We recently had a good time talking draft position and trades for six NBA Teams. In this article I will expound on what I think six other franchises should do to strengthen their rosters, proximity to playoffs or ways to blow up and restart the team-building process.
To refresh, the top ten picks go to (in order):
Minnesota, Golden State, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Washington DC, Phoenix.
Teams with no picks in the first round: Pacers, Clippers, Rockets.
Teams with multiple picks in the first round: Minnesota; Boston; New York.
Sometimes I type slow, sometimes I type quick…
I was not going to include the Pelicans this time but with the news of Stan Van Gundy taking over coaching duties, (thanks Woj!) With the thirteenth pick, the New Orleans Pelicans select… trading down. Derrick Favors is a free agent this year and his $17 mil possibly coming off the books, and Jrue Holiday and his $26 mil being trade fodder there is some room for a solid Free Agent gamble like Montrez Harrell, Danillo Gallinari, even Joe Harris or Fred Van Vleet. Perhaps they can talk to Portland or the Mavericks.
Speaking of The Mavericks… they are a solid playoff team the way Luka Doncic is playing. If their second star, Kristaps Porzingas can stay out of the hospital each season they may be a future contender. With Tim Hardaway Jr coming into free agency, they will need to replace is sharp-shooting (I know, Knick fans…I know). His $20,025,127 should be coming off the books. The Mavs sit with the seventeenth pick overall. Sure, they could find a quality piece at that spot but to say they couldn’t use a Joe Harris, a Christian Wood (back up for oft-injured KP) or even a Jerami Grant could move the needle for Dallas. Trade that 17!
The Portland Trailblazers are in a similar boat in my opinion than that of Dallas. They are also a piece away from being a threat in the west, not just a playoff team. If they resign Melo (which they should) they will have a healthy Nuric, a healthy Zack Collins. Perhaps they are a Gallinari, or Jerami Grant away themselves. Either that or move up to at least tenth in the draft from their current position of sixteen. Whiteside comes off the books and he was an expensive tool. DeMarcus Cousins or Davis Bertans can be less expensive options and possibly better overall production.
The Washington Wizards are in a very tough spot. They have the ninth pick in the draft. I suggest they use it…wisely. Bradley Beal claims he is a homer and staying home. Davis Bertans will most likely be resigned. John Wall and his $38,199,000 is the biggest issue. Will he come back stronger than ever, focused on the game and his professional business? Well, if playing spades while conducting a live interview is any indication… le sigh. Beal is clearly the leader of this team but Walls’ contract makes him impossible to move. There are more question marks about Thomas Bryant, Troy Brown, Admiral Schofield, and Mortiz Wagner. They are a young team for the most part but at least 3 seasons away from playoff contention. Draft at 9, or package something to move up. You need all the help you can get.
The Charlotte Hornets should be the Charlotte Whens. When is miles Bridges going to emerge. When is MJ going to stop popping Malik Monk in the back of his head? When are they going to start getting out of their own way? The addition of Terry Rozier last year was interesting but it remains to be seen if he can help move the needle. Charlotte needs to keep the 3rd overall pick, but pick wisely. They literally need a win just to justify that roster. Hornets are 3 seasons away from being interesting in either case.
Welcome to Detroit. The Pistons need to trade up from the seven position in my opinion. They need a perennial All-Star and though I don’t know if that’s in this draft, if there is, they need it. Blake Griffin is not the answer. His cap hold is tough too at $34 mil. Detroit does not have a lot of assets for flexibility. Christian Wood is a free agent and they have Brandon Knight making nearly $16 mil this year. Yikes. In my opinion, the highest they can go is 5 to Cleveland. Chicago will likely try to move up, not down so they won’t help Detroit. Cleveland can use cap relief so perhaps Detroit takes on an expiring? It will be tricky either way but an interesting early trade if possible.
So far I have covered twelve teams. These teams are the ones I believe will have the most, if any activity. November 18th will be a fun day! Make sure you all tune into the Candid Corner Podcast/Vlog on November 16th for a comprehensive Pre Draft party featuring Coach Fah, Mr. Lewis, the Off The Ball Network Crew and more! www.thecandidcorner.com