Team by Team Draft Preview

Team by Team Draft Preview

Atlanta Hawks 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Hawks finished 30-52 in 2006-07, and did not qualify for the playoffs for the eighth straight year. They have two lottery picks and should be able to help their cause.

All-Star Joe Johnson led the Hawks in scoring (25.0 ppg) this past season, while Josh Smith grabbed a team-high 8.6 rebounds and Johnson and Speedy Claxton both handed out a club-best 4.4 assists per game.

The 6-7 Johnson, who missed 25 games because of injuries, is the key for Atlanta. The offense runs through him and he is the Hawks' go-to player.

Atlanta does have some talented players who are still developing. Forward Marvin Williams averaged 13.1 points and 5.3 boards in his second season in the league, while rookie Shelden Williams continued to improve as the season progressed. Swingman Josh Childress posted 13.0 points per contest and shot 50.4 percent from the field, including 33.8 percent from beyond the arc.

With two high picks (3, 11), the Hawks will be able to add to their already youthful roster. Yi Jianlian of China is worth the gamble at No. 3. He has a decent outside game and will get help on the boards from Smith, Shelden and Marvin Williams. If Atlanta decides to play it safe, Florida's Al Horford and Brandan Wright of North Carolina are the players the Hawks will be looking at.

The 11th pick should also get Atlanta some immediate help. This year's draft should go a long way in helping the Hawks get closer to making it back to the postseason.

Key Player(s): Josh Childress (Guard), Speedy Claxton (Guard), Joe Johnson (Guard), Tyronn Lue (Guard), Zaza Pachulia (Center), Josh Smith (Forward), Salim Stoudamire (Guard), Marvin Williams (Forward), Shelden Williams (Forward).

Team Needs: Center and a slashing small forward who can knock down the outside jumper

Draft picks: 1st round (3rd overall), 1st round (11th overall).

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Boston Celtics 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The Boston Celtics are still trying to get back to the glory days. Boston's head of basketball operations Danny Ainge is still trying to build a winner around Paul Pierce, who averaged 25.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 47 games last season.

The Celtics had the second worst record in the league in 2006-07, as they finished with a dismal 24-58 record. Unfortunately for Boston, it fell in the lottery and will pick No. 5 and won't have the opportunity to add Greg Oden or Kevin Durant.

Forward Al Jefferson had a breakout campaign, as he posted 16.0 points and 11.0 boards in 69 contests this past season, while guard Delonte West registered 12.2 points and a club-high 4.4 assists. Ryan Gomes also had a solid showing, as he netted 12.1 and pulled down 5.6 rebounds.

There is some young talent on the Celtics roster, but its just not good enough. Pierce and Jefferson are the building blocks, and they need more help. The fifth pick will land a starting big man for the Celtics. The 6-10 Jefferson will most likely see some time in the middle during the upcoming season.

Boston would be thrilled if Florida's Al Horford and North Carolina's Brandan Wright are still around at No. 5. Both players would help immediately. China's Yi Jianlian is also a possibility, but the Celtics may not want to take a chance on him.

Head coach Doc Rivers will get some help from the draft, but its just not going to be what the Celtics were hoping for when they listened to the results of the draft lottery on May 22nd. However, a blockbuster trade for an established NBA All-Star could be in the works. The fifth overall selection is a nice asset to have, and would most definitely be part of any such deal.

Key Player(s): Tony Allen (Guard), Ryan Gomes (Forward), Gerald Green (Guard), Al Jefferson (Forward), Kendrick Perkins (Center), Paul Pierce (Forward/Guard), Rajon Rondo (Guard), Wally Szczerbiak (Forward), Delonte West (Guard).

Team Needs: Help in the frontcourt, low-post scorer, rebounding and toughness down low.

Draft picks: 1st round (5th overall), 2nd round (32nd overall).

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Dallas Mavericks 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The Dallas Mavericks finished an NBA-best 67-15 during the 2006-07 campaign, but were stunned in the first round of the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors, 4-2.

Dallas does not have a first-round pick, but it does own multiple second-round selections. The Mavericks will make their first choice with the 34th overall pick.

MVP Dirk Nowitzki, who struggled against Golden State in the postseason, led the Mavericks in scoring (24.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg) during the regular season, while Jason Terry, who posted 16.7 points per game, dished out a team-best 5.2 assists per game.

Forward Josh Howard continued his development, and became a first-time All- Star. Howard averaged 18.9 points and 6.8 rebounds in 70 contests this past season.

Howard, Nowitzki and Terry make up a potent threesome. Their main supporting cast is solid, as it consists of veteran Jerry Stackhouse, point guard Devin Harris, forward Devean George and centers Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop.

The Mavericks will try and use their second-round picks to add depth up front. They could use some help on the boards, and may look to get another speedy guard who can knock down the outside jumper.

