• Joe Makar

NBA Draft Team Needs: Central Division

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. 

Milwaukee Bucks

Real point guard

Eric Bledsoe is still a reliable point guard, but his strengths do not exactly complement the Bucks in the fashion they are hoping for. A second-round exit to the Miami Heat leads us to wonder whether a different point guard would be better suited playing next to Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks’ franchise cornerstone. Ideally, a point guard who can stretch the floor with consistency and be a reliable playmaker is best suited next to Giannis. While many would scoff at the idea of implementing a rookie point guard into a team in win now mode, the Bucks would certainly benefit from a guard with the skills mentioned above, even if it’s in a consistent bench role.

Two-way wings

Many ready to compete teams will have this same need, two-way wings. You know what you are consistently going to get on a night in and night out basis from Giannis and Middleton. It’s the role players who need to be consistently productive to maximize the success of a contender. Giannis will demand double teams and when he does, a shooter will be open and will strive in his rookie season with Milwaukee.

Chicago Bulls

True point guard

Coby White struggled early on but has shown flashes of being a great player in this league. Whether he is the answer for the Bulls long term or not remains to be seen, but one red flag with his play was his score first style of play. He may be the future of this team, but his playmaking leaves room to be desired. If White can defend shooting guards, maybe he would be best suited at the two or off the bench as a prolific sixth man. 

Perimeter shooting

The Bulls offense ranked 27th in the league at an average of 106.8 points per game. The team struggled to find a consistent rhythm and problems began on the offensive side of the floor, primarily with shooting. Adding a player who is capable of making threes at an efficient clip would be a great step to revamping the lineup and providing some spacing for Chicago’s young talent.

Indiana Pacers

Star upside

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Indiana Pacers entering the offseason. Large names on the roster such as Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner have been recently linked to trade rumors, while it is unlikely that both get dealt this offseason, one of the two playing elsewhere next season is certainly possible. The Pacers are a team that is not at a championship level, but also have no incentive to tank, as the roster is still loaded with quality talent. Swinging for the fences and aiming for star upside would either provide the Pacers with another step towards contention or a safe bet if they decide to rebuild.

Wing depth

With Justin Holiday entering free agency, it would be wise for the Pacers to draft another wing as insurance in case he departs. Domantas Sabonis is a force on the interior with his scoring and rebounding abilities. A capable shooting forward would fit in the mold nicely with Indiana. The Pacers owe their first-round pick to the Bucks as a part of the trade that landed them Malcolm Brogdon, but they’re hoping they can find a steal and immediate contributor with their second round pick.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Best talent available

When you look at the Cavaliers’ roster and young talent, there isn’t a player who jumps off the paper as a “franchise cornerstone.” Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, and Kevin Porter Jr. are all talented rising stars, but none of them bring the hype that other young players around the league are bringing to their respective franchises, such as Luka Dončić and Jayson Tatum. Drafting the best talent available, regardless of position, would help accelerate a Cavaliers rebuild that currently has no end in sight.

Forward of the future

The forwards on the Cavaliers that typically see heavier minutes are Kevin Love and Cedi Osman. While still very productive, Love is an aging veteran on a rebuilding team and it seems inevitable that he is traded to a contender sooner rather than later. Osman is a productive forward who would be better suited in a bench role. Acquiring a reliable young forward to pair with Sexton and Garland should be a safe plan B for Cleveland.

Detroit Pistons

Star upside

The Pistons are in a situation like the Cavaliers in the sense that they are lacking a true franchise player. The Pistons do not have a player on their roster who has shown that they are capable of being the future of this franchise. Detroit is in dire need of a franchise player that can bring some hype and added excitement back to this once successful franchise. While they slipped in the draft lottery and will pick seventh overall, there are plenty of talented options to give this franchise the respect they commanded for so many years.

True point guard

The NBA has truly become a guard’s league. The most successful teams have players who are versatile and know how to create open looks and set up plays for their teammates. Derrick Rose has been linked to multiple trade rumors and makes the most sense for a contender in need of a prolific scoring option off the bench. It is wise to believe that at very latest, Rose will be on a different team come the trade deadline next season, if not earlier. Langston Galloway is a reliable bench option but is not a starting point guard. A true point guard will help rejuvenate this franchise to its once glory days.

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