Draft picks: None
PG: Mike Bibby / Acie Law / Speedy Claxton
SG: Joe Johnson / Salim Stoudamire* / Mario West*
SF: Josh Smith* / Josh Childress* / Jeremy Richardson
PF: Marvin Williams / Solomon Jones
C: Al Horford / Zaza Pachulia
*Potential free agent
Could use help at: Power Forward, Shooting Guard, Depth
Bottom line: For the first time since 1999 the Atlanta Hawks found their way into the playoffs on the wings of a deadline deal for Mike Bibby. After years of neglecting to address the point guard position, now ex-general manager Billy King finally bit the bullet and traded three veterans and Shelden Williams for the former All-Star. The four-for-one deal depleted some of Atlanta's depth and disposed of all of their experienced backups, but turned them into a legitimate playoff team. Taking Boston to seven games was icing on the cake for a team that has been mediocre for so long.
Draft outlook: With no selections for the first time in a while, the Hawks will conduct workouts to find some candidates for their Summer League roster in hopes of finding some depth across the board, and may tap into their selections from previous seasons, David Andersen and Cenk Akyol, to help fill out the roster. The first order of business for incoming GM Chris Grant this offseason will be to match offers on restricted free agents Josh Smith and Josh Childress who should both find ample suitors around the league. Smith and Childress each played a big role in Atlanta's playoff run, and along with Marvin Williams and Al Horford, form a very promising young frontcourt rotation. Given the relative youth and size of Atlanta's current roster, their best strategy may be to sit the draft out and let a year of experience propel them to a better record in 2009.
Draft picks: No. 9, No. 38
PG: Raymond Felton / Earl Boykins*
SG: Jason Richardson / Matt Carroll / Derek Anderson*
SF: Gerald Wallace / Jared Dudley / Adam Morrison
PF: Nazr Mohammed / Jermareo Davidson/ Othella Harrington* / Sean May
C: Emeka Okafor* / Ryan Hollins*
*Potential free agent
Could use help at: Point Guard, Forward/Center
Bottom line: The Bobcats took an aggressive step last offseason by deviating from their slow and steady rebuilding process to acquire Jason Richardson. Despite the major acquisition, the team failed to achieve the same record it did a season ago. General manager Rod Higgins made a similarly aggressive move this offseason by introducing Larry Brown as head coach. With Brown in fold, the Bobcats will have to grow up fast in order to avoid another disappointing season. Higgins will have to decide whether he wants to keep the franchise's first draft selection, restricted free agent Emeka Okafor, around for the continuing rebuilding process. His decision on that front will decide what Brown has to work with in his first year in Charlotte.
Draft outlook: Though Nazr Mohammed put together a career year, Charlotte will come into the draft looking for a long term answer at power forward. Kevin Love and Darrell Arthur would be solid fits in Larry Brown's offense, with Arthur being the better fit next to Emeka Okafor, who had a tough time defending quicker power forwards this season. If Higgins opts to revert to more sound long-term planning, Anthony Randolph has potential comparable to that of the player Higgins dealt for Jason Richardson, Brandan Wright. While each of those prospects would give the team a potential answer at power forward, Higgins may be inclined to once again shop the team's lottery selection in search of a proven veteran. With their second-round pick, the Bobcats will be in the market for a backup center or point guard. Mario Chalmers would be an ideal selection, possessing the character and winning attitude that the team was built on. At center, Trent Plaisted and Nathan Jawai will be two of the better prospects available. The fate of both of those draft choices will have a lot to do with how Higgins approaches his negotiations with Emeka Okafor. He may not be willing to match every offer that the talented center fields, and may opt to trade him for a more experienced option. Should Okafor be dealt for a power forward, DeAndre Jordan would become a very attractive option.
Draft picks: No. 2, No. 52
PG: Jason Williams* / Chris Quinn* / Marcus Banks / Blake Ahearn*
SG: Dwyane Wade / Daequan Cook
SF: Shawn Marion / Ricky Davis* / Dorell Wright / Kasib Powell*
PF: Udonis Haslem / Alexander Johnson* / Stephane Lasme*
C: Mark Blount / Earl Barron* / Joel Anthony* / Alonzo Mourning*
*Potential free agent
Could use help at: Point Guard, Power Forward, Center, Depth
Bottom line: This year's Heat roster wasn't 27 games worse than its 2007 counterpart by any stretch of the imagination. While injuries decimated the team's lineup during both outings, this year's Heat team was much worse for wear, and was given the second overall pick as a consolation prize for its struggles. Despite a truly abysmal season, no one is complaining in Miami, as the team is in position to add a franchise-caliber player next to Dwyane Wade. With Pat Riley handing the reigns over to Eric Spoelestra and focusing all of his attention on his administrative role, this should be an eventful summer in Miami – one that should result in a trip to the playoffs in 2009.