Key Player(s): Erick Dampier (Center), DeSagana Diop (Center), Devean George (Forward), Devin Harris (Guard), Josh Howard (Forward), Dirk Nowitzki (Forward), Jerry Stackhouse (Guard), Jason Terry (Guard).

Team Needs: Rebounding and a consistent outside shooter.

Draft picks: 2nd round (34th overall), 2nd round (50th overall), 2nd round (60th overall).

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Charlotte Bobcats 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Charlotte has a new head coach in Sam Vincent, and will pick twice in the first round of the 2007 draft. The Bobcats finished the 2006-07 campaign with a franchise-best 33-49 record and did not qualify for the playoffs for the third straight season.

Entering their fourth NBA season, the Bobcats should be ready to make a serious run at earning their first playoff berth.

Forward Gerald Wallace, who can also play shooting guard and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent during the summer, led the Bobcats in scoring (18.1 ppg) this past season, while Emeka Okafor grabbed a team-best 11.3 rebounds and Raymond Felton dished out a club-high 7.0 assists per game.

The Bobcats will try and keep Wallace in the fold, but it will be very costly. Okafor, who was second on the team in scoring (14.4 ppg), and Adam Morrison, who averaged 11.8 points during his rookie campaign, give Charlotte two young forwards with bright futures.

Felton netted 14.0 in 78 games in 2006-07 and is on his way to becoming a top point guard in the NBA, while shooting guard Matt Carroll collected 12.1 points per game and power forward Sean May posted 11.9 points and 6.7 rebounds in just 35 contests.

There is already a lot of young talent on the Charlotte roster. The Bobcats have another chance to add to it. Florida's Joakim Noah would add the winning attitude and inside presence that could help Charlotte reach the postseason. However, there are questions if Noah will be as effective in the NBA as he was in college.

By selecting Noah at No. 8, the Bobcats would solidify their frontline for many years to come. With the 22nd pick, Charlotte may have its eyes on adding some depth to the backcourt.

Key Player(s): Matt Carroll (Guard), Raymond Felton (Guard), Walter Herrmann (Forward), Brevin Knight (Guard), Sean May (Forward), Adam Morrison (Forward), Emeka Okafor (Forward), Gerald Wallace (Forward).

Team Needs: Inside help on both ends of the court, toughness and depth at guard.

Draft picks: 1st round (8th overall), 1st round (22nd overall)

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Chicago Bulls 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls are an up-and-coming team. They finished 49-33 during the 2006-07 campaign and advanced to the East semis for the first time since 1998.

The top-seeded Detroit Pistons eliminated the Bulls, who had been knocked out in the first round the previous two playoffs, in six games in the postseason. However, it was a big step for the young and talented Bulls.

Ben Gordon and Luol Deng are rising stars, while Ben Wallace is the intimidating inside presence and Kirk Hinrich provides steady play at the point. Gordon led the Bulls in scoring (21.4 ppg) during the regular season, Wallace grabbed a team-best 10.7 boards and Hinrich handed out a club-high 6.3 assists per game.

Deng, who averaged 18.8 points and 7.1 rebounds, and Gordon were the only Bulls to play in all 82 regular-season games. Forwards Tyrus Thomas, Andres Nocioni, Thabo Sefolosha and guard Chris Duhon give the Bulls depth and athleticism.

The Bulls have the opportunity to add another talented player through the draft, as they own the No. 9 pick, which originally belonged to New York, but the Bulls had the right to exchange first-round selections with the Knicks as part of the Eddy Curry trade.

It would not be a surprise if the Bulls dealt the ninth overall pick in a trade to acquire a veteran who can make an immediate impact. After all, Chicago is now a contender and is looking to win now.

Chicago could decide to go the foreign route at No. 9. Brazil's Tiago Splitter and Marc Gasol of Spain could be intriguing to the Bulls. Both players are projects, but they have upside as rebounders and low-post scorers. Julian Wright of Kansas and Spencer Hawes of Washington would be safer picks.

Key Player(s): P.J. Brown (Forward), Luol Deng (Forward), Chris Duhon (Guard), Ben Gordon (Guard), Kirk Hinrich (Guard), Andres Nocioni (Forward), Thabo Sefolosha (Forward), Tyrus Thomas (Forward), Ben Wallace (Center).

Team Needs: Power forward, rebounding help for Wallace and scoring.

Draft picks: 1st round (9th overall), 2nd round (49th overall), 2nd round (51st overall).

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Cleveland Cavaliers 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The Cleveland Cavaliers are fresh off of their most successful campaign in franchise history. They won 50 games during the season, defeated Washington, New Jersey and Detroit in the playoffs to capture the Eastern Conference and advanced to their first-ever NBA Finals.

Cleveland was swept in four games by the San Antonio Spurs in the finals, but it will only benefit from the experience. It took superstar LeBron James four years to get the Cavaliers to the championship round.

