NBA Draft Team Needs: Southeast 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.
We learned a lot about the Heat during their Cinderella run to the Finals this season. One thing that really seemed to hurt them was their lack of a solid ball handler when Dragic missed time due to injury. With Dragic set to hit unrestricted free agency whenever free agency begins, it would be wise for the Heat to invest a pick into preparing for a potential departure. If he re-signs in Miami, the extra guard would fit in nicely as a playmaker and table setter for a Heat team with plenty of offense.
The Heat made it past the powerhouses in the East mainly because of their selfless style of play and stellar three-point shooting. Duncan Robinson, Jae Crowder, and Tyler Herro all stepped up in the postseason and knocked down timely shots. While the Heat are already stacked on players who can defend and make threes, they should continue the style of play that solidified them as the biggest surprise in the NBA.
Best talent available
A lot of uncertainty follows the Wizards this offseason, primarily because of John Wall and his ruptured Achilles tendon. Many have believed that Bradley Beal is on the trade block and the Wizards have peaked, but the organization believes otherwise. They want to see what the team can do with Wall and Beal together once again. If this is the case, the Wizards will be looking to win sooner rather than later and would be best suited drafting a player that can help them win now. If they decide to break up the long tenured backcourt in Washington, this pick would provide the Wizards with a nice building block for the future.
When you look up and down the Wizards roster, it is not stacked with shooters. Their best shooter Davis Bertans is entering free agency and will likely command a larger contract. Even if they keep Bertans, it would be in the Wizards’ best interest to draft a shooter to pair alongside their star-studded backcourt. A two-way player capable of playing small forward would be the perfect fit for the Wizards.
The primary ball handlers for the Magic this season were DJ Augustin and Markelle Fultz. Augustin is set to be a free agent and will likely be enamored by the possibility of joining a contender in a bench role. Fultz is more of a scorer than a true point guard and with how the league is moving, you can never have too many ball handlers. Most of the talent on the roster resides in their frontcourt, so adding a backcourt playmaker would not only provide scoring from the guard spot but set up their big men. Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, Mo Bamba, and Jonathan Isaac would all benefit from a playmaker to set them up for easy looks in the paint.
As mentioned above, most of the talent on Orlando’s roster lies within their young frontcourt players. Gordon, Vucevic, Bamba, and Isaac are all capable of shooting the three, but none of them excel as a stretch big and would benefit next to a few true shooters who can allow them to display their strengths and full offensive arsenal. In addition, Markelle Fultz has also struggled in the past with his jumper, so an additional shooter on this team would go a long way for the up and coming Magic.
Defensive minded guard
The Hawks ranked last in the league in opponents points per game, giving up an average of 119.7 points per contest. They already have their point guard of the future in Trae Young. However, Young and his backcourt partner Kevin Huerter are a matchup that opposing offenses will look to take advantage of and expose for their lack of size and defensive versatility. Adding a defensive minded guard would help limit the exposure and mismatches that Young will consistently see. Young ranked as one of the worst defenders in the league last year and adding a stopper would help the Hawks focus more on the offensive end.
In addition to struggling on the defensive end, the Hawks struggled mightily with spreading the floor and making threes. They ranked last in the league in that department while shooting 33.3 percent as a team. Each year, the league shifts towards a more analytical style of offense which centers around taking and making three-point shots at an efficient clip. Adding one or two snipers to this Hawks roster would do wonders for their offense and open up the creativity of the Hawks offense.
The Hornets are in the beginning stages of a lengthy rebuild and need to acquire the best player possible, no matter the position. This team lacks a true bonafide centerpiece but has a few young talented players in Miles Bridges and PJ Washington. Charlotte (and North Carolina as a whole) is a small market, but the fans have an undying passion and love for basketball. A true franchise cornerstone would bring some excitement and pizzazz to Michael Jordan’s franchise and revamp the hype of basketball in Charlotte.
The Hornets received decent production from their point guards this year. Devonte Graham finished fifth in the league’s most improved player department and Terry Rozier provided a solid 18 points per game to the offense. The rest of the roster seemed to be stagnant on offense, possibly because of the lack of a true playmaker on the roster. A pass first minded guard would help energize the Hornets into producing to their best ability.