Publish date:

2017 NBA Draft: Needs For All 30 Teams

We're just one day away from the NBA Draft and The Crossover has kindly broken down ever team's needs entering Thursday night.

Every NBA team needs something. Even the Warriors. OK, maybe not the Warriors. But 29 NBA teams need something. Golden State is probably fine.

With the 2017 NBA draft rapidly approaching (and a never-ending splash of rumors hitting us in the face), The Crossover is breaking down each team’s biggest needs this summer. We’ll include each team’s 2016-17 results, a list of draft picks for Thursday night and a brief synopsis of their most glaring holes.

Without further ado, let’s get to the needs.

Image placeholder title

Atlanta Hawks

Team needs: A blueprint
Picks: 19, 31, 60
2016-17 results: 43-39, lost in first round

Are the Hawks moving on from the Paul Millsap Era? And if so, was trading Dwight Howard the first inclination of what’s to come? Mike Budenholzer seems ready to embrace a youth movement, but the Hawks have yet to go all-in on the future. Three draft picks and some cap room should help.

Boston Celtics

Team needs: Two superstar wings
Picks: 3, 37, 53, 56
2016-17 results: 53-29, lost in East finals

The Celtics have all of the assets in the world—can they turn them into superstars? Adding Gordon Hayward, Paul George or Jimmy Butler likely isn’t enough to ascend the Cavs-Warriors mountaintop. But two of those three next to Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford? Time for Trader Danny to cash in those chips.

Brooklyn Nets

Team needs: Everything but a point guard
Picks: 22, 57
2016-17 results: 20-62, missed playoffs

Sean Marks stole his first building block for Brooklyn by snatching a potential franchise point guard in D’Angelo Russell for an expiring contract and the No. 27 pick. With a deep draft, he may be able to steal his second big piece late in the first round. Last year’s bold attempts in restricted free agency proved Marks is willing to try anything to improve.

Charlotte Hornets

Team needs: Some punch
Picks: 11, 41
2016-17 results: 36-46, missed playoffs

Charlotte took a surprising step back last season. It’s tough to be a playoff team when Nicolas Batum and Frank Kaminsky are your second- and third-leading scorers. Their pupu platter of average big men didn’t help either. Is Dwight Howard enough to fill that hole? The Hornets have some good pieces, but Kemba Walker needs help on the offensive end. That said, Michael Jordan will probably take Justin Jackson.


Chicago Bulls

Team needs: A Jimmy Butler replacement, apparently
Picks: 16, 38
2016-17 results: 41-41, lost in first round

The Bulls could really use a two-way star in his prime…since, you know, they seem set on trading the one they have. Dwyane Wade will turn 36 next season and the rest of Chicago’s roster looks like it was put together by two people with drastically different visions. Barring an All-Star coming back for Butler, Chicago might need a full-scale rebuild. They should go best player available at No. 16 and hope someone with a high ceiling falls.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Team needs: A new third banana
Picks: n/a
2016-17 results: 51-31, lost in Finals

LeBron James and Dan Gilbert appear to be on the same page about one thing: the Cavs need to get better. They likely would have won the title this year if they hadn’t gone against a once-in-a-generation team, but that team isn’t going anywhere, so it’s time to adjust. Kevin Love looked obsolete against the Dubs once again, meaning it might be time to bring in a smaller, more athletic star to play alongside The King. Love won’t get it done for Paul George or Jimmy Butler—so Cleveland’s front office (whoever that may be) will have to get creative.

Dallas Mavericks

Team needs: Some sensible building blocks
Picks: 9
2016-17 results: 33-49, missed playoffs

The Mavs should not look to replace Dirk Nowitzki—because they can’t. They shouldn’t look to add a “missing piece”—because there’s no such thing. Instead, Dallas should continue to calmly build for the future. Dallas’s end game in 2017-18 looks something like this: Dirk gets a respectable swan song, the young guys take the next step, and Mark Cuban preps for the summer of 2018 when he’ll go clubbing with every free agent of worth. Until then, don’t do anything crazy. Just take French Frank.

Denver Nuggets

Team needs: Backcourt clarity
Picks: 13, 49, 51
2016-17 results: 40-42, missed playoffs

The Nuggets boast four lottery pick guards on their roster: Emmanuel Mudiay, Jamal Murray, Malik Beasley and Gary Harris. Who do they value? Your guess is as good as mine. But they’re stunting each other’s growth at this point, so it’s time to commit. To one of them. Or none of them. Just make up your mind and put some shooters around Nikola Jokic.

