NBA Draft 2013: Team-by-Team Needs and Predictions
With no transcendent stars in the 2013 NBA draft class, team needs will play a huge role in who goes where come draft day.
That's not limited to just positional needs, however. There are areas of production even the best teams in the league can look to improve, and the draft represents the most cost-effective place to fill in the blanks.
The Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors are excluded because they don't currently own a draft pick, but here's a list of every other team's needs and predictions for potential fits in the 2013 NBA draft.
Picks: 17th, 18th, 50th
Positional Needs: SF, PF
Production Needs: Offensive rebounding (27th in offensive rebounding percentage), drawing fouls and converting at the line (28th in free throws made).
Potential Fit: With enough room for two max contracts this offseason, the Atlanta Hawks could have big changes in store. Al Horford, Lou Williams and John Jenkins are the only guaranteed contracts on the books, so the Hawks are in a position to take the best player available. Players with versatility who don't need the ball to have an impact should be the priority here.
Pick Prediction: A "stash" pick with one of the back-to-back choices wouldn't be surprising, so Giannis Adetokunbo, an 18-year old point-forward from Greece with lots of potential, would make sense here.
San Diego State SG/SF Jamaal Franklin fits Atlanta's needs perfectly as a high-impact rebounder (11.3 boards per 40 minutes) and aggressive driver (8.2 free throw attempts per 40 minutes) that can play and defend both wing positions.
Positional Needs: C, SF
Production Needs: Offensive rebounding (30th in offensive rebounding percentage) and three-point shooting (25th in three-pointers made).
Potential Fit: It's hard to tell whether the Celtics will want an NBA-ready player right now at a position of need or a prospect with high potential. A lot depends on the pending talks with the Clippers, but drafting a suitable backup for Kevin Garnett with enough size to defend the rim and make sense next to Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger would be a good choice.
Pick Prediction: This draft is heavy on rotation-quality centers, but none possess the raw potential that Rudy Gobert does. The 7'2 center from France registered the highest standing reach in draft history (9'7) in draft history, and he has the mobility to effectively patrol the paint and defend the pick-and-roll. He's a project pick, but the Celtics have to start thinking about building a solid defense without the services of Kevin Garnett.
Positional Needs: PF
Production Needs: Forcing turnovers (24th in forced turnover percentage) and all-around defense (17th in defensive efficiency).
Potential Fit: The Brooklyn Nets could use a player who projects to be an NBA starting forward to take over for Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries down the line, but the Nets also have to make defense a priority, since the locked-up core of starters likely won't improve in that area with age. Considering that the Nets have little flexibility both financially and with roster composition, they should swing for the fences with an athletic, high-upside player.
Pick Prediction: One player alone fills the positional and production need for the Nets at this point of the draft, and his name is Tony Mitchell. The North Texas power forward has tons of play-making potential defensively, as he averaged 3.3 blocks per 40 minutes last year. Watch out for Russian sharpshooter Sergey Karasev because of owner Mikhali Prokhorov here as well.
Positional Needs: C, PF, SG
Production Needs: Scoring (28th in offensive efficiency), team defenders (30th in defensive efficiency) and shooting (30th in field goal percentage).
Potential Fit: The only thing the Charlotte Bobcats don't need is a point guard, as Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions have that spot held down pretty nicely. There's a desperate need for star power here, so drafting someone safe that would thrive on a good team (think Otto Porter) won't cut it. The Bobcats need someone who isn't dependent on the talent around him, since there will be very little of it in Charlotte.
Pick Prediction: With no ball-dominant, scoring wings available in this draft, solidifying the center spot with Maryland center Alex Len would fill an immediate need for size in the middle. The Bobcats devoted nearly 3500 minutes to centers with a PER of 10.1 or below last year, so Len's budding offensive skills and solid size could pay dividends right from Day One.
Picks: 20th and 49th
Positional Needs: SG, C
Production Needs: Three-point shooting (29th in three-pointers made) and shot creators (23rd in offensive efficiency).
Potential Fit: Jimmy Butler's emergence as a killer wing defender should make the Chicago Bulls even more intimidating defensively going forward, and the return of Derrick Rose should help immensely on the offensive end. Rose will need space to operate, however, and the Bulls will need likely need to replace the perimeter shooting of Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli through the draft.
