Team by Team Draft Preview

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Philadelphia 76ers 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - This year's draft gives the Philadelphia 76ers a chance to rebuild quickly after dealing All-Star Allen Iverson to the Denver Nuggets on December 19, 2006.

The Sixers, who acquired point guard Andre Miller, veteran power forward Joe Smith and two first-round picks in the Iverson deal, have three picks (12, 21, 30) in round one and No. 38 overall in the second.

With the departure of Iverson, Andre Iguodala has stepped up to become the Sixers No. 1 weapon. Iguodala averaged 18.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 76 games last season, while the 31-year-old Miller made all of his teammates better with his excellent play-making ability. Miller registered 13.4 points and 7.8 assists in 80 games for Philadelphia and Denver.

Sharp-shooting Kyle Korver posted 14.4 points per game and shot 43.0 percent from beyond the arc. Center Samuel Dalembert, who averaged 10.7 points and a team-high 8.9 rebounds, showed a lot of improvement after the Iverson trade, and Smith played very well in his second stint with the Sixers but is scheduled to become a free agent this summer.

Philadelphia may look to package two of its picks to move up in the draft. Head coach Maurice Cheeks would love a tough, rebounding power forward to play alongside Dalembert. Florida's Al Horford would be great, but he will probably be scooped up by a club with a top-five pick.

Team president Billy King will try and get an impact player who can make a difference right away. King will be active on the phone and try to do something that gets the Sixers, who finished 35-47 and did not qualify for the 2007 playoffs, back into the postseason.

Key Player(s): Rodney Carney (Forward), Willie Green (Guard), Andre Iguodala (Forward/Guard), Steven Hunter (Center), Kyle Korver (Forward), Andre Miller (Guard), Joe Smith (Forward).

Team Needs: Power forward, scoring and depth at all positions.

Draft picks: 1st round (12th overall), 1st round (21st overall), 1st round (30th overall), 2nd round (38th overall).

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Phoenix Suns 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Phoenix is arguably the most exciting team to watch in the NBA. Steve Nash is the point guard of the most explosive offense in the league, which also features fellow All-Stars Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion.

The Suns finished 61-21 and won their third straight Pacific Division crown during the regular season. They were knocked out in the Western Conference finals, 4-2, by the San Antonio Spurs,

Stoudemire led Phoenix in scoring (20.4 ppg), while Marion grabbed a team-best 9.8 rebounds per game and Nash, who was second on the team in scoring (18.6 ppg), dished out a league-best 11.6 assists per contest.

Leandro Barbosa captured Sixth Man of the Year honors. The lightning-quick guard contributed 18.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 80 outings. Defensive stopper Raja Bell registered 14.7 points, 3.2 boards and 2.5 helpers in 78 contests, while Boris Diaw's production was down from a year ago, but he still managed to record 9.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 73 games.

Phoenix has a pair of first round selections (24, 29). The Suns may look to move up by packaging the picks, and have been rumored to be shopping around Marion, who was fourth on the club in scoring (17.5 ppg), in possible trades.

Stoudemire is one of the most dominant inside threats in the league, and Nash is the best pure point guard. They are a potent one-two punch and Phoenix will continue to try to build a championship contender around them.

The Suns love to get out in transition and score a lot of points. Nash is the catalyst and management will continue to try and get players who fit into their up-temp style of play. Help on the boards and another outside shooter may be what Phoenix is looking for with its picks.

Key Player(s): Leandro Barbosa (Guard), Raja Bell (Guard), Boris Diaw (Guard), James Jones (Forward), Shawn Marion (Forward), Steve Nash (Guard), Amare Stoudemire (Center/Forward), Kurt Thomas (Center/Forward),

Team Needs: Size and rebounding.

Draft picks: 1st round (24th overall), 1st round (29th overall), 2nd round (59th overall).

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Portland Trail Blazers 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - By securing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers may have punched their ticket into the 2008 playoffs.

Portland will make the first choice in the draft for the first time since 1978. The Trail Blazers selected Minnesota big man Mychal Thompson with the top pick that year.

The prize for winning this year's lottery is Ohio State's Greg Oden, who has been compared to former San Antonio Spurs great David Robinson. The Trail Blazers, who finished with a 32-50 record in the 2006-07 campaign and missed the playoffs for a fourth straight year, had the sixth-best chance (5.3 percent) of winning the lottery.

Oden will have an immediate impact on the Trail Blazers, and should be able to help them get right back into the postseason. Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy, who represented Portland at the lottery, and point guard Jarrett Jack make up a solid backcourt, while LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished his rookie campaign, Zach Randolph and Travis Outlaw are all young and talented frontcourt players.

