Draft Picks: None
Team Needs: The Third Piece
The Denver Nuggets can be the best team in the Western Conference if they are able to add a center-piece to their starting five.
The Nuggets currently have Nene and Kenyon Martin in the frontcourt. But, it is said that they may trade Martin for a draft pick to get a younger and more versatile forward in the post.
That would be great for the Nuggets because they are in need of scoring down-low. Yes, Nene and Martin can score at will, but they are not set scorers. Most of their points come from transition offense, when the offense is moving at a fast pace. This is not bad, but when teams slow that down, like the Jazz did in the playoffs, they’re both non-factors.
Prediction: The Nuggets trade Martin and Ty Lawson in a deal to a team drafting in the first round of the draft. If this cannot happen, then, I see the Nuggets grabbing some un-drafted talent once the free-agency period starts.
Draft Picks: No. 4, 16, 23, 45, and 56
Team Needs: Help in the frontcourt or on the wing
The Timberwolves are going to be the most interesting team next season thus far. They have the talent on their roster; it's all about them waiting for it to be reached. You witnessed Corey Brewer come out of his shell this past season, along with Kevin Love and Johnny Flynn.
However, the one thing they lack is defense. With a smaller starting guard, the T'Wolves is always at a disadvantage in the backcourt. Similar to the backcourt situation, the T'Wolves is in need of size down-low.
Every frontier player in the frontcourt of the T'Wolves is much smaller than their peers. So one way to fix that is use those draft picks.
Prediction: I see the T'Wolves taking a chance on center DeMarcus Cousins'. Every scout is shying away from Cousins' because of his attitude but his attitude wasn't a factor in interviews and in the NBA draft combine.
They do still have options though. They are able to take a sure wing player in Wesley Johnson at No. 4 and grab a decent forward at 16.
Draft Picks: No. 22 and 44
Team Needs: Point guard and frontier help
It seemed like the injury bug hit the Blazers had this past year. They were in position to be a dominant team in the West, then, Greg Oden went down with injury. Next was Joel Pryzbilla, and then newly acquired Marcus Camby.
If they were able to retain at least one of the three, they would have had a better run in the playoffs.
Now the team really needs a defensive force off the bench. The Blazers haven't given up on Oden, so instead of drafting a replacement, I think they should go after someone to spark their second unit defensively.
Also, they are in need of a point guard. They've tried Jerryd Bayless at the point but he is not the guy you want running your offense. He just seems like more of a two to me, and he will be able to play that position in a system like the Blazers.
Prediction: Earlier in the year, Armon Johnson would be my consensus pick for the Blazers; and nothing has changed from then to now. Johnson has great size for an NBA point guard and on top of that, the Blazers are around the range of a Jarvis Varnado in the second round.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Draft Picks: No. 21, 26, 32, and 51
Team Needs: Versatile big
Along with scoring threat Kevin Durant is Russel Westbrook to edge out the backcourt. However, even if I told you the names in the frontcourt, you probably wouldn't know who they were; The Thunder is really close to becoming a dominant team in the West.
But, before they can do anything they need versatility in the frontcourt.
This past year showed just how much the Thunder need a big man. Kobe Bryant and his Lakers went in and dismantled the Thunder inside. I don't believe they would have done that with added size in the post.
It doesn't need to be a center, it can be a forward. Whatever adds size to the frontcourt is a plus.
Prediction: The Thunder has the rights to the twenty-first pick. Now they can go two ways with this. Their eyes have been set on Daniel Orton and they're praying that he falls all the way to No. 21. However, if he doesn't they can go after Craig Brackins.
Draft Picks: No. 9 and 55
Team Needs: Size and depth
The Jazz by far, is one of the most interesting teams to watch in the NBA. They move the ball around so well, and it's just a great atmosphere. Deron Williams is making players, somewhat like Steve Nash is doing in Phoenix.
Now, the Jazz are most likely not going to match any offers for Carlos Boozer and just replace him with Paul Millsap. That won't place a huge dent in the team's offense, unless, three-point specialist Kyle Korver is not retained.
The main thought drafting at No. 9 is adding size in the frontcourt. The Jazz are one of the smaller teams in the NBA and you realized that once they played the Lakers. They couldn't move the ball around as efficiently against defensive-minded players in the frontcourt.
Prediction: The Jazz don't really have a designated choice so they'll most likely wait and see how the cards fall. There are a lot of frontier players that can fall right into the Jazz hands. Greg Monroe has always been on the radar in Utah; and that's the pick that I believe is the most knowledgeable.
Written by DeAnte Mitchell
Written by DeAnte Mitchell