Pick Prediction: If the Bulls are looking for spot-up shooters on the wing, North Carolina swingman Reggie Bullock is a three-point specialist who shot 42.9 percent from behind the arc last year. He may not be a great shot creator, but he'll stretch the defense for Rose and use his 6'7 frame to defend.
Watch out for Louisville center Gorgui Dieng here as well, as he's player with the passing ability from the high post and rim-protection instincts to fit seamlessly in Tom Thibodeau's system.
Picks: First, 19th, 31st, 33rd
Positional Needs: SF, C, SG
Production Needs: Defensive rebounding (25th in defensive rebounding percentage), shot-blocking (29th in blocked shots) and team defense (27th in defensive efficiency).
Potential Fit: The Cleveland Cavaliers need to surround Kyrie Irving with good defenders if they want to become a legitimate playoff contender. With the first pick and three more thereafter, Cleveland has a lot of flexibility and can probably move up into the first round if they would like.
Pick Prediction: At the end of the day, Nerlens Noel still represents the best fit as a defensive menace who can help cover up the countless mistakes the Cavs tend to make on that end.
At pick 19, Jamaal Franklin would provide defense and rebounding and allow Dion Waiters to thrive as a sixth man, or Reggie Bullock could step in as a starting small forward with three-point range who doesn't hurt you anywhere.
Whether they move up with a package or stay put, expect the Cavs to select an NBA-ready wing player after taking Noel.
Picks: 13th and 44th
Positional Needs: PG, C
Production Needs: Rebounding (28th in offensive rebounding percentage, 22nd in defensive rebounding percentage) and creating turnovers (20th in forced turnover percentage).
Potential Fit: The Dallas Mavericks currently don't have a starting point guard or starting center on the roster, as Mark Cuban has tried to make the payroll as skinny as possible to lure Chris Paul or Dwight Howard to Dallas. Every last dollar counts for the Mavericks, which is why it wouldn't be surprising to see this pick traded altogether or used on a foreign player who won't come over this season.
Pick prediction: If the Mavericks can't find a taker for their first-round pick, they're still in a good spot as one of the few teams who need a point guard in this draft. A player like Michael Carter-Williams from Syracuse might be too good to pass up if he's still on the board. Otherwise, German point guard prospect Dennis Schroeder kills two birds with one stone.
Positional Needs: SG
Production Needs: Three-point shooting (25th in three-point percentage) and perimeter defense (20th in three-point percentage allowed).
Potential Fit: Who knows what the Denver Nuggets will look like next year. George Karl is gone. Andre Iguodala opted out of his final year. GM Masai Ujiri is in Toronto. This team's philosophy and style of play could change drastically next year, but regardless, the Nuggets need to find a "3-and-D" guy who can help on the perimeter at both ends.
Pick Prediction: Although he doesn't bring a lot to the table defensively, Cal SG Allen Crabbe loves to leak out in transition and can spot-up and hit the three in the halfcourt. Think of him as a better shooting, but weaker defending Corey Brewer, and you can see why he'd be an attractive offensive weapon for the Nuggets.
Picks: Eighth, 37th, 56th
Positional Needs: PG, SF, SG
Production Needs: All-around defense (24th in defensive efficiency) and distributors (26th in turnover percentage).
Potential Fit: The Detroit Pistons are set for the future with the frontcourt of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, but now they need a player who can free them up for opportunities. Drummond is already one of the scariest post threats in the league, and Monroe is an incredible passer from the high post.
All that's missing is a guard who demands a defense's respect and keeps them honest from collapsing in the paint. Brandon Knight is still young, but he might be better suited to be a sixth man.
Pick Prediction: The Pistons would jump all over Trey Burke if he somehow falls to them, but Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum seems like the more realistic choice. McCollum is a lethal scorer with the basketball smarts to effectively run an offense. He'd add a "pick your poison" element to Detroit's offense that currently doesn't exist.
Positional Needs: SF
Production Needs: Capable decision makers (30th in turnover percentage) and defensive play-makers (19th in forced turnover percentage).
Potential Fit: The Houston Rockets are another team chasing Dwight Howard or Chris Paul, which makes their draft-day decision a little tougher to peg. With tons of young options at power forward, the Rockets could use another drive-and-kick player with three-point range out on the perimeter.
