With the NBA Draft Lottery tonight, 14 teams will find out where they will be picking in the June NBA Draft. As the ping-pong balls fall, teams will begin to see their future take shape and can build their big board with the prospects that will help their team. Picks can change hands based on the lottery, and teams will be watching closely. Does each team really know what is best for them? Will they pick the best available player or the player that fits best into the system? Let’s look at the areas of need and best fits for each of the 14 lottery teams.
1.Boston Celtics (From the Brooklyn Nets- 25% Chance at #1 pick)
Needs: Wing, Forward
It’s rare that a team in the conference finals also has a top lottery pick. Thanks to their trade with the Nets, the Celtics should be able to build on what is already a good team with a ton of young depth. Picking up a young wing for more athleticism could help, or replacing Amir Johnson with a young star could make this team a threat for years to come.
Best Fit: Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum
Both wings have the chance to be playmakers on the talented Boston team
Who They Will Take: Markelle Fultz
It will be nearly impossible to pass on his talent, and he will have time to develop before he is called upon for a bigger role.
2. Phoenix Suns (19.9% Chance at #1 Pick)
Needs: Big Man
The Suns have a ton of talent in their backcourt, and sometimes have trouble getting all their guards playing time. They need more balance up front to put next to Marquese Chriss and Alex Len. Or they can just pick the best player available and try to work him in.
Best Fit: Jonathan Isaac, Jayson Tatum
Both these players will help in an area of need, but they are not the best still on the board.
Who They Will Take: Lonzo Ball
Hard to pass up the talent, and his skill set will add to an already standout backcourt.
3. Los Angeles Lakers (15.6% Chance at #1 Pick)
Needs: Forward, Center
While all the hype is around Lonzo Ball and his place as the new Magic Johnson for the Lakers, the truth is the Lakers have bigger holes to fill. They could pick best available (which probably will be a guard and maybe Lonzo Ball), or they could try to fix their front line to help out next to Julius Randle and a hopefully stronger Brandon Ingram. The Lakers lose this pick to the 76ers if it falls outside the top three so they will be watching the ping pong balls very carefully.
Best Fit: Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson
Both athletic wings will supplement Ingram’s game
Who They Will Take:
Should not try to over think it. Josh Jackson will be a big boost to their team.
4. Philadelphia 76ers (11.9% Chance at #1 Pick)
Needs: Guard, Health
If the 76ers get their draft pick to appear in a game this year, that should be an accomplishment. They have been unable to prosper off of their young talent, and hopefully, their waiting can end this year. Add more talent at guard, see what Ben Simmons can do, get Joel Embiid healthy, and fight your way to the eight seed. Sounds easy enough. The 76ers can swap their pick with the Kings if the Kings fall in the top-10.
Best Fit: De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk
Both these guards are playmakers and the 76ers will have to decide if they want Fox’s athleticism or Monk’s scoring ability.
Who They Will Take: De’Aaron Fox’s athleticism at a position of great need is too much to pass up
5. Orlando Magic (8.8% Chance at #1 Pick)
Some of the Magic’s best assets have left in the last few years, and they are in serious rebuilding mode. While some of the pieces are nice, players like Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton are not enough to carry a team. Upgrading at small forward if Jeff Green leaves as a free agent and pushing Gordon at power forward should help make the team a bit more competitive.
Best Fit: Jayson Tatum, Jonathan Isaac
These are the two best forwards, and should not fall much further
Who They Will Take: Jayson Tatum
Put him at either forward position and he will add a scoring boost they desperately need
6. Minnesota Timberwolves (5.3% Chance at #1 Pick)
Nobody seems to do less with more than the Minnesota Timberwolves. They have two of the best young players in the league with Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns and have been amassing young assets for the last few years. Point guard depth is a problem behind Ricky Rubio, and shooting guard needs to be shored up as Zach LaVine returns from injury.
Best Fit: Malik Monk, Dennis Smith Jr.
Both of these guards will help immediately, and Smith has top level athleticism.
Who They Will Take: Malik Monk will help add scoring, and they also do not need to add to the logjam at point guard.
7. New York Knicks (5.3% Chance at #1 Pick)
Needs: Point Guard, Small Forward
If Phil Jackson gets his way, Carmel Anthony will not be a Knick next season. His production needs to be replaced somehow. The Knicks also need to sure up the point guard spot and build around Kristaps Porzingis and not around Derrick Rose’s knees.