Detroit Pistons

Team needs: An intervention
Picks: 12
2016-17 results: 37-45, missed playoffs

Does Stan Van Gundy hate Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond? Or is he building around them? It’s not a good sign that I had to ask both of those questions. Few of SVG’s moves have panned out since taking over in Detroit, which means it could be time to add another voice to the mix.

Golden State Warriors

Team needs: Hahahahahahahahaha
Picks: n/a
2016-17 results: 67-15, won Finals

Good one.

Houston Rockets

Team needs: Two-way big man
Picks: 43, 45
2016-17 results: 55-27, lost in second round

The Rockets got exposed in the playoffs this spring when they couldn’t keep Ryan Anderson or Clint Capela on the floor for long stretches. Houston has an abundance of firepower, but it needs the right role players to fill out its lineups. Two-way big men don’t grow on trees, but Daryl Morey is smart enough to scavenge the jungle floor.

Indiana Pacers

Team needs: A lead guard
Picks: 18, 47
2016-17 results: 42-40, lost in first round

The Pacers are officially building around Myles Turner. With Paul George soon-to-be out, expect an all-out youth movement in Indy (there’s a reason why Larry Bird didn’t want to stick around). With Jeff Teague no longer making sense, Indy could target its point guard of the future this summer. Moving up in the draft would help.

Los Angeles Clippers

Team needs: Jerry West’s magical touch
Picks: n/a
2016-17 results: 51-31, lost in first round

More than anything, the Clippers need to convince Chris Paul to stay this summer. Their “team needs” change drastically if one of the best PGs in NBA history bolts for another team. If Jerry West can convince CP3 (and Blake?) to stay, then it’s time to scrub away Doc Rivers’s imprint on the team and get some sensible players around their superstar duo.


Los Angeles Lakers

Team needs: Star power
Picks: 2, 27, 28
2016-17 results: 26-56, missed playoffs

SI Recommends

It feels like anything I write here will be dated by the time this page loads. Magic Johnson isn’t wasting any time in Los Angeles and appears set on pressing fast-forward on the Lakers’ rebuilding process. With a treasure chest of assets and a deep desire to make the franchise relevant again, Magic and Rob Pelinka have all the ingredients for a tasty summer. Think of the D’Angelo Russell trade as the appetizer, Paul George as the entrée and Lonzo Ball as the dessert. (I would have ordered De’Aaron Fox, but that’s just me.)

Memphis Grizzlies

Team needs: Shooters (preferably young ones)
Picks: n/a
2016-17 results: 43-39, lost in first round

A Comeback of the Year campaign from Chandler Parsons would fix a lot of problems, but barring a miraculous turnaround the Grizzlies are in need of some shooters to surround Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. An influx of athleticism wouldn’t hurt either as Father Time catches up with the enduring grit-n-grinders.

Miami Heat

Team needs: Better wings
Picks: 14
2016-17 results: 41-41, missed playoffs

The Heat have the outline for a playoff team in 2018, they just need to fill in some of the blank spaces. Help at the four might be No. 1 on Pat Riley’s to-do list, but Miami has enough versatile players that it can pretty much go best player available at No. 14.

Milwaukee Bucks

Team needs: A bodyguard for Giannis
Picks: 17, 48
2016-17 results: 42-40, lost in first round

Milwaukee could use a big man to play with Giannis Antetokounmpo, but a lot of the pieces are already set for the Bucks. With the Greg Monroe experiment officially deemed a failure, the Bucks will likely target help down low.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Team needs: A stretch-four
Picks: 7
2016-17 results: 31-51, missed playoffs

Karl-Anthony Towns could wreak havoc at center if the Wolves pair him with a stretch-four who could also protect the rim (Jonathan Isaac?). Minnesota took Kris Dunn in the lottery last year, but the Wolves might still be looking to shake up their backcourt in their never-ending search for a shooter.

New Orleans Pelicans

Team needs: The perfect role players
Picks: 40
2016-17 results: 34-48, missed playoffs

Having Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins on the same team should not be overlooked—this is an incredible opportunity for the Pelicans to be a dominant force. But it’s also an easy one to squander if New Orleans can’t assemble the right pieces around them. New Orleans needs a ballhandler to feed both stars, whether it’s Jrue Holiday or someone else, and it needs some shooters to space the floor.

