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NBA Draft 2017: Breaking down the biggest needs for all 30 teams

NBA Draft 2017: Breaking down the biggest needs for all 30 teams

The NBA Draft is Thursday and teams are looking at everything from franchise players to valuable role guys, with exec from all the teams making selections making last minute plans to best use those picks. Here’s a guide to what each team is looking for headed into the draft, including teams who don’t have picks. 

ATLANTIC DIVISION

Boston Celtics (Picks: Nos. 3, 37, 53, 56)

Needs: Scoring wing, rebounding, big man 

Isaiah Thomas was spectacular last season, but the offense often fell apart with him off the floor because the Celtics didn’t really have anyone else who could create his own shot. A prime time player on the wing who can create his own looks would be helpful in taking some of the load off Thomas. Additionally, the Celtics need help on the glass, as their weakness in that area was exposed during the playoffs. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish like Jackson at No. 3

Toronto Raptors (Pick: No. 23)

Needs: Shooting, versatile wing, stretch four   

The Raptors’ roster could look a lot different next season because several players, including Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka are entering free agency. Not knowing exactly who will be back makes draft night plans tricky, but with only one pick, they may look for a versatile wing with the DeMarre Carroll signing not looking so great, and P.J. Tucker perhaps on his way out. They could also look for a stretch four that could fill in for Patrick Patterson or Ibaka if one of them leaves. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish differ on forwards at No. 23 

New York Knicks (Picks: Nos. 8, 44)

 Needs: Point guard, wing, defense

It’s still not clear if the Knicks will re-sign Derrick Rose, but regardless, they need a point guard for the future and there are a number of options in this draft. In addition, the Knicks need someone who can help defensively, where they ranked near the bottom of the league last season. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish have NYK taking guards at No. 8

Philadelphia 76ers (Picks: Nos. 1, 36, 46, 50)

Needs: Point guard, shooting, healthy players 

With news of the blockbuster trade landing the No. 1 pick, it looks like the Sixers finally will get the star point guard in Markelle Fultz. While Fultz looks to be the real deal, the key is for him to stay healthy, which has been the main issue with most of their other top picks in the recent few years. MOCKS: With Fultz locked in, who do Forgrave, Parrish see PHI taking at No. 36? 

Brooklyn Nets (Picks: Nos. 22, 27, 57)

Needs: Everything 

With the position the Nets are in right now, anyone will do. If you are talented at basketball, the Nets can use your services. Passing, shooting, rebounding, defense, whatever. If you can do it at an NBA level you can help the Nets. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish differ at No. 22

— Jack Maloney

CENTRAL DIVISION

Cleveland Cavaliers (Picks: None)

Needs: Small forward, power forward, center, versatility, rim protection 

In the NBA Finals, it was clear the Cavaliers needed more two-way players off the bench. They were also at a disadvantage in terms of length and athleticism against the Warriors. It’s unlikely they will strengthen themselves on draft night because they have traded away their picks and do not have the ability to buy one like they did last year with Kay Felder. They’ll have to trade a rotation player if they’re going to be a factor Thursday.

Milwaukee Bucks (Picks: Nos. 17, 48)

Needs: Center, stretch 4, shooting, rebounding   

They have a young core much of the league envies, and they’re coming off an unconventional and extremely successful draft where they nabbed high-upside big Thon Maker and Rookie of the Year candidate Malcolm Brogdon. This is a new front office, and it’s unclear how the transition will affect selections. If they’re looking to repeat last year’s formula, perhaps they could use their No. 17 pick on Justin Patton or OG Anunoby, then hope Josh Hart, Sterling Brown or Tyler Dorsey is there at No. 48. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish agree on the same big at No. 17  

Indiana Pacers (Picks: Nos. 18, 47)

Needs: Point guard, shooting guard, stretch 4, shooting, playmaking, rebounding   

New team president Kevin Pritchard needs to find that draft-day magic he had when he ran the Trail Blazers. How about getting creative and perhaps trading Thaddeus Young, Monta Ellis or Al Jefferson as he reshapes the roster? If Indiana stands pat at No. 18 and No. 47, it might be wise to target wings like Justin Jackson or Semi Ojeleye in the first round and Wesley Iwundu or Sterling Brown in the second round, since Paul George is on the way out and C.J. Miles will be an unrestricted free agent. MOCKS: Forgrave goes big, Parrish small at No. 18  

Chicago Bulls (Picks: Nos. 16, 38)

Needs: Point guard, shooting guard, stretch 4, shooting, speed   

They badly need players who can shoot and complement star forward Jimmy Butler, assuming they don’t trade him. If they are ever going to play the way coach Fred Hoiberg wants to play, they also need more passing and athleticism. They have so many holes, they probably should take the best prospect available at No. 16. If they think that’s OG Anunoby or Ike Anigbogu, they shouldn’t hesitate in taking him. In the second round, Jawun Evans, Sterling Brown and Dillon Brooks all seem like players who could help Chicago as it tries to establish an identity. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish like versatility at No. 16

