It's time for the the 2018 NBA Draft, so let's do a quick study on what everybody needs. There are tons of high-upside prospects in what is expected to be a deep draft class. The question remains which players will succeed and which will flop.
We've done the dirty work for you, so all you need to do is take a look.
Picks: 3, 19, 30, 34
Needs: Everything! OK: High-level talent, playmaking, shooting
The Hawks can't be picky. I like John Collins and Taurean Prince as much as the next guy, but neither of them should discourage them from taking the best player available. When you tank a season like they did last year, your goal has to be to find a franchise-changing star in the draft. They would be lucky to grab Luka Doncic if he is around at No. 3. If Doncic is not available, I love the idea of Jaren Jackson Jr. starting next to Prince and Collins. I also wonder if they might package No. 19 with one of their later picks to move up a few spots.
Needs: Center, I guess
After the last few years, it feels weird that the Celtics don't have a lottery pick. Lucky for them, Danny Ainge's front office doesn't need one. Boston's roster has few holes if everybody is healthy -- the only real issue could be replacing free agent center Aron Baynes if he has played his way into a prohibitively expensive new contract. There aren't a ton of bigs in range at No. 27, though -- if the Celtics aren't interested in Mitchell Robinson, Moritz Wagner or Omari Spellman, they could just add another guy to their army of wings.
Picks: 29, 40, 45
Needs: Wings, shooters, two-way players
The Nets have shown that they can develop players, but they lack a true face of the franchise. Unfortunately, they won't have their own pick until next year, so they are unlikely to be in a position to draft anybody with a superstar-level ceiling. With a crowded backcourt, I wonder if they might trade D'Angelo Russell, Jeremy Lin or Spencer Dinwiddie on draft day and move up. As far as positions go, it looks like Brooklyn is searching for wings, like most teams in the league. Drafting a point guard would be a strange move, and the organization hopes that Jarrett Allen is the long-term answer at center.
Picks: 11, 55
Needs: Shooting, playmaking, wings
It's hard to forecast what the Hornets' new front office, led by Mitch Kupchak, will do this summer. They were a poor shooting team last year, though, so it would be wonderful if Mikal Bridges fell to them. If he isn't there, perhaps the two-way potential of Kevin Knox or the versatility of Miles Bridges will appeal to Kupchak. If Charlotte is thinking about trading star guard Kemba Walker and blowing this team up, perhaps point guards Collin Sexton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could be in play.
Picks: 7, 22
Needs: Rim protection, two-way wings
The rebuilding Bulls should probably just take the best player they have on the board at No. 7. If it's a big, it's important that he can work with Lauri Markkanen -- Wendell Carter Jr. seems like a perfect frontcourt partner. If it's a guard, they should not worry too much about the presence of Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine -- a bit of internal competition can be a good thing.
Needs: Two-way wings, playmaking
This is difficult because of LeBron James' situation. Do you trade the pick for a star or draft someone who could be a building block on a post-LeBron team? At No. 8, it's unlikely they can select someone whose presence would encourage the best player in the world to re-sign. I'll bet they draft a player but have several post-draft trade options on the table when they meet with James. Trae Young, Collin Sexton, Carter, Knox and Mikal Bridges are all names to watch here, and Cleveland could also be an interesting destination for Michael Porter Jr. if he falls because of injury concerns.
Picks: 5, 33, 54
Needs: Everything except point guard
Mohamed Bamba or Wendell Carter would represent good value for the Mavericks here, but do they really want to take a big if they're planning on chasing DeAndre Jordan (again) and DeMarcus Cousins in free agency? It wouldn't be surprising if they swung big by betting on Michael Porter Jr. or traded down to take a safer wing like Knox, Mikal Bridges or Miles Bridges.
Picks: 14, 43, 58
Needs: Two-way wings, backup point guard, rim-protecting big
Could a big name like Young or Miles Bridges fall this far? Either one would make sense for the Nuggets, as would Robert Williams, who could potentially be exactly the right kind of big man to cover up Nikola Jokic's weaknesses. Denver's frontcourt is crowded, but I'd take Williams here anyway because of his defense and athleticism.
Needs: Shooting, stretch bigs
The Pistons lost their first-rounder in the Blake Griffin trade, and that's a shame because they don't have a ton of avenues to improve (other than simply having better health). Detroit doesn't have a team president or general manager right now, though, so maybe this isn't the worst year to only have a second-round pick.
Golden State Warriors
Needs: Centers, two-way wings
The Warriors don't have many weaknesses, but they could use wing depth and another high-ceiling center. Mitchell Robinson fits the bill for the latter, and there is a long list of players in their range when it comes to the former. Some names: De'Anthony Melton, Josh Okogie, Grayson Allen, Chandler Hutchinson, Jacob Evans and Melvin Frazier.
