Saturday, June 26, 2010

TWTWTNBA: Draft Prediction (Southeast)

Washington Wizards:
Draft position: 1st, 30th, 35th overall.

Unrestricted Free Agents: Earl Boykins, Javaris Crittenton, Shaun Livingston, Mike Miller, Fabricio Oberto, James Singleton, Quinton Ross (Player option), Josh Howard (Team option)

Restricted Free Agents: Randy Foye, Cedric Jackson, Cartier Martin

The Wizards are at a critical point in their franchise juncture. They pretty much need players and contributors, period. They need someone to handle ball distribution duties, a.k.a John Wall, to free up the baller formerly known as Agent 0 to do what he does best, other than handle weaponry. In addition, Wall becomes the newest face of Washington, joining McNabb, Strausburg and Ovechkin. (I am telling you, one of these days, there will be a cover, probably SI, that will have a profile on a new look Washington sports scene featuring these 4 individuals).

Shaun Livingston played well at the latter portion of the season. He could be a good combo guard off the bench to spell both Wall and Arenas. It is already inevitable that Josh's option will be picked up. They need a veteran presence to help with the development their two young bigs (Andray Blatche & Javale McGee). A veteran PG would be welcomed as well. This franchise is a mess with the lack of veteran leaders, so they need those kind of players (preferably those with championship rings) to help with the maturity process.

If I were the GM, 5 interesting not-so-obvious players I would go after: Udonis Haslem, Joe Smith, Juwan Howard, Luis Scola, Earl Watson
Charlotte Bobcats
Draft Position: none

Unrestricted Free Agents: Raymond Felton, Stephen Graham, Larry Hughes, Theo Ratliff, Tyson Chandler (ET option), Nazr Mohammed

Restricted Free Agents: Tyrus Thomas

Larry Brown is a must-keep for the Jordan-owned franchise, as his well-known dalliances are reputed. With him in the helm, they need players who "play the right way." Somehow, Raja Bell will end up here. He's a fit with how they play D. Felton, of course, is a priority with this franchise. Ditto with retaining Tyrus. Given how their bigs kept Dwight Howard in check, teams might take a sneak peek. They obviously need veterans who do not mind sharing the ball. This team was lit under the competitive fire of Captain Jack and Crash. They also need size in the backcourt, something they tried to remedy with the late-season signing of Larry Hughes for the stretch run. And if Felton goes, there will be an increasing effort to coax Allen Iverson to join in, even with the issues around AI, I still think he would make an impact.

If I were the GM, 5 interesting not-so-obvious players I would go after: the aforementioned Raja Bell, Brendan Haywood, Steve Blake, Mike Miller, Matt Barnes
Miami Heat
Draft Position: 18th, 41st, 42nd, 48th

Unrestricted Free Agents: Rafer Alston, Carlos Arroyo, Yakhouba Diawara, Udonis Haslem, Jamaal Magloire, Jermaine O'Neal, Shavlik Randolph, Quentin Richardson, Dwayne Wade

Restricted Free Agents: Joel Anthony (Player)

It's all about Wade. They cleared their room to ensure Wade is staying (Which could include Erik Spoelstra being SVG'd). It's up to him whether he wants to or not. (We all think he stays.) With that, it remains to be seen if he can recruit. The allure of South Beach may prove to be irresistible for the likes of Carlos Boozer, Amar'e Stoudemire or even Chris Bosh. Given who they have, the 18th pick might be someone who can complement Wade at the guard spot (like an Eric Bledsoe or a James Anderson). With how they will allocate their cap room, won't be surprised if all of their picks make the roster.

If I were the GM, 5 interesting not-so-obvious players I would go after: (If Wade stays) David Lee, John Salmons, Jared Jeffries, Josh Childress, Brad Miller
Atlanta Hawks
Draft Position: 24th, 53rd.

Unrestricted Free Agents: Jason Collins, Joe Johnson, Randolph Morris, Joe Smith

Restricted Free Agents: Josh Childress, Mario West

With the new coach in town in Larry Drew, it is hoped that a fresh face might breathe fresh air with the cast of athletic players. With a late draft selection, it would be smart to see which big man falls in the cracks. Depth in the position is good for this batch, so it would be smart to take advantage. Especially when you have a 6'9" Al Horford as your center and a 6'10" Zaza Pachulia handling the backup 4/5. On the other hand, this pick (for example, if they draft Jordan Crawford) might determine how they will handle the Joe Johnson situation. We know Mike Bibby's getting there, so expect more minutes for Jeff Teague. If they lose Joe Johnson, expect them to plug 6th Man of the Year Jamal Crawford into the starting lineup and then look at good FA options or bring back Josh Childress.

If I were the GM, 5 interesting not-so-obvious players I would go after: (if they lose Joe Johnson) John Salmons, Mike Miller, Kyle Korver, Nazr Mohammed, Anthony Morrow
Orlando Magic
Draft Position: 29th, 59th.

Unrestricted Free Agents: Matt Barnes, Adonal Foyle, Anthony Johnson, Jason Williams

Restricted Free Agents: JJ Redick

The Magic were almost able to make a return trip to the Finals, they just ran into a Boston Celtic team that unfortunately for them, had their switch on. With the team being really deep, what do they need? First, they need to work on the size of their guards. Too often, opponents take advantage of their smallish guards, so a Grevis Vasquez would be a good fit. He is also a fiery player, someone with cojones. Considering the lack of cojones most of the Magic studs (yes, I am talking to Rashard, Vince and Dwight), it can help. The team would look into getting someone who can contribute or, given the depth, a project who can help in the future (a future where the ridiculous contract of Lewis will be their albatross). Oh, JJ is a must-keep. He was their second-best guard in the playoffs.

If I were the GM, 5 interesting not-so-obvious players I would go after: Shaun Livingston, Channing Frye, Mike Miller, Roger Mason

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