NBA Team Needs: Central Division

NBA Team Needs: Central Division
Jun 04, 2009, 05:00 pm
NBA Team Needs: Atlantic Division

Chicago Bulls 41-41
Draft Picks #16 and #26

Draft History:
2008- PG- Derrick Rose (#1), C- Omer Asik (#36)
2007- PF/C- Joakim Noah (#9), C- Aaron Gray (#49)
2006- PF- Tyrus Thomas (#4), SG/SF- Thabo Sefolosha (#13)

Depth Chart:

PG: Derrick Rose/ Kirk Hinrich/ Lindsey Hunter*/ DeMarcus Nelson*
SG: Ben Gordon*/ Anthony Roberson*
SF: John Salmons/ Luol Deng
PF: Tyrus Thomas/ Tim Thomas/ Linton Johnson*
C: Joakim Noah/ Brad Miller/ Aaron Gray*/ Jerome James*

Behind a rookie point guard and a rookie coach, the Chicago Bulls made an improbable run into the post-season, falling only after taking the Boston Celtics to seven games. The Bulls are loaded with young talent and solid veterans, but as bright as the future seems in Chicago, there is just as much uncertainty. For one, there is a logjam in the backcourt, with Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, and Ben Gordon all demanding big minutes, with Rose being the only clear franchise priority. Tyrus Thomas’s future is also largely unknown, with rumors floating around that he may be dealt before the 2009-2010 season. Therefore, despite the tremendous strides made last season, this looks to be another action packed summer for the Bulls.

There is no telling how the Bulls will conduct their off-season, but with two first round picks, they can certainly add some quality rotation players to their roster if they play their cards right. The team’s most glaring need lies in the frontcourt, where the team still lacks a consistent scoring presence. Similarly, the Bulls could also help on the wing, to either backup Ben Gordon or potentially replace him. With two picks the Bulls have options in this draft and despite the uncertainty that faces their roster this summer, they should be able to add some more quality young talent.

First Round Candidates: (#16) Gerald Henderson, James Johnson, Terrence Williams, (#26) Sam Young, Chase Budinger, Omri Casspi

Cleveland Cavaliers 66-16
Draft Picks #30 and #46

Draft History:
2008- PF/C- J.J. Hickson (#19)
2007- None
2006- SG- Shannon Brown (#25), PG/SG- Daniel Gibson (#42), PF/C- Ejike Ugboaja (#55)

Depth Chart:

PG: Maurice Williams/ Daniel Gibson
SG: Delonte West/ Wally Szczerbiak*/ Tarence Kinsey*
SF: LeBron James/ Sasha Pavlovic/ Jawad Williams*
PF: Anderson Varejao*/ Joe Smith*/ J.J. Hickson/ Darnell Jackson
C: Zydrunas Ilgauskas*/ Ben Wallace/ Lorenzen Wright*

After another post-season collapse, the Cavaliers are at a crossroads. During the regular season, Mo Williams took some pressure off of LeBron James and was a solid second option, but he could not deliver in the clutch and vanished during the post-season. Similarly, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao do not comprise a championship frontcourt, pointing towards another glaring hole in the Cavaliers rotation. While the organization will count on its young players, particularly J.J. Hickson, emerging as solid options, the team is at a crossroads with LeBron James’s free agency looming and just one year left to convince their star that a championship team can be assembled.

Unfortunately, there is little chance of landing a difference maker in this draft. That said, the Cavaliers roster has a lot of holes that can be addressed given their somewhat poor draft position. Bench depth, primarily fortifying their post rotation should be a top priority. After all, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Joe Smith, Ben Wallace, and Lorenzon Wright aren’t getting any younger. A perimeter shooter with size would not hurt, either, as Wally Szczerbiak and Sasha Pavlovic came up empty throughout the season. Cleveland has more pressing concerns this summer, but they could add a rotation player or two if they make some wise choices in a few weeks. More likely, though, their salvation will have to come via free agency and trades.

First Round Candidates: Omri Casspi, Marcus Thornton, Danny Green

Detroit Pistons 39-43
Draft Picks #15, #36, #39, and #44

Draft History:
2008- SF/PF- Walter Sharpe (#32), PF/C- Trent Plaisted (#46), SF Deron Washington (#59)
2007- PG/SG- Rodney Stuckey (#15), SG- Arron Afflalo (#27), SG/SF- Sammy Mejia (#57)
2006- C- Chiekh Samb (#51), PG- Will Blalock (#60)

Depth Chart:

PG: Rodney Stuckey/ Will Bynum
SG: Richard Hamilton/ Allen Iverson*/ Arron Afflalo
SF: Tayshaun Prince / Walter Herrmann*/ Walter Sharpe
PF: Antonio McDyess*/ Jason Maxiell/ Amir Johnson
C: Rasheed Wallace*/ Kwame Brown*

This season signaled the end of an era in Detroit, from the toast of the Eastern Conference to a bottom seed and first round exit in the playoffs. With much of the roster in doubt, including aging stars Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace, it seems as though it is time for Detroit to rebuild, a process that Detroit already started over the past few years. While it is likely that GM Joe Dumars will try to make some noise in free agency, where the Pistons should be able to control the market this summer, the draft is another place in which the Pistons can make some roster improvements. With four picks in this draft and a host of young prospects developing on the bench, there are a multitude of possibilities for the future.