Roy averaged 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 57 games during the 2006-07 campaign, while Jack, who completed his second season in the league, posted 12.0 points and a team-best 5.3 assists per game. The 25-year-old Randolph led the Trail Blazers in scoring (23.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.3 rpg).

The Trail Blazers will not and can not mess this up. There won't be deja vu here. Are you thinking about 1984 when they selected Kentucky center Sam Bowie at No. 2 instead of North Carolina's Michael Jordan, who was grabbed by Chicago with the next pick?

Oden is going to be that good from the start. He does not need to sit on Portland's bench and learn the NBA game by watching. The Ohio State product is ready to contribute in a big way right from the opening tip of the 2007-08 season.

Look for Portland to do something with its second round picks. It has multiple selections and will most likely be actively shopping them to move up, acquire a veteran or add future picks.

Portland fans, don't worry. The front office is well aware that the best move is to simply pick Oden. The Trail Blazers will ignore all the trade talk and won't let any of the general managers in the league entice them with an offer for this year's prize.

Key Player(s): LaMarcus Aldridge (Forward), Jarrett Jack (guard), Fred Jones (Guard), Jamaal Magloire (Center), Darius Miles (Forward), Travis Outlaw (Forward), Zach Randolph (Forward), Brandon Roy (Guard), Ime Udoka (Forward), Martell Webster (Forward).

Team Needs: Inside help and a consistent outside shooter.

Draft picks: 1st round (5th overall), 2nd round (37th overall), 2nd round (42nd overall), 2nd round (52nd overall), 2nd round (53rd overall).

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Sacramento Kings 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The Sacramento Kings finished 33-49 during the 2006-07 regular season. They didn't qualify for the playoffs for the first time in nine years.

Sacramento will pick No. 10 overall and needs some help in the low post The Kings may also have to address their point guard spot, as Mike Bibby's future with the club is up in the air.

Bibby averaged 17.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists. The Arizona product, who was the only King to play in all 82 regular-season games this past season, could be moved in a trade. If the Kings opt to take Ohio State's Mike Conley, assuming he is available, with the 10th pick, expect Bibby to be playing in a new uniform in 2007-08.

Kevin Martin had a breakout season. The 6-7 guard led the Kings in scoring (20.7 ppg), pulled down 4.3 boards and shot 47.3 percent from the field, including 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. Martin was one of the few bright spots for a very disappointing campaign.

The volatile Ron Artest ended with averages of 18.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 70 outings, while center Brad Miller and forward Shareef Abdur- Rahim had disappointing seasons.

It would not be a surprise to see the Kings shakeup their roster during the offseason. Conley, Acie Law of Texas A&M and Joakim Noah of Florida are all possible fits. However, Sacramento may look to move up to get the player it wants and at the same time rid itself of a contract.

This is an uneasy time for this franchise. After such a poor campaign, management has to be exploring the possibility of a complete make over. The draft is a good place to start.

Key Player(s): Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Forward), Ron Artest (Forward), Mike Bibby (Guard), Quincy Douby (Guard), Francisco Garcia (Guard), Kevin Martin (Guard), Brad Miller (Center), John Salmons (Forward/Guard), Kenny Thomas (Forward), Corliss Williamson (Forward).

Team Needs: Rebounding, shot blocker, size, toughness.

Draft picks: 1st round (10th overall).

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San Antonio Spurs 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs captured their fourth title in nine years, as they swept LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. They finished 58-24 during the regular season, and knocked out Denver, Phoenix and Utah in the Western Conference playoffs.

All-Stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were once again the Spurs top players during the 2006-07 campaign and in the postseason. Duncan led the club in scoring (20.0 ppg) and rebounding (10.6 rpg) during the regular season, while Parker, who won the 2007 NBA Finals MVP, was second on the team in scoring (18.6 ppg) and was the team's top assist man at 5.5 per game.

Manu Ginobili and defensive stopper Bruce Bowen made their contributions, and both earned their third rings. Veteran forward Robert Horry picked up his seventh championship, while Parker also won his third and head coach Gregg Popovich and Duncan took home their fourth.

San Antonio's four crowns have been won by playing solid basketball on both ends of the court. The Spurs defeated New York in five games in 1999, New Jersey in six in 2003, Detroit in seven in 2005 and Cleveland in four. Duncan and Popovich knocked out Latrell Sprewell and the Knicks for their first title, defeated Jason Kidd and the Nets for No. 2, conquered Chauncey Billups and the Pistons for the third and James and the up-and-coming Cavaliers

The Spurs have three picks in this year's draft (28,33, 58). They will try and add some players who can develop for the future. This is a franchise that is looking to repeat. If they can add a veteran through free agency or a trade, it will be a successful offseason.

As for the draft, San Antonio may use its picks in a deal to help them get that veteran who can help it make a run at winning its fifth title.

