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Assessing Draft Needs: The Atlantic Division

Posted By Warren Shaw On Jun 3 2011 @ 5:16 pm In NBA Draft | No Comments

Over the next couple weeks I will break down the draft needs of each team in the league grouped by their division in the NBA.

I will not pretend to know who each team is targeting as most of that is all speculation anyway. Most teams have glaring needs but may not have the picks or money to fix everything right away.

Keep in mind this year’s crop of recruits is considered to be weaker than most. Teams outside of the lottery (and some in the lottery) can only hope they find a diamond in the rough in this weak 2011 draft class.

We begin with the Atlantic Division.

With three teams (Boston, New York, and Philly) that made the playoffs this season, its safe to say this division is no longer a one team race. Boston is the class of the division but they are bound to undergo major changes this summer. The balance of power could be influx should the Knicks make any significant improvements in the off-season although they are limited by cap space and only have one pick in this year’s draft. Philly is young and improving and the Nets have an aggressive owner willing to make things happen. The only lame duck team is the Toronto Raptors and there doesn’t seem to be much hope of immediate improvement there.

[1]56-26 in the regular season: 3rd in the conference: Owners of the 25th and 55th picks in the draft

The Celtics are old but not dead. Yet. Boston needs a healthy a center that can actually defend and rebound. If he could score too that would be a bonus. They also need to improve on their bench with the likely departure of Glen Davis this summer. So a stretch 4 is what they are in the market for.  The Celtics should also be in the market for a pure scorer, someone who can bail out the offense when it goes cold. Celtics GM, Danny Ainge is not a draft genius so it could be a long off-season for the men in green.

[2]42-40 in the regular season: 6th in the conference: Owners of the 17th pick in the draft

The Knicks are an interesting case. They need the most help at the center position and would be wise to find a real shooting guard. Landry Fields was a nice surprise but isn’t a natural 2. The Knicks also need a backup point guard as Toney Douglas is more of a combo guard. The time is now especially with Billups on the downside, they would be wise to bring in someone he can help groom. But center is the more pressing need.

[3]41-41 in the regular season: 7th in the conference: Owners of the 16th and 50th picks in the draft

The 76’ers surprised a lot folks this season after a horrific start. They have nice pieces at just about every position except center. Look for them to draft a big as all of the other positions have young capable moving parts.

[4]24-58 in the regular season: 12th in the conference: Owners of the 27th and 36th picks in the draft

New Jersey is expected to be very active in the trade market and free agent pool over the next two seasons. With Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, the Nets are  set at two key positions. They are in love with Kris Humphries as their power forward meaning he will most likely be re-signed. Where the Nets need help is at the 2 and 3 positions. Look for a guard or forward to be drafted by New Jersey.

[5]22-60 in the regular season: 14th in the conference: Owners of the 5th pick in the draft

The Raptors are an absolute mess. Not one single star exists on the roster after the departure of Chris Bosh last summer.  The Raptors are in search of a new coach and can use help at just about every single position.  Andrea Bargnani is not someone you want as the star and leader of your team.  DeMar Derozan is emerging as a nice player but still not someone you build a team around.

I will be back next week with the Southeast division breakdown.

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