Team Needs (Northwest Division)
(Check here for Atlantic Div. Needs)
(Check here for Central Div. Needs)
(Check here for Southeast Div. Needs)
(Check here for Southwest Div. Needs)
The Northwest looks like it could be the up-and-coming division of the NBA. The Jazz look to have the ability to repeat this season's success for years to come thanks to the nasty 1-2 punch of Boozer & Deron. The Nugs have the talent to be very dangerous, but they have to figure out their PG position & get some scoring pop from the bench. And Portland is building arguably the most potent young core in the NBA, and is assured of procuring a potential Hall-o-Famer on draft night. While not everything is rosy with the Sonic organization, they are at least guaranteed of vastly improving their on-court fortunes with either Durant or Oden. The one team headed in the opposite direction of the other 4 teams has to be the TWolves. It looks very likely that KG will be on the move this summer, and looks like McHale has conceded to blow up the TWolves & head in another direction.
*--You will notice the two parentheses next to the team name. The first one will either have "MLE" or a dollar amount in it. This just states if the team has the Mid-Level Exception (which is roughly $5 mil this year) that is awarded to every team that is over the salary cap. If a dollar amount is shown that means the team is under the salary cap. There are only a handful of teams under the salary cap (which has yet to be finalized, but should be around $53-55 million). The dollar amount is a rough estimation at this point, and can change to a degree for a myriad of technical things like cap holds, renounced rights, player options and the yet undetermined exact amount of this year's salary cap. The second parentheses just states the draft picks that each team presently owns.
DENVER--(MLE) (None): PG; Bench scoring; Shooters
Need to find a PG who can flat-out stroke the outside shot. Blake is just not a good fit next to Iverson & Melo, because he does not make teams pay for leaving him to help on the other 2 guys. Nugs are in a tough spot because right now they look to be well into Luxury Tax Land, & are scheduled to shell out about $20 mil in lux tax cash. This is why you hear about rumors that Camby could be on the move. Would probably love to deal KMart if they could, but he's damaged goods with the bad knees combined with his onerous contract. And as always, the Nugs could look to improve their outside shooting, so guys like Mo Pete, Kapono, & Matt Carroll in free agency.
MINNESOTA-- (MLE) (#7, #41): Center; Shooter; PG
Draft Targets: Noah; Hawes; Jianlian; Conley
Realize that KG could likely be on the move, but I have to evaluate what the team needs are at this present time, so these needs could obviously change in the next week. Think #7 should be an easy choice: if Noah's there, take him. This team needs a big who can either back-up Blount or displace him in the starting lineup. Noah also can help shore up the TWolves' poor rebounding. Their outside shooting has not been the same since Wally left, so going after Demetris Nichols with the #41 pick could be a good idea. This team could also use a true PG to allow Foye to move off the ball more. Conley more than likely will not be around at #7, so they might have to chase a capable PG in free agency like Chucky Atkins to tide them over for the time being.
PORTLAND--(MLE) (#1, #37, #42, #52, #53): SF
Draft Targets: Oden or Durant
Maybe Durant has a legit shot to land here. But I have to go with the consensus that Mr. Oden is Portland's man. The one thing that gives you some pause that Durant is a serious contender is that the Blazers' one obvious weakness right now is the SF spot. And on top of that, they just drafted a promising young big last year in L. Aldridge. So I wouldn't be stunned if Pritchard takes Durant, though I doubt it. If I'm the Blazers, I have no use for all 4 2nd round picks considering all the young guys taken in last year's draft. So I would definitely expect the Blazers to have some sort of package deal working to go after a SF, if Oden goes #1.
SEATTLE--(MLE) (#2, #31, #35): SF; Wing defender
Draft Targets: Durant or Oden
Easiest decision in the draft, actually Portland is making the decision for the Sonics. Assuming Durant is there, it surely means Lewis is done in Sonic Green & Gold. The issue will be if the Sonics decide to just let Lewis walk or look to sign/trade him. With their two 2nd round picks should just go with the best player available, preferably someone who can provide a much-needed defensive mindset, maybe a guy like DJ Strawberry could be considered.
UTAH--(MLE) (#25, #55): 2-guard; Athletic Center
Draft Targets: Belinelli; Fernandez; Almond; Stuckey
The Jazz have an affinity for Euros, so guys like Belinelli or Fernandez could be the right fit at #25. And both Euro shooting guards can hit the long-ball, which is much needed since the Jazz have been one of the weakest 3pt. shooting teams the last few years. Belinelli might be the better bet because he does not have buyout issues like Rudy. Rice's Morris Almond is another possibilty at #25. Also, think they could use an athletic frontcourt defender, because their rotation of centers are pretty ground-bound.