Key Player(s): Brent Barry (Guard), Matt Bonner (Forward), Bruce Bowen (Forward), Tim Duncan (Forward), Francisco Elson (Center) Michael Finley (Forward/Guard), Manu Ginobili (Guard), Robert Horry (Forward), Fabricio Oberto (Center), Tony Parker (Guard), Beno Udrih (Guard).

Team Needs: Another rebounder

Draft picks: 1st round (28th overall), 2nd round (33rd overall), 2nd round (58th overall).

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Seattle SuperSonics 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The second overall pick should get Seattle the most talented offensive player in the draft. Assuming Portland selects Ohio State's Greg Oden with the first overall selection, Kevin Durant of Texas would be a great addition to the SuperSonics, who finished a disappointing 31-51 in 2006-07 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

The 6-10 Durant will fit right in with All-Star shooting guard Ray Allen, who averaged a team-best 26.4 points in 55 games for Seattle this past season. Durant can knock down a jumper from anywhere on the court and is very athletic. He is a future All-Star and will have an immediate impact.

Forward Rashard Lewis will most likely be playing for a new team in 2007-08. The 6-10 Lewis averaged 22.4 points and 6.6 rebounds in 60 games this past season, and is expected to leave through free agency. Seattle may be able to acquire a decent player and draft pick through a sign-and-trade deal.

Forwards Nick Collison, Chris Wilcox and point guard Luke Ridnour are three of Seattle's stronger players. Collison led the club in rebounding (8.1 rpg) this past season, while Wilcox averaged 13.5 points and 7.7 boards and Ridnour collected 11.0 points and 5.2 assists. Earl Watson led the team in assists (5.7 apg).

The SuperSonics have a lot of bodies that are taking up space on their roster. They may look to deal Ridnour, which would allow Watson to have total control at the point.

Allen, who also averaged 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 2006-07, is still one of the best shooters in the league. The 6-5 guard will welcome Durant with open arms, but has to know they need more inside help if they hope to get back to the postseason.

Selecting Durant is a step in the right direction. The Texas product will put up big numbers right away and will get the fans excited. Seattle still needs a lot more help and will try and build off of the selection of the multi- talented Durant.

Key Player(s): Ray Allen (Guard), Nick Collison (Forward), Mickael Gelabale (Forward), Rashard Lewis (Forward), Johan Petro (Center), Luke Ridnour (Guard), Mouhamed Sene (Center), Robert Swift (Center), Earl Watson (Guard), Chris Wilcox (Forward), Damien Wilkins (Forward).

Team Needs: Scoring, help on the boards, athleticism, strength down low and toughness.

Draft picks: 1st round (2nd overall), 2nd round (31st overall), 2nd round (35th overall).

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Toronto Raptors 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Toronto was a big surprise in 2006-07, as it finished 47-35 and won its first division title in franchise history, finishing six games ahead of second-place New Jersey in the Atlantic.

The playoffs were a different story for the Raptors. The Nets knocked out the Raptors in six games in the opening round of the postseason.

All-Star forward Chris Bosh led the club in scoring (22.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.7 rpg), while point guard T.J. Ford, who was acquired from Milwaukee last offseason, finished second on the team in scoring (14.0 ppg) and dished out a club-high 7.9 assists per game.

Bosh has developed into one of the best power forwards in the league and is the cornerstone of the franchise. The lightning-quick Ford is a solid point guard and is a big asset for the Raptors in transition.

Forward Andrea Bargnani, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, averaged 11.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in 65 games during his rookie campaign. Bargnani should continue to get better, while Anthony Parker, Morris Peterson, Juan Dixon, Jose Calderon, Jorge Garbajosa and Joey Graham are all role players who can contribute.

The Raptors don't have any picks in this year's draft. If there is a player they are interested in, it would not be surprising to see them make a move with one of their role players involved in the deal.

Bosh could use some help on the boards, and another threat from long distance would help extend the opposition's defense and open up the low post for Bosh.

Bryan Colangelo, who was Executive of the Year, and 2006-07 Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell will look to improve the team during the offseason. Bosh and Ford are the building blocks. Colangelo and Mitchell will most likely be spectators on June 28th.

Key Player(s): Chris Bosh (Forward), Jose Calderon (Guard), Carlos Delfino (Guard), Juan Dixon (Guard), T.J. Ford (Guard), Jorge Garbajosa (Forward), Joey Graham (Forward), Rasho Nesterovic (Center), Anthony Parker (Guard), Morris Peterson (Forward/Guard).

Team Needs: Scoring, rebounding help for Bosh and a threat from beyond the arc.

Draft picks: NONE.

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Utah Jazz 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Utah is coming off of a great season. The Jazz finished with a 51-31 record and captured the Northwest Division crown.

