cavaliers squad that needs an infusion of talent at small forward, but Wiggins would be better. Not only does he have more upside because of his two-way potential, but he hasn't actively been hinting that he doesn't want to play for the team with the No. 1 pick.
Here's another quote from Ford and Goodman's report:
However, Parker's workout on Friday in Cleveland was a disappointment, according to multiple sources. Parker weighed in at 254 pounds with 11 percent body fat, more than 10 pounds above his playing weight at Duke. Sources say the workout was so bad that he appeared disinterested at times. One source even went as far as to say that Parker appeared to be "tanking" the workout.
"He was bad," one source told ESPN.com. "He was huffing and puffing early in the workout."
There is no wrong option for Cleveland at No. 1 so long as general manager David Griffin, who's presiding over his first draft as GM, sticks to the two preeminent options.
At No. 33, things are more interesting, but the Cavaliers should focus on the secondary need—finding a center who can protect the rim. Walter Tavares, even though he'd need years of seasoning, might be the ideal choice there.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 34, No. 51
Biggest Need: Frontcourt depth
Brandan Wright is the only big man operating with a guaranteed contract right now. Samuel Dalembert's deal is non-guaranteed, and Dirk Nowitzki—though it's safe to assume he'll return—is technically a free agent.
The Dallas Mavericks need big bodies. Power forwards, centers...it doesn't matter.
Especially because the options they're likely to boast are going to be old and prone to injury as Father Time saps health and strength, Dallas desperately needs to use at least one of its first-round picks on the best available big man. Playing style is fairly irrelevant at this point in the proceedings.
Should Mitch McGary fall, he'd be the ideal pick. However, if the Michigan big man is already taken, the options become a bit less appealing.
Jarnell Stokes is another ideal target, as his toughness on the interior and knack for the offensive glass would allow him to make a quick impact. So, too, are Patric Young, Nikola Jokic and Khem Birch, though drafting either of the latter two at No. 34 would be a sizable reach.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 11, No. 41, No. 56
Biggest Need: Shooting guard
The Denver Nuggets are in a strange situation, as they're a lottery team with one of the deepest rosters in the NBA. Injuries were the fatal blow during the 2013-14 campaign, but nearly every one of the season-ending maladies should be resolved by the time the next season is in full swing.
Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson are a great pairing at point guard. Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler can get the job done at small forward. The frontcourt combination of Kenneth Faried, J.J. Hickson, JaVale McGee and Timofey Mozgov is an excellent one even if only Faried has star potential.
The biggest hole is shooting guard, where Randy Foye and Evan Fournier are both limited even if they each exceeded the expectations during the last go-round.
Fortunately, the draft is stocked with quality 2-guards right around No. 11. Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris and James Young, a group of names you're probably already used to hearing, are all quite appealing there, with Stauskas leading the charge.
However, given the prominence of quality options, as well as the ability to slide Chandler to the 2 or play with two point guards, drafting an immediate contributor isn't necessary. That's what makes gambling on Zach LaVine's abundance of potential the most intriguing choice at No. 11.
As for the second-round picks, best player available all the way. There are no more defined holes to fill, at least not ones that can be filled that late.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 38
Biggest Need: Court-Spacing Options
"Washington's C.J. Wilcox should be a no-brainer target with their only second-round pick. Colorado's Spencer Dinwiddie and Missouri's Jabari Brown wouldn't be bad options, either," speculates Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report's NBA Draft Lead Writer.
He's exactly right.
Shooting is the theme of the offseason, as the Detroit Pistons struggled to put the ball in the basket from outside the paint during the 2013-14 season.
Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe—if he returns, seeing as he's a restricted free agent—are paint-bound presences. Brandon Jennings is better off driving and dishing than letting fly from the perimeter. Josh Smith thinks he can shoot.
Even if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope makes good on his massive potential and begins connecting from long range with ease, the Pistons still need a boost in the shooting department. Wilcox would be the No. 1 option here, though any shooting specialist would do the trick. Hell, even making a huge reach on Duke's Andre Dawkins would do the trick.
