Drafting Strategies for NBA's Worst Teams
This year, however, the Magic fell to the bottom of the barrel, a game behind the Bobcats. We’ll see in a few months how that plays out in the lottery, but now we’re going to take a look at which NBA prospects would fit the NBA’s bottom-dwellers best:
Orlando Magic (20-62)
The best surprise in Orlando this year was undoubtedly Nikola Vucevic, who came out of nowhere to average a steady double-double for the Magic. Other potential bright spots going forward on the team are Shooting Guard Arron Afflalo and Forwards Glen Davis, Tobias Harris and Moe Harkless. While none of these players are essential pieces in the Magic’s future, they all showed a good amount of potential this year and will likely return to Orlando to play solid minutes again next year. And seasoned point guard Jameer Nelson is still very much in the picture at this point as well.
Best Fit Draft Pick - Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Nelson didn’t have a terrible year, but the Magic need a leader to help them move on from the Howard era and no player in this year’s draft has proven to be a better leader than Michigan’s Trey Burke. With talented wingers like Afflalo, Harris, and Harkless, as well as a smart low post scorer in Davis, Burke could really help bring things together in Orlando.
Charlotte Bobcats (21-61)
The prime pieces for the Bobcats are Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker, and Gerald Henderson. Right now, they are lining up with MKG at the 3, Henderson at the 2 and Walker at the 1. All three players could have a certain amount of flexibility, yet no matter which way you look at it, the team needs the most help up front, where Byron Mullins, Bismack Biyombo, and Josh McRoberts logged the most minutes this year.
Best Fit Draft Pick - Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
A potential defensive star with an offensive game currently in development, Noel could give the Bobcats some much-needed stability in their frontcourt. Before the ACL tear, Noel was averaging 4.4 blocks and 2.1 steals for the Wildcats. This year, the Bobcats were the second worst defensive team in the league, allowing opponents to score 102.7 points per game against them.
Cleveland Cavaliers (24-58)
Easily the most attractive destination amongst the NBA’s bottom dwellers just because of one man: Kyrie Irving. Alongside the superstar point guard is rookie Dion Waiters, swingman CJ Miles, and big men Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson. Miles has a team option on his contract this offseason and could be let go, but the other three are slated to run with Kyrie next year.
Best Fit Draft Pick - Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV
In Irving, the Cavaliers have their star. Now they need smart, efficient players to surround him with. Bennett is a great low-post scorer who can also sink a jumper when he’s left open. Right now, outside of Irving and Waiters, the Bobcats don’t really have anyone who can score consistently in the half-court set. Regardless of whether he plays small forward or power forward, Bennett will bring mismatches to the court either with either his size or quickness.
Phoenix Suns (25-57)
Right now, Phoenix’s main investments are Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat, both coming off solid, yet unspectacular seasons. With this year’s draft, the Suns could pretty much start with any sort of building piece, but one particular player stands out.
Best Fit Draft Pick - Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The Suns need a potential go-to scorer, and even though consistency wasn’t something we saw much of from McLemore in his year at Kansas, he at least showed us he was capable of taking a game over when he’s really on. He poured in 36 points with 5 threes against West Virginia in early March and 33 points on 10-12 FGs against Iowa State in January. A tremendous athlete with a ton of potential, McLemore may have the most upside of anyone in this year’s class.