Detroit Pistons (Pick: No. 12)

Needs: Shooting guard, power forward, stretch 4, passing, shooting   

If they re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, there isn’t a particular position screaming for an upgrade in the starting lineup. Overall, though, Detroit needs to be a more cohesive team with better passing, spacing and communication. At No. 12, they could go with Luke Kennard or Lauri Markkanen for shooting, Donovan Mitchell for athleticism and defense or perhaps even skilled big man Zach Collins, though that might raise questions about Andre Drummond’s future in Detroit. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish like athletic Louisville guard at No. 12 

— James Herbert

SOUTHEAST DIVISION

Washington Wizards (Pick: No. 52)

Needs: Everything bench, point guard, power forward, small forward 

The Wizards don’t have a pick, but if they acquire one, they can’t really go wrong. They need anyone who can tie their shoelaces coming off the bench because the reserves were awful last season. They can take almost anyone and improve at a position, even center, because of Ian Mahinmi’s injury issues. Small forward may be their biggest area of need, though, especially with Otto Porter’s upcoming free agency. 

Atlanta Hawks (Picks: Nos. 19, 31, 60)

Needs: Center, perimeter shooting, PF

Atlanta’s got major problems on offense, but with Dwight Howard somewhat of a question mark because of injuries and production, as well as Paul Millsap’s upcoming free agency, they need better depth in the frontcourt. Another shooter/playmaker isn’t vital, but certainly would help. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish go big at No. 19 

Miami Heat (Pick: No. 14)

Needs: Small forward, power forward, defensive versatility

Miami has invested money at good players at most positions, and could bring back Dion Waiters this summer as well. So the Heat aren’t hurting anywhere in particular. But with Harry Giles, O.G. Anunoby and Zach Collins within range of their pick, they can add a forward who can help them in a lot of different directions. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish see help up front at No. 14 

Charlotte Hornets (Picks: Nos. 11, 41)

Needs: Center, small forward, power forward, shooters, rebounders

The Hornets believe in Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky, but there are so many good stretch forwards available at the 11th pick, they need to think about it. If a great point guard falls to them, they should consider it, but it would have to be a huge drop for a top-10 talent for them to go that direction. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish like shooting help at No. 11 

Orlando Magic (Picks: Nos. 6, 25, 33, 35)

Needs: Shooting, speed, point guard, shooting guard, small forward 

They can go in any direction, and it’s fine. If not 100 percent sold on point man Elfrid Payton (who is, honestly, a really good player) and they add a center, it means they can cut bait with one of their overpriced centers to clear cap space. That’s the real upside of this draft for them, taking players who can those they gave a lot of money to the past few years. They need offensive help more than anything. If Jayson Tatum slips to them, that’s perfect. MOCKS: Forgrave likes a big shooter, Parrish a smaller one at No. 6

— Matt Moore

SOUTHWEST DIVISION

San Antonio Spurs (Picks: Nos. 29, 59)

Needs: Center, power forward, shooting guard, athleticism

The Spurs have their point guard situation settled by going after Chris Paul, keeping Patty Mills or banking on Dejounte Murray. And they’re obviously set at small forward with Kawhi Leonard. Everything else is up in the air, even with as good as Danny Green is. They need athleticism and versatility, and some more weapons would be good. You can go ahead and trust that whoever they get, late in the draft, will look like a great pick in the next few years. Death, taxes, Spurs. MOCKS: Forgrave likes Nova star, Parrish goes international at No. 29

Houston Rockets (Picks: Nos. 43, 45)

Needs: Center, rebounding, small forward

Some of the core is getting older. They’re set on shooters, and playmaking isn’t really necessary with James Harden around. But they desperately need better depth down low. A long-term Trevor Ariza replacement would also be a good look. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish locked in on Baylor big at No. 43 

Memphis Grizzlies (Picks: None)

Needs: Power forward, shooting guard, small forward, shooting, versatility

They may lose JaMychal Green in free agency, and so a stretch four would be good to have around. Vince Carter may go chase a ring, and is near the end of his time. The younger and more athletic they can get, the better. As of now, Memphis is without a pick but that can obviously change with a draft-day trade.

Dallas Mavericks (Pick: No. 9)

Needs: Point guard, power forward, shooting guard, shooters and playmakers

They’re not going to find a Dirk Nowitzki replacement at their spot, but might want a guy who can take some of his minutes in what is likely his last season. They had good players at point guard last season, but need a more stable, long-term solution. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish like same guard at No. 9

New Orleans Pelicans (Pick: No. 40)

Needs: Point guard, shooting guard, shooting forward, shooting

They have the big men, obviously. They could use a point guard for Jrue Holiday insurance. Their offense was a complete hazmat zone last season, and they need guys to space the floor around their superstar big men, especially after trading Buddy Hield to get DeMarcus Cousins. Add shooters and go from there, especially if you’re going to bring back Holiday in free agency. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish like versatility at No. 40  

— Matt Moore

NORTHWEST DIVISION

Utah Jazz (Picks: Nos. 24, 30, 42, 55)