James, who appeared in the postseason for the second time in his career this past season, played in 78 games during the regular season. He led the club in scoring (27.3 ppg), assists (6.0 apg) and also pulled down 6.7 rebounds per game. The 6-8 James is arguably the top player in the league and is the franchise player.

Larry Hughes, who battled a heel injury during the finals, averaged 14.9 points, 3.8 boards and 3.7 assists in 70 contests for the Cavaliers. Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas posted 11.9 points and 7.7 rebounds, while forward Drew Gooden netted 11.1 and grabbed a team-best 8.5 boards.

Gooden, Hughes and Ilgauskas are James' main supporting cast, while Sasha Pavlovic, Donyell Marshall, Anderson Varejao and rookie Daniel Gibson, who shined in the East finals, are decent role players. However, Gibson hit some big shots during the postseason, and will get a chance to play a bigger role in 2007-08.

The Cavaliers don't have any picks in this year's draft. Chances are they will be spectators and will make their moves during free agency. Building around James, and getting him players who complement his skills will once again be the goal during the offseason.

Key Player(s): Daniel Gibson (Guard), Drew Gooden (Forward), Larry Hughes (Guard), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Center), LeBron James (Forward), Damon Jones (Guard), Donyell Marshall (Forward), Sasha Pavlovic (Guard), Eric Snow (Guard), Anderson Varejao (Forward).

Team Needs: Consistent perimeter shooter and point guard.

Draft picks: NONE.

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Denver Nuggets 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The Denver Nuggets don't have any picks in this year's draft. They finished 45-37 in the 2006-07 campaign, but were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

The Nuggets, who were ousted by San Antonio in five games in the first round, made a blockbuster trade when they acquired Iverson on December 19th from the Philadelphia 76ers for a pair of 2007 first-round draft picks, point guard Andre Miller and forward Joe Smith.

At first, the Nuggets struggled but the team eventually jelled and they put together a season-best eight-game winning streak from April 1-13, which helped them move securely into a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Carmelo Anthony, who averaged a team-best 28.9 points per game, and Iverson are still learning to play together, while center Marcus Camby, Nene, Steve Blake, who was acquired from Milwaukee during the season, and J.R. Smith are all important pieces to the puzzle for head coach George Karl, who arguably did his best job as a head coach this past season.

Camby, who was the Defensive Player of the Year, registered 11.2 points and a team-best 11.7 rebounds per game, while Iverson averaged 26.3 points and 7.2 assists in 65 games for Philadelphia and Denver.

By acquiring Iverson, the Nuggets showed that they are trying to win now. They need some help on the glass and could use some help off the bench in the backcourt. With no picks going in, Denver will most likely be a spectator at this year's draft.

Key Player(s): Carmelo Anthony (Forward), Steve Blake (Guard), Marcus Camby (Center), Reggie Evans (Forward), Allen Iverson (Guard), Linas Kleiza (Forward), Kenyon Martin (Forward), Eduardo Najera (Forward), Nene (Center/Forward), J.R. Smith (Guard).

Team Needs: Rebounding, depth at guard.

Draft picks: NONE.

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Detroit Pistons 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The Detroit Pistons have lost two straight years in the Eastern Conference finals and could be looking to make some personnel changes. They won their third straight Central Division and were the top seed in the East playoffs, but were eliminated by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 4-2, in the conference finals.

Richard Hamilton led the Pistons in scoring (19.8 ppg) during the regular season, while Rasheed Wallace grabbed a team-best 7.2 rebounds and point guard Chauncey Billups dished out a club-high 7.2 assists.

Billups and veteran forward Chris Webber, who joined the team during the regular season, may leave the team through free agency. Wallace, who averaged 12.3 points in 75 games, could be the subject of trade rumors during the offseason, but will most likely be back with the club.

Unsung hero Tayshaun Prince had another excellent season. He played in all 82 games during the campaign, and posted 14.3 points, 5.2 boards and 2.8 assists. Prince played his usual stellar defense and did all the little things that make the Pistons successful. Forward Jason Maxiell showed a lot of potential during the regular season and in spurts during the playoffs.

Detroit has a pair of first-round picks (15,27). The Pistons may look to package the two to move up, or they may like what is projected to be their for them to grab.

With the possible departure of Billups, Georgia Tech's Javaris Crittenton and Acie Law of Texas A&M may be on the radar at No. 15. Make no mistake, signing Billups is the Pistons top priority in the offseason. However, the team may elect to play it safe and get some insurance. Even if Billups re-signs, Crittenton or Law would still be nice additions.

At No. 27, the Pistons may go foreign. Some names to keep an eye on are Ante Tomic of Croatia and Spaniard Marc Gasol.

