NBA Draft Team Needs: Atlantic Division
Updated: Oct 28, 2020
The Draft is one of the most anticipated events of the year on the NBA calendar. Fans spend hours overanalyzing mock drafts eager to learn more about the standout players that may suit up for them in the upcoming season. Fans frantically paste jersey after jersey on to upcoming stars. Most importantly, front offices are putting in long hours, as are scouts and coaches, to figure out how to make the right move for their team.
Throughout this series, we will break down the NBA and where each team lies in terms of where they can use a talented young player to bolster their lineup.
The Nets are fortunate enough to have arguably the greatest scorer of all-time coming back next season in Kevin Durant. Newly minted head coach Steve Nash has mentioned that he will play Durant at all five positions because of his offensive and defensive versatility. Durant will primarily play the small and power forward positions.
Acquiring a young power forward to play alongside Durant and DeAndre Jordan in the frontcourt will finally resolve Brooklyn’s weakness on the depth chart. Finding a big who can shoot will also keep the lane clear for Kyrie Irving to do his own offensive wizardry.
The modern NBA revolves around wing players who can shoot and defend at a high level. Those are the guys who don’t always jump off the page as the best talent but provide steady and consistent production for contenders.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will certainly receive countless double teams, as both have complete offensive games that, on paper, look like they complement each other well.
Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, or Joe Harris could all be sent packing as Brooklyn hunts for more stars. That will leave plenty of space on the wing for a young player to find a role as a catch-and-shoot option for the Nets.
Big man depth
Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum are safe bets to be on the Celtics come opening night next season. Gordon Hayward will likely be part of the fold as well. Assuming those positions are set, that leaves only the center spot in question.
The current centers on the roster are Daniel Theis, Robert Williams, and Enes Kanter. Theis provided a nice jolt on the defensive end throughout the playoffs, but for a Celtics team that has few true needs, why not attempt to find your center of the future with one of the team’s three first-round picks?
Brad Wanamaker served as the primary ball-handler for Boston’s second unit this season. Carsen Edwards is still a developing player who may not quite be ready to be inserted into that role yet.
Having a true guard who can create plays for the guys in the second unit while Kemba rests would help Boston unlock their full potential as a bench unit.
The Raptors are in a difficult place this offseason. One year removed from an NBA championship, it seems as if many of their core pieces may be better off elsewhere. Toronto will likely look to reload with their current roster and attempt another playoff run, but the Raptors may decide it’s time to start a rebuild.
Regardless, a player with star upside would be the key to either of those scenarios for Toronto. There was a hype around the Raptors when they had Kawhi Leonard. While they are still very respectable today, the allure of Toronto is not what it was just last year. A rising star to pair with OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam would be a great step forward for the Raptors franchise.
Young guard/wing to develop
OG Anunoby was drafted No. 23 in 2017. Siakam went 27th in 2016. This front office knows how to find talent in the draft. (Toronto picks 29th this year).
The Raptors like to play with a lot of versatility and fluid positionality. Athletic wings are an important currency in the NBA because they can be slotted in many different roles on offense or defense.
True point guard
Entering the NBA bubble, the Sixers elected to start Shake Milton at point guard while playing Ben Simmons in a playmaking four role. The Sixers seemed to have better spacing and generate better offense with a true point guard on the floor with Simmons.
While Milton has certainly had his fair share of breakout games, it is fair to question whether he would be better suited in a bench role as a trusted scorer with less responsibility on his plate. Sharing the responsibility with a young ball handler could benefit the Sixers.
It seems like shooting has been a problem for Philadelphia for a long while now. Losing JJ Redick last summer was a big blow, and the roster is clunky at present.
Simmons and Embiid are both players who use their size and big bodies to their advantage, often requiring a double team. If Embiid is doubled, his options as of now are an open Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, and Al Horford. Safe to say they can use a true sharpshooter in that lineup (or at least off the bench) to spark the offense.
New York Knicks
Best talent available
The Knicks are rebuilding for the future (and have been for years now). Simply put, they need the best player available. New York is currently slated to select 8th.
Unfortunately, the Knicks draft record in recent years is rather unimpressive. Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox have both vastly underperformed in their time in the Big Apple.
Due to lack of success and issues within management, the Knicks don’t seem to be primed to signing any marquee free agents. Finding another talented young player to pair with RJ Barrett would be a great step in the right direction.
Franchise Point Guard
The Knicks have been thin on the point guard position for years now. The primary playmakers on their roster are Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., and Elfrid Payton.
What the Knicks do have is a surplus of big men (primarily power forwards signed in free agency last summer). This is a guard’s league though and the league is trending towards having multiple playmakers on the floor at once. A true franchise point guard and answer at the most important position would accelerate their rebuild.