New York Knicks

Team needs: A chill pill
Picks: 8, 44, 58
2016-17 results: 31-51, missed playoffs

Do. Not. Trade. Kristaps. Porzingis. I can’t believe I even have to say that! Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony are locked in the weirdest staring contest in NBA history. Phil Jackson is doing everything he can to make Melo blink and waive his no-trade clause, but Anthony isn’t giving in. If Phil makes the Knicks play 20 home games at Baruch College next year, we’ll know he isn’t messing around.


Oklahoma City Thunder

Team needs: Another scorer
Picks: 21
2016-17 results: 47-35, lost in first round

As much fun as it is to watch Russell Westbrook try and beat teams single handedly, it’s not sustainable. Unless Russ plans on averaging a 50-point quadruple-double next year, the Thunder need some firepower to complement their otherwise sturdy core. A third guard or stretch-four would do wonders.

Orlando Magic

Team needs: Someone worth building around
Picks: 6, 25, 33, 35
2016-17 results: 29-53, missed playoffs

The Magic have some nice pieces, but none you would run in and grab if your house was on fire. Aaron Gordon might be the closest thing they have to a franchise player, which means Orlando’s new front office has some work to do. Four of the first 35 picks and a mish-mash of prospects gives them some interesting ammo.

Philadelphia 76ers

Team needs: A new season of The Process
Picks: 1, 36, 39, 46, 50
2016-17 results: 28-54, missed playoffs

Will Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid lead to a dynasty in Philadelphia? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s a pretty good gamble and I’d roll the dice if I were the Sixers, too. It’s a rare collection of talent, and in the superteam era, you have to shoot astronomically high to win a title.

Phoenix Suns

Team needs: Devin Booker sidekick
Picks: 4, 32, 54
2016-17 results: 24-48, missed playoffs

With apologies to Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker is the present and future for Phoenix. After using two lottery picks on big men last year, the Suns could use help on the wing this year, and may snag Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum at No. 4.

Portland Trail Blazers

Team needs: A very generous friend
Picks: 15, 20, 26
2016-17 results: 41-41, lost in first round

Remember that time the Blazers gave $70 million to Evan Turner? Oh, 2016. That was so recent. Anyways, Portland is unlikely to keep all three first-round picks, so a trade could be in the cards for the Blazers. Can they land a third star to pair with one of the best backcourts in the league? They’ll need someone willing to take a package of picks and middling assets in returns. 

Sacramento Kings

Team needs: Lead guard and capable big
Picks: 5, 10, 34
2016-17 results: 32-50, missed playoffs

There’s a 94% chance Vivek Ranadive falls in love with a player and the Kings use the No. 5 and No. 10 pick to trade up in the draft. There’s like a 38% chance that player is projected to go in the second round.

San Antonio Spurs

Team needs: Two-way big man and secondary scorer
Picks: 29, 59
2016-17 results: 61-21, lost in West finals

In a stunning twist, it turns out replacing Tim Duncan isn’t easy. LaMarcus Aldridge looked overwhelmed in the playoffs and Pau Gasol found himself on the bench in key stretches. Is there a steal late in the first round? I pretty much trust whatever Pop and RC Buford do.

Toronto Raptors

Team needs: Potentially, a lot of things
Picks: 23
2016-17 results: 51-31, lost in second round

It was reported that Kyle Lowry had “no interest” in re-signing in Toronto (LINK), which would obviously change Toronto’s entire trajectory. If Lowry elects to move on, it could lead to a domino effect and the Raptors could find themselves in a dire situation. Masai Ujiri is either one piece away from the conference finals or one move away from a rebuild.

Utah Jazz

Team needs: Point guard (and maybe face of the franchise)
Picks: 24, 30, 42, 55
2016-17 results: 51-31, lost in second round

George Hill could be headed for a big payday after a breakout season and Gordon Hayward could be headed for another team if he gives in to one of his many free-agent pitches. Utah would still have the bones of a good NBA team, but they’d need to make splashes in the draft to stay afloat. The Jazz will likely hedge and target depth at both positions.

Washington Wizards

Team needs: Depth
Picks: 52
2016-17 results: 49-33, lost in second round

The Wizards don’t have a lot of flexibility, but they don’t need to make any drastic moves either. What Washington could use is some depth—anywhere. They have one of the best starting lineups in the league, but also one of the worst benches. Who wants to play with John Wall?