Draft outlook: Miami's choice at No. 2 will depend on who Chicago takes first, and they will take whoever falls to them: Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose. Either way, it's a win-win situation for the Heat. Derrick Rose would fit seamlessly into the starting lineup next to Dwyane Wade, filling the spot vacated by departing free agent Jason Williams. Beasley would slide into the power forward spot from Day 1 and give the Heat an amazing forward tandem with Shawn Marion. Both players would pay dividends immediate, and could steer the team to the playoffs if Wade stays healthy. With their second-round pick, Miami will be looking for a center, or simply the best player available. Players like Pat Calathes, Maarty Leunen, and David Padgett all could offer depth in areas of need. Despite rumblings that Miami is looking to deal the second overall pick, it is more likely that the team will shop Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks before even thinking about trading away a potential franchise player.
Draft picks: No. 22
PG: Jameer Nelson / Carlos Arroyo*
SG: Maurice Evans* / Keyon Dooling* / J.J. Redick
SF: Hedo Turkoglu / Keith Bogans
PF: Rashard Lewis / Brian Cook / Pat Garrity* / Tony Battie
C: Dwight Howard / Adonal Foyle* / James Augustine* / Marcin Gortat*
*Potential free agent
Could use help at: Shooting Guard, Center, Overall Depth
Bottom line: A team reaping the benefits of their last few offseasons, Orlando has taken a stranglehold on the top spot in the Southeast Division. Many questioned the contract general manager Otis Smith tendered to Rashard Lewis, but it was that acquisition, coupled with tremendous seasons turned in by Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard, that propelled the team past the 50-win mark. With Dwight Howard turning into a dominant force, Smith will be charged with adding pieces that will help Stan Van Gundy exploit all the qualities of Dwight Howard's game.
Draft outlook: Smith hasn't had a great deal of success with his draft choices in Orlando, but shouldn't have a hard time finding a player that can contribute in some way next season. At 22 the team should take a hard look at Chris Douglas-Roberts, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Rush to remedy the lack of depth in the backcourt. Each of those three players could step in a play minutes at shooting guard immediately and produce as a backup. If the team opts to take a center, one of Kosta Koufos, JaVale McGee, and Robin Lopez could be available. Any of those three could backup Dwight Howard while sliding over to spell Rashard Lewis as well. Otis Smith has the luxury of being able to take the top player on his draft board, a testament to how far this team has come from a few seasons ago when it was riddled with holes.
Draft picks: No. 18, No. 48
PG: Gilbert Arenas* / Antonio Daniels
SG: DeShawn Stevenson / Nick Young / Roger Mason*
SF: Caron Butler / Dominic McGuire
PF: Antawn Jamison* / Darius Songaila / Oleksiy Pecherov
C: Brendan Haywood / Andray Blatche / Etan Thomas
*Potential free agent
Could use help at: Point Guard, Forward/Center, Overall Depth
Bottom line: The Wizards had a pretty good season considering the fact that they played without Gilbert Arenas for the vast majority of their games. Injuries tempered any shot the team had at making a playoff run, and while the Cleveland dispatched of them in the first round, they played with a lot of resolve for a team without its best player. General manager Ernie Grunfeld will look to solve the continuity problems that have faced his team by attempting to keep Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas. Unfortunately, he can't keep them on the court, nor does he know if they can actually make the team competitive even if they are healthy. The team has stagnated over the last four seasons, and this offseason may not remedy that fact considering Grunfeld's stated goals.
Draft outlook: Washington doesn't have any glaring holes, and unless the team goes into rebuilding mode and fails to re-sign its stars, they may opt to take the best player available. That player may wind up being Roy Hibbert, who provides a nice scoring presence on the low block and would be a quality backup behind Brendan Haywood from day one. Kosta Koufos could fit the same bill and offer more long-term potential. It is entirely possible that the Wizards will wind up taking whatever player falls out of the first half of the first round. A guy like Chase Budinger or Joe Alexander could be in play depending on how they work out. With their second-round pick, Ernie Grunfeld will probably look to add depth to the Washington backcourt. Jamont Gordon would be a great fit considering his versatility. Anton Ponkrashov would be an adequate selection for the same reason.