By Jeff Fox
For those who thought luck was limited to leprechauns, add a red and black cartoon bull to the lucky list. Against all odds the Chicago Bulls won the NBA draft lottery and now have the enviable task of trying to decide on who to pick – Beasley or Rose. Fret not, Bulls’ management – Slamonline has all the answers for you, along with the rest of the lottery teams. Here are our suggestions on who each lottery team SHOULD pick, not who they will necessarily pick (this isn’t taking into account any trades that may occur).
1) Chicago – Michael Beasley
Team Needs: Low post scoring threat; back up point guard (if Chris Duhon bolts)
Heading into the draft lottery, it was a toss up as to who should go number one in the draft, Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose. Considering neither one is a run away favorite as the top prospect in the draft, the Bulls should look to fill a serious team need and grab Beasley. His low post scoring and rebounding is just what the team needs and he would form a young and athletic frontcourt along with Joakim Noah. It will be hard to pass up a hometown talent like Rose, but with Beasley on the team the Bulls should be out of the lottery and back into the playoffs next season.
2) Miami – Derrick Rose
Team Needs: Point guard; post player.
The Heat should be counting their blessings if Derrick Rose falls into their laps. With Jason Williams off the books for next season, the Heat are in need of a quality point guard and Rose is by far the best one in the draft. A backcourt of Rose & Wade will be among the best in the league and the Heat could really burn opponents with the two of them and Shawn Marion running the break.
3) Minnesota – O.J. Mayo
Team Needs – True point guard; center.
O.J. Mayo doesn’t necessarily fill one of the T-Wolves most pressing needs, but a talent like this you don’t pass up on. Minnesota needs more young talent at every position, and Mayo is the most gifted guy in the draft outside of the Big Two. While Mayo should be able to help the team out at the point guard spot down the road, Minnesota should be patient with him and let him get his feet wet playing the 2-spot before shifting him over to the point.
4) Seattle – Brook Lopez
Team Needs – Center; point guard
For three years straight years (2004 to 2006) Seattle picked a center with its first pick, two of those in the lottery. Unfortunately for them, Robert Swift, Johan Petro and Saer Sene have not exactly set the NBA world on fire. It’s time for the Sonics to grab another big man – Brook Lopez. Lopez will find plenty of work rebounding all of Kevin Durant’s missed shots and will be another good, young athlete to take to Oklahoma City with them.
5) Memphis – Darrel Arthur
Team Needs – Power forward; center.
Poor Memphis – they don’t get one of the coveted first two picks and Chicago pushes them down a spot to slot number five. They really don’t need a point guard, so Jerryd Bayless is probably out of the question. They desperately need a quality big man, and with Robin Lopez off the board, Darrell Arthur is the next best big left. His athleticism, size and skills should help Grizzlies fans forget about the Kwame Brown era.
6) New York – Jerryd Bayless
Team Needs – Talent; non-head cases.
First New York steals Arizona’s best head coach, and now they’re going to grab the state’s best college player. While Jerryd Bayless isn’t a pure point guard, he should be able to run-and-gun to Mike D’Antoni’s liking.
7) Clippers – Russell Westbrook
Team Needs – Point guard; shooting guard
It wouldn’t be an NBA lottery without the Clippers involved. The team is bound to be better next year with Elton Brand healthy again, and picking local talent Russell Westbrook can help the team shore up their weak backcourt.
8) Milwaukee – Eric Gordon
Team Needs – Talent
The Bucks are getting some nice young talent onto their roster but they still aren’t winning many games. Whether the rumors about shopping around Michael Redd are true or not, Milwaukee should pick the best available talent left on the board with their pick comes around. That would give them scoring machine Eric Gordon, which might make the Redd trade rumors all the more prophetic.
9) Charlotte – Kevin Love
Team Needs – Center; healthy players
Charlotte is in need of someone to bang down low with Emeka Okafor, and Kevin Love would fill that need. While there is still debate as to how great a pro player he will be, with the players left available at this point in the draft, the Bobcats should be willing to roll the dice on him at pick nine.
10) New Jersey – Danilo Gallinari
Team Needs – Low post scorer
While Gallinari won’t give the Nets a low post scorer, he is the most talented player out of Europe this year and the best guy left on the draft board pick 10. His addition to the roster could make Vince Carter or Richard Jefferson trade bait.
11) Indiana – D.J. Augustin
Team Needs – Point guard; hope
The Pacers have been in desperate need of a point guard since Mark Jackson left town in 2000. D.J. Augustin will fill that void, but his lack of size will probably prevent him from being a star. And if he could bring along some magic elixir to keep Jermaine O’Neal healthy, that would be helpful too.
12) Sacramento – Anthony Randolph
Team Needs – Point guard; power forward
Unfortunately all the top point guards will probably be gone by the time the Kings get to pick at 12. Randolph probably isn’t ready to contribute right away, but with a little time he could develop into a top-shelf small/power forward.
13) Portland – Nicolas Batum
Team Needs – Point guard; healthy Greg Oden
It almost seems unfair that a team this young and talented gets another lottery pick. Batum’s smart, unselfish skills should blend in well on the Blazers’ roster.
14) Golden State – Joe Alexander
Team Needs – Backup point guard; move to the Eastern Conference
Pretty crazy that a 48-win team finds itself in the lottery. Alexander is big, athletic and a good scorer – perfect for G-State’s style of play.
Jeff Fox writes more extensively about the NBA draft and college basketball at www.collegehoopsnet.com. All hate mail can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.