2009 NBA Draft Lottery Positions
The annual NBA Draft Lottery was held today in Secaucus, New Jersey (home to some pretty decent strip malls and such) to determine the drafting position of the teams which did not make the 2009 NBA Playoffs. The 2009 NBA Draft will be held at the Madison Square Garden Theatre, June 25, 2009. 7 PM EDT.
The positioning goes as follows:
1. Los Angeles Clippers.
2. Memphis Grizzlies.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder.
4. Sacramento Kings.
5. Washington Wizards.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves.
7. Golden State Warriors.
8. New York Knicks.
9. Toronto Raptors.
10. Milwaukee Bucks.
11. New Jersey Nets.
12. Charlotte Bobcats.
13. Indiana Pacers.
14. Phoenix Suns.
If you have been listening to mock drafts and guys saying where so and so was gonna go, they’re all idiots. How could they know before tonight? The draft lottery determines who picks and teams still pick based upon need FIRST and then potential 50% of the time. Only NOW do we know where guys are going. Rather than predict where particular players are going, here are each teams’ biggest area(s) of need:
1. Los Angeles Clippers (19-63). The Clippers need everything. C Chris Kaman could leave in free agency. They do have F Marcus Camby returning, along with young F Al Thornton and 30 year old G Baron Davis and young G Eric Gordon. Nevertheless, the Clippers need direction. Mike Dunleavy might be the worst coach in the NBA. They also have Zach Randolph. How is it that this team wins 19 games? Injuries or not. Given their positioning, they may go after F Blake Griffin, because they have zero tenacity at the 4 right now. We shall see.
2. Memphis Grizzlies (24-58). Another team with players at every position. The problem with Memphis is they are all young. At this position, with the players available, the Grizzlies may be looking at a bigger point guard (although they seemingly have a half dozen already). They already have G OJ Mayo at the 2, F Rudy Gay at the 3 and C Marc Gasol. They can also go after Griffin if the Clippers somehow pass (and that’s not far-fetched; these ARE the Clips, ya know?) Maybe G James Harden.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (23-59). Yet again, a young team. They played relatively well following the All-Star Break. The Thunder have G/F Kevin Durant, G Russell Westbrook and F Jeff Green. They will have a shot at C Hasheem Thabeet. Hosh provides them with the size they generally lack.
4. Sacramento Kings (17-65). The Kings are a mess. I cannot begin to assess what they need or what direction they will go. Their best players are the same size and basically play the same position (Kevin Martin/Francisco Garcia). Aside from that, the Kings NEED a big man. But they also need a point guard and a decent power forward.
5. Washington Wizards (19-63). Injuries aside, the Wiz are playing with the House’s money at #5. If they are healthy, they have G Gilbert Arenas, F Caron Butler, F Antawn Jamison and serviceable C Brendan Haywood. Realistically, they are just looking for depth here, or maybe a PG to take the ballhandling load off Arenas coming off two major knee injuries in the past three seasons.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves (24-58). Also playing with the house’s money — if C Al Jefferson is healthy going into the season. The Wolves have loads of young talent and several draft picks coming to them as the result of the Kevin Garnett trade and the trade between Memphis and themselves last year. They can go point guard or swingman here.
7. Golden State Warriors (29-53). The Warriors are in the lottery for two reasons: 1) Monta Ellis’ foolishness last offseason and other players’ injuries and 2) Coach Don Nelson’s stubborn desire not to play his best players more minutes. It’s as if they were tanking all season. The problem also with the Warriors is their best players aside from Ellis are all 3’s and 4’s. Beidrins is a very good player inside, but he’s a stick. They need a capable scorer down low who also wants to play defence. The rest of the team can score all day and all night (led the NBA with nearly 110 PPG). But they don’t care about defence (leading — if you want to look at it that way — the NBA surrendering the same). Anthony Randolph seems to be every announcer’s man-crush — as he should be — no homo. But the Warriors better draft well this year, or a lot of guys are going to be out of a job next June.
8. New York Knicks (32-50). I thought the Knicks would get into the top 5, but the Knicks’ needs are clear to everyone who watched them this year. All 24 of us. The Knicks need a legitimate big man. Although they may look free agency or trade to get that player, the Knicks can still look to this year’s draft for a big man nonetheless. The Knicks also need a respectable point guard. G Chris Duhon did his best last year but he’s still… CHRIS DUHON. G Nate Robinson is better as the 6th man anchoring the 2nd unit than starting. At 5’7″, he is a liability for the Knicks 98% of the time on defence. That is not what you want with your first unit; potentially starting out the gate playing from behind because the opposing team’s point guard can basically do whatever he wants.
9. Toronto Raptors (33-49). Interesting scenario for the Raptors. They are hoping and praying C Chris Bosh will re-sign. If he does not — DEAR GOD for them. It puts them in a conundrum draft-wise this year, because they will not know if Bosh will re-sign until AFTER the July 1 free agency period begins. If he does not re-sign with Toronto, he is almost certain to go to New York in 2010 or possibly in a trade this year. Watch out for the Raptors on Draft Night. They could be dealing. They have players at 1-3, but they can use an upgrade at the 2. If there is a big man available, they may look there, regardless of what Bosh decides to do.
10. Milwaukee Bucks (34-48). The Bucks are a baffling team. They have talent at every position, and sometimes two good players at each position. Hard to decipher which direction they will go in. They have G Ramone Sessions. They have G Michael Redd. They have F’s Charlie Villanueva and Andrew Bogut. They have serviceable F/C Dan Gadzuric. Will there be a big man available? Will Redd be healthy? Do they trust Sessions? At 10, you almost think the Bucks will play it safe and go for a bigger PG. But who really knows?
11. New Jersey Nets (34-48). They won a good 20 more games than I thought they would. And I’m not trying to be funny. It appeared as though they were having a fire sale as rumors spread that owner Bruce Ratner is trying to sell the team. Will G Vince Carter be with the Nets beyond this season however? F/C Sean Williams looks like a bust (no pun, for those who know his past). G Devin Harris is going to be a boss next year. F/C Brook Lopez does his job and puts his head down like Paul O’Neill. So does F Josh Boone. The Nets need a swingman to complement Carter.
12. Charlotte Bobcats (35-47). The Bobcats made the expected progress this past season. Now it is time to build on it. They have parted ways with Doughboy Sean May. C Emeka Okafor is in the fold long-term. They may let G Raymond Felton go, but they are set with young G DJ Augustin. The Bobcats have productive role players in G/F Raja Bell and F Boris Diaw. They clearly need a big 2 guard and/or a 3 man/wing player who can play both ends. The Bobcats can also use a power forward.
13. Indiana Pacers (36-46). The Pacers nearly made the playoffs, but they were racked by injuries. They have a STUD in G/F Danny Granger. Will they let Tinsley go, FINALLY? The Pacers have a really solid 3/4 in Troy Murphy. They still have not addressed their big man woes that go back to Rik Smits’ days. But will a legitimate big man be available at 13?
14. Phoenix Suns (46-36). Too little, too late. The Suns win 46 and won’t find a player that will be able to help them right now at this position. For what they need (someone to replace O’Neal and/or Stoudemire, as well as a legitimate PG to replace Nash — as well as a 3 to replace 37 year old Grant Hill), they aren’t picking highly enough to address that in either round of the draft. Steve Kerr is not a particularly strong GM, and he will have to undo that label this offseason through trades and free agency if the Suns expect to be anything other than also-rans and perennial back-end lottery teams. Teams who barely miss the playoffs typically take longer to get back to the top unless their GM makes the right moves. Kerr has to earn his money here.