The Jazz ended a three-year playoff drought by qualifying for this year's postseason. They defeated Houston in seven in the quarterfinals, knocked out Golden State in five in the semis and fell to San Antonio in five in the Western Conference finals.

Center Mehmet Okur and power forward Carlos Boozer played like All-Stars during the campaign, while point guard Deron Williams emerged as one of the best in the league at his position. Boozer led the Jazz in scoring (20.9 ppg) and rebounding (11.7 rpg), while Williams was the team's top assist man at 9.3 per contest.

Andrei Kirilenko had an off year, as his offensive production was way down. Paul Millsap was a pleasant surprise and veterans Matt Harpring and Derek Fisher were solid contributors. Ronnie Brewer should get more minutes during his sophomore season in 2007-08.

The Jazz own the 25th overall pick. Pittsburgh's Aaron Gray and Spaniard Marc Gasol could be there for the taking late in round one.

Key Player(s): Carlos Boozer (Forward), Ronnie Brewer (Forward), Derek Fisher (Guard), Gordan Giricek (Guard), Matt Harpring (Forward), Andrei Kirilenko (Forward), Mehmet Okur (Center), Paul Millsap (Center) Deron Williams (Guard),

Team Needs: Size, rebounding and another outside shooter.

Draft picks: 1st round (25th overall), 2nd round (55th overall).

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Washington Wizards 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Injuries hurt the Washington Wizards during the 2006-07 campaign and in the postseason. The team played the Cleveland Cavaliers in the opening round of the playoffs without All-Stars Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler. The result, The Cavaliers swept the Wizards, 4-0.

Arenas played in 74 games during the regular season, and led the club in scoring (28.4 ppg) and assists (6.0 apg), while Butler averaged 19.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 63 games. Arenas suffered a knee injury and Butler was sidelined with a hand injury.

Forward Antawn Jamison teams with Arenas and Butler to give Washington a potent threesome. Jamison ended this past season with averages of 19.8 points and a club-high 8.0 boards in 70 games.

Guards Antonio Daniels, DeShawn Stevenson, forwards Darius Songaila, Jarvis Hayes and centers Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas make up a serviceable supporting cast for Washington's trio.

Washington, which has the 16th overall pick in round one, has to get Arenas, Butler and Jamison some help in the low-post. The Wizards could also use a dynamic guard to play next to Arenas in the backcourt. Nick Young of USC and Vanderbilt's Derrick Byars may be a perfect fit for the Wizards to play next to Arenas, while Colorado State's Jason Smith may be the answer if they elect to go with a power forward.

Key Player(s): Gilbert Arenas (Guard), Caron Butler (Forward), Antonio Daniels (Guard), Brendan Haywood (Center), Jarvis Hayes (Forward), Antawn Jamison (Forward), Darius Songaila (Forward), DeShawn Stevenson (Guard), Etan Thomas (Center).

Team Needs: Depth, outside shooter, athleticism and a low-post scorer.

Draft picks: 1st round (16th overall), 2nd round (47th overall).

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New Jersey Nets 2007 Draft Preview
June 20th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd give the New Jersey Nets a dangerous threesome. However, it is just not good enough to get them to the top of the Eastern Conference.

Jefferson or Carter may be playing in a new city in 2007-08, as the Nets may look to change things up. In 2006-07, New Jersey finished 41-41 and earned a playoff berth in the East. The Nets knocked out the Atlantic Division champion Toronto Raptors in six games in the first round of the playoffs, but fell in six to Cleveland in the semis.

Carter averaged a team-high 25.2 points per game during the regular season, while Kidd, who posted 13.0 points per game, led New Jersey in rebounds (8.2 rpg) and assists (9.2 apg). Jefferson collected 16.3 points, 4.4 boards and 2.7 assists in 55 games.

Center Nenad Krstic missed 56 games this past season because of a serious knee injury. He registered 16.4 points and 6.8 boards in the 26 contests he played in.

The Nets will look to Josh Boone, Marcus Williams and Antoine Wright to play more minutes in 2007-08, while big men Mikki Moore and Bostjan Nachbar were pleasant surprises this past season.

New Jersey owns the 17th pick in this year's draft and may simply go with the best available player. Derrick Byars of Vanderbilt, Eastern Washington's Rodney Stuckey and Nick Young of USC would all be solid additions if the Nets are able to select one of them. Going with a foreign player who is more of a project is also a strong possiblity.

Key Player(s): Josh Boone (Forward), Vince Carter (Forward/Guard), Jason Collins (Center/Forward), Richard Jefferson (Forward), Jason Kidd (Guard), Nenad Krstic (Center), Mikki Moore (Center), Bostjan Nachbar (Forward), Marcus Williams (Guard), Antoine Wright (Forward).

Team Needs: Low-post scoring, rebounding and an outside shooter who can drain the three.

Draft picks: 1st round (17th overall).

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