Key Player(s): Chauncey Billups (Guard), Richard Hamilton (Guard), Lindsey Hunter (Guard), Jason Maxiell (Forward), Antonio McDyess (Forward), Nazr Mohammed (Center), Tayshaun Prince (Forward), Rasheed Wallace (Forward), Chris Webber (Forward).

Team Needs: Depth at forward and an outside shooter.

Draft picks: 1st round (15th overall), 1st round (27th overall), 2nd round (57th overall).

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Golden State Warriors 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The Golden State Warriors are back in business. Golden State, which had the longest playoff drought in the NBA, returned to the postseason for the first time since 1994, when it was led by Chris Mullin, Latrell Sprewell and Chris Webber.

The Warriors, who finished 42-40 in 2006-07 and were the eighth seed in the playoffs, stunned the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in six games, 4-2, in the opening round of the postseason, but fell in five to the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals.

Veteran head coach Don Nelson returned to the bench for Golden State this past season. Nelson, who was general of the Warriors for six-plus seasons beginning in 1988, compiled a 277-260 record with the squad before resigning halfway through the 1994-95 season.

Nelson's unorthodox system started to work when the franchise pulled off a blockbuster trade. On January 17th, Golden State acquired swingman Stephen Jackson, forwards Al Harrington and Josh Powell and guard Sarunas Jasikevicius from the Indiana Pacers for Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod.

The athletic Harrington, who played center and power forward for the Warriors, and Jackson gave Nelson the flexibility with his rotation that he lacked. Two-time All-Star guard Baron Davis led the team in scoring (20.1 ppg) and assists (8.1 apg) during the regular season, while the NBA's Most Improved Player Monta Ellis averaged 16.5 points, 3.2 boards and 4.1 assists per game in just his second season in the league.

Add high-flying Jason Richardson, Matt Barnes, Andris Biedrins, and Mickael Pietrus to the mix, and the Warriors have a solid roster that is capable of winning enough games to earn a playoff berth.

The Warriors have the 18th overall pick in round one, and two selections in the second round. They could use some help on the glass and a guard to backup Davis.

Derrick Byars of Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech's Javaris Crittenton, Ohio State's Daequan Cook and USC's Gabe Pruitt are all names that could be called when the Warriors pick. There should be plenty of talent that fits what Golden State is looking for at No. 18.

Key Player(s): Matt Barnes (Forward), Andris Biedrins (Center), Baron Davis (Guard), Monta Ellis (Guard), Al Harrington (Center/Forward), Stephen Jackson (Forward/Guard), Mickael Pietrus (Guard), Jason Richardson (Guard).

Team Needs: Rebounding and a backup point guard.

Draft picks: 1st round (18th overall), 2nd round (36th overall), 2nd round (46th overall).

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Houston Rockets 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Rick Adelman will be calling the shots from the Houston bench during the 2007-08 campaign. Adelman replaced former head coach Jeff Van Gundy, whose four-year tenure came to an end after the Rockets were eliminate by the Utah Jazz in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

Adelman takes over a team with two perennial All-Stars in Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. The Rockets, who were 52-30 during the 2006-07 regular season, are scheduled to pick 26th in this year's draft and could use some help at power forward or point guard.

Yao missed 32 games this past season with a non-displaced fracture in a bone under his right knee. Without Yao, who led the team in scoring (25.0 ppg) and rebounding (9.4 rpg), the Rockets were a surprising 20-12.

McGrady finished his third and arguably his finest season with the Rockets. The All-Star guard, who averaged 24.6 points, 5.3 boards and a team-best 6.4 assists per game, put the team on his back when Yao was out. He made his teammates better and hit clutch shots to help his squad stay in the thick of the playoff race in the West.

Guards Rafer Alston and Luther Head gave Houston solid shooting from the perimeter, while forward Shane Battier, who finished his first season with the Rockets, provided excellent defense and also contributed on the offensive end.

Houston did acquire guard Mike James, who played 27 games for the Rockets during the 2004-05 campaign, from Minnesota for veteran forward Juwan Howard. James averaged 10.1 points and 3.6 assists in 81 games for the Timberwolves during the 2006-06 campaign.

The Rockets have talent, but they have not been able to put it all together. They have not won a playoff series since 1997. Houston's last postseason series victory was when it defeated Seattle, 4-3, in the 1997 West semis.

The 26th pick could get them some immediate help. Possible candidates are Rodney Stuckey of Eastern Washington, Duke's Josh McRoberts, Colorado State's Jason Smith and Sean Williams of Boston College.

Key Player(s): Rafer Alston (Guard), Shane Battier (Forward), Luther Head (Guard), Chuck Hayes (Forward), Mike James (Guard), Tracy McGrady (Guard), Dikembe Mutombo (Center), Bonzi Wells (Forward/Guard), Yao Ming (Center).

Team Needs: Strong, rebounding power forward, outside shooter and point guard,

Draft picks: 1st round (26th overall).