The Pistons have a lot of needs to address this off-season. With Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, and Kwame Brown possibly bolting in the off-season, the Pistons’ most glaring need lies along their front line. There are a variety of post prospects in different molds if the Pistons choose to pursue a big man in the draft. Similarly, with Allen Iverson surely on the way out and Arron Afflalo not ready to handle significant minutes, a wing player could also benefit the Pistons, as well. There are many possibilities in this draft, but a franchise-altering player is not very likely at this point, which likely means that Detroit elects to go with the best player available. The Pistons have drafted very well on occasion, and with four picks at their disposal, this could be a step in the right direction for this franchise.

First Round Candidates: James Johnson, Earl Clark, Austin Daye

Indiana Pacers 36-46
Draft Picks #13 and #52

Draft History:
2008- SG/SF- Brandon Rush (#13), C- Roy Hibbert (#17)
2007- C- Stanko Barac (#39)
2006- SG/SF- Shawne Williams (#17), SG/SF- James White (#31)

Depth Chart:

PG: Jarrett Jack*/ T.J. Ford/Travis Diener*/ Jamaal Tinsley
SG: Mike Dunleavy Jr./ Brandon Rush/ Stephen Graham*
SF: Danny Granger/ Marquis Daniels*
PF: Troy Murphy/ Josh McRoberts*/ Maceo Baston*
C: Roy Hibbert/ Rasho Nesterovic*/ Jeff Foster

The Indiana Pacers had a rollercoaster season, which featured a breakout season by Most Improved Player, Danny Granger, but concluded just shy of a spot in the playoffs. This is a team with a lot of solid rotation players, but very little star-power or cohesive identity. At some point the Pacers will probably have to decide whether they are content just competing for a spot in the playoffs, or if they are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to join the NBA’s elite. The front line largely exceeded expectations, from a statistical standpoint at least, but there are very few players that are untouchable on this roster. That being said, if the Pacers want to get back to the playoffs, they probably have to look deeper than this draft.

With the thirteenth pick, however, the Pacers will have the opportunity to find a solid prospect, especially in this point guard heavy draft. There are a tremendous amount of point guards this year, capable of playing a multitude of styles, a few of whom could have their hand in turning around the franchise. If the Pacers sour on the available point guards, there should be solid options available at other positions, as well. There are a number of different directions that the Pacers could go in this draft, and while it likely won’t turn around the franchise, they can certainly get better with the right pick.

First Round Candidates: Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson, Eric Maynor

Milwaukee Bucks 34-48
Draft Picks #10 and #41

Draft History:
2008- Joe Alexander (#8), Luc Richard Mbah A Moute (#37)
2007- Yi Jianlian (#6), Ramon Sessions (#56)
2006- David Noel (#39), Damir Markota (#59)

Depth Chart:

PG: Luke Ridnour/ Ramon Sessions*/ Damon Jones*
SG: Michael Redd/ Charlie Bell/ Keith Bogans*/Salim Stoudamire*
SF: Richard Jefferson/ Joe Alexander
PF: Charlie Villanueva*/ Luc Richard Mbah a Moute/ Malik Allen*
C: Andrew Bogut/ Dan Gadzuric/ Francisco Elson*

The Milwaukee Bucks looked ready to make a run at the playoffs last season until injuries to Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut condemned them back to the lottery. There are some proven players on this roster, and alongside coach Scott Skiles, they should have the toughness to make it back to the playoffs. When healthy, Michael Redd, Andrew Bogut, and Richard Jefferson are talented enough to carry this team. The problem is that those three have largely strapped the team from a financial standpoint, which will make it difficult to retain the other pieces to the puzzle.

The one area in which they could really stand to improve is their bench. Comprised of aging veterans and inexperienced young talent, the bench needs immediate upgrades in its frontcourt, particularly at the center position. Another tremendous weakness will be determined when Milwaukee figures out whether to resign Ramon Sessions, or commit to Luke Ridnour as the point guard of the future. Should the Bucks neglect to re-sign Sessions, there are plenty of point guard prospects to choose from with the tenth pick in the draft. The same goes for their decision to re-sign Charlie Villanueva or not, although he might be replaced by the cheaper Ersan Ilyasova. Which direction they head in in this draft should tell us quite a bit about how they feel about resigning their top two free agents.

First Round Candidates: Jonny Flynn, DeJuan Blair, Jrue Holiday

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