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Identifying Needs From Upcoming High-Drafting Teams

Which needs can players from the 2023 class fill for lottery teams?

We're approximately 20 games into the NBA season, and that means we now have a rough idea of what teams could be missing.

As such, let's take a look at what the current top three projected teams to win the lottery are in need of, and let's find an upcoming rookie to help solve their issues.

(To avoid repetitive content, Victor Wembanyama is out of bounds in this exercise, as he otherwise would be the clear cut answer to every team's primary needs.)

Houston Rockets - Scoot Henderson, G League Ignite

Scoot Henderson, G League Ignite

This is hardly rocket science. The Rockets have an up and coming team with loads of fun, and potential-loaded players, including a dime-dropping center and a shooting guard who might one day average 30.

What they don't have is a proper point guard. With apologies to Kevin Porter Jr., a Henderson acquisition moves him into a more advantageous role of being a scorer off the bench, which seems more fitting long-term.

Henderson immediately becomes the table setter, as a young point guard who can consistently break down defenses, get to the basket, and make plays from there. The Rockets rank just 27th in assists, and are dead-last in turnovers, which only underlines their need for someone to come in and control the pace of the game.

Henderson does that, as he balances scoring and playmaking quite well, even if he doesn't necessarily project to become the next pure point Chris Paul. Henderson will always make his presence felt as a scorer, but with the presence of Jalen Green to take some of the load off of him, there's a decent chance he comes in and caters to the needs of others from the get-go.

Orlando Magic - Amen Thompson, Overtime Elite

Overtime Elite, OTE, Thompson

The Magic doesn't have one major positional need, but they do have a ton of guards who are all fairly untested. Cole Anthony can score, but is he a long-term answer at the point? Is Jalen Suggs potent enough offensively to warrant major minutes? And what can we even expect from Markelle Fultz?

Thompson comes in and immediately offers tremendous size at 6-foot-7, an intriguing all-around game, and someone who can handle the ball and make key decisions.

While the 19-year-old is still quite raw, the combination of size, ball skill and athleticism is one of intrigue, as it theoretically allows him to move in-between positions fluidly, allowing Orlando to lean into Point Franz as they've done recently with Franz Wagner.

Thompson is basically the best possible plugger out there, and that ability will allow Orlando to utilize him in virtually all settings. Going big? Play him as lead guard. Going small? Slide him up to the three. Focus on playmaking? Play him as the off-guard next to Anthony or Suggs.

The Magic's recent embrace of positionless basketball makes Thompson a snug fit in Florida.

Detroit Pistons - Brandon Miller, Alabama

Brandon Miller, Alabama Crimson Tide

Okay, so full disclosure. This is maybe the one team where we could justify putting in Wembanyama, as they definitely could use a multi-skill center. Given they're currently developing Jalen Duren, and are apparently open to shopping Saddiq Bey, getting in on Miller as your new big wing of the future isn't a bad idea.

Miller is a versatile 6-foot-9 scorer, who would be deadly playing off of both Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, positioning himself as both a pop option, and one who can attack a close-out. While he likely will still need some work as a roller in the NBA, where defenders are noticeably bigger, his length and touch should give him an advantage in time.

Furthermore, Miller's offensive acumen should make life easier for everyone around, in particular Cunningham, who hasn't hit the NBA with as much storm as many believed. Defenders will have to choose their poison in Cunningham/Miller screen actions, especially with Ivey free-roaming off the ball.

If Detroit acts on a Bey trade, a Miller acquisition makes even more sense, as they'd be extremely shallow offensively at the wing, as Bojan Bogdanović isn't likely to stick around given his age and trade value. 

Unless noted otherwise, all stats via, PBPStats, Cleaning the Glass or Basketball-Reference. All salary information via Spotrac. All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

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