2011 NBA Draft Lottery: The Latest Buzz on What Every Team Wants
As the fate of losing franchises will be decided this upcoming Tuesday in the NBA Draft Lottery, teams have a list of prospects that they would pick in the best- and worst-case scenarios.
Anything can happen in the draft lottery, but most GMs are basing their choices on which prospects to scout through their likely position in the draft. For example, a team that has the 14th best chance to win the lottery won't spend most of their off-season scouting a prospect projected to go #1 overall.
A few years back, the Chicago Bulls had the 9th best chance to land the first pick in the NBA Draft and when fate caught the NBA world by surprise and the Bulls won out, it shifted all the pre-lottery mock drafts a great deal.
So, here are all the lottery teams and their most likely targets for this year's NBA Draft.
Chance of getting the #1 pick: 25%
Targeted Prospects: Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, and Kemba Walker
Believe it or not, the T-Wolves' decision in the draft will rest upon what they decide to do with Ricky Rubio in the future. If they win the lottery and get the #1 overall pick, will Rubio still be considered their franchise point guard, or will they draft Kyrie Irving and trade Rubio?
Who Minnesota is going for in the draft is hard to predict due to the many questions that surround this team. At point guard, they have a nice prospect in Ricky Rubio, a promising wing player in Wesley Johnson, an emerging forward in Michael Beasley, a rebounding stud in Kevin Love, and at center they recently invested in Darko Milicic, signing him to an expensive contract.
Chance if getting the #1 pick: 19% and 28%
Probable Prospects: Derrick Williams, Kyrie Irving, and Enes Kanter
Right now, Cleveland just needs help, plain and simple. They have some nice pieces that could help in the future like J.J. Hickson and Ramon Sessions, but those two by themselves won't get a team to the playoffs. The Cavs might as well choose the best available prospect in the draft, because almost all of the positions in their starting lineup need to be filled.
I think that the Cavs will hope to land Derrick Williams, just for the fact that he'll come to Cleveland wearing #23, and Cleveland fans will immediately love him for it. If Williams is gone by the time the Cavs pick, they'll have to take a look at Irving, even though he would take over Baron Davis' position after Davis played exceptionally well for the Cavs. As for Kanter, well, we all know that Ryan Hollins isn't what you would call a "franchise-cornerstone" at center.
Chance of getting the #1 pick: 15.6%
Probable Prospects: Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter, and Jan Vesely
Right now, the Raptors are going through the aftershocks of drafting a player #1 overall that hasn't produced like they hoped he would. The Raptors showed they were a team that could score with the best in the league, but couldn't rebound to save their lives, which eventually left them with too many games in the loss column.
As for the Raptor's targets, two of them are the best rebounders in this year's draft and would make an immediate impact on the boards. Of course, there are the two prospects you just can't pass on in Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, but the biggest need for the Raptors is a paint presence to help with rebounding. Andrea Bargnani was supposed to fill that role when the Raptors drafted him, but all he's done well for the team is score.
Bargnani needs to move back to power forward so that the Raptors can get some other pieces to do the "banging" work in the paint.
Chance of getting the #1 pick: 11.9%
Probable Prospects: Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter, Jan Vesely, and Marcus Morris
The Wizards are starting to look like the Memphis Grizzles did a couple of years ago when they had one of the best young talents in the league, but always ended up in the lottery year after year. Maybe they're one good young piece (or trade) away, but one thing this team needs to improve on in order to make a solid run at the playoffs is a post presence on offense.
Kyrie Irving, who is a "can't miss" prospect for other lottery teams, would be skipped over by the Wizards because they already drafted a point guard #1 overall in last year's draft. That leaves the Wizards with the decision to go for either Derrick Williams or Enes Kanter (and they'll most likely take Williams). Kanter will fill the biggest need, but Derrick Williams can be a superstar in this league. If the lottery is unkind to the Wizards and they end up with a pick later than #4, then I could see Marcus Morris slipping in, or possibly Jan Vesely.
Chance of getting the #1 pick: 8.8%
Probable Prospects: Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker
The Kings are in need of a franchise point guard, as they showed many times last season. When tempers flare or the offense is stale, nobody is there to command the squad. The Kings will most likely go for Brandon Knight from Kentucky over Kemba Walker from UConn. In order for Walker to be productive, he needs to dominate the basketball, which is too similar to what the Kings already have in Tyreke Evans.
The last thing this organization wants is two guards fighting for possessions every time down the floor.
Knight, on the other hand, can just hang around the perimeter while Tyreke Evans penetrates and set up to to catch and shoot. Another reason why they might take Knight over Walker is because Knight has the tools to guard the top point guards in the league with his long arms.
Chances of getting the #1 pick: 6.3% and 0.7%
Probable Prospects: Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight, or Kawhi Leonard
Recently, the Jazz got point guard Devin Harris in a trade in order to get Derrick Favors. Harris hasn't played badly, but he just isn't a long-term type of player that a team would want to be a cornerstone of their franchise.
After losing a star in Deron Williams, the Jazz can draft a player that plays very similarly to Williams in Kemba Walker. Walker may not have the athleticism that Williams had, but he brings the same level of quickness and has a strong frame. An offensive playmaker outside of the post was what was missing in Utah, and their only player that scored on a consistent basis was Al Jefferson. When teams started to double Jefferson, the Jazz started losing games. Hopefully, Walker can spread the floor and create problems for opposing defenses.