Needs: Shooting guard, point guard, power forward 

Utah’s backcourt seemed a little thin. Aside from George Hill it never felt like Quin Snyder had a consistent backup point guard. It also wouldn’t hurt to add on another strong front court player. All that said, the Jazz should take the best player available. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish like frontcourt help at No.  24

Oklahoma City Thunder (Pick: No. 21)

Needs: Shooters, shooting guard, small forward 

OKC is pretty set in the frontcourt with Enes Kanter, Steven Adams and a handful of young forwards. Their biggest area of need is shooting. Victor Oladipo and Andre Roberson are not floor spacers and the bench consistently let the starting unit down in the playoffs, so they can use help on the wing. MOCKS: Forgrave takes Aussie, Parrish a UCLA big at No. 21

Portland Trail Blazers (Picks: Nos. 15, 20, 26)

Needs: Small forward, power forward, defenders 

The trade for Jusuf Nurkic turned around what was going to be a disaster last season. Along with the dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Nurkic pushed them into the playoffs, but the rest of the team faltered. Defense was awful and the wings left a lot to be desired. Portland should look for a versatile and long defender at small forward and power forward. MOCKS: Forgrave takes a chance, Parrish a big at No. 15

Denver Nuggets (Picks: Nos. 13, 49, 51)

Needs: Point guard, small forward, power forward 

They’re young and have some solid up-and-coming players like Nikola Jokic. But they couldn’t defend even the worst offenses and there’s a lot of age on the roster. They should upgrade the forward spots. Point guard also may be an area of need. Emmanual Mudiay hasn’t lived up to expectations. MOCKS: Forgrave takes wing, Parrish a big at No. 13

Minnesota Timberwolves (Pick: No. 7)

Needs: Small forward, power forward, center 

The Wolves really need veterans, but they have a top 10 pick never hurts. Their bench was horrendous last season and they could use help with depth at forward but will be best off taking the best player available. Minnesota has its core, but needs to complement those players. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish agree on highest-upside guy at No. 7

 — Chris Barnewall

PACIFIC DIVISION

Golden State Warriors (Picks: None)

Needs: Point guard, center, rim protection, bench depth

What do you get the team that has everything? The Warriors spent both of this year’s draft picks in trades, so unless they make a deal they’ll be shut out. Shaun Livingston is a free agent so, should he choose to leave, the Warriors could use an NBA-ready rookie to fill in the backup point guard minutes. Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee are free agents, so depending on the progress of Kevon Looney and Damian Jones, the Warriors could also use an athletic rim protector. Spoiler alert: Golden State will be OK no matter how the draft goes.

Los Angeles Clippers (Picks: None)

Needs: Small forward, shooting guard, bench depth, shooting

They don’t have a pick, but that doesn’t mean they won’t acquire one. We’re going to assume that the $200 million contract will be too sweet for Chris Paul to pass up, and that he’ll return, so the point guard spot is secure. The Clippers likely won’t be able to match the offers J.J. Redick will receive, so they’ll need a shooter to space the floor for their Big 3 of Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin (assuming he re-signs). Their bench was toward the bottom of the league in plus/minus, so any and all help is welcome. 

Sacramento Kings (Picks: Nos. 5, 10, 34)

Needs: Point guard, small forward, playmaking, shooting

It’s going to be a long road back after trading DeMarcus Cousins to officially start a full rebuild. Sacramento has a stocked frontcourt with projects (Willie-Cauley Stein, Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis), but they need perimeter players who can make plays and put the ball in the basket. With picks No. 5 and No. 10, they should get two solid prospects. They’re in love with De’Aaron Fox, and Jayson Tatum is the kind of NBA-ready scorer they need. An athletic freak like Jonathan Isaac would be ideal at No. 10, if he falls that far. MOCKS: Forgrave takes a Dookie, Parrish a UK stud at No. 5

Phoenix Suns (Picks: Nos. 4, 32, 54)

Needs: SF, PG, C, rim protection, shooting

Devin Booker needs help on the perimeter and T.J. Warren’s future is not as a starting small forward. The Suns would love if Josh Jackson falls into their laps, but Jayson Tatum might be the guy they need. Also don’t be surprised if they go for one of the point guard prospects that falls — Eric Bledsoe could be a valuable trade chip, so they need a contingency plan in place in case they send him packing. MOCKS: Forgrave sees a stunner, Parrish likes scoring at No. 4

Los Angeles Lakers (Picks: Nos. 2, 28)

Needs: PF, C, defense, playmaking, shooting 

The news Paul George would prefer to join the Lakers next summer takes some urgency out of finding a perimeter scorer. So drafting an unselfish point guard like Lonzo Ball to push the tempo and distribute to George and all of the young talent makes the most sense at No. 2. That said, the Lakers aren’t going to get better, even with George, unless their defense is at least passable. They also own the 28th pick, so taking an athletic defender/rebounder like Bam Adebayo or Jordan Bell is a distinct possibility. MOCKS: Forgrave, Parrish take separate bigs at No. 28

 — Colin Ward-Henninger

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