NBA Draft Predictions: Pacific Division
First up, the NBA's Pacific Division:
Golden State Warriors
Picks: No. 7 (first round); none in second round.
Needs: A true point guard; a decision-maker/passer/high basketball IQ type, and it wouldn't hurt to have another big body up front.
Possibilities: Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Jonny Flynn, Tyreke Evans (pictured), Jordan Hill.
Put it into the equation: For more than a year now, the Warriors have been wrestling with the issue of whether or not Monta Ellis can play point guard. If they end up drafting one, that will tell exactly what the Warriors think.
Los Angeles Clippers
Picks: No. 1 (first round); none in second round.
Needs: Youth and size in frontcourt; a backup point guard.
Possibilities: Blake Griffin, Blake Griffin and Blake Griffin.
Put it into the equation: There's very little intrigue around the Clippers' pick. They're going to take Griffin. The real issue is what – if anything – the Clippers can do about the underachieving trio of Marcus Camby, Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman. Suffice it to say, the Clippers would like to get a little more accomplished on draft day than just selecting Griffin.
Los Angeles Lakers
Picks: No. 29 (first round); No. 42 (second round, from Charlotte), No. 59 (second round).
Needs: Front court depth; point guard.
Possibilities: Patrick Mills, Tyler Hansbrough, DeMarre Carroll.
Put it into the equation: What do you give the team that has everything? The simple answer: More. If the Lakers had a weakness this season – or a perceived weakness – it was physicality on their front line. Obviously, it wasn't enough of an issue to keep them from their 15th championship. But in a perfect world, the Lakers would probably like to add another big body, and preferably someone better and more athletic than D.J. Mbenga. It's also time to consider a replacement for Derek Fisher.
Picks: No. 14 (first round); No. 48 (second round), No. 57 (second round, from Orlando via Oklahoma City).
Needs: Youth; scoring and athleticism on the perimeter; a point guard.
Possibilities: Jonny Flynn, Earl Clark, Ty Lawson, James Johnson, Terrence Williams.
Put it into the equation: More than any one particular position, the Suns need to get younger across the board. They're old at center (Shaquille O'Neal), small forward (Grant Hill) and point guard (Steve Nash). They're going to get a good shot at a young talent at all three of those spots.
Picks: No. 4 (first round), No. 23 (first round, from Houston), No. 31 (second round).
Needs: Point guard; rebounding help up front; another scorer.
Possibilities: Ricky Rubio, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings, Stephen Curry.
Put it into the equation: The problem the Kings have is that they're almost being forced into considering a point guard simply because this draft has a lot of good ones and they're picking so high. Nobody is saying Beno Udrih is an all-star, but in terms of priorities, that would seem to be an upgrade that could wait. Even so, there are good PGs to be had, and it's going to be tough for general manager Geoff Petrie to pass on one of the tops ones. And if Rubio were to somehow fall, then the easy decision would be made for them.