NBA Draft 2011: Five Teams with the Most on the Line on June 23rd
5) Washington Wizards
For a team seemingly trying to model its rebuilding process after the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Wizards can't afford to miss with their two first-round picks. They may look to package the picks (sixth and 18th) to move up in the lottery to find a player with more star potential.
If the Wizards stay put, they should take high-flying Kawhi Leonard. Leonard will team with Javale McGee to give John Wall two partners in crime to throw ally-oops to. Wall's improvement in his second season should be enough to see a serious uptick in the win column.
Even if they don't improve enough to return the playoffs, the addition of Leonard would make them a frequent participant on SportsCenter, a fan favorite, and a 'team of the future' candidate. Think 2012's version of the Clippers. At 18, the Wiz should consider a stretch-the-floor forward such as Kyle Singler or UCLA's Tyler Honeycutt.
4) Utah Jazz
After the Deron Williams trade, Utah has a solid core to build around. It has holdovers Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, and gained the explosive potential of Derrick Favors. A lot of mock drafts have Utah going with Brandon Knight here, citing the 'take the best player available' theory.
That theory generally applies to teams in need of talent across the board. Utah is not one of those teams, as they have a solid playoff core, and may need one more player. Harris will not necessarily be easy to trade if they bring in Knight, as he has three years, at $9 million per season, left on his deal.
With the third and 12th overall picks to play with, Utah has a great opportunity to add to a talented roster. Either Enes Kanter of Derrick Williams will be on the board at three, and Utah must snatch one up. At 12, the Jazz can look for instant depth or a long-term prospect.
3) Chicago Bulls
The Bulls are one player away from being a true title contender. With two picks in this year's draft, plus a Bobcats' pick in the future, Chicago has a lot to play with if it wants to move up and find that player in the draft.
There are some solid shooting guard prospects that project going in the 10-20 range, which is plausible for Chicago to trade into. Alec Burks and Klay Thompson both have a true shooting guard's build at 6'6".
Of the two, Thompson looks like the better player to fit the Bulls' gameplan. His shooting percentages are higher across the board, especially from three-point land, where he shot 40 percent. He also averaged more assists and steals.
2) Cleveland Cavaliers
Nobody has more to lose in this draft, as blowing the No. 1 overall pick would set the franchise back for a decade. However, with the top and fourth overall picks, they have been gift-wrapped an opportunity to jump start their post-LeBron rebuilding process.
If they can find a way to pry the second pick from Minnesota, and this potential has been rumored, they must do it. I see Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams and Enes Kanter as far-and-away the best prospects in the draft. Landing two of those three would be a huge step for Cleveland.
1) Boston Celtics
The Kendrick Perkins trade now looks like a disaster. If Shaq was anything but a 100 percent guarantee to be Shaq in the playoffs, then there is no way Boston should have made that trade. And clearly, he was not.
As it stands now, Boston may have one more run at this thing, and needs to find an instant replacement at center. Boston's championship dreams rely on its ability to make a deal to get in the top 15 to find an impact center.
If it can do that, it must pick up Markieff Morris. Morris did the dirty work for Kansas last season as his twin brother Marcus got more of the publicity. That is the type of player Boston needs. If the Celtics stay put, their last gasp is Jordan Williams from Maryland. Williams ate up the boards (12 per game), and according to the Washington Post is sporting a post-college life slimmed-down physique.
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