To start out the series of team profiles, I am starting out with the five teams with the highest percentage of landing the top spot; Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, and Detroit Pistons. Below you can see the schedule for when the next two articles will come out cover the the 5-14 picks, and the 15-30.
The Bottom Five
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors ending up with the first pick in the NBA draft is reminiscent of the Spurs in 1997. A team already established with three all-stars getting the first almost sounds unfair, but that's where we find ourselves, so let's look into their biggest needs. With a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the backcourt is secure barring any injuries, but hearing from sources that the Warriors are not interested in LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman it leaves it up to the lottery to determine what the Warriors would actually do with this pick. Some sources have talked about their love of Aaron Nesmith who is set to be drafted near the mid-1st round, which could indicate a trade if they were to slide outside of the top slot.
With Marquese Chriss trying to gain a foothold as the starting center, and Andrew Wiggins the new addition on the wing, it will be to seen what position they look to fill with their pick. Ideally, the Warriors would be looking to move Wiggins to a 6th man type role and draft a 3 and D type wing that can be easily fit into their shot slinging offense, and pose as someone who could bolster their perimeter defense. That of course is the dream, and with this draft being limited in it's high potential wing, the potential contenders will have to weight all their options as they go forward.
Everything about the Warriors was bad this year, with Curry and Thompson out the lineup they posted the 28th best offense and the 25th best defense. The offense was still a pass fueled movement style flow with the 10th highest assist total, but this of course did not translate to high point totals. With the Warriors coming back healthy after an extended offseason, this pick or trade should be looked at to bring in an NBA ready wing while bringing Wiggins to the bench to utilize his higher usage style play with the second unit.
Need: Polished - NBA Ready Wing
The Cavaliers are the first of the teams that aren't looking to compete next year and are more focused on rebuilding. Surprisingly, out of the bottom five teams, I wouldn't be shocked to see the Cavaliers being the only team that doesn't compete for at least the 8th seed in the next year. With the addition of Andre Drummond, who has recently opted in to his $28.8M contract, the Cavaliers front court is filled with veterans with Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance and Kevin Love rounding out the PF and C spot. The last two lottery picks have been the hopeful future of their back court with Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, but what has been hope hasn't come together to show as many flashes of success as they have hoped, even with 2nd round standout Cedi Osman. Of course, their team is so raw there is no need to try find a player that fits their roster as it's bound to be completely different in the next year or two.
When looking at the new draft odds, there's really no way to determine the likeliest pick the Cavs end with, but lucky for them, there is no need to fill a certain position and there is no true standout players in this draft. The bad news is, there is no true standout players in this draft. Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman are some of the top players, but none are coming in with the same franchise player hype we've seen with #1 picks Zion Williamson, or Ben Simmons. With that said, the Cavaliers draft strategy will almost assuredly be whoever they think has the biggest chance at being a homerun.
If the Cavs go on to win the lottery, there's a good chance that they go with Anthony Edwards, who I have as the #1 on my 2020 Big Board. Now, looking past the first pick, or just beyond Anthony Edwards, it becomes a lot more hazy. Deni Avdija, Isaac Okoro may be the pick if they drop to second through sixth as the the value of wings has gone up so much. Deni brings strong offensive IQ, and Okoro brings the defensive skillset.
The Timberwolves and the Hawks are the most intriguing teams going into the next year as they could both be one piece away from being a really good team. They are built around one or two all stars a piece and are just lacking one more big piece. With the Timberwolves, it's clear that they are in need a of wing and a perimeter defensive help. With the acquisition of D'Angelo Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns now has the all-star level point guard to run his offense and someone that carries as strong of a scoring punch as he does. They still have young pieces that can provide help with Malik Beasley and Josh Okogie, but the T'Wolves lack depth, and that will most likely be the current downfall for them.
The Timberwolves enter the offseason with one of the worst defenses in the league (28th), and adding Russell doesn't help. While it is important for the Wolves to get a wing, and the goal would be to get one with high defensive IQ, the lack of defensive wings in the top 5 mean they can't be too picky.
