Every NBA Team's Biggest Hole to Fill After Free Agency Madness

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 12, 2022

Every NBA Team's Biggest Hole to Fill After Free Agency Madness

0 of 30

    G Fiume/Getty Images

    NBA free agency is cooling off and team rosters are filling up, meaning it's time to take a fresh look at where every franchise stands.

    Even after a flurry of signings there's still plenty of holes to fill, especially after some blockbuster trades featuring players like Rudy Gobert and Dejounte Murray left rosters unbalanced.

    Be it losing a starter in free agency, needing more depth at a certain spot or still requiring a specific skill set, these are the areas every NBA team will need to address before the start of the 2022-23 season.

Atlanta Hawks: Veteran Point Guard

1 of 30

    Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

    The Hawks did quite well by getting a young star entering his prime in Dejounte Murray, especially by only giving up one rotation member (Danilo Gallinari) in a picks-based package.

    This means Atlanta should be quite deep at every position and has the trade assets (John Collins, Onyeka Okongwu, De'Andre Hunter, AJ Griffin) to go chasing another star if they want.

    If we're nitpicking, however, adding a veteran point guard to go along with the playmaking trio of Trae Young, Murray and newly-signed Aaron Holiday would be nice, especially since Delon Wright left to sign with the Washington Wizards.

    All three point guards are still just 25 or younger but carry limited playoff experience. Signing a vet for insurance and locker room leadership would help bring the best out of all three and ensure everything runs smoothly.

    Players like Eric Bledsoe, DJ Augustin or even bringing Lou Williams back as deep rotation pieces should help balance the roster and keep the workload at a reasonable level for Young and Murray.

Boston Celtics: Nothing?

2 of 30

    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    As good as Marcus Smart was, the Celtics could still use another ball-handler and table-setter for the rest of this roster.

    (The Celtics trade for Malcolm Brogdon).

    OK, then, shooting is what this roster needs, preferably someone with size who can play multiple positions off the bench.

    (Boston signs Danilo Gallinari to a two-year, $13.3 million deal).

    Well, then, umm, I've got nothing.

    After a run to the NBA Finals, the Celtics have picked up two really good rotation pieces to plug behind a starting five that had a sparkling net rating of plus-24.6 last season, the best among any unit that spent at least 200 minutes or more together.

    What was once an inexperienced bench has added Brogdon, Gallinari and Derrick White over the past five months, making this the best 10-man rotation in the NBA.

Brooklyn Nets: Alpha Scorer If Kevin Durant Is Traded

3 of 30

    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Amid all the drama surrounding Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets have quietly had a nice summer filling out the rest of the roster.

    Getting T.J. Warren on a minimum deal could be the steal of free agency if he's fully recovered from two years of foot problems. Bringing Nic Claxton and Patty Mills back was important for the rotation, and trading for Royce O'Neale gives Brooklyn a playoff-tested three-and-D forward.

    These are all good role players to place around Durant, but what if he's not there?

    Assuming the Nets honor Durant's trade request, they'll need another alpha scorer for the rest of the players to feed off of. Brooklyn's 2023 draft pick is under the Houston Rockets control with a swap option, so there's no reason to tank.

    Getting a player who can still fill Durant's role as a high-volume bucket-getter like Brandon Ingram from the New Orleans Pelicans would be ideal. A trade with the Phoenix Suns, for example, centered around Mikal Bridges and draft picks isn't going to do much to help the Nets make a deep playoff run next season the way a player like Ingram would.

    With Irving's ever-questionable availability, Ben Simmons' reluctance to be a big-time scorer and Durant with one foot out the door, the Nets will need a new go-to offensive option.

Charlotte Hornets: Backup Point Guard

4 of 30

    Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

    Even if Miles Bridges doesn't return to the Hornets next season following an arrest on domestic violence charges, Charlotte can turn to their former starter, P.J. Washington, to fill his spot.

    Center was the primary area of concern last year, though selecting Duke big man Mark Williams with the 15th overall pick to go along with Mason Plumlee and 2021 19th overall pick Kai Jones brings enough bodies to the position.

    Charlotte should be on the lookout for a backup to LaMelo Ball, a spot they even tried to fill with Isaiah Thomas for 17 games last season.

    Terry Rozier can fill minutes as a backup 1, but the Hornets should look for another ball-handler (Eric Bledsoe, Dennis Schroder, Austin Rivers) to help relieve Ball for stretches.

Chicago Bulls: Three-and-D Wing

5 of 30

    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    The Bulls may have more ball-dominant players than anyone in the league after re-signing Zach LaVine, drafting Dalen Terry and picking up Goran Dragic in free agency to add to a core that already features DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, Coby White, Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu.

    If anything, Chicago needs more players who can thrive at filling in the gaps as spot-up shooters, defenders, rebounders and screen setters.

    Patrick Williams checks a lot of these boxes, but even the No. 4 pick in the 2020 draft will need an increase in touches to reach his potential.

    Even if the free-agent market is a little bleak on three-and-D stars, Chicago could look to flip a player like White in a trade to help better balance out the roster.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Playmaking Wing

6 of 30

    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    The Cavs were the only top-five defensive team not to make the Conference Finals last year or at least come within one game of doing so (sorry, Phoenix Suns).

    What ultimately held the Cavaliers back was an offense that fell short on playmakers following injuries to Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio, relying on players like Rajon Rondo to fill big minutes behind Darius Garland.

    Cleveland has a solid collection of wings in Isaac Okoro, Lauri Markkanen, Cedi Osman and first-round pick Ochai Agbaji, but none are efficient playmakers. Caris LeVert is the closest to what the Cavs truly need, although his 20.5 percent assist rate following a trade to Cleveland was the worst mark since his rookie year.

    Rubio signed a three-year deal to return but likely won't be ready for the start of the season while returning from a torn ACL. The Cavs could use a playmaking wing to help keep the offense humming.

Dallas Mavericks: A Jalen Brunson Replacement

7 of 30

    Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

    The Mavs were already a middle-of-the-pack offensive team last season, ranking 14th overall (112.5 rating), even with Jalen Brunson. A trade for Christian Wood and the return of Tim Hardaway Jr. from a broken foot will help, but they still need offensive creation from the backcourt.

    Not only is Brunson gone, but Trey Burke was part of the package that was sent to the Houston Rockets for Wood. Unless the Mavs trust Frank Ntilikina, they'll want to add another ball-handler next to Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie.

    This could involve picking up a veteran point guard off the free-agent list or getting really creative with a trade for a low-stock star like Kyrie Irving or Ben Simmons.

    Dallas could eventually have another star guard in Jaden Hardy, but expecting the rookie to be a big-time contributor after a rough G League season is too much of an ask right now.

Denver Nuggets: Rim-Protecting Backup Center

8 of 30

    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    If there's one weakness in two-time MVP Nikola Jokic's game, it's anchoring a defense. The 27-year-old allowed opponents to shoot 64.7 percent at the rim, a mark that ranked 26th out of the 29 players who defended 300 such shots or more.

    Denver, for some reason, signed veteran DeAndre Jordan at the start of free agency to be Jokic's backup, even though the 33-year-old gave up 62.2 percent of his looks at the rim.

    Jordan also registered a swing rating of minus-9.5 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers last season, while Jokic improved the Nuggets by 16.4 points per 100 possessions. In other words, Denver will get destroyed when Jordan fills minutes for Jokic this season.

    Current free agents like Hassan Whiteside and LaMarcus Aldridge would have been better options than Jordan and should still be considered as signings. Any phone calls to Markieff Morris would likely go unanswered.

Detroit Pistons: 3-Point Shooting

9 of 30

    Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

    Detroit had one of the best drafts by selecting Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren. It also plucked Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel for nothing from the New York Knicks and re-signed (still promising) Marvin Bagley III.

    Outside of Burks, however, none of these additions really do much to help an outside attack that ranked 29th in three-point accuracy last season (32.6 percent).

    Noel has made two total three-pointers in his career, Bagley is a career 29.1 percent shooter from deep, and even Ivey nailed just 32.2 percent of his looks at Purdue.

    Detroit needs more floor-spacers for Cade Cunningham to deliver the ball to to help keep the offense open.

Golden State Warriors: Overall Depth

10 of 30

    Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

    The cost of keeping a championship team together proved too rich for even the Warriors, an organization whose roster and luxury tax bill project to exceed a whopping $332 million next season.

    As a result, Golden State lost some key pieces off their bench to free agency.

    Gary Payton II left for the Portland Trail Blazers, Otto Porter Jr. for the Toronto Raptors, Damion Lee for the Phoenix Suns, Juan Toscano-Anderson for the Los Angeles Lakers and Nemanja Bjelica for Fenerbahce Beko of the BSL in Turkey.

    While the Warriors were able to re-sign Kevon Looney, they'll miss the depth the others provided last season.

    Golden State will still be all right if James Wiseman (who's currently playing in Summer League) can return, and second-year players like Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody are ready to take on bigger roles. Getting Donte DiVincenzo was huge as well.

    With players like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green slowly inching away from their primes more by the year, the Warriors could still use a few end-of-the-rotation vets to help make up for the players they lost in free agency.

Houston Rockets: Impact Veterans

11 of 30

    Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

    Officially parting ways with John Wall and trading Christian Wood along with adding three rookies has made a young team even more youthful in Houston.

    Eric Gordon is still around for now, although he'll almost certainly be traded either by the start of training camp or the February deadline. This leaves few vets on a roster that could use some grown-up presence.

    Players such as David Nwaba, Boban Marjanovic and Trey Burke may not even be in the regular rotation, as this is a roster that features a ton of young talent.

    No team, not even rebuilding ones, should remove all the adults from the room, which is something this Rockets team is in danger of doing. Veterans matter to a young player's development, and Houston shouldn't be afraid to look to add one or two more to a roster that's nearly at its offseason max.

Indiana Pacers: Frontcourt Playmaking

12 of 30

    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Even if Deandre Ayton ends up with the Pacers, Indiana will still need some more playmaking out of its frontcourt to help take the pressure off what's now become an extremely young guard rotation with Malcolm Brogdon gone.

    Domantas Sabonis was one of the best passing big men in the league during his time with the Pacers and carried a guard-esque assist rate of 22.2 percent last season.

    Between the current bigs of Myles Turner, Jalen Smith, Isaiah Jackson, Oshae Brissett and Daniel Theis, none had an assist rate above 6.4 percent last year.

    No one's asking for someone to make a Nikola Jokic-type impact here, but with a young backcourt of Tyrese Haliburton and rookie Bennedict Mathurin, adding a willing ball-mover who can play in the short pick-and-roll or pass from the elbows would add a new dimension to the offense.

Los Angeles Clippers: Backup Center

13 of 30

    Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

    If Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are healthy next season, the Clippers could easily be the best and deepest team in basketball.

    After signing John Wall, Los Angeles has three or more quality players at every position.

    Every one, that is, except center.

    Losing backup big man Isaiah Hartenstein to the New York Knicks was inevitable given what the Clippers could offer in the taxpayer mid-level exception, meaning another center should be brought in at the veteran's minimum.

    Hassan Whiteside would be an excellent fit as a shot-blocker and rebounder off the bench, or former champions such as Tristan Thompson and Dwight Howard are still available as well.

    The Clippers could use a lot of small lineups with Marcus Morris Sr., Robert Covington or Nicolas Batum at center, but adding some size in case of emergency behind Ivica Zubac would be smart.

Los Angeles Lakers: Shooting

14 of 30

    Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

    For a Lakers team that already struggled shooting the ball, here's an alarming stat: None of the top six players in three-point percentage from last year's team have been re-signed.

    Los Angeles' best returning marksman? LeBron James, at 35.9 percent.

    Malik Monk left for the Sacramento Kings while players such as Carmelo Anthony, Wayne Ellington, Avery Bradley, DJ Augustin and others are still floating around in free agency.

    The Lakers still have some of the worst three-point shooters in the NBA with Anthony Davis (18.6 percent), Talen Horton-Tucker (26.9 percent) and Russell Westbrook (29.8 percent), two of whom are guaranteed to be in the starting lineup with James.

    Even prize offseason signing Lonnie Walker IV made just 31.4 percent of his outside attempts for the San Antonio Spurs last season.

    Teams are doing themselves an injustice by not putting shooters around James, one of the greatest playmakers the game has ever seen. If this roster stands as in, the Lakers could be the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA next year.

Memphis Grizzlies: Floor-Spacing Bigs

15 of 30

    Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

    With Jaren Jackson Jr. in danger of missing the first few months of the regular season following foot surgery, Memphis is suddenly short on bigs who can shoot.

    The remaining three most-played power forward/centers—Steven Adams, Brandon Clarke and Xavier Tillman Sr.—combined to make just 15 total three-pointers last season, doing so at a 20.8 percent clip. This is a group that needs Jackson to be the team's floor-spacer and help open up driving lanes for Ja Morant.

    Rookies Jake LaRavia and David Roddy could both see rotation minutes at the start of the season with Jackson out, as they may be the team's best three-point shooting options at power forward already.

    Veterans such as Markieff Morris, Carmelo Anthony or Juancho Hernangomez could be free-agent options for the Grizzlies if they prefer a little more experience instead.

Miami Heat: Starting Power Forward

16 of 30

    Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

    P.J. Tucker leaving for the Philadelphia 76ers is a huge loss for Miami, as there isn't really a proven backup to plug in behind him.

    As Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes:

    "With the Heat losing P.J. Tucker to Philadelphia, (Caleb) Martin stands as arguably the best internal option to be the Heat's starting power forward if the season started today. The most plausible way that would change is if the Heat acquires a power forward via trade—Miami remains in pursuit of Brooklyn's Kevin Durant—or if coach Erik Spoelstra decides to open games with a small lineup featuring Jimmy Butler at power forward, Bam Adebayo and three wing players."

    Martin is a bit undersized to be a full-time 4 at 6'5" and 205 pounds, but playing him there keeps Butler from getting beat up every night, something the Heat should avoid at all costs.

    Adebayo is athletic enough to play power forward, but it would mean finding a three-point shooting center to put next to him.

    We'll trust Pat Riley to figure it out, but using Martin or Butler at the position in big minutes isn't a good long-term plan.

Milwaukee Bucks: Point Guard Depth

17 of 30

    Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

    Re-signing Bobby Portis (and Serge Ibaka to a lesser extent) was critical for this Bucks frontcourt, and adding Joe Ingles gives Milwaukee a sniper and playmaker on the wing, assuming he makes a full recovery from a torn ACL.

    This shifts the focus to the backcourt, specifically the point guard position.

    Jrue Holiday is coming off arguably the best season of his career and can still be relied upon for big minutes even now at age 32. Behind him, however, the Bucks could use some more able bodies.

    Jevon Carter is fine, but he's ideally a third option as a floor general on a championship team. George Hill, 36, looked absolutely cooked in the playoffs, scoring just five points on 1-of-5 shooting and handing out three assists in 76 total minutes.

    If the Bucks can get a player such as Dennis Schroder or DJ Augustin on a minimum deal, either would be an upgrade as a primary backup behind Holiday.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Point-of-Attack Defenders

18 of 30

    David Berding/Getty Images

    Trading for Rudy Gobert should anchor a Wolves defense that was already pretty solid last season (13th overall, 111.0 rating), especially with Jaden McDaniels and Kyle Anderson shoring things up on the wing.

    Where Minnesota could struggle is at the point of attack, an area Patrick Beverley excelled at.

    With Beverley part of the trade and now in Utah, the Wolves can't rely on D'Angelo Russell to automatically become a shutdown defender. Gobert is used to covering for a porous defense around him, but having someone who can help stifle pick-and-rolls or stop dribble penetration at the top of the arc would help transform this into one of the NBA's top defenses overall.

    Anthony Edwards has the physical tools to become an elite defender, but finding a smaller Beverley-type guard to stick on opposing point guards may be necessary. Eric Bledsoe and Austin Rivers should still be considered in free agency to help here.

New Orleans Pelicans: Plus Defenders Outside of Herb Jones

19 of 30

    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    The New Orleans Pelicans posted a top-10 offense after the All-Star break last year, and that was without Zion Williamson even stepping foot on the court.

    A core of Williamson, Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum and Jonas Valanciunas has the potential to be the league's most lethal scoring unit, although none are known for stopping anyone on the other end.

    Herb Jones needs to be the fifth starter, as his defense last season was one of the best we've seen from a rookie in years. Outside of Jones (and backups Larry Nance Jr. and Jose Alvarado), there aren't a lot of even above-average defenders on this roster.

    Rookie Dyson Daniels could eventually become a multi-positional stopper with his 6'8" frame, but it's unfair to expect the first-year guard to have anywhere near the impact Jones did last year.

New York Knicks: Wing stoppers

20 of 30

    Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

    An already suspect perimeter defense was made worse when the Knicks salary-dumped Alec Burks onto the Detroit Pistons. Projected starting small forward Evan Fournier ranked in the 8th percentile as a defender last season, with the Knicks allowing 6.4 more points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, per Cleaning the Glass.

    Cam Reddish has the physical tools to be a plus-defender, but there's no reason to believe Tom Thibodeau will even have the 22-year-old in his rotation.

    For the bookends, Jalen Brunson is actually a good defender at point guard despite his limited size, while Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein form one of the best rim-protecting center combos in the league.

    Unless RJ Barrett turns into prime Tony Allen, the rest of the Knicks roster could struggle to stop anyone.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Veteran Presence

21 of 30

    Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

    The Houston Rockets could look like a retirement home next to this year's Thunder.

    Outside of a collection of 30-something bigs (Derrick Favors, JaMychal Green, Mike Muscala), this is an incredibly young roster that just added four rookies to the mix. Over half the roster (eight total players) are 21 or younger.

    While it's not the goal of this OKC team to compete in 2022-23, this is rebuilding to the extreme.

    It would behoove the Thunder to consider adding a veteran guard, someone who could take players such as Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams and others under his wing, much like Chris Paul was able to do with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

    Even a player such as Avery Bradley or Wayne Ellington could be signed with the idea of providing mentorship now and then rerouted to a contender closer to the trade deadline.

Orlando Magic: Elite Three-Point Shooter

22 of 30

    Jason Miller/NBAE via Getty Images

    There's a lot to like about this young Magic roster, one that's actually pretty deep with guards and bigs.

    Paolo Banchero is the centerpiece that everyone can orbit around, while players such as Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner and Cole Anthony have star potential.

    This roster still lacks an elite three-point shooter, however, as no rotation member shot above 38.4 percent last season. Three players (Markelle Fultz, Terrence Ross and Suggs) failed to even connect on more than 29.2 percent of their attempts.

    Banchero can be an offensive hub with his scoring and playmaking, but even the No. 1 overall pick made just 33.8 percent of his threes at Duke.

    This team needs a catch-and-shoot threat a la Seth Curry or Luke Kennard to help keep everything spread out.

Philadelphia 76ers: Backup Center

23 of 30

    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    For those who watched DeAndre Jordan fill in down the stretch behind Joel Embiid last season, it became painfully obvious the Sixers needed to upgrade behind their all-world center.

    P.J. Tucker is an option, but he's 37 and shouldn't be taking a beating during the regular season. Paul Reed can fill minutes as an athletic yet undersized 5, but his regular foul trouble should have Philly looking at another option behind Embiid as well.

    Hassan Whiteside remains the best of the backup center options on the free-agency market and has played on minimum deals the past two years, a key for a Sixers team inching dangerously closer to the luxury-tax apron when factoring in a new deal for James Harden.

    Given Embiid's injury history (his 68 games last season were a career high), Philly needs more insurance besides just Reed.

Phoenix Suns: Starting Center If Deandre Ayton Leaves

24 of 30

    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Deandre Ayton doesn't look long for Phoenix, as a completion of the Malcolm Brogdon trade to the Boston Celtics has opened up additional cap space for the Indiana Pacers to chase Ayton with.

    "We believe that the Indiana Pacers are very close to giving Deandre Ayton an offer sheet or executing a sign-and-trade," ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported. If Ayton signed an offer sheet, the Suns could no longer work out a sign-and-trade and would either let Ayton walk for nothing (highly unlikely) or match his sheet and bring him back, at least temporarily.

    A sign-and-trade that features Myles Turner and additional players or draft picks from the Pacers to the Suns would satisfy all parties, as Indiana lands a franchise center on a presumably four-year deal and Phoenix gets one of the best defensive centers in basketball.

    If a deal for Turner doesn't work out, the Suns could also pursue Clint Capela or Jakob Poeltl as potential replacements for Ayton.

Portland Trail Blazers: Frontcourt Depth

25 of 30

    Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

    Even after trading CJ McCollum and Norman Powell last season, the backcourt is still an area of strength for Portland.

    Damian Lillard should be back healthy, although his pockets are a little heavier after signing a two-year, $122 million extension. Anfernee Simons was also re-signed, Gary Payton II was plucked from the Golden State Warriors, and the Blazers selected Shaedon Sharpe at No. 7 overall.

    Trading for Jerami Grant and re-signing Jusuf Nurkic makes for a strong starting frontcourt, although there's not much depth behind them.

    Nassir Little is a versatile defender who can play both forward positions, and Justise Winslow showed signs of life following a trade to Portland (10.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.3 steals in 26.8 minutes). Drew Eubanks, the projected backup to Nurkic, had a swing rating of minus-12.9 with the Blazers last season, however.

    This will be a play-in-caliber team in the West next season. If Portland can add a better backup center and another forward, it will go a long way toward the Trail Blazers actually returning to the playoffs.

Sacramento Kings: Rim Protector

26 of 30

    Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

    Making Domantas Sabonis your full-time center is guaranteed to have two results:

    1. Your team's offense is going to thrive as a result of his low-post scoring and playmaking ability.

    2. The defense is going to suffer given Sabonis' deficiencies as a shot-blocker and overall rim protector.

    It appears the Kings are willing to live with whatever may come with Sabonis at center, even if he allowed opponents to shoot 62.3 percent at the basket last season.

    Former starter-turned-reserve Richaun Holmes is a better defensive option, although his minutes were slashed to just 15.4 a night following the trade for Sabonis. Damian Jones was the best rim protector in the Kings rotation last year with opponents shooting 54.6 percent at the rim, but he's since signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    While wing defense was the primary concern last season, the additions of Keegan Murray and Kevin Huerter should help, with the focus now on the paint.

San Antonio Spurs: Primary Ball-Handler

27 of 30

    Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

    Only three players (Chris Paul, James Harden and Trae Young) created more points off assists than Dejounte Murray's 23.3 a game last season. It was a figure that ranked even higher than Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic and LeBron James while demonstrating Murray's value to the Spurs.

    With both he and Derrick White now traded in the past five months, the Spurs backcourt needs a new primary ball-handler.

    Last year's first-round pick Josh Primo looks like he'll get the first opportunity to be the starting point guard, even though he's still just 19 and averaged 5.8 points and 1.6 assists as a rookie. Tre Jones, a second-round pick in 2020, will see an increased role as well.

    Primo has the size and skill set to be really good one day, but he's probably not quite ready to fill Murray's shoes anytime soon. The Spurs seem OK tanking with a strong 2023 draft looming, so they're unlikely to get a new point guard at this stage, even if they probably need one.

Toronto Raptors: Backcourt Depth

28 of 30

    Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

    Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam led the NBA by playing 37.9 minutes a night last season. While the signing of Otto Porter Jr. and re-signings of Thaddeus Young and Chris Boucher should help give Siakam a break, the Raptors haven't signed a reliable backup for their All-Star point guard yet.

    Malachi Flynn can take care of the ball but hasn't shot above 39.3 percent from the floor in either of his pro seasons. Some veteran help may be needed, with Eric Bledsoe, Dennis Schroder, DJ Augustin and Elfrid Payton all available.

    Toronto can get more creative with shooting guard, however, as both OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes can slide up when Gary Trent Jr. needs a breather.

    Getting VanVleet a vet to help spell him for the playoffs needs to be a priority before the season begins.

Utah Jazz: New Franchise Center

29 of 30

    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Getting 37 first-round picks and 14 swaps for Rudy Gobert was great for Utah, although it also means filling a monumental hole at center now.

    The current roster features a few options.

    Udoka Azubuike will be entering his third year in Utah and has had the opportunity to learn from Gobert, although the 22-year-old is currently recovering from ankle surgery. Jarred Vanderbilt is a bit undersized at 6'9" and 214 pounds but showed his defense and rebounding potential with the Minnesota Timberwolves last season. The Wolves' recent first-round pick, Walker Kessler, was one of college basketball's best defenders this past year, but asking a rookie to start after nine years of watching Gobert play could be too much to ask.

    For now, this is a center-by-committee approach unless the Jazz can make a sign-and-trade offer for Deandre Ayton or go after Myles Turner.

Washington Wizards: Third Star

30 of 30

    G Fiume/Getty Images

    The Wizards' top two priorities this offseason should have been to re-sign Bradley Beal and upgrade the point guard position.

    While it took a five-year, $251 million contract, no-trade clause and a 15 percent trade kicker, the Wizards did indeed retain Beal. A trade for Monte Morris and the signing of Delon Wright should be enough to get by at point guard, especially with Beal handling the ball so often.

    Even with these additions, however, Washington looks like another play-in team in the East. Even if Kristaps Porzingis regains his All-Star form and can stay healthy, this roster may be one star away from being a postseason regular.

    If young players such as Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, Johnny Davis and Corey Kispert don't develop into stars, the Wizards should use one or more of them (along with draft picks) to go get one.

    Paying your star player $50 million a year doesn't make much sense if the playoffs aren't a regular occurrence.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.