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WHAT EVERY LOTTERY TEAM’S OFFSEASON AND DRAFT FOCUS SHOULD BE

@TheWillBaldwin

1. Minnesota

The Minnesota Timberwolves are in as win now a situation as any lottery team in the NBA. Without their pick next season, it’s quite literally now or never in the first full season of Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Whatever they do draft night, it has to be with the thought process of trying to be good next season. Whether that selection is Anthony Edwards, trading down and adding assets or something else, it has to be something that leads to success in 2020-21.

Their trade to make:

Why the Wolves make this trade

  • As I said, veteran help is everything for them and even though Culver is still super young and full of potential, Aaron Gordon is the perfect third-option fit next to Towns and Russell.

Why the Magic make this trade

  • It’s time for a re-set in Orlando so getting last season’s number six pick and an additional first this season is a positive step in the right direction for this franchise stuck in NBA purgatory.

2. Golden State

To me the buzz for the Warriors taking James Wiseman makes no sense. No matter how high you are on him, no one would ever say he’s helping a team win a title next season and that should be Golden State’s goal with this asset. By trading down and filling out the roster, then taking a later swing in the lottery it gives the Warriors a shot at helping both the here and now. It also helps the Wolves pick next year is a golden ticket to allow them to make a more win now move with this year’s first-rounder.

Their trade to make:

Why the Warriors make this trade

  • We just saw in the playoffs with the Lakers the power of size and strength so adding a former All-Star in Vucevic, a Draymond Green lite in Gordon and still keeping a first round selection feels like a no-brainer in trying to win in 2021.

Why the Magic make this trade

  • What better way to blow up then get the number two pick and take a shot on a fresh start with a former number one pick?

3. Charlotte

Charlotte is in an ideal situation. In desperate need of a centre, the Hornets are blessed with the fact this draft has two elite ones and whoever falls to them is more with waiting then burning an asset for a similar player. Even if both are gone, the team essentially has no wings to speak of so a guy like Deni Avdija or even LaMelo Ball could be interesting for them here.

Their trade to make:

Why the Hornets make this trade

  • Terry Rozier’s contract is bad, Malik Monk is a bust and Cody Zeller is expiring, all for a star in a market that has never really had one. I get Westbrook’s contract is bad but who cares how large it is as you fill in the roster around him with young pieces on cheap deals in a re-build.

Why the Rockets make this trade

  • You’re getting off Westbrook without burning any assets and Rozier, Monk and Zeller could definitely contribute in a revamped rotation.

4. Chicago

The Bulls have a massive hole on the wing and at point guard. I know Bulls fans will scream Coby White but I have always seen him as much more of a Lou Williams than Chris Paul. With the chance to grab a potential future star in Ball or Killian Hayes I’m not sure how you pass that up for White. Even if you’re a White defender, the reality is he’s probably more of a two than a one so adding larger guards like Ball and Hayes would be ideal fits next to him anyways.

Their trade to make:

Why the Bulls make this trade

  • Assuming they take Ball or Hayes at four, this team is desperate for wing help and Oubre provides that.

Why the Thunder make this trade

  • Presti acquires two more assets in the second round picks while also taking a chance on Chandler Hutchinson who when healthy has shown potential and helps fill a massive void on the wing in OKC.

5. Cleveland

Cleveland should have two goals this offseason, get off Kevin Love’s contract and help surround their young guards with talent to optimize them. If Darius Garland and Collin Sexton are going to work in the NBA together, they need some wing help in the form of guys like Avdija, Devin Vassell or maybe Isaac Okoro. Regardless of who, it needs to be someone that fits alongside their young core and can grow together.

Their trade to make:

Why the Cavaliers make this trade

  • Getting off Kevin Love’s deal will be tough so getting assets in Niang and a second make it worthwhile. Conley’s deal is annoying on the surface but as an expiring it should be movable and if not, he provides a great locker-room presence for your young guards.

Why the Jazz make this trade

  • Mike Conley was a disaster so there’s no need running that back again and bringing Love in provides added spacing for Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell while also giving you interesting lineup options with Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles still on the roster.

6. Atlanta

Atlanta needs to supplement their young core with veteran pieces. As good as Trae Young was last season, this team still has some massive limitations. Clint Capela will help but adding a vet on the wing who can take the ball out of Young’s hand sometimes and when he’s on the bench would be a massive step in the right direction. In the draft, if Okoro is on the board and they can’t find a trade, he’s about as ideal a running mate as possible for Young.

Their trade to make:

Why the Hawks make this trade

  • With Hayward rumoured to be going there in a sign and trade, the Hawks take advantage of Boston’s desperation to not lose him for anything by snagging three first round picks for John Collins. As good as Collins has been for them, his lack of defence feels like the opposite of a guy to go alongside Young.

Why the Celtics make this trade

  • It’s a lot for John Collins for sure but he adds an interesting big man wrinkle for them and even if they don’t love the fit, he as an asset is an enticing trade chip around the league.