Anthony Edwards is the player that fits any of the top five teams pretty easily, and the Timberwolves are no exception. Getting past the obvious, the Timberwolves would be smart to take a defensive wing like Isaac Okoro who can play off-ball with low usage. They already have a lot of offensive firepower, but with one of the lowest defensive stats in the league there is an obvious need. With that said, they are still in need a of third player they can continue to build around and that may mean they draft a player that is only known for his defensive stopping abilities.
If there is one team that has a worse defense than the Timberwolves it's the Hawks. The Atlanta Hawks led the league in points allowed, in the wrong way. Now fortunately for them, they have already started to fix this problem with a player like Clint Capela being acquired to anchor the defense at the center. The problem for the Hawks is that the four teams in front of them are all looking for a defensive wing as well, and all have better odds at being a top 4 pick. Cam Reddish did turn it on at the end of the year, and after starting off his NBA career in one of the worst rookie starts of the year, he showed flashes of why he was considered a top 5 picks at the beginning of his freshman year at Duke.
With John Collins and Clint Capela playing the healthy, and hopefully for the full year, their front court will be one of the most athletic in the year, and they should see defensive benefits immediately. Their perimeter will still be a turnstile though, and it leaves the need for this draft to remain as a wing. Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, and De'Andre Hunter are all younger than 22 years old, and players don't tend to come in the league with great defense if they didn't show flashes prior. The perfect pick for them would be a player like Isaac Okoro, like mentioned earlier will bring the defensive prowess a lot of these teams need on the wing, but they could also go for a player like Devin Vassell who brings a big body and a well rounded skill set to the team.
The Hawks need a wing, and they could find themselves in the middle of the playoff race next year. Trae Young is coming off a very Steph Curry-esque type season at just 21 years old and shows promise of bringing this type of dynamic offense next season as well. They are still young, and they need a few years before they could build a contender, but they have good pieces. This draft, if they can nab a SG/SF with average+ defense, they could help amplify their offense by covering Trae's weakness.
Need: Defensive Wing
Last, we come to the Detroit Pistons, who along with Rosas with the Timberwolves, have brought on a new GM in Troy Weaver from OKC. In prior seasons the Pistons had scatterbrained draft targets, with no real goal to roster creation. Within the last year, we've seen a shift in looking towards the future rather than skipping the rebuilding process and shooting for the playoffs. With the team-friendly signing of Derrick Rose and Christian Wood, and the Andre Drummond trade for peanuts, the Pistons are entering a new era. Sekou Doumbouya, last years #15 pick overall, showed a new type of target, a raw high potential project. Troy Weaver has been known to draft similar players, though his main traits he looks for are hard working, athletic, and long players.
With that in mind, the biggest problem for the Pistons last year was health. Blake Griffin coming off of his renaissance year on the 3rd team all-NBA, was out for the year, along with Luke Kennard, Derrick Rose, and Reggie Jackson. You can't fix that through the draft, but with the trade of Andre Drummond, and the question mark surrounding new come out Christian Wood re-signing, there are A Lot of holes that can be filled. Now the most obvious is at the PG spot, as Rose's health has always been a question, and him entering his contract year, I expect the Pistons to dangle him on the trading block. The other question is whether Luke Kennard can come back and stay healthy, which leaves the backcourt as a whole a need to fill. With Sekou and assuming Wood is resigned along with Griffin, I doubt they would be looking to fill the SF/PF/C spot.
Lucky for the Pistons, they are the only team in the bottom 5 without a quality PG, with Trae Young, Steph Curry, and D'Angelo Russell, there is no way that the Warrior, Wolves, or Hawks look to go for a PG. The Pistons are also looking at a top heavy PG filled draft, with Ball, Hayes, and Haliburton front runners. This gives them options if they don't land in the top 4, though I still expect them to take Edwards if they nab that lottery win.
Need: Backcourt (most likely a PG)