2011 NBA Draft Lottery: 5 Teams That Could Make the Playoffs with a Great Pick

Michael FoglianoAnalyst IMay 16, 2011

2011 NBA Draft Lottery: 5 Teams That Could Make the Playoffs with a Great Pick

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards looks on against the Oklahoma City Thunderduring the second half at the Verizon Center on March 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    It's known by many that this year's draft class is not the best, but if certain teams land a great pick, then they can find their way to the playoffs next season.

    The NBA is turning into a fast pace game and that is why many of the young, athletic teams are flourishing in it including the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks and the Philadelphia 76ers.

    The majority of teams on this list are young, on the rise and overlooked by many. 

    Now we're off to the five teams that can make a run for the playoffs if they land a great lottery pick.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 27:  Brandon Jennings #3 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots the ball over Jason Smith #14 of the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on October 27, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.   The Hornets defeated the Bucks 95-91.   NOTE TO
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    The Milwaukee Bucks are a very solid team that is always on the bubble to make the playoffs.

    They sealed the deal last year and brought the Atlanta Hawks to a Game 7 and could have won the series. In my mind, they can make the playoffs again and possibly give a team a run for their money.

    They have one of the best centers in the game right now being Andrew Bogut and an on the rise point guard in Brandon Jennings.

    John Salmons has emerged as a solid go-to option and can play the two and the three.

    If the Bucks land a great pick to play alongside Salmons or a legitimate big man to play next to Bogut, they can make a run for the playoffs.

Golden State Warriors

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    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 21:  Monta Ellis #8 is congratulated by Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors after Ellis made a shot with less than a second left in regulation to send their game against the Sacramento Kings into overtime at Oracle Arena o
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    If this team just decided to play a little bit of defense they would make the playoffs every year.

    With a core three players of Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and David Lee, how can you not make the playoffs?

    Curry is already establishing himself as a top ten point guard, Ellis is a non-stop scorer and Lee is an established All-Star power forward in the league.

    If the Warriors land a solid center in place of Andris Biedrins, then their lineup is set.

    The talent is already there, but if they land a great player that is a good defender and the team starts incorporating defense, then I think the Warriors will make the playoffs without a doubt.

Washington Wizards

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05:  John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards puts up a shot against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Verizon Center on March 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    For some reason the Washington Wizards are never talked about, but I see a lot of potential in them.

    After receiving the first overall pick last year, they drafted super athletic point guard John Wall. Wall is a top point guard in the making and already proved he can find his way to the basket in the NBA.

    Washington also has young talent in JaVale McGee and sharpshooter Nick Young.

    The Wizards have a lot of young players and they will be a fast and athletic team entering next season. If the Wizards land a solid small forward in the draft that ends up living up to potential, then they have a good chance at making the playoffs. 

Houston Rockets

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Kevin Martin #12 of the Houston Rockets in action against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on December 20, 2010 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or u
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    The Rockets just missed the playoffs by three games behind the Grizzlies and I believe if they land someone good to help them out, they can land a spot easily.

    Houston already has two near superstars in Kevin Martin and Luis Scola. Plus, Kyle Lowry emerged toward the end of the season consistently, proving that he can be a solid everyday point guard for them.

    They need a better than Chuck Hayes if they want to be a contender and Yao Ming is not coming back from the looks of it.

    The Rockets will be searching for the scarce big men in the draft, but if they land a lottery pick and center then their chances at the playoffs are very high.

Utah Jazz

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 5:  Al Jefferson #25 of the Utah Jazz shoots over Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 5, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Utah Jazz just missed the playoffs this season after trading their superstar point guard, Deron Williams

    But not to fear Utah, much help is coming your way.

    The Jazz are a very young team and have two players from the lottery last year including Gordon Hayward (drafted) and third overall pick Derrick Favors (via Williams trade).

    But wait...there's more. Utah has two lottery picks in this upcoming draft. Theoretically speaking, one is the sixth and the other is the 12th. However, we all know that picks never come out to what they are expected to be.

    The Jazz already have solid players in Paul Millsap, who is just 24, Devin Harris, Al Jefferson and the two young players we mentioned above.

    If Utah lands two solid players, or even just one, they will find their way to get over the hump into the playoffs.

Only If They Get a Superstar...

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    CLEVELAND - MARCH 29: Baron Davis #85 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates after his team scored against the Miami Heat during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 29, 2011 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expres
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    Alright, I know they finished last in the Eastern Conference standings this season. However, the Cavs have a great coach at the helm and a lot of young talent.

    Despite their record, they have a lot talented players that seem to be overlooked by fans including, J.J Hickson, Daniel Gibson, Antawn Jamison, Baron Davis and Anderson Varejao.

    I understand none of them are superstars, nor can lead a team. But realize that these were the same players that were always in the top of the standings when there was a superstar on their team.

    Notice how each of these players are great role players and would focus only on their individual role if they had a superstar. That's exactly what they did that when they had James on their team.

    I will be the first to admit that this draft class is not that great, but if Cleveland gets lucky and their pick becomes a superstar, then they just may find themselves sneaking into the playoffs.

    Bottom Line: The only way they do is if their team lands a superstar, which is banking on a lot.