Needs: Even more shooting, I guess?
Can they find someone who can be on the floor against the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs? Maybe not this year, but at No. 46 you take a swing on a project that you believe you can develop or stash overseas.
Picks: 23, 50
Needs: Shooting, rebounding, playmaking
The Pacers were a solid offensive team this past season, but they relied too much on Victor Oladipo and didn't have deadeye shooters. Unfortunately for them, overachieving in the regular season means they should be looking at role players rather than building blocks with the No. 23 pick. Sharpshooter Kevin Huerter would make sense if he's available, as would Donte DiVincenzo and Melton.
Los Angeles Clippers
Picks: 12, 13
Needs: Centers (if DeAndre Jordan and Montrezl Harrell leave), shooting, high-ceiling players
Can the Clippers find their version of Donovan Mitchell with either one of these picks? It's unlikely, but Gilgeous-Alexander has tons of upside, Lonnie Walker is intriguing and Williams could fill the frontcourt hole that might be created in free agency. Don't rule out this team trying to package the two picks and move up, though.
Los Angeles Lakers
Picks: 25, 47
Needs: 3-and-D guys
The Lakers are big-game hunting in free agency this summer, so the draft should be about finding a complementary piece. Huerter or Hutchinson would be fantastic finds here; if they aren't available, then Melton, Okogie and Frazier also make sense.
Picks: 4, 32
Needs: Wings, shooting, playmaking
This team is in a weird place -- the owner thinks the team can win 50-plus games next year, and the front office is attaching the No. 4 pick to Chandler Parsons in a potential trade. If there is a chance that Luka Doncic slides to the Grizzlies, then that kind of trade is completely crazy. If not, then maybe Memphis can do something creative in terms of trading down and still coming away with someone like Mikal Bridges who can contribute right away.
Needs: Superstar talent, shooting
The Heat have a knack for finding undrafted players who can help them win games -- maybe they can do that again.
Needs: Everything except big forwards
I can't stop thinking about the outrageously athletic Zhaire Smith running the break with Giannis Antetokounmpo, but it's probably wiser for the Bucks to take someone who can easily thrive in Mike Budenholzer's offense. Jerome Robinson, Troy Brown, Aaron Holiday and DiVincenzo fit the bill.
Picks: 20, 48
Needs: Shooting, tough defenders
Minnesota should be looking for two-way players who don't need the ball. Frazier, Evans and Okogie seem like Tom Thibodeau-style players. If Shake Milton is available at No. 48, he would be a great get.
New Orleans Pelicans
Needs: Shooting, wings
New York Knicks
Picks: 9, 36
Needs: Playmaking, wings, two-way players
The Knicks might be able to choose between Knox, Miles Bridges and Mikal Bridges here. Young could also be in the picture, though, and Porter could possibly slide into this range.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Picks: 53, 57
Needs: Two-way players, athletic bigs
The Thunder surrendered this first-round pick in the Reggie Jackson-Enes Kanter trade in 2015. This is a bummer because they could lose Paul George and Jerami Grant in the summer and they weren't particularly deep last year.
Picks: 6, 35, 41
The Magic are not good enough to worry too much about positional needs. Translation: Even with Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon (if he is re-signed) on the roster, they seem likely to take a big man like Bamba or Carter here. If the front office loves Young, though, then it should consider trading down to take him.
Picks: 10, 26, 38, 39, 56, 60
Needs: Shooting, wings, playmaking
There's no way the Sixers use all their picks, unless they add a bunch more players to their overseas stash. I'd love for them to add Mikal Bridges to their core -- the concern about him is that his ceiling might not be high, but Philadelphia doesn't need him to be much more than he already is. This team could also use a bit more playmaking, which makes you think that Young and Sexton could be in the mix at No. 10 and Jerome Robinson could be a good find at No. 26.
Picks: 1, 16, 31, 59
Needs: Playmaking, center
DeAndre Ayton and Doncic are the two obvious candidates for the top pick. I'm a Doncic guy, but all signs point to the Suns taking Ayton and hoping that his defensive instincts improve and he becomes a franchise player. Phoenix should not draft for need, but he fills a need anyway -- Tyson Chandler has no future there, and if Alex Len does, it will be as a backup. At No. 16, the Suns should probably go for a guard -- they would be lucky to come away with Gilgeous-Alexander or, if he's gone, Aaron Holiday.
Portland Trail Blazers
Needs: Playmaking, passing, frontcourt scoring
The Blazers could do just about anything. Mitchell Robinson would be a nice upside pick here, and guard Khyri Thomas is the rare prospect that should be an above-average defender the moