DraftExpress' Team Needs Section

DraftExpress' Team Needs Section
Apr 16, 2005, 05:59 pm
The NBA regular season is just about over, and the draft is quickly becoming one of the main topics on the minds of fans and NBA personnel everywhere. Considering how well this part of the site went last year, especially when you look back at the final results, is again going to extend an offer to the most knowledgeable fans out there for every NBA team to write what THEY think their team needs and give them a chance to make their voices heard.

This year we are going to do things a bit differently, though. We had 70,000 different people visit the site in the first 15 days of April. Instead of scrambling like we did last year to find qualified people to write about every single team, we are going to take advantage of the incredible traffic we've been receiving and let the reports come to us this time.

If you think you are qualified, and would like your personal favorite team to read what YOU think they should do (have no doubt, they are all following and quite a few have told us that) then this is for you. We will post the template of what we are looking for and how the section should be written (although feel free to be creative), along with examples from last year, and then eagerly await to see what comes out of this.

Whether your team has one pick, two picks, three picks, or no picks, something will be needed on every team. We will evaluate every article that is written, and eventually choose the best one from each team and post it here on the site, with your name on it. Every article will be first posted on the front page (like a regular article) and then copied to a new section that will be opened and called Team Needs afterwards. Keep your eyes on the Daily blog for updates on which teams have been completed. Send your submission to my email address at or click the link at the bottom of the page.

Here is the template along with questions you should be asking yourself should you decide to participate. The article should be between 500 words minimum and 2,000 words at max.

Team Name: Your Team's Name

Draft Picks:

What picks does your team have in both the 1st and 2nd rounds as of right now? If in the lottery, state approximately in what portion (high, mid, low) and we will update once the ping pong balls are settled. If your team is a playoff team, but could move up or down a spot, don't worry, we'll update this too.


A short summary of how your team's season went this year, and how they ended up in the position they are in right now. Don't go overboard here, something short and to the point will certainly do.

For Example: Seattle Supersonics (2004): The Sonics as a team decided to dedicate the 2003/04 season to developing some of the young promising players already on the team, unfortunately season ending shoulder surgery to 2003 draftee Nick Collison partially derailed that plan, but as the third youngest team in the league there were plenty of other candidates for development. To have a chance at the playoffs the Sonics knew that Vladimir Radmanovic and Jerome James would have to elevate their games and provide the rebounding and interior defense needed to balance the outside shooting of the rest of the team. Neither happened. As it turned out, James lost his starting job by the end of training camp and Radmanovic was unable to display the rebounding or defensive consistency McMillan needed from the power forward position, eventually losing the starting job to Calvin Booth and finally Reggie Evans. The Sonics missed the playoffs and the two players who are considered to have made the biggest strides in their development were Ronald Murray and Luke Ridnour, both guards.

Team Needs:

What positions should your team be looking to fill? Why? Can this be filled through free agency as well? Does your team have cap space? How much approximately?

For Example: Seattle Supersonics (2004) The center position has remained a need since the days of Jack Sikma and coincidentally enough he may be a factor once again at the position. Sikma was brought into the organization in the summer of 2003 in an effort to help the three-headed monster that makes up the Sonics center by committee and takes up $16M in salary cap dollars more effective. It didn't work, but there seems to be a consensus that what Sikma needs is a capable student. Making this draft full of young, physically gifted but raw prospects the perfect opportunity to test the theory.

Boston Celtics (2004):

Point Guard: In his recent trade for Chucky Atkins, Ainge expressed a desire to see more of Marcus Banks as the season comes to a close. It is obvious Ainge is still undecided if Banks can be a legitimate starting option in years to come. Danny helped to groom a young crop of PGs in Phoenix, don't be surprised to see a similar scenario in Boston.

Power Forward: Although Boston will have a healthy Raef LaFrentz back on its roster for next season; they still lack a true low post scoring presence. For the limited number of games Vin Baker was healthy enough to contribute last season, his work in the post drew enough attention to make the Celtics perimeter players much more effective than they currently are.

What has your GM's draft strategy been over the past few years? What type of players does your team or GM usually like?

For Example: Golden State Warriors (2004) The past two seasons, the franchise has drafted players that became backups in their rookie seasons. Will they continue on that course or deviate and draft someone to start right away? The answer could be made more apparent once the ping pong balls in Secaucas, New Jersey for the May NBA Draft Lottery have once again decided their draft position fate.

