Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Team Needs (Pacific 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)
(Check here for Northwest Div. Needs)

The Pacific Division is a little hard to gauge right now with 2 teams possibly seriously shaking up their roster to get their hands on Garnett. I think whatever happens, the Suns look to be very good next year regardless of if any deal is made, & once again should be a title contender. Now with the Lakers, their situation is very tough to read because Kobe's trade demands seem legit, but it seems like Kupchak is trying to make deals to appease Kobe. The Warriors can build on their miraculous playoff experience by upgrading their frontcourt options. The Clips have the ability to compete for a playoff spot, but need to acquire more frontcourt depth & hope that Livingston can ever recover. With the Kings, they have to improve their frontcourt depth & decide what they want to do with Artest this summer.

*--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.

GOLDEN STATE--(MLE) (#18): Post player; Rebounding
Draft Targets: McRoberts; J. Smith; S. Williams

Their allegiance to smallball helped them pull off one of the biggest playoff upsets ever, but the smallball approach still has its major flaws. And these flaws were badly exposed in the Jazz series. When you go small, you usually will suffer on the boards & in the interior defensively. Imagine they are hot & heavy for Jianlian because his skill set at his size are exactly what the Warriors are looking for, and combine that with the Bay Area's huge Asian population. But they are currently positioned at the #18, out of Yi's range. If they can't move up, bigs like McRoberts, Jason Smith, & S. Williams might entice Mullin. Even though Fazekas does not have the requisite athleticism for Nellie's style, he does have deep range which Nellie loves in his bigs.

LA CLIPPERS--(MLE) (#14, #45) Combo guard; Back-ups Bigs
Draft Targets: Law; Stuckey

Think Acie Law is the smart pick at #14 because if Livingston ever returns from injury & prospers, you could always move Law to the 2 alongside Shaun; basically taking Law opens up your options. But there is a real good chance that Law will be off the board, so maybe a back-up plan could be going after the next best combo guard, R. Stuckey. This team had very little depth on their frontline, Tim Thomas can slide to the 4, but he's really just a 3. With the MLE, they can search for viable back-up like Mihm, Mikki Moore, & Mel Ely. They also have to consider bringing over hulking Sofoklis Schortsanitis to back-up Brand. He has a very reasonable buyout, but he has really ballooned up since his great play in the Worlds, and somewhat underachieved this year.

LA LAKERS--(MLE) (#19, #40, #48): Shooting PG; Post Player
Draft Targets: Pruitt; T. Green; McRoberts; J. Smith

For this entry gotta go with their roster as presently constituted, so doing this assuming Kobe stays around. Need to find a PG or combo guard who can drill jumpers. The question is do they take another young PG after drafting Farmar last year. Farmar showed some promise, especially vs. the Suns, but he's not really a great shooter, so maybe LA will consider players like Taurean Green or Gabe Pruitt in the 1st round. The Lakers should also think best big guy available at #19 with Kwame in the last year of his deal & Mihm a free agent. Bigs like McRoberts, J. Smith, & S. Williams could be on Mitch's radar.

PHOENIX--(MLE) (#24, #29): Center; Back-up PG
Draft Targets: Pruitt; Koponen; Sessions

Again, this could be another team whose roster gets thrown for a loop in the next few days, but gotta go with how the Suns currently look now. Same refrain for the last few years: Need size, someone who can provide interior defense & rebounding--basically the Suns only weaknesses. With Kurt Thomas going into the last year of his deal & rumored to be on the trading block, a team with interior defensive issues could be soon losing their most competent low-block defender. The problem is that there probably will not be a viable option at #24 or #29 who can fill that void. So I'm not surprised that you're hearing rumors that the Suns are trying to broker a deal that will get them a lotto pick--Noah would the ideal target. Though the Suns can find a viable back-up with either their #24 or #29--guys like Pruitt, Koponen, Sessions & T. Green, and I expect the Suns to go PG with one of their picks, if they keep them.

SACRAMENTO--(MLE) (#10): Defensive 4/5; PG; Rebounding
Draft Targets: Jianlian; J. Wright; B. Wright

The first order of business is to find a guy 6-10 or bigger who can provide some type of defensive & rebounding presence in the interior. The Kings have no one who could be considered a defensive juggernaut on the frontline, and their rebounding has to be improved upon as well. The problem facing the Kings is that at #10 guys like Noah & Horford should be off the board. Imagine they would be scoop up Jianlian if he's around for more than just basketball reasons, but I think there are a few teams picking above them who also love the marketing possibilities of Jianlian as well. Also, need a back-up PG who can provide some defense (could have taken care of this last year with Rondo, but Petrie blew it). At #10, probably should just grab the best player available. Should be a few good SFs to choose from at that spot like Thornton or J. Wright, and might be the right way to go with never knowing what Artest will do day-to-day.


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