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Indiana Pacers 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - With no picks heading into the draft, the Indiana Pacers could be a team that is looking to make a trade that gets them a pick or two. New head coach Jim O'Brien, who replaced Rick Carlisle, takes over a club that finished 35-47 and did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal led the Pacers in scoring (19.4 ppg) and rebounding (9.6 rpg), while point guard Jamaal Tinsley handed out a team-best 6.9 assists in 72 contests this past season. However, it would not be shocking if both players are playing for different teams when the 2007-08 campaign tips off.

The Pacers made a big move during the season. On January 17th, they dealt swingman Stephen Jackson, forwards Al Harrington and Josh Powell and guard Sarunas Jasikevicius to the Golden State Warriors for Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod. The deal worked out for Golden State, which qualified for the postseason for the first time since 1994.

Murphy and Dunleavy could have short stays in Indiana, as they will be mentioned in possible trades, while Diogu is a young forward who could fit into Indiana's future.

Danny Granger had a productive sophomore season. The New Mexico product played in all 82 regular-season games, and averaged 13.9 points and 4.6 boards. The 6-9 Granger shot 45.9 percent from the floor and will be a big part of the Pacers' plans moving forward.

No one is untouchable on this team. The Pacers have some players who will interest other clubs. Expect Indiana to be in the middle of a lot of rumors, and for something to eventually happen.

President of basketball operations Larry Bird has a busy summer ahead of him. This is a critical offseason for this franchise, and it will determine the course the team will take over the next several years.

Key Player(s): Marquis Daniels (Forward), Ike Diogu (Forward), Mike Dunleavy Jr. (Forward), Danny Granger (Forward), Troy Murphy (Center/Forward), Jermaine O'Neal (Forward), Jamaal Tinsley (Guard), Shawne Williams (Forward).

Team Needs: Consistent outside shooters, shooting guard, depth in the backcourt.

Draft picks: NONE.

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Los Angeles Clippers 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Clippers had a disappointing 2006-07 campaign. They finished 40-42 and failed to qualify for the playoffs for a second straight year. In 2005-06, the Clippers won 47 games and made to the West semis where they fell in seven games to the Phoenix Suns.

Elton Brand was the Clippers leading scorer (20.5 ppg) and rebounder (9.3 rpg) this past season. The Duke product is the cornerstone of the franchise and is one of the top power forwards in the league.

The Clippers have young talent in center Chris Kaman, point guard Shaun Livingston, who suffered a serious knee injury and missed 28 games in 2006-07, and swingman Corey Maggette. Veterans Sam Cassell, Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas are all solid contributors.

Maggette, who averaged 16.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 75 games this past season, has been the subject of recent trade rumors. If the Clippers try to trade up from No. 14 in round one, Maggette may be in the deal.

Kansas' Julian Wright and Thaddeus Young of Georgia Tech are attractive names where LA is scheduled to pick. They are frontcourt players and could earn playing time right away.

Key Player(s): Elton Brand (Forward), Sam Cassell (Guard), Chris Kaman (Center), Shaun Livingston (Guard), Corey Maggette (Forward/Guard), Cuttino Mobley (Guard), Quinton Ross (Forward), Tim Thomas (Forward).

Team Needs: Outside shooting, small forward and help on the boards for Brand.

Draft picks: 1st round (14th overall), 2nd round (45th overall).

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Los Angeles Lakers 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - A new supporting cast for superstar Kobe Bryant, who would reportedly like to be traded, could be on its way, and draft night may be the start of a busy offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers, who finished 42-40 in the 2006-07 regular season. They were eliminated in five games, 4-1, by the Phoenix Suns in the opening round of the playoffs.

Since sending Shaquille O'Neal packing on July 14, 2004, the Lakers are below .500 (121-125) in three seasons without the All-Star center. They have qualified for the playoffs in two of the three seasons, but have been eliminated twice in the first round.

All of the sudden, this offseason has become a very important one for the franchise. Bryant, who led the NBA in scoring (31.6 ppg) and dished out a team-best 5.4 assists this past season, wants to win now, and he knows his current supporting cast is not good enough to compete with Dallas, San Antonio and Phoenix. The Lakers aren't even in the same class as Denver, Houston or Utah.

The Lakers have the 19th overall pick in this year's draft. They should be able to get a decent player, but it won't be someone who can step in and have an impact on the standings. Trades and free agency will be the places that Los Angeles will look to improve its roster.

Forward Lamar Odom, who was acquired from the Miami Heat in the Shaq deal, Kwame Brown, Smush Parker, Luke Walton and Andrew Bynum are all decent players with value. But the fact remains, none of them seem to have what it takes to help Kobe lead the Lakers to the promised land.

The seven-foot Bynum is just 19-years-old and has shown that he should eventually develop into a productive NBA center. He played all 82 regular- season games in 2006-07, and averaged 7.8 points and 5.9 rebounds. Odom registered 15.9 points, a team-high 9.8 boards and 4.8 assists, while Parker and Walton had solid seasons.

