Follow Us ON

© 2017 Goodman Sports

Advertise Here Flag

NBA Draft Preview Part 2

This post was written by Goodman Sports associate Liam Ray.

Team: New Orleans, Pick No. 6

Record: 27-55

Team Strengths: PG, PF

Team Needs: SF, C

Projected Pick: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

The 'Brow's first NBA season was a disappointment from a team standpoint. Anthony Davis's various injuries cost him 18 games, and, despite his relatively good stats (8.2 RPG, 1.8 BPG, .516 FG%) the Hornets still lost 55 games and struggled to score consistently. Eric Gordon, the centerpiece of the Chris Paul trade, has been a huge disappointment (he barely shot 40% from the field this past season) and the SF position was a mess in 2012-2013. The Hornets (now the Pelicans), need a wing player who can create his own shot and play big minutes right off the bat in the NBA.

Otto Porter combines a high skill level with good athleticism and a relentless motor. His jump shot is definitely odd looking, but he makes it work. In college, he was in constant motion on offense, and he worked hard to get open looks, something NBA coaches and teammates will definitely appreciate. He is an excellent rebounder (for a small forward) and he has long arms that should help him contest shots at the next level. His athleticism isn't elite, and he needs to expand his repertoire of off-the-dribble moves to be an effective shot-creator in the NBA, but he might be the safest pick in the draft thanks to his work ethic and skillset.

Team: Sacramento, Pick No. 7

Record: 28-54

Team Strengths: C

Team Needs: PG, SG, SF

Projected Pick: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse

Maybe Sacramento should have just let Seattle have their team, because the Kings are an absolute mess. Isaiah Thomas (no, not that one) "led" the Kings in assists with a pathetic four per game. Tyreke Evans, Rookie of the Year in 2010, has gotten worse every season since. DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings best player, is a head case who might be just days away from being shipped out of town. As if all of that wasn't enough, the Kings had the worst defense in the league in 2012-2013. They desperately need a point guard who can provide leadership or a power forward or center who can provide shot-blocking and interior defense.

Enter Michael Carter-Williams. First off, he's big for a point guard: 6'6", to be exact. He's got athleticism in spades, and when you combine that with his height, it's clear that he has the potential to guard opposing 1s, 2s, and possibly even 3s. His hands are quick and his arms are long, making him a steals machine.

More importantly for the Kings, Carter-Williams has the best potential as a passer of any point guard in the draft. His height lets him see the floor easily over smaller defenders, and in college he took advantage to the tune of 7.3 assists a game. Nobody in college ran the fast break better than Carter-Williams did at Syracuse, and he'll get a ton of opportunities to run the break in the NBA. A point guard with the passing potential Carter-Williams has will help get DeMarcus Cousins easier buckets, and he might even be able to help Tyreke Evans get his career back on track. Carter-Williams did struggle with his shooting in college, and he'll need to improve his jumper to prevent defenders from sagging off of him and packing the paint. There are also questions about Carter-Williams's character, and some might say Sacramento doesn't need another such player on its roster, but the Kings' desperate need for a point guard, combined with the relative weakness of this year's draft, leaves them little choice.

Team: Detroit Pistons, Pick No. 8

Record: 29-53

Team Strengths: PF, C

Team Needs: SG, SF

Projected Pick: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

The Pistons have been so bad the last couple of years that we can probably blame them for the huge numbers of people moving out of Detroit, But for the Detroiters (yes, that's what they're called. I looked it up) who stayed, good things are in store. Andre Drummond exceeded expectations, averaging 1.6 blocks a game and 7.6 rebounds as a nineteen-year-old PF/C in the NBA. His athleticism is an excellent complement to the more below-the-rim style of center Greg Monroe, who has likewise exceeded expectations in his first three NBA seasons. The Pistons' twin towers form an excellent young nucleus for them to build on and will give them an advantage going forward in a league where size is – more than ever – at a premium. The Pistons still sucked this year though, and they need a dynamic young wing to provide some perimeter offense.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the shooting guard out of Georgia, is a perfect fit. The biggest knock on his game is that he underutilizes his athleticism in favor of his outside scoring ability, but that might actually benefit the Pistons. With two quality bigs taking up a lot of space in the paint, Caldwell-Pope's outside shooting (he made 37% of his 3s in his final college season) would give the Pistons just what they need. The fact that he's also got great defensive potential (two steals a game at Georgia) is just a bonus. The thought of a Drummond-Caldwell pick and roll alone should convince Pistons fans to take their houses off the market.

Team: Minnesota Timberwolves, Pick No. 9

Record: 31-51

Team Strengths: PG, PF

Team Needs: SG, C

Projected Pick: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana

The Timberwolves have a big decision to make. They elected to save the one max contract they are allowed to offer under NBA salary cap rules for star point guard Ricky Rubio, rather than offering it to (also?)-star forward Kevin Love. Love is reportedly (and justifiably) pissed that the Wolves signed him to a shorter, less lucrative deal. Obviously, the Wolves would like to keep Love, a premier scorer at forward and the NBA's best rebounder, but they might be better served by trading him now before he leaves them in free agency for nothing because of his anger at the organization – or they could try to satisfy his competitive drive by building a more complete team around him and Rubio.

Cody Zeller is the center the Timberwolves need to create that more complete team. In two seasons at Indiana, Zeller showcased a deep bag of post tricks and a huge and powerful 7-foot frame. His broad shoulders mean he can definitely add the weight he'll need to take on NBA big men. His good rebounding and individual defensive ability will take a lot of pressure off of Kevin Love, and his solid athletic ability will make him a lob target for the flashy-passing Rubio. He won't need a season or two to develop, which should help the Wolves win now and have a better chance of retaining Love. The Wolves can't afford to mess this pick up, and Zeller will more than likely be a solid pro right off the bat.

Team: Portland, Pick No.10

Record: 33-49

Team Strengths: PG, PF

Team Needs: SG

Projected Pick: Shabazz Muhammad, SG/SF, UCLA

Sitting at 33-36 with 13 games left in the season, the Blazers looked like they were on their way to another mediocre campaign. Little did we know they were about to reel off 13 straight losses on their way to what can only be described as an abysmal season, especially considering the talent on their roster. After winning a moronic bidding war with the Timberwolves over the somewhat-better-than-average Nicolas Batum, the Blazers have a core of Damian Lillard at the point, Batum at the 3, JJ Hickson at the 4, and All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge at center. Lillard is on his way to being a star, but he could use another perimeter offensive option to help diversify the offense.

Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA got a late start to the season because of eligibility issues, but once he made it to the court, Bruins fans weren't disappointed. He displayed great scoring ability, good athleticism, and a sweet lefty J. He struggled with his ball-handling, which might turn some teams off, but Portland has enough ball-handlers that they could mainly rely on Muhammad for his catch and shoot ability and driving skills. Muhammad is also decisive, so the ball won't get stuck on him. This is especially important on a Portland team that has several offensive options, none of whom want a rookie to hold onto the ball for iso plays at their expense. Muhammad could be the scoring wing the Blazers need to create a complete team that will contend for a playoff spot next season.