In 2002, they drafted Mike Dunleavy, Jr., a SF from Duke, with the third overall selection. Antawn Jamison, a multiple season 20-plus point, 7-plus rebound per game performer, already held down that SF position. It was originally planned that Dunleavy would move into the starting SF role with Jamison moving over to the PF slot. That plan seemed quite odd, as most familiar observers knew that Jamison was neither strong enough nor tough enough to battle at the PF position on a night in, night out basis. The strong 2002 Summer League performance of Troy Murphy combined with the rough play of Dunleavy in Summer League made for an easy decision to bring Mike Jr. off the bench.

In 2003, they selected French national swingman Mickael Pietrus with the 11th overall pick. Touted as the Euro Jordan for his leaping ability, body type, and overall athleticism, Pietrus was considered by the team to be a project. With young Jason Richardson already solidified as the team's SG, they planned to bring Pietrus along slowly. His potential for playing time was further cut with the free agent signing of veteran swingman Calbert Cheaney and the emergence of tweener forward Brian Cardinal. In the second round, they selected PG Derrick Zimmerman, another freakish athlete, out of Mississippi State, who had shown very little ability to shoot the basketball, but impressed scouts in the Chicago pre-draft camp with his playmaking and defensive skills.

What can be gathered from these past two seasons as to the Warriors draft philosophy? Well, it seems to be a mixed bag. In 2002, they chose what many thought to be the solid and safe pick. A player that would be good right away, but not necessarily great, nor have superstar potential, down the road. In 2003, they swung for the fences and went for the freakish athleticism whose impact might not be felt until two or three years later. The one constant is that they seemed to not necessarily draft for need. Heading into the 2002 draft, PF seemed to be the most glaring need. In 2003, a PG to replace then free agent to be Gilbert Arenas appeared to be the obvious need. Both times, they went for neither in the first round.

Your personal analysis on what might happen.

For Example: Boston Celtics (2004): Expect Ainge to draft the best player available with each pick. This may create some redundancy, particularly if the Celtics find their way close to the number 6 pick. Ainge has scouted Duke on several occasions this season and could be high on 6'8 swingman Luol Deng if he enters the draft. Deng would enter a crowded and talented field of swingmen in Boston along with Pierce, Ricky Davis, and Jiri Welsch—however, his size and athletic ability cannot be denied. Ainge could readily take on Deng despite his depth at the 2/3 in the hope of trading one of his talented swingmen for veteran frontcourt help.

Ainge has also expressed a desire for larger point guards (Brent Barry) and good uptempo players that can field multiple positions on the floor. Unfortunately for Ainge, the most talented points in the upcoming draft will be smaller guards. In terms of pure potential, the Celtics could not overlook Sebastian Telfair, and Ainge has expressed interest in him already. Other points in the Celtic draft range include Jameer Nelson and Ben Gordon—both possess scorer mentalities. It is more likely for Ainge to look for a distributor at the 1, like Telfair, as the Celtics have had no success with NBA point guards more suited to the 2 (Delk, Shammond Williams, Bremer, Mike James).

The Celtics already have a developing post scorer in Kendrick Perkins, but this does not mean the Celtics will stop drafting big men. Ainge seems a bit skeptic of foreign bigs—he questioned Yao Ming's abilities, beyond his pure size, in 2002. Though proven wrong about Ming, don't expect Ainge's reservations to vanish this year. It is likely he will let the size monsters of this draft pass him by (Pavel Podkolzine, Kosta Perovic, Ha Sueng-Jin) and hope it allows home-grown big men with a true sense of the game to slip through the cracks.

High on Ainge's wish list is likely Kris Humphries. Many mock drafts have Humphries going later in the 1st round due to reservations on his height (a 6'8 power forward). Humprhies can be a tremendous force in the post as a scorer and that will negate any reservations over his height. Ainge drafted and signed Brandon Hunter, an even shorter (6'7) power forward, and recently tried to trade for other undersized post scorers in Corliss Williamson and Malik Rose.

The Celtics may be in a bind with a lottery pick and two later picks (23, 26 approximately) when it comes to Humphries. If Kris is a target, Ainge could try to trade down from the lottery or combine his late first rounders in an attempt to get Humphries.

Other considerations: Do you need a scorer? Rebounder? Passer? Defender? Athleticism? True post player? Should your team take a risk on someone that could either be a superstar or a dud? Someone with a more solid outlook? Do you want someone who can step in now and contribute? Can you wait a few years on the prospect? Does free agency affect this draft for you? Is your team's roster so stacked that they might look to draft someone and stash him away in Europe? Is your team's GM on the hotseat? Is your team highly xenophobic so no international guys? Any specific players the media in your city has been hyping up? Any good local guys? We want to know everything.

Your Name: This will be online so your name, and permission to use it online, would be nice.


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