Sam Amick
Tuesday May 17th, 2011

2011 Team-By-Team Lottery Outlook
The top of this year's draft pool isn't nearly as stacked as past ones, but the Class of 2011 still has plenty of promising talent for the teams that failed to make the playoffs this season. With the first 14 picks of the draft order to be determined Tuesday night in Newark, N.J. (8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN), here is a look at the needs of each lottery team and the prospects who might be able to fill them. (Teams are listed in order of best chance to win the lottery. The last number in the "Odds" section represents the lowest spot a team can be awarded. For the complete lottery odds, click here.)
Minnesota Timberwolves
Record: 17-65
Odds: No. 1: 25.0% | No. 2: 21.5% | No. 3: 17.8% . . . | No. 4: 35.7%
Needs: PG, SF, C
The Wolves would love to land the top pick, of course, but they will have quite the public relations challenge on their hands if they do. Despite the fact that general manager David Kahn has been stockpiling point guards in his two years on the job, a source close to the situation said he would likely add one more in Duke's Kyrie Irving. It's probably the right pick, but the fans -- and, yes, some media -- will certainly continue the storyline that has haunted Kahn for some time now in the wake of his Ricky Rubio/Jonny Flynn selections in 2009.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Record: 19-63
Odds: No. 1: 19.9% | No. 2: 18.8% | No. 3: 17.1% . . . | No. 5: 12.3%
Needs: PG, SG, SF, C
Irving would fit well here, too, as Baron Davis (who has an early-termination option next summer) could play the mentor role before handing off the torch. The truth is that the Cavs have more than enough holes that top prospects of almost any kind could help fill, and the second first-round pick they received from the Clippers in the Davis deal will come in handy in that regard. Arizona forward Derrick Williams could eventually provide the kind of star power and dynamic game that helps heal the still-open LeBron James wound. The big-man rotation needs some serious shoring up as well, and the 6-foot-10 Enes Kanter of Turkey or perhaps Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas would be quality picks.
Toronto Raptors
Record: 22-60
Odds: No. 1: 15.6% | No. 2: 15.7% | No. 3: 15.6% . . . | No. 6: 4.1%
Needs: PF, C, PG
The Raptors are still looking for Chris Bosh's replacement (though Ed Davis showed promise in his rookie season), and the looming free agency of forward Reggie Evans means their frontcourt is about to take another hit. A young big to put alongside Andrea Bargnani is badly needed, with Kanter's rugged style the best fit among the players likely still to be available. But Valanciunas and Czech power forward Jan Vesely are also intriguing options. Williams would be a no-brainer if he's there to be had.
Washington Wizards
Record: 23-59
Odds: No. 1: 11.9% | No. 2: 12.6% | No. 3: 13.3% . . . | No. 7: 1.3%
Needs: SF, PF
John Wall has the point guard spot wrapped up pretty tight, and the emergence of Nick Young (who is a restricted free agent) at the 2-guard position means it's time for the Wizards to add a young big man to team up with high-flying center JaVale McGee and forward Andray Blatche. Williams, Kanter, Valanciunas, Vesely or Texas' Tristan Thompson would be welcome. They might pick as low as seventh, and San Diego State small forward Kawhi Leonard might be a productive pick for that attainable position as well.
Sacramento Kings
Record: 24-58
Odds: No. 1: 7.6% | No. 2: 8.4% | No. 3: 9.5% . . . | No. 8: 0.4%
Needs: PG, SF, PF
The Kings need the Ping-Pong balls to fall their way as much as anyone: The Tyreke Evans experience has led them to believe that they need a ball-mover, and they would be elated to add Irving (although Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight is also a possibility). They could badly use more impactful talent at the power forward spot, too, especially if free-agent center Samuel Dalembert skips town and DeMarcus Cousins plays the 5-spot on a full-time basis. Williams would look good in purple, or they would be fine settling for Kanter, Valanciunas or even Lithuanian power forward Donatas Motiejunas. If the Kings don't see a player with some serious potential, though, they will look to trade the pick.
Utah Jazz (from New Jersey Nets)
Record: 39-43
Odds: No. 1: 7.5% | No. 2: 8.3% | No. 3: 9.4% . . . | No. 9: 0.1%
Needs: PG, SG, C
When the Jazz pulled off the surprising trade with New Jersey that sent Deron Williams to the Nets in February, Devin Harris was only a minor factor in the deal. For the Jazz, it had much more to do with parting ways with Williams while getting assets like then-rookie forward Derrick Favors and two first-round picks, including this one. Thus, Harris -- who is entering his eighth season, didn't play all that well in his two months in Salt Lake City and has two years left on a reasonable contract that remains tradable -- appears to be a point guard placeholder. Utah could be looking to land its playmaker of the future in Irving or Knight with this pick, or it could give Williams the freedom he so desires as a hybrid 3/4 should they be lucky enough to land him. They need shooters and frontcourt depth as well, both of which should be available with their second lottery pick. Colorado combo guard Alec Burks is a possibility on the perimeter, and there will be pressure to take local-boy-done-good, Jimmer Fredette of BYU.