Get Kobe help is the theme of the offseason for the Lakers. Don't be surprised if the Lakers select at No. 19 for another team, as a big trade may be on the horizon and the pick is nice asset to have for potential deals.

The Lakers need Bryant and don't want to trade him. They do know their superstar is not thrilled with the current state of the team, and the only way to make him happy is to get him some teammates who can help him compete for a championship. The team needs to find a way to make Kobe happy.

On the flip side, may be it is time to start over. Trading Bryant would obviously be huge. Kobe will be just one of the big names mentioned in blockbuster trade rumors on draft night.

Key Player(s): Kwame Brown (Forward). Kobe Bryant (Guard), Andrew Bynum (Center), Brian Cook (forward), Maurice Evans (Forward), Jordan Farmar (Guard), Lamar Odom (Forward), Smush Parker (Guard), Vladimir Radmanovic (Forward), Ronny Turiaf (Forward), Luke Walton (Forward).

Team Needs: Help for Kobe.

Draft picks: 1st round (19th overall), 2nd round (40th overall), 2nd round (48th overall).

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Memphis Grizzlies 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The Memphis Grizzlies finished a league-worst 22-60 during the 2006-07 campaign. They did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Even though the Grizzlies had the worst record in the NBA, they will pick No. 4 in the opening round of the draft. Luck was not on their side on May 22nd at the lottery.

New head coach Marc Iavorini has a young nucleus of players. One-time All-Star Pau Gasol played in 59 games and led Memphis in scoring (20.8 ppg) and rebounding (9.8 rpg) this past season, while sharp-shooting Mike Miller averaged 18.5 points, 5.4 boards, 4.3 assists and shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc.

Gasol and Miller headline a roster that also includes forwards Rudy Gay, Hakim Warrick and point guard Kyle Lowry. Gay and Lowry will be entering their sophomore seasons in the NBA in 2007-08, while Warrick played in all 82 games and posted 12.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in his second year.

Memphis will be able to get instant help for its frontcourt with the fourth overall pick. Gasol has been the subject of trade rumors, but most likely the team will build with him.

North Carolina's Brandon Wright, Al Horford of Florida and China's Yi Jianlian are all possibilities with the fourth pick. All three would look good next to Gasol, and would help take some of the pressure off of him and at the same time open up the outside for Miller.

Key Player(s): Chucky Atkins (Guard), Pau Gasol (Forward), Rudy Gay (Forward), Tarence Kinsey (Guard), Kyle Lowry (Guard), Mike Miller (Guard), Damon Stoudamire (Guard), Stromile Swift (Forward), Hakim Warrick (Forward).

Team Needs: Athleticism, rebounding, size and an outside shooter.

Draft picks: 1st round (4th overall).

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Miami Heat 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal will try and bounce back from a disappointing 2006-07 campaign when the new seasons rolls around. The Miami Heat, who defeated the Dallas Mavericks in six games during the 2006 NBA Finals, won the Southeast Division with a 44-38 record and were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Chicago Bulls.

Wade underwent a pair of successful surgeries after the playoffs. The operations were to repair his dislocated left shoulder and his left patella tendon. Despite missing a total of 31 games due to injury this past season, the All-Star guard led Miami in scoring, a franchise-record 27.4 points per game, assists (7.5 apg) and steals (2.1 spg).

Shaq played in just 40 games and averaged 17.3 points and 7.4 rebounds, while Udonis Haslem, Jason Kapono and Jason Williams all posted double-digits in scoring.

The Heat are a veteran club. They need some youth and should be able to add a solid player with the 20th overall pick. There are plenty of question marks with Miami's roster. Alonzo Mourning, Eddie Jones, Gary Payton, Antoine Walker and Williams are all on the down side, and it would not be shocking if some of them are not with Miami next season.

A point guard is the way to go at No. 20 for Miami. Jarvaris Crittenton of Georgia Tech, Texas A&M's Acie Law, USC's Gabe Pruitt and Daequan Cook of Ohio State will be some of the players the Heat will be eyeing.

The 20th pick is important for Miami. The Heat need help for the future, and will have done their homework when making the selection.

Key Player(s): Udonis Haslem (Forward), Eddie Jones (Forward/Guard), Jason Kapono (Forward), Alonzo Mourning (Center), Shaquille O'Neal (Center), Gary Payton (Guard), James Posey (Forward), Dwyane Wade (Guard), Antoine Walker (Forward), Jason Williams (Guard).

Team Needs: Point guard, youth, depth in the backcourt, consistent outside shooter.

Draft picks: 1st round (20th overall), 2nd round (39th overall).

