Boston Celtics (66-16: first place in Atlantic Division, lost NBA finals)
Draft picks: No. 30, No. 60
PG: Rajon Rondo / Sam Cassell* / Gabe Pruitt
SG: Ray Allen / Eddie House* / Tony Allen*
SF: Paul Pierce / James Posey*
PF: Kevin Garnett / Leon Powe / Glen Davis / Brian Scalabrine
C: Kendrick Perkins / P.J. Brown* / Scot Pollard*
*Potential free agent
Could use help at: Center, Depth
Bottom line: Danny Ainge orchestrated what may go down as one of the most impressive offseasons in NBA history in the summer of 2007. Just one season ago, the Celtics were neck-deep in a seemingly hopeless youth movement, until Ainge decided to unload many of the draft picks and young talent he had been stockpiling. In acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, Ainge may have depleted his depth chart and gotten rid of most of the potential on his roster, but he also spurred the team to a 42 game improvement. At this juncture, Boston will take anything they can get in free agency or the draft, since they have the luxury of being able to compete for a Championship with what they have, and plan for a future beyond their 'Big Three.'
Draft outlook: Coming into this season, both Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins had a lot to prove playing in their audition next to the franchise’s three All-Stars. While Rondo flourished and proved to be an ideal distributor, Perkins proved to be only an adequate option, something that became especially clear in the playoffs. With their first round selection, Danny Ainge will either look to acquire someone to push Perkins for minutes at center, pick whoever happens to fall out of the top-20, or try and acquire a young role player who can come in an contribute off the bench. At center, Devon Hardin and Jason Thompson could both step in and offer a change of pace. Hardin’s athleticism and quickness would compliment Perkins’ strength and size. Thompson would be a good selection for the same reasons, but possesses the soft touch to be a factor as a midrange shooter when Kevin Garnett gets double-teamed. Should Ainge opt for the best player available, Courtney Lee, J.R. Giddens, and Davon Jefferson could all earn minutes as rookies. In the second round, look for Ainge to keep the selection only if there is a player on the board that he thinks can make the team, such as a Malik Hairston or Richard Roby. Regardless of whether or not Ainge keeps either pick, his motivation going into the draft is to acquire a young player that can come off the bench and add something to his already spectacular roster.
New Jersey Nets (34-48: fourth place in Atlantic Division, missed playoffs)
Draft picks: No. 10, No. 21, No. 40
PG: Devin Harris / Marcus Williams / Darrell Armstong*
SG: Vince Carter / Trenton Hassel / Maurice Ager
SF: Richard Jefferson / Bostjan Nachbar*
PF: Josh Boone/ Sean Williams / Stromile Swift* / Keith Van Horn*
C: Nenad Krstic* / DeSagana Diop*
*Potential free agent
Could use help at: Forward / Center, Guard / Forward, Depth
Bottom line: Trading Jason Kidd was a major step for this franchise, regardless of its short-term outcome. Though Devin Harris had his ups and downs late in the season, he has the unique ability to lock down defensively, spark the fast break, and beat everyone to the rim. While he isn’t going to be putting up any Jason Kidd like stat lines any time soon, he still has potential and could be a great fit given time to gel with Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson. With two first-round selections, and needs that match up extremely well with the players that will be available to them at their picks, General Manager Kiki Vandeweghe’s strategy of taking the best player available should give this team a chance to grow considerably next season.
Draft outlook: With their lottery pick, the Nets will be presented with an array of players that fit their needs. DeAndre Jordan would be an interesting selection, and though he doesn’t fit in with what Lawrence Frank implements defensively, his potential may be too good for Kiki Vandeweghe to pass up at 10. Anthony Randolph offers similar potential at the power forward spot, as do Marreese Speights and JaVale McGee. Both McGee and Speights will have to show well in workouts to get considered at 10, but neither is out of the question. At 21, the Nets will probably target a swingman who can consistently knock down the open outside jumper. Brandon Rush, Donte Greene, and Chase Budinger would all bring a nice mix of potential and perimeter skills to the table at that spot. Should something change in the top-8, the Nets could watch a player like Eric Gordon fall into their lap, meaning they would probably tab someone like Speights or Robin Lopez at 21. With their second-round pick, the Nets will take the top player on their board, likely an athlete who can provide a spark off the bench. Vandeweghe is never shy on draft day, and may look to move around to get the players he wants.
- Danny Ainge
- Kevin Garnett
- Kendrick Perkins