With the NBA Draft Lottery taking place tomorrow, it’s time for the have-nots to become the haves. While the fate of your franchise hangs in the balance as ping pong balls fall in line, here are five teams that need the No. 1 pick the most.
1. New Jersey Nets
The Nets are coming off the worst season in franchise history and almost the worst season in NBA history, and the only consolation that can come out of the misery of 12 wins and 70 losses is John Wall. Anything short of the No. 1 pick will be considered a major disappointment. As the Nets move forward into the Mikhail Prokhorov era, an era with an owner who actually knows about basketball and has the money to invest, the No. 1 pick would be a huge first step in the summer that could turn basketball’s laughing stock into a contender in no time. Also, as with anything basketball related these days, the LeBron factor must be accounted for. And owing to the fact that Wall is a friend of his, the addition of Wall could help lure LeBron to New Jersey.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves’ awful season is often forgotten and overshadowed because of just how historically bad the Nets were this year, but their 15-67 record screams for the No. 1 pick. This team didn’t seem to fit with Kurt Rambis‘ complicated offense, and Kevin Love and Al Jefferson never really meshed. The Wolves have a glut at point guard with Jonny Flynn and Ramon Sessions, and Ricky Rubio still playing overseas, so Wall doesn’t necessarily fill a position of need. But the No. 1 pick is an another asset GM David Kahn can use in trying to rebuild a team devoid of a capable wing scorer.
3. Washington Wizards
The Wizards are an absolute mess. Gilbert Arenas, once the face of the franchise, is now fresh out of a halfway house. Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison are now gone (while the return on talent brought back for them was meager to say the least), and to make matters worse, in his first week as a Wizard, Josh Howard tore his ACL. The Wizards have taken second-fiddle to Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals the last few years, and for them to return to relevancy – both in D.C. and in the NBA – picking up Wall would be huge. Not to mention, does anyone trust Randy Foye as full-time starter? One must also not forget the Wizards were in line for the No. 2 pick last year but fell to No. 5. Will a similiar disappointment occur this year or will their fortunes turn?
4. Los Angeles Clippers
Yes the Clippers had the No. 1 pick last season, and there are other teams ahead of them with a chance to grab it this year, but with the Lakers striving for their third straight Finals appearance, the Clippers have never seemed more like afterthoughts in recent memory. With loads of cap space, talented young players like Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin, solid veterans in Baron Davis and Chris Kaman, and the chance to play in L.A., the Clippers should be an appealing place to go for many stars – yet they are on no one’s radar. Back-to-back No. 1 picks would put the Clippers back on the radar this summer, and will give them some much needed publicity and hype.
5. Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers are a team that is in bad shape in a lot of ways. They have three huge contracts being spent on the unproductive and injury prone Elton Brand, ther maddeningly inconsistent Sam Dalembert, and Andre Igoudala a natural No. 2 scorer being paid No. 1 money. These contracts allow them minimum flexibility in this all-important summer of 2010. The Sixers also suffer from a coaching vacancy, attendance issues (see: desperate attempt to sell tickets by signing Allen Iverson), and a GM on rocky footing. The No. 1 pick gives the Sixers a young piece to build around, and a player in Wall that will sell tickets while also actually producing on the court.
What do you think? Which team needs the No. 1 pick the most?
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