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Milwaukee Bucks 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Milwaukee finished a dismal 28-54 in the 2006-07 campaign, and did not qualify for the postseason. The Bucks have some talent and should be able to get a player who can help immediately with the sixth overall selection.

Sharp-shooting Michael Redd led the Bucks in scoring (26.7 ppg) this past season, while Andrew Bogut grabbed a team-best 8.8 rebounds and Maurice Williams handed out a club-high 6.1 assists.

The front office will build their team around center Bogut, who netted 12.3 per contest, and shooting guard Redd. Williams, who is scheduled to become a free agent, was second on the club in scoring at 17.3 points per game and was a pleasant surprise as a point guard,

Forward Charlie Villanueva averaged 11.8 points and 5.8 boards in just 39 games in 2006-07, while Charlie Bell, Earl Boykins, who was acquired from Denver during the season, and Ruben Patterson were all solid contributors.

Milwaukee needs some help up front. Adding a forward who can rebound and play defense would help the Bucks big time. The hope here is that either Al Horford of Florida or North Carolina's Brandon Wright will slip to No. 6. However, that does not seem likely.

Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah of Florida would fit in well with the Bucks. Brewer would add athleticism and give Milwaukee some flexibilty up front, while Noah would bring a winning attitude and may work well alongside Bogut.

Key Player(s): Charlie Bell (Guard), Andrew Bogut (Center), Earl Boykins (Guard), Dan Gadzuric (Center), Ruben Patterson (Forward), Michael Redd (Guard), Bobby Simmons (Forward), Charlie Villanueva (Forward), Maurice Williams (Guard).

Team Needs: Athleticism, rebounding, size and strength in the frontcourt

Draft picks: 1st round (6th overall), 2nd round (56th overall).

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Minnesota Timberwolves 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - How much more can All-Star forward Kevin Garnett take? After advancing to the 2004 Western Conference finals, the Minnesota Timberwolves have missed the playoffs three straight years.

Minnesota ended with a poor 32-50 record in 2006-07 and looked like a team with no sense of urgency. Garnett had another excellent campaign, as he averaged 22.4 points, 12.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 76 games.

Randy Foye posted 10.1 points, 2.7 boards and 2.8 assists during his rookie campaign, while Ricky Davis registered 17.1 points and a team-best 4.8 assists per game. Big man Mark Blount put up respectable numbers with 12.3 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Forward Craig Smith showed potential in his rookie season, and guard Marko Jaric played a lot of minutes but did not produce the way Minnesota had hoped they would.

The Timberwolves did acquire veteran forward Juwan Howard from Houston for guard Mike James on June 14th. The 6-9 Howard averaged 9.7 points and 5.9 boards in 80 games for the Rockets in the 2006-07 campaign.

Garnett needs help. The Timberwolves have apparently decided to continue to try and win with their All-Star forward, even though his name continues to pop up in rumors. They have the seventh pick in the draft and need an impact player.

It would not be a shock if the Timberwolves selected point guard Mike Conley of Ohio State if he is available. If Minnesota decides to try and get some frontcourt help, Spencer Hawes of Washington, Florida's Joakim Noah and Georgetown's Jeff Green are all possibilites.

Minnesota needs to make some personnel moves and draft night is the right place to start. Change and new faces are needed here.

Key Player(s): Mark Blount (Center), Ricky Davis (Guard), Randy Foye (Guard), Kevin Garnett (Forward), Trenton Hassell (Guard), Juwan Howard (Forward), Troy Hudson (Guard), Marko Jaric (Guard), Rashad McCants (Guard), Craig Smith (Forward).

Team Needs: Scoring, outside shooter and a physical presence to go next to Garnett.

Draft picks: 1st round (7th overall), 2nd round (41st overall).

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New York Knicks 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The New York Knicks finished 33-49 in 2006-07 under the direction of head coach Isiah Thomas, who received a contract extension during the season.

Eddy Curry is coming off of his best season in the NBA. Curry led the Knicks in scoring (19.5 ppg), grabbed 7.0 rebounds and shot an impressive 57.6 percent from the floor. The 6-11 center played in 81 games and looked like the player New York hoped it had acquired from the Chicago Bulls in 2005.

Forward David Lee was a pleasant surprise, as he averaged 10.7 points and a team-best 10.4 rebounds in 58 games. The Florida product shot 60 percent from the floor in his second season in the league.

Point guard Stephon Marbury registered 16.4 points and a club-high 5.4 assists in 74 contests, while Jamal Crawford netted 17.6 in 59 games and Quentin Richardson collected 13.0 points and 7.2 boards in 49 outings. Forward Channing Frye had a disappointing sophomore season, and Mardy Collins and Renaldo Balkman showed signs during their rookie campaigns that they could be a part of the future.

New York has the 23rd pick of the draft, as the Bulls, who have the ninth overall selection were able to switch picks with the Knicks from the Curry deal.