Best Fit: Dennis Smith Jr., Jonathan Isaac
The Knicks would be thrilled if Tatum fell this far, but will have to decide if forward or guard is a more pressing need.
Who They Will Take: Dennis Smith Jr.
The Knicks need to get younger and faster and Smith should help with that at a position of great need.
8. Sacramento Kings (2.8% Chance at #1 Pick)
Needs: Power Forward
After trading Demarcus Cousins and seemingly getting nothing in return, the Kings got good production from Buddy Hield. If they can find some help inside, especially some offense to complement Willie Cauley-Stein, the trade will not look nearly as one-sided
Best Fit: Jonathan Isaac, Lauri Markkanen
Both of these forwards fit in nicely and will provide offense on the front line
Who They Will Take: Jonathan Isaac
Isaac showed more athleticism in college and will help the Kings run fast as an athletic stretch-four
9. Dallas Mavericks (1.7% Chance at #1 Pick)
Needs: Power Forward, Point Guard
With Dirk Nowitzki retiring soon, the Mavericks would be best served to try to find his replacements. Additionally, after getting rid of Deron Williams, the Mavs should try to sure up point guard depth and defense.
Best Fit: Lauri Markkanen, Frank Ntilikina, Zach Collins
The Mavs have a bunch of options here, but replacing Nowitzki should be a first priority.
Who They Will Take: Lauri Markkanen
Take one foreign-born, outside shooting, 7-footer and replace him with another. Easy enough.
10. New Orleans Pelicans (1.1% Chance at #1 Pick)
Needs: Wing Player
The inside is set for the Pelicans after their midseason acquisition of Demarcus Cousins. Unfortunately, the wing and outside shooting remain a problem for the team. Picking up a dead-eye from distance could be the missing piece for this talented team. This pick is likely going to the Kings, however, unless the Pelicans land in the top three.
Best Fit: Justin Jackson, OG Anunoby
Both wing players bring something different to the table, but both have lottery talent.
Who They Will Take: OG Anunoby
Anunoby provides the athleticism and versatility that the modern NBA craves, and if he continues to develop a three-point shot, he will be very valuable in the league.
11. Charlotte Hornets (0.8% Chance at #1 Pick)
Needs: Forward, Center
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been solid but unspectacular and getting a young small forward to push him would help the Hornets. Additionally, another big man will add some depth up front and hopefully contribute defensively.
Best Fit: Zach Collins, Jarrett Allen, Harry Giles
All three big men can offer different things, and the Hornets will have a tough decision to make.
Who They Will Take: Harry Giles
The Hornets should have their choice of big men towards the end of the lottery. Giles is a risk with his injury history, but provides the most upside and will continue to improve the Hornets offensively.
12. Detroit Pistons (0.7% Chance at #1 Pick)
Needs: Center, Guard
While Andre Drummond is set as the starter at center, some depth behind him could provide scoring off the bench. With Kentavious Caldwell-Pope set to become a free agent, the Pistons could look to shore up the guard spot and get more scoring off the bench.
Best Fit: Zach Collins, Jarrett Allen,
These two centers will help provide some depth behind Drummond and could even play alongside him
Who They Will Take: Jarrett Allen
He moves a little better than Collins and will help the Pistons if they want to go smaller
13. Denver Nuggets (0.6% Chance at #1 Pick)
Needs: Small Forward, Point Guard
The young pieces are there for the Nuggets, and Nikola Jokic is looking like a franchise cornerstone. Getting younger at small forward will be a goal, and possibly adding depth at point guard if Emmanuel Mudiay is not the answer.
Best Fit: Josh Jackson, Frank Ntilikina
Both players will provide some offensive juice and get good looks thanks to Jokic’s passing
Who They Will Take: Josh Jackson
If the Nuggets trust Mudiay at point guard, they will take Jackson and allow him to contribute immediately off the bench
14. Miami Heat (0.5% Chance at #1 Pick)
Needs: Power Forward, Shooting Guard
With Chris Bosh’s medical situation up in the air, Miami would certainly like to shore up their power forward position. If Dion Waiters decides to go elsewhere in free agency, Miami may also need help at shooting guard
Best Fit: Zach Collins, Ivan Rabb, T.J. Leaf
These three power forwards will help big time in replacing Chris Bosh if Bosh leaves Miami.
Who They Will Take: T.J. Leaf
Rabb may have the best upside, but after his disappointing sophomore year, the Heat will take Leaf and continue to build their identity as a three-point shooting team.