Pick Prediction: The Rockets are already familiar with Glen Rice Jr. thanks to the work he did for their D-League affiliate, and small forward is a position of need with Francisco Garcia and Carlos Delfino both becoming cap casualties. Seems like a logical fit.
Picks: 23rd and 53rd
Positional Needs: PF, PG
Production Needs: Play-making (28th in assists, 27th in turnover percentage)
Potential Fit: The Indiana Pacers came painstakingly close to an NBA Finals appearance, but help is on the way. Danny Granger being healthy provides the Pacers offense with another scoring option, but the Pacers could lose a lot of what made them great defensively with solid power forward David West becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Pick Prediction: Power forward Tony Mitchell could replicate some of the offensive stretch and defensive length West brought to the table, which might be a good idea whether the 32-year-old power forward comes back or not. The backup point guard spot is likely to be addressed in the second round, where the Pacers could replace D.J. Augustin with another Texas point guard in Myck Kabongo.
Los Angeles Clippers
Positional Needs: C, SF, PF
Production Needs: Three-point defense (26th in three-point percentage defense) and defensive rebounding (15th in defensive rebounding percentage).
Potential Fit: The Los Angeles Clippers could stand to get younger and faster on the perimeter, both offensively and defensively. Adding a new coach should help cure a lot of the defensive issues, but adding good personnel wouldn't hurt, either. With DeAndre Jordan's future uncertain with the Clippers, taking a big man capable of protecting the rim might take precedence.
Pick Prediction: With no reserve frontcourt players on the roster, Kansas big man Jeff Withey fits as a shot-blocking, defensive-minded player. Although he doesn't have much potential, Withey has size and an elite skill and can contribute right away.
Los Angeles Lakers
Positional Needs: SG, SF
Production Needs: Perimeter and transition defense (20th in defensive efficiency) and three-point shooting (19th in three-point percentage).
Potential Fit: The Los Angeles Lakers will need wing help with Kobe Bryant likely sidelined for the first few months of the season. This is a team that severely lacks athleticism as well, so a perimeter player should be the first priority.
Pick Prediction: The Lakers don't have to look too far to find a good athlete, perimeter defender and decent shooter in Long Beach State's James Ennis. He may not be the knockdown shooter Mike D'Antoni wants, but Ennis is a glue-guy type forward who would help the Lakers on the end they really need it.
Picks: 41st, 55th, 60th
Positional Needs: SG
Production Needs: Three-point shooting (30th in three-point attempts and makes) and wing scoring (17th in offensive efficiency).
Potential Fit: The Grizzlies might be in a tough spot with Tony Allen hitting the open market, and Tayshaun Prince's decline further complicates the situation out on the wing. Quincy Pondexter has proven to be a capable 3-and-D guy, but the Grizzlies will need additional scoring pop on the wing to contend.
Pick Prediction: Kentucky SG Archie Goodwin is a high-upside pick that would be tremendous value in the second round, while a guy like Solomon Hill would be a safe, late-pick choice that could help the Grizzlies spread the floor.
Picks: 15th and 43rd
Positional Needs: PG, SG, SF
Production Needs: Defensive rebounding (28th in defensive rebounding percentage) and efficient perimeter players (22nd in offensive efficiency).
Potential Fit: The Milwaukee Bucks might lose Brandon Jennings, J.J. Redick and Monte Ellis to free agency, essentially robbing them of every backcourt player on the roster. The Bucks are set up front with Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson and Larry Sanders, but a point guard who can score efficiently and be effective in transition should be at the top of the list.
Pick Prediction: Miami PG Shane Larkin may lack size, but Sanders and Henson could provide plenty of protection on that end. Larkin shot over 40 percent from three-point land last year and displayed terrific speed and athleticism in the open floor. He's also a very good pick-and-roll player, which should appeal to any team with young bigs that need to be fed. Nate Wolters might be a solid option in the second round.
Picks: Ninth, 26th, 52nd, 59th
Positional Needs: SF
Production Needs: Three-point shooting (30th in three-point percentage) and wing-scoring (25th in offensive efficiency).
Potential Fit: Getting Kevin Love back healthy should spark some life into the Minnesota Timberwolves, but adding shooters on the wing to aid Ricky Rubio's development should be the main focus heading into the draft.