Best available player is the way the Knicks will go. However, Thomas will be aggressive and may try to trade up if there is a player he is targeting. Gabe Pruitt of USC, Daequan Cook of Ohio State and Eastern Washington's Rodney Stuckey are three players who may be on Thomas' radar if the he elects to stay at No. 23.

Key Player(s): Renaldo Balkman (Forward), Mardy Collins (Guard), Jamal Crawford (Guard), Eddy Curry (Center), Steve Francis (Guard), Channing Frye (Forward), Jared Jeffries (Forward), David Lee (Forward), Stephon Marbury (Guard), Quentin Richardson (Forward), Nate Robinson (Guard).

Team Needs: Positive attitude, rebounding and a scoring forward.

Draft picks: 1st round (23rd overall).

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New Orleans Hornets 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Chris Paul, Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic headline a talented New Orleans Hornets roster. Add forwards David West and Desmond Mason to the mix, and this is a team that should be in the thick of the playoff race in 2007-08.

The Hornets have the 13th overall pick and will look to add another piece to the puzzle. New Orleans could use some help from the outside and would benefit from having another rebounding forward on the roster.

Paul is one of the most dynamic players in the league. The Wake Forest product can score and is excellent at creating opportunities for his teammates. The 2005-06 Rookie of the Year, Paul averaged 17.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and a team-best 8.9 assists in 64 games.

Chandler was monster on the boards in 2006-07 for the Hornets, who finished 39-43 and were three games behind Golden State for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference. The 6-11 Chandler registered 9.5 points and a team-high 12.4 rebounds per game.

New Orleans dealt with plenty of injuries this past season, as Stojakovic, who was playing in his first season with the club, missed 69 games, West was sidelined for 30, Bobby Jackson was out for 26, Paul 18 and Chandler nine. West averaged a club-high 18.3 points and 8.2 rebounds, while Stojakovic netted 17.8 per game in the 13 contests he played in.

The 13th overall pick will get the Hornets immediate help. Thaddeus Young of Georgia Tech and Derrick Byars of Vanderbilt are a pair players the Hornets should be looking at with their selection.

Key Player(s): Hilton Armstrong (Center), Rasual Butler (Forward), Tyson Chandler (Center/Forward), Bobby Jackson (Guard), Desmond Mason (Forward), Jannero Pargo (Guard), Chris Paul (Guard), Cedric Simmons (Forward), Peja Stojakovic (Forward), David West (Forward).

Team Needs: Shooting guard and another rebounder.

Draft picks: 1st round (13th overall), 2nd round (43rd overall).

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Orlando Magic 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Billy Donovan is not the the new general of the Orlando Magic. After becoming the new head coach of the club, Donovan decided he didn't want the job. The team allowed him out of his contract to return to the University of Florida.

Former Heat head coach Stan Van Gundy will be calling the shots from the bench. Expectations are still very high for this team in 2007-08.

Orlando finished 40-42 in 2006-07 and was the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Magic were swept by the Detroit Pistons, 4-0, in the first round of the postseason.

The Magic don't have a first-round pick in this year's draft, but do own three selections in round two. They have salary cap room and could make a big splash in free agency,

All-Star big man Dwight Howard continues to get better and is on the verge of becoming a superstar. The 21-year-old Howard led the Magic in scoring (17.6 ppg), rebounding (12.3 rpg) and blocks (1.9 bpg) this past season. He was the only Orlando player to play in all 82 regular-season games, and is the cornerstone of the franchise.

Point guard Jameer Nelson averaged 13.0 points and a team-best 4.3 assists in 77 contests in 2006-07. Nelson is a pure point guard who, like Howard, continues to develop as a player.

Howard and Nelson are the building blocks. Forwards Darko Milicic, who averaged 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds, Hedo Turkoglu and Trevor Ariza join Howard in the frontcourt, while Carlos Arroyo is a solid guard and sharp- shooting J.J. Redick will look to improve on a disapointing rookie campaign. Redick played just 42 games and posted 6.0 points per game.

Veteran Grant Hill collected 14.4 points, 3.6 boards and 2.1 assists in 65 games. Hill has battled injuries throughout his career and could be ready to hang up his sneakers. Either way, it would not be a surprise not to see Hill's name on the Magic's opening-day roster.

Orlando's most important player move will be made by way of trade or in free agency. With the hiring of Van Gundy, the Magic are looking for big things in the near future.

Key Player(s): Trevor Ariza (Forward), Carlos Arroyo (Guard), Tony Battie (Center/Forward), Keyon Dooling (Guard), Grant Hill (Forward), Dwight Howard (Forward), Darko Milicic (Forward), Jameer Nelson (Guard), J.J. Redick (Guard), Hedo Turkoglu (Forward).

Team Needs: A scorer from the outside and rebounding help for Howard.

Draft picks: 2nd round (44th overall), 2nd round (54th overall).

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