Detroit Pistons
Record: 30-52
Odds: No. 1: 4.3% | No. 2: 4.9% | No. 3: 5.8% . . . | No. 10: 0.03%
Needs: PG, PF
There's talk of incumbent point guard Rodney Stuckey playing off the ball next season, which opens the door for the Pistons to become yet another team fighting over the few quality point guards this draft is offering. That is, of course, if Stuckey is still in Detroit after he goes through restricted free agency this summer. Longtime Pistons small forward Tayshaun Prince is finally coming off the books, and fellow veteran Rip Hamilton isn't likely long for Detroit even with his two remaining years of salary, so replacing the scoring and defense on the perimeter is paramount. UConn's Kemba Walker, whose heart and talent were both so evident in the Huskies' NCAA championship run, would probably play well on the Palace court and in the court of Pistons' public opinion. Leonard could offer a different approach to the small forward spot, too: the man with perhaps the draft's best motor potentially starring in the Motor City.
Cleveland Cavaliers (from L.A. Clippers)
Record: 19-63
Odds: No. 1: 2.8% | No. 2: 3.3% | No. 3: 3.9% . . . | No. 11: 0.01%
Needs: PG, SG, SF, C
See the Cavaliers' entry above.
Charlotte Bobcats
Record: 34-48
Odds: No. 1: 1.7% | No. 2: 2.0% | No. 3: 2.4% . . . | No. 12: 0.002%
Needs: SF, C
Who could have ever imagined that Kwame Brown would be an important piece of any team's future? Sure enough, he is. Yet only general manager Rod Higgins knows how the odds of the free-agent-to-be returning are looking and whether he needs to plan on drafting a center. If not, the hole at small forward left by Gerald Wallace after he was dealt to Portland in February looms large. Leonard could be a good fit, especially since coach Paul Silas wants to play fast and the San Diego State small forward has no problem running or finishing on the break. Ditto, once again, for Walker in this potential landing spot. The Bobcats' cupboard is bare, but they'll also have the 19th pick, which was obtained in the Wallace deal, to help stock up.
Milwaukee Bucks
Record: 35-47
Odds: No. 1: 1.1% | No. 2: 1.3% | No. 3: 1.6% . . . | No. 13: 0.001%
Needs: SG, SF, PF
The Bucks have the bookends, otherwise known as point guard Brandon Jennings and center Andrew Bogut. Now they need a few books. An injury-riddled 2010-11 season ended much differently than GM John Hammond had hoped after his team's first-round playoff to Atlanta the year before, and he is now faced with the reality that his roster has far too many overpriced veterans (see John Salmons and Corey Maggette) and not enough cheap, young talent. That will change soon, though, and there are a number of players who could be in the mix here: Congolese power forward Bismack Biyombo might not make it this far, but the 18-year-old's tenacity, athleticism and physicality would be a good fit; Texas' Thompson could still be there as well; and Kansas power forward Marcus Morris is worth considering, too.
Golden State Warriors
Record: 36-46
Odds: No. 1: 0.8% | No. 2: 1.0% | No. 3: 1.2% . . . | No. 14: 0.0001%
Needs: C, Depth
The Warriors have been candid about their disappointment in Andris Biedrins, and the veteran's starting center job is up for grabs should some young prospect be good enough to take it. Motiejunas would be a tempting selection, but he's just the sort of offense-obsessed player whom new ownership wants to have less of. Morris and his brother, fellow Kansas forward Markieff Morris, would do a much better job fitting that defensive-minded, glass-eating bill. The same could be said for Thompson or Biyombo. Golden State might also look to improve its bench with someone like Burks.
Utah Jazz
Record: 39-43
Odds: No. 1: 0.7% | No. 2: 0.8% | No. 3: 1.0% . . . | No. 14: 0.02%
Needs: SF, Depth
See Jazz entry above.
Phoenix Suns
Record: 40-42
Odds: No. 1: 0.6% | No. 2: 0.7% | No. 3: 0.9% . . . | No. 14: 1.8%
Needs: PG, SF, PF
This isn't the draft or the draft position with which to find Steve Nash's eventual replacement, so the Suns might as well focus on the other two positions where they once had All-Star-caliber talents: forward and shooting guard. Amar'e Stoudemire's exit to New York last summer is on a whole different level of impact when compared to Vince Carter's likely departure via free agency this summer, but the loss of both players means the Suns are seriously lacking the offensive punch for which they were once known. Burks could be good in coach Alvin Gentry's up-tempo system; Walker would fit in just fine with his exciting style and winning ways if he fell this far; and Fredette might follow the Jared Dudley path to becoming a useful reserve with incredible range. Should the front-office team of Lon Babby and Lance Blanks decide to add a scorer up front, landing Leonard would be a coup while picking Texas small forward Jordan Hamilton would be a decent grab.
Houston Rockets
Record: 43-39
Odds: No. 1: 0.5% | No. 2: 0.6% | No. 3: 0.7% . . . | No. 14: 98.2%
Needs: C, SF
The Rockets need a center or two even if Yao Ming does re-sign as a free agent. Their days of counting on him to recover from injury are officially over. What's more, Chuck Hayes is also a free agent and Houston suddenly has only Brad Miller and Hasheem Thabeet under contract to play the position. It should be hoping to duplicate the draft success of last season, when it used the No. 14 pick to take Kentucky's Patrick Patterson to add depth behind Luis Scola at power forward. By season's end, Patterson was providing decent production off the bench and even started six games. Motiejunas might still be around and would be a risk worth taking, and either one of the Morris twins are capable frontcourt options. If none of the bigs available look capable of filling that void down low, adding Hamilton or Fredette could help with depth.

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