Shooting is that dire a need.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 25, No. 42
Biggest Need: Help for the second unit
Leave the star-chasing to free agency and trade seasons.
General manager Daryl Morey has to work on shoring up the second unit, especially because it might be further gutted if deals are completed to make room for Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James. After all, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik's poison pills would have to be dealt in order to gain financial flexibility, and they both figure to be key reserves unless Lin starts over Patrick Beverley. But either way, the depth will be more limited if they're dealt.
Finding a big man who could stretch the defense would be ideal, but that's hard to find in this draft class. Unless Adreian Payne falls to No. 25 or Kyle Anderson can play power forward and handle the ball on the perimeter for Houston, they're best looking in other directions.
Anderson may still be the ideal pick here even if he can't play the 4, but Morey is likely to be monitoring the draft and waiting for the inevitable draft-day fall. Someone is bound to drop when he wasn't expected to, and that's likely the player the Rockets will end up snatching.
Expect Houston to serve as a safety net. So long as the Rockets are coming up on the clock, a prospect with a surprising red flag is only going to fall so far before landing on a competitive team.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 57
Biggest Need: Offensive backups
The Indiana Pacers fell apart for many reasons, but one was undoubtedly the lackluster play of the bench. There weren't any reliable backups on the roster, though the team could occasionally glean quality performances from C.J. Watson, Luis Scola or Ian Mahinmi.
Indy's starting lineup is fantastic, especially if the Pacers elect to bring Lance Stephenson back for a shot at redemption after his embarrassing performance against the Miami Heat.
But the bench?
The Pacers, in order to keep their title window open, need to use the No. 57 pick to find a veteran player who can come off the bench and provide immediate offensive contributions. It's possible, but it's improbable given how late the pick comes on June 26.
Jahii Carson would be the dream here, as the Arizona State guard is a dynamic offensive playmaker whose athleticism will help ease the transition to the sport's highest level.
Los Angeles Clippers
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 28
Biggest Need: Frontcourt depth
The Los Angeles Clippers spent the 2013-14 season using Glen Davis, Byron Mullens, Antawn Jamison and Ryan Hollins as their primary backup big men. Hell, even Matt Barnes and Hedo Turkoglu were used at power forward when Blake Griffin needed a rest, as the need for quality players was that dire.
Failure to draft a frontcourt player should be considered an offense that can result in immediate termination for any member of the front office. That's easily the biggest need, as it will keep Griffin and DeAndre Jordan much fresher for the inevitable postseason run.
Jarnell Stokes should be a top target here, as his toughness would serve LAC well off the bench. The Tennessee product is one of the best rebounders in this class, particularly on the offensive end, and his post skills would be a nice change of pace for the Clippers.
Another intriguing pick would be Mitch McGary, and pulling the trigger on Clint Capela would be advisable if he managed to fall this far.
Again, any big man needs to be the pick. No guards. No small forwards.
Just power forwards and centers.
Los Angeles Lakers
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 7
Biggest need: Star Power
The Los Angeles Lakers are in a strange situation, as they aren't used to having a lottery pick to build around. Andrew Bynum was the last one, and he wasn't even a single-digit pick. In fact, the last time the Lake Show used one of those was in 1982 when the franchise picked up James Worthy at No. 1.
Further complicating the situation is the lack of defined needs in Tinseltown.
Only Kobe Bryant, Robert Sacre and Steve Nash are guaranteed to be under contract. The veterans aren't going to be around forever, and Sacre won't amount to anything more than a career backup on a good team.
The Lakers can draft any position. They can take any type of player.
They just need a star.
Ideally, Joel Embiid falls into their laps at No. 7, though seeing him getting past the Boston Celtics one pick earlier is rather difficult. From there, Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon could all be intriguing options.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 22
Biggest Need: Outside shooting
Sorry if you've heard this before.
