2017 NBA Draft Team Needs: Atlantic Division
I have said this on numerous occasions: this is easily the hardest NBA Draft to study and nail down. After the top ten picks of the first round, the draft falls into complete uncertainty where 50 different players could go in the next 20 picks. Not a single team is leaking information yet and all we are left to work with is our own opinions. As OTG’s NBA Draft Lead Writer, I will do just that.
The regular season has concluded and the playoffs are well underway so going through these teams to figure out what their specific needs are should be, at this point, pretty self-explanatory. We take a look at what all 30 teams’ needs are and how they can be met by this year’s draft.
Brooklyn Nets (20-62) 5th in Atlantic: Playmaking Wings
Everything. This team’s real biggest need is just about everything, but let’s start a little more simply: The Nets need someone that can score and make plays on the wing. Brook Lopez is still a very solid NBA center and Caris LeVert showed a lot of promise as a two last year. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is already a lights-out defender, but they need a guy that can make plays on offense. Guys like Dwayne Bacon or even Rodions Kurucs should be considered at their slot.
Philadelphia 76ers (28-54) 4th in Atlantic: Shot-Making Guards
Trust the freaking process is what Sixers fans are screaming right now. Last year was the first year in a while where they actually showed some movement in the right direction. Despite Ben Simmons missing all of his rookie year, Joel Embiid came out of nowhere and stamped his name upon the list of the NBA’s most productive bigs. Trading Nerlens Noel was also a great move as they added a talented two-way wing in Justin Anderson to their arsenal. Simmons is a playmaking forward that distributes the ball like a point guard so they desperately need guys that can score the ball from the outside. Malik Monk is the ideal player here, but Jayson Tatum would not be a bad second option since he has the range of a traditional guard.
New York Knicks (31-51) 3rd in Atlantic: Pass-First Point Guard
The Knicks as a whole are, to put it lightly, a mess of a franchise. I have been telling people for years that the worst thing done by the Knicks in the past 30 years was hiring Phil Jackson. It isn’t that Jackson doesn’t know basketball because he clearly does, it is the way he wants to control the franchise. Not to mention that James Dolan hasn’t put them in a great position either. The Knicks just don’t have a ton of talent right now. Derrick Rose is as good as gone and Carmelo Anthony’s time in New York may be coming to a close. Truth is that it’s Kristaps Porzingis’s team now and they need to someone to feed him the ball. I have always connected Frank Ntilikina to them and I do think he is the best fit, but De’Aaron Fox’s name is flying up boards including my own. I wouldn’t be surprised if either one of these two names are printed on a Knicks jersey next year.
Toronto Raptors (51-31) 2nd in Atlantic: Lights-Out Shooter
The Toronto Raptors are already a fantastic team, especially in the Eastern Conference where their holes are minimized. But one thing stands out on the offensive side of the ball: they don’t have a guy on their roster that can just flat out shoot. Kyle Lowry is a good, but streaky, shooter and DeMar DeRozan was never great from the outside. This team would benefit largely from a guy that can hit threes at an alarming rate. Someone like Luke Kennard should definitely be considered at their spot.
Boston Celtics (53-29) 1st in Atlantic: Superstar
The Celtics are scary. Scarier than most people think. Not just because Isaiah Thomas can scorch you in the fourth, but because they have so many guys that they can throw at you. This squad could legitimately go 13 players deep and they have the perfect coach in Brad Stevens to execute that. The one thing this team needs is a flat-out superstar. I know Isaiah Thomas has emerged as one of the better players in the league, but if they were able to get a stud to run an offense alongside him, they would be that much better. They have the first overall pick presumably so Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are obvious fits given their superstar potential.