Pick Prediction: The Timberwolves have an interesting offensive mix, but not enough players who can create offense on their own. Enter Georgia SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. While Shabazz Muhammad might be an option here, Caldwell-Pope has fewer character concerns, more range on his jumper, and he's slightly more efficient as well. C.J. McCollum would be ideal here if he's still on the board.
New Orleans Pelicans
Positional Needs: SF
Production Needs: Team defenders (28th in defensive efficiency) and perimeter defenders (27th in three-point percentage allowed).
Potential Fit: The New Orleans Pelicans play slow, halfcourt basketball, but that defense was way too leaky for Anthony Davis to handle in his rookie season. Injuries to Eric Gordon and Davis hurt, but the Pelicans have a gaping hole at small forward that needs to be addressed.
Pick Prediction: The Pelicans would love for Otto Porter to fall here. He's the perfect fit for their needs, particularly if Eric Gordon is healthy. Anthony Bennett projects as more of a small-ball four and he has questionable defensive instincts, so Trey Burke feels like the most likely pick as the best player available on the board. A trade might be the best option here.
New York Knicks
Positional Needs: SG
Production Needs: Perimeter defense (18th in defensive efficiency) and offensive rebounding (19th in offensive rebounding percentage).
Potential Fit: The New York Knicks will likely have to replace J.R. Smith's production as a scorer off the bench, and while Chris Copeland can do some of that internally, the Knicks will also need another perimeter distributor with Jason Kidd heading to Brooklyn to coach. Anything other than a wing would be a surprise here.
Pick Prediction: It might be a bit of a reach, but Virginia Tech PG/SG Erick Green would fit in perfectly as a high-scoring guard who can carry a second unit and stretch the floor as a combo guard with the starters. If the Knicks would rather not reach, Reggie Bullock is a solid option that could add size and shooting on the perimeter.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Picks: 12th, 29th, 32nd
Positional Needs: SG, C
Production Needs: Ball protection (29th in turnover percentage) and bench scoring.
Potential Fit: The Oklahoma City Thunder might not be able to retain Kevin Martin, who is an unrestricted free agent. Lack of scoring off the bench could become a serious issue, especially if the Thunder suffer any injuries like they did this postseason. Finding a replacement for Kendrick Perkins either with the 12th or 29th pick would make sense as well.
Pick Prediction: Can the Thunder handle another hot-head from UCLA? If Shabazz Muhammad is available, Oklahoma City might have to take a long look at Muhammad as a sixth man scorer who could get all the touches he could handle. If Muhammad or Caldwell-Pope are off the board, Pitt big man Steven Adams could be a huge upgrade over Perkins. Watch out for a stash pick with one of Oklahoma City's later picks.
Picks: Second and 51st
Positional Needs: PG, SG
Production Needs: Players who can penetrate (30th in free throw attempts) and defensive play-makers (30th in forced turnover percentage).
Potential Fit: The Orlando Magic have young pieces at every frontcourt spot, but the backcourt is barren. Jameer Nelson will be off the books next season, and Arron Afflalo has been the subject of trade rumors. It would be a shock if Orlando didn't take a shooting guard with the second pick in the draft.
Pick Prediction: It's tough to decide who the best shooting guard of this class is, but the Orlando Magic have expressed interest in Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe. On that note, Victor Oladipo is a similar player to Bledsoe, and he probably has higher upside than Ben McLemore does. Barring any trades, Oladipo seems like the logical choice.
Picks: 11th, 35th, 42nd
Positional Needs: C, SG
Production Needs: Slashers (30th in free throws made) and rebounding (18th in defensive rebounding percentage, 24th in offensive rebounding percentage).
Potential Fit: The Philadelphia 76ers need a complete makeover on the wing. The big hole left by Andrew Bynum is also tough to ignore, but the Sixers have to get to the line more frequently and stop taking so many mid-range jumpers. This is a rebuilding process, so any player that's not a point guard could realistically work.
Pick Prediction: With no wing players available that fit the bill, the Sixers might want to build from the inside out and start with Pittsburgh center Steven Adams. He's a big athlete who projects better with this particular roster than Cody Zeller or any of the projected picks in that range. In the second round, Philadelphia could use Erick Green or Isaiah Canaan to solidify a second unit that needs scoring pop.
Picks: Fifth and 30th
Positional Needs: SG, SF
Production Needs: Three-point shooting (28th in three-point percentage) and ball control (28th in turnover percentage).