The Memphis Grizzlies can't shoot the basketball, and the moves they've made over the last year—drafting Jamaal Franklin, signing Mike Miller and trading for Courtney Lee—didn't do anything to fix that glaring weakness. According to Basketball-Reference, the Grizz still made 81 fewer three-pointers than any other team in the NBA.
Drafting back at No. 22, Memphis can afford to look at a specialist.
P.J. Hairston, the sharpshooter from the D-League, should be considered the team's best option. But if he's off the board, reaching for C.J. Wilcox or Jabari Brown could be advisable. So, too, could hoping Rodney Hood falls a few spots further than expected.
Memphis simply doesn't need that much more in order to become a truly elite squad. So long as it can space the court, everything on offense will function at a much higher level, as the dominance of the post players will only be aided.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 26, No. 55
Biggest Need: Point guard help/rebounding/depth
The Miami Heat's future is mired in uncertainty so long as there's no guarantee that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will all continue calling South Beach home for the 2014-15 season and beyond.
However, in an attempt to convince the Big Three they should be coming back, the Heat can still draft for their biggest need. Well, for one of their biggest needs, as it's impossible to differentiate between the lack of point guard play that the San Antonio Spurs completely exposed, the rebounding woes and the aging/lackluster bench.
If the Heat are opting for the first option, praying that Shabazz Napier falls to No. 26 is the best course of action, though that seems increasingly unlikely. If he's off the board, it's either Jordan Clarkson from Missouri or off to the next need.
In order to shore up the rebounding problem, Mitch McGary and Jarnell Stokes are both good options. Anyone else would be a reach.
If all four of the aforementioned players are gone—which is quite unlikely—then Miami should simply turn to the best player available. After all, that quartet—some of whom are reaches at No. 26—would push other players down, leaving them available as potential steals for the Heat.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 2, No. 31, No. 36, No. 48
Biggest Need: Good players
"The Milwaukee Bucks should not be drafting to fill a specific positional need. This roster needs an injection of talent at every position, point guard to center," writes Wasserman.
At No. 2, the Bucks should have an incredibly easy decision.
With Joel Embiid suffering that now-infamous navicular fracture, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Whichever the Cleveland Cavaliers decide upon (I suspect Wiggins), the Bucks simply have to take the remaining stud.
If that's Wiggins, fine. If that's Parker, fine.
As for the three second-round picks, Milwaukee should continue with the strategy of drafting the best player available. The current keepers on the roster are flexible ones, as Giannis Antetokounmpo can play multiple positions, Khris Middleton is best served coming off the bench, and John Henson and Larry Sanders haven't yet lived up to the expectations.
Just take whoever is tops on the big board regardless of the player's reputation and position.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 13, No. 40, No. 44, No. 53
Biggest Need: Help on the wings
The Minnesota Timberwolves' needs could be drastically different if Kevin Love is traded, but for now, the wings are the areas that need the most help.
Ricky Rubio is a keeper at point guard even if his growth has stagnated until he can develop a working jumper, and the rotation of Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng should do the trick at center. With Love still at the 4 for the time being, it's clear that shooting guard and small forward are the biggest needs.
So, who fits best?
The two-way production of Gary Harris should be highly beneficial. Nik Stauskas would be the "1B" to Harris' "1A," but it's the ability of the Michigan State product to lock down defensively while serving as an off-ball threat on the more glamorous end that's most appealing to these 'Wolves.
If he's on the board at No. 13, it would be awfully difficult to avoid passing up on him.
But if both Harris and Stauskas are gone, it's time to abandon the need for shooting and instead give the roster an above-the-rim player, one coming in the form of UCLA's Zach LaVine.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 21, No. 29
Biggest Need: Backup point guard
Seeing as Derek Fisher is coaching the New York Knicks, it's going to be awfully difficult for him to come off the bench and spell Russell Westbrook.
Say what you will about Westbrook's playing style, but that makes him the only true 1-guard on the roster. Though Reggie Jackson can play as a floor general, he's still best served either starting at the 2 or coming off the bench at the same position.
Especially given Westbrook's recent knee history, finding a quality backup is a priority, and it's something that can be done at No. 21.
If Elfrid Payton somehow falls out of the lottery and all the way to No. 21, he'd be ideal. But that's highly, highly unlikely, leaving Tyler Ennis and Shabazz Napier as the more realistic options. Any of the three would help aid the youth movement in OKC, adding to a bench that already boasts intriguing young players like Steven Adams and Jeremy Lamb.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 4, No. 12
Biggest Need: Franchise point guard
The first pick is pretty obvious for the Orlando Magic, who desperately need to identify their next franchise point guard. Jameer Nelson is nearing the end of his career as an effective NBA starter, and striking now allows him to continue serving as a mentor for the challenger.
It's a role he's been willing to play so far.
"I love Jameer," Victor Oladipo explained to Philip Rossman-Reich of OrlandoMagicDaily.com just prior to the start of his rookie season. "He teaches me a little bit of everything every day. I don't even have to ask him to. He's a great vet. He's a great person to have around. I'm glad he's on my team. I'm looking forward to learning from him throughout the year."
Oladipo is not a franchise point guard, as he's best suited for the 2. But Dante Exum (if he's there) or Marcus Smart could very well fill that void.
Moving back to No. 12, the Magic need to infuse the frontcourt with more athletic talent. Nikola Vucevic is a quality starter at center, and Kyle O'Quinn and Andrew Nicholson are both good rotation options at power forward, but rim protection is needed in Orlando.
Unfortunately, Jusuf Nurkic is really the only big man option at this stage, which means a secondary need (depth) might need to be filled instead.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 3, No. 10, No. 32, No. 39, No. 47, No. 52, No. 54
Biggest Need: Talent
The Philadelphia 76ers are in fantastic shape moving forward.
Not only do they have the reigning Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, and Thaddeus Young on the roster, who are guaranteed to be joined by Nerlens Noel, fresh off his full recovery from an ACL tear, but they have seven picks in the 2014 NBA draft.
Andrew Wiggins is the ultimate goal with the No. 3 pick, though that's looking increasingly unlikely now that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks will presumably pass on an injured Joel Embiid. If Wiggins is gone, could the Sixers spring for their second hobbled big man in the past two drafts? It's a distinct possibility.
Philly really doesn't have any bad options in this draft, though.
General manager Sam Hinkie can just draft the best player available each and every time he's up, inundating the roster with even more young talent while constantly working the phones and trying to package picks for better ones and/or more established options.
Emerging from this draft with Dante Exum, Nik Stauskas and another first-round pick is quite possible.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 14, No. 18, No. 27, No. 50
Biggest Need: Post scoring
The Phoenix Suns shocked the world by remaining in the hunt for a Western Conference playoff spot throughout the 2013-14 season, but they could make things go even more smoothly in 2014-15 by adding a quality post presence.
No one filled that role on a consistent basis, as the big men were all either limited offensive players or guys who preferred to step out to the perimeter and rain jumpers on the defense rather than put their back to the basket.
Unfortunately for the desert-based organization, though, this is not the draft for post players. There are guards and versatile forwards galore but precious few players who can immediately contribute by going to work in the paint.
That means it's on to the second need unless Jusuf Nurkic is still on the board or general manager Ryan McDonough packages picks—both this year and next—in order to move up and take Julius Randle or Noah Vonleh.
That secondary need will either be finding a backup point guard as an upgrade from Ish Smith—who was serviceable, but not special—or helping shore up the shooting guard rotation. It all depends on who's available, though Elfrid Payton and James Young would make for a great combo at No. 14 and No. 18.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 8
Biggest Need: Shooting
After Ben McLemore's lackluster rookie campaign and Rudy Gay's positive decision to quit firing away from downtown with such high frequency, the Sacramento Kings are left looking for more shooting. It can come from virtually any position.
At No. 8, there are a few intriguing options.
The first is Doug McDermott, quite possibly the most talented shooter in this star-studded draft class, one who could come in and make an immediate impact next to DeMarcus Cousins. Defense would be problematic for that two-man scoring combo, but it's a problem worth having for an offense that has struggled so much in years past.
Second would be Nik Stauskas, who can light it up from beyond the arc. He's not the shot-creator McDermott is, but there's no denying his ability to catch fire when pulling the trigger from downtown.
Of course, Sac-Town could go another direction.
With Isaiah Thomas set to earn a big payday as a restricted free agent, it's quite possible the Kings could elect to take Marcus Smart—if he's even available—and save themselves a large chunk of cash.
San Antonio Spurs
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 30, No. 58, No. 60
Biggest Need: Depth
Let's just agree to trust the San Antonio Spurs.
Whoever they draft, chances are he'll probably turn out to be a pretty decent player. Few GMs have a track record like R.C. Buford.
Then again, even Buford isn't perfect.
Heading into the title defense, the Spurs just need to add more depth as a way to withstand any injuries. If Boris Diaw or Matt Bonner leave, maybe they'll become rotation members. Maybe not. The point here is to have more viable options.
Ideally, those options come on the wings. That's the biggest hole for the Spurs right now, assuming one even exists, and this organization can never have too many players it can turn into quality shooters off the bench.
Cleanthony Early out of Wichita State is the ideal pick here, but there are countless options.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 20, No. 37, No. 59
Biggest Need: Backup point guard
Even if Kyle Lowry is re-signed, the Toronto Raptors will still have a weak rotation at point guard.
Greivis Vasquez is a restricted free agent. Julyan Stone and Dwight Buycks have non-guaranteed contracts, not that a team potentially contending for a berth in the NBA Finals wants either of them as a primary backup at such an important position.
That's why Tyler Ennis is the best realistic choice at No. 20. And he's a guy who general manager Masai Ujiri has already spoken highly of.
"Fantastic kid. Very straightforward. I was just talking about him with coach (Dwane) Casey, he'd just met him," the GM said, via TSN.ca (h/t Bleacher Report's Christopher Walder). "Super kid. Very professional and carries himself the right way."
Ennis would be a great option for the Raptors, but so too would Shabazz Napier if he's still available.
Should both floor generals have come off the board by No. 20, that's when it's time to add more versatility to the frontcourt or find a quality perimeter defender.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 5, No. 23, No. 35
Biggest Need: Offense
According to Basketball-Reference, only the Chicago Bulls scored fewer points per game than the Utah Jazz during the 2013-14 season. Granted, Utah soars all the way up to No. 25 when possessions are factored into the equation, but a bottom-six offensive rating still isn't anything to brag about.
Especially when there's no guarantee that Gordon Hayward will be back.
Even if the Butler product is returning to Salt Lake City, Utah can't afford to continue having him serve as the No. 1 scoring option. If he's going to, he at least has to be surrounded by more talent so he doesn't keep drawing an inordinate amount of defensive attention with no repercussions for the double-teams.
Finding a way to trade up and draft Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins would be ideal, but the more realistic option involves selecting Noah Vonleh at No. 5 and hoping his floor-spacing tendencies, physical gifts and athleticism do the trick. He's one of the few scorers capable of working in the post and stretching a defense out with his jumper.
With Utah's other picks, the strategy of drafting the best player available is back in effect. This team needs talent regardless of what position it comes at.
Picks in 2014 NBA Draft: No. 46
Biggest Need: Best player available
The Washington Wizards don't really know what their roster is going to look like after the 2014 offseason.
Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin are restricted free agents. Trevor Ariza, Drew Gooden, Marcin Gortat, Al Harrington, Chris Singleton and Garrett Temple are all unrestricted free agents. Andre Miller doesn't have a guaranteed contract.
If there's any team suited to wait until its up and then select the name that has inexplicably dropped despite sitting atop its draft board, it's Washington.
In terms of fitting the current roster, Thanasis Antetokounmpo is an intriguing player, but he's only one of many. The Wizards could justify just about any pick here so long as he's not a massive reach.