Kawhi Leonard would probably be the second option if the best point guards in the draft are unavailable. Leonard is a great energy player that can give the team a lot of momentum in game situations.
Chance of getting the #1 pick: 4.3%
Probable Prospects: Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, and Jonas Valanciunas
Although last year the Pistons drafted Greg Monroe from Georgetown, they are still without a defensive presence in the paint like they had in Ben Wallace a few years back. The Pistons have a couple of issues they need to address, first being the defense in the paint, and second being their lack of a franchise point guard.
It's unlikely that a point guard would slip to Detroit, so they're more likely going to draft a big man to help on defense. Bismack Biyombo seems like the prospect that fits the best with the Pistons, and has even drawn some comparisons to Ben Wallace. Biyombo is a bit undersized, but his wingspan and athletic ability allow him to block shots at any given opportunity. Biyombo would give the Pistons a two-headed monster in the paint, with Greg Monroe handling the work on offense while Biyombo handles the defense.
Another prospect the Pistons might take a look at is Jonas Valanciunas, but there are many questions to whether or not he will be able to play this season because of some complications with the contract buyout from his club overseas.
Chances of getting the #1 pick: 2.8%
Probable Prospects: Kawhi Leonard, Alec Burks, Jonas Valanciunas
Last year, the Bobcats didn't have a pick in the draft, which turned out to be a huge mistake given their mid-season decision to blow up the roster and rebuild with young players. Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace had some injury problems, but after Wallace got traded, it became clear that Jackson would be next to go.
I wouldn't be surprised if Kawhi Leonard landed in Charlotte, with all of the comparisons he gets to a young Gerald Wallace. Leonard isn't going to resurrect the Bobcats, but he can be a key role player in the future. Alec Burks is another prospect they have on their list. Burks has amazing slashing ability, but no jump shot whatsoever. If the Bobcats decide to go after Alec Burks, it would be clear that they no longer what to be associated with Stephen Jackson and they have moved on.
Chances of getting the #1 pick: 1.1%
Probable Prospects: Alec Burks and Jordan Hamilton
The Milwaukee Bucks have a pretty decent roster, they're already set at both point guard and center and just need to fill in the positions in between. The Bucks can go after a shooting guard with both Alec Burks and Jordan Hamilton. Burks attacks the rim with ease and plays very good defense, while Hamilton is a high volume scorer who can score from anywhere on the floor but doesn't put the same kind of effort in on defense.
They both have good size and a nice frame, but Alec Burks seems like the best choice between the two. Burks can help the Bucks become more of a fast-break team than they were last year with his ability to run the floor.
Golden State Warriors
Chances of getting the #1 pick: 0.8%
Probable Prospects: Marcus Morris and Tristan Thompson
The Warriors have always had a nice set of guards to fill the backcourt, but they got shredded by opposing front-courts last year who took advantage of match-ups on offense. Last year, they tried to improve their inside defense by drafting Ekpe Udoh out of Baylor. Udoh has been a nice piece, but often gets into foul trouble and has to sit out. This team needs depth, and I wouldn't be surprised if they add a nice frontcourt piece in the draft.
Power forwards Marcus Morris and Tristan Thompson would contribute immediately in the paint, whether it's defending the rim or just doing the dirty work with offensive rebounds. Marcus Morris may be the ideal pick due to his versatility, and he has the ability to spread the floor with his shooting range. The Warriors have a nice lineup, and I believe they might just be a couple of players away from making the playoffs again.
Chances of getting the #1 pick: 0.6%
Probable Prospects: Jimmer Fredette and Jordan Hamilton
The Suns, like the San Antonio Spurs, look like ticking time bombs with the number of players they have over the age of 33. This team is still good, and contends for the playoffs almost every year, but the squad as a whole is growing stale, starting with point guard Steve Nash. Nash isn't a horrible player, but I think it's time for the Suns to move on and trade him for a young asset while he still has value.
When you take a look at Jimmer Fredette, he looks like the type of player that would fit well in a Phoenix Suns jersey. He is similar to Nash with his scoring abilities and questionable defense, but he doesn't distribute the ball anywhere near as well as Nash. The Suns look like they're leaning towards the rebuilding process with Fredette as the cornerstone. The Suns may also take a look at Texas swingman Jordan Hamilton as a replacement for aging players like Vince Carter or Grant Hill. There should be plenty of options for the Suns in this draft that can help them rebuild quickly.
Chances of getting the #1 pick: 0.5%
Probable Prospects: Tristan Thompson and Kenneth Faried
The Rockets are as desperate for a solid big man as any team in the league. They've spent the last year stockpiling young big men in the event that Yao Ming can't successfully return from injury. They also need to find a player who can complement Luis Scola right away. Right now, the Rockets have three young prospects in Jordan Hill, Patrick Patterson, and Hasheem Thabeet. All three have a spark of greatness in them, but none show the potential to replace what would be lost in Yao anytime soon.
Right now, the only way Houston can improve is through is the draft, and there are some amazing post players that could definitely give the team a boost, whether it's through grabbing boards or blocking shots. Tristan Thompson and Kenneth Faried could provide the Rockets with more bodies in the paint, and could possibly be a part of the rebuilding process moving forward. I don't see the Rockets going elsewhere, given how set they are at the point guard and shooting guard positions.