Potential Fit: The Phoenix Suns desperately need a competent wing player aside Jared Dudley, as too much of the offensive load fell on Goran Dragic's shoulders last season. Dragic is really the only long-term, proven piece on the roster, which allows Phoenix to take the best player on their board. The Suns need a lot, but they shouldn't be in a rush to compete.
Pick Prediction: The Suns will likely take who ever is leftover from Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore and Alex Len, and probably in that order. For a team that needs help on both sides of the ball, each of those three players would be a good fit.
Portland Trail Blazers
Picks: 10th, 39th, 40th, 45th
Positional Needs: C, PF, SG
Production Needs: Bench scoring and interior defense (26th in defensive efficiency).
Potential Fit: The Portland Trail Blazers are the rare bad team with a core of four starters set and ready to go. Depth was the main issue last season, but the Blazers can address that in the draft either by packaging picks in the second round to move up or simply drafting multiple players. A frontcourt partner for LaMarcus Aldridge is probably the biggest need here, depending on your opinion of Meyers Leonard.
Pick Prediction: Portland has the juice to make some draft-day trades, and Anthony Bennett might be an interesting target if they went that route. If they stay put, Steven Adams is the logical choice. Don't rule out Portland taking the best player available if someone falls, however, and filling the need for another big man later in the draft.
Picks: Seventh and 36th
Positional Needs: SF, SG
Production Needs: Team defenders (29th in defensive efficiency) and defensive rebounding (30th in defensive rebounding percentage).
Potential Fit: The Sacramento Kings laid out the welcome mat for offenses last year, surrendering a ton of points in the paint and plenty of second-chance opportunities. Still, with Tyreke Evans hitting free agency and a gaping hole at small forward, the Kings might have to shore up their perimeter before they address their issues inside.
Pick Prediction: This seems like the landing spot for Trey Burke. It's a tough battle of talent over need, as Burke doesn't fix any of Sacramento's big problems, but he'll be the best value on the board. It's hard to hypothetically scold them for choosing talent in this instance.
San Antonio Spurs
Picks: 28th and 58th
Positional Needs: PF
Production Needs: Offensive rebounding (29th in offensive rebounding percentage).
Potential Fit: The San Antoino Spurs' needs are one of the toughest to gauge, simply because a wave of retirements could change the makeup of the roster. Will Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan be back next year? Will Tiago Splitter re-sign for a reasonable price? It's tough to tell at this point, but the Spurs aren't the type of team to draft for need, anyhow.
Pick Prediction: Lucas Nogueira is a big man from Brazil that could be a great role playing, energy guy that could replace much of what Splitter brings to the table. If Tony Mitchell lasts that long, he'd be scary under Tim Duncan's guidance.
Picks: 14th and 21st
Positional Needs: PG, SG
Production Needs: Pick-and-roll defense (21st in defensive efficiency) and defensive rebounding (21st in defensive rebounding percentage).
Potential Fit: The Utah Jazz have entered a rebuilding stage, likely letting both Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson go to make way for the young combo of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. With no natural point guard on the roster, the Jazz will have their pick of a few at 14. This is a team that should play up-tempo going forward with the natural athletes in the frontcourt, but we'll see.
Pick Prediction: Point guards with size and vision don't come around very often, and that's what makes Michael Carter-Williams so intriguing here for Utah. Although the Jazz could use a better shooter at point guard, Carter-Williams knows how to feed all the mouths and can make good entry passes, which is a huge deal in Utah. With the 21st pick, Tim Hardaway Jr. could work as a good athlete accustomed to finding opportunities away from the ball.
Picks: Third and 38th
Positional Needs: SF, PF
Production Needs: Spot-up shooters (30th in offensive efficiency) and slashers.
Potential Fit: The Washington Wizards have their backcourt of the future locked up with John Wall and Bradley Beal, but help at the forward spots, particularly offensively, is badly needed. The Wizards have no real depth or scoring talent off the bench, but adding to their young core and filling a position of need is the biggest priority.
Pick Prediction: As a small forward who can fill in the gaps, Otto Porter is a great fit. He's the type of player good teams have. But something tells me Washington wants to hit a home run and not a single with the third pick in the draft, and that would mean taking Anthony Bennett as the pick-and-pop big man for John Wall to play with.