7. Detroit

This Pistons roster is the worst since the process Sixers. I don’t really care what they do as long as they add talent since right now, outside of maybe Sekou Doumbouya, this team has nothing on its roster. Flipping Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose for anything is a must as the fans in Detroit are restless and this cannot continue to be the never-ending rebuild it’s been since Chauncey Billups left.

Their trade to make:

Why the Pistons make this trade

  • They trade up for a potential star in a guy like LaMelo and get Wiggins who hopefully thrives in this second chance with almost no pressure on him.

Why the Warriors make this trade

  • The Blake contract is a year shorter than Wiggins, he’s the better player and fits their team need better. Also by getting seven as well, they remain high enough to get a big-time young talent.

8. New York

It is virtually impossible to run a respectable NBA organization no matter who your coach, GM or even the rest of your roster is if you have a black hole at point guard. Whether it be through the draft, trade or free agency, priority number one needs to be a that position. If RJ Barrett has any hope of becoming the player you drafted, he need help in the back court.

Their trade to make:

Why the Knicks make this trade

  • The Knicks get a veteran who can hold down the fort who unlike Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, doesn’t have a disastrous contract. They also gain two assets in second round picks and open up minutes in the front court for Mitchell Robinson.

Why the Jazz make this trade

  • The Conley move is ruining your cap so at least you get off of him and acquire Taj Gibson who helps your depth and locker room.

9. Washington

If the Wizards are really going to run back John Wall and Bradley Beal, they need to fix their wing and big rotation. My guess is they probably go wing in the draft with where it looks like the players may be selected but if Okongwu or Wiseman fall that should be a no-brainer. This should definitely be seen as a potential DeRozan or Aldridge spot as they try and surround Wall and Beal with enough pieces to make the East playoffs again.

Their trade to make:

Why the Wizards make this trade

  • Evan Fournier is the perfect guy to go along Wall, Beal, Hachimura and whoever the team drafts at their new pick.

Why the Magic make this trade

  • Fournier is in the final year of his deal so getting something for him even if it’s five spots in the first round and a couple young pieces is worth it in the long haul.

10. Phoenix

For Phoenix after acquiring Chris Paul it’s more about resigning Dario Saric and adding some rotational depth at this point. The two guys I’d really target in the draft if I was them is Hayes and Tyrese Haliburton. Both have point guard of the future potential post-Paul and can play off the ball for now and one should be gettable around 10. Otherwise, their focus should be some veteran help at the backend of the rotation to finish off a playoff roster.

Their trade to make:

The Suns already made their big trade.

11. San Antonio

It’s finally time for the Spurs to blow it up and go young. DeRozan and Aldridge should be moved as soon as possible as the team finally hits the reset. With the 2021 Draft being so enticing and the Spurs having a series of young guys like Lonnie Walker, Derrick White and Keldon Johnson who they need to see what they are, adding veteran pieces or keeping them truly makes no sense at all in the loaded West.

Their trade to make:

Why the Spurs make this trade

  • Four assets for young pieces for Aldridge in the final year of his deal should be an instant yes with where the Spurs are as a franchise.

Why the Wizards make this trade

  • If you’re going all in on Beal and Wall, a vet like Aldridge answers almost every major problem with that roster assuming health of the star guards.

12. Sacramento

Sacramento letting Bogdanovic leave as an RFA is one of the strangest moves in recent NBA history. Now the team goes from having a small hole there to a seismic one, especially with the Buddy Hield situation. If the team can’t find a way to re-work its relationship with him then they need to move him ASAP. At some point this team needs to start trying to win some games again and Hield or not, they need to answer some major questions this offseason.

Their trade to make:

Why the Kings make this trade

  • Richardson and Kormaz re-supply your apoplectic wing position and Horford in a new role back again as a centre should be a big boost to his production. Also adding in a first round pick for a guy who wants out and is on a bad contract is quite the haul.

Why the 76ers make this trade

  • They get off the Horford albatross while acquiring their biggest need, I don’t really need to say anything else.

13. New Orleans

With Lonzo Ball officially in extension times, the Pelicans need to figure out if he’s the answer at that position. The team obviously has a laughable amount of assets to go and get another if Ball isn’t the guy but I think we can all agree, life would be much easier for David Griffin and Stan Van Gundy if the point guard of the future is already on the roster.

Their trade to make:

You already did your trade

14. Boston

With players like Steven Adams, Myles Tuner and others available, the fit for their biggest hole in the playoffs is out there. Danny Ainge and his staff just need to test the waters and see what’s out there at that position. With the Bucks strengthening around Giannis, Embiid still playing in the East and Bam still in Miami, it’s imperative Boston fixes this position before next season.

Their trade to make:

Why the Celtics make this trade

  • Steven Adams is the perfect answer for their biggest problem.

Why the Thunder make this trade

  • Hayward makes a ton of money and will likely want an extension so they could just turn around and flip him somewhere else but two more picks in their war chest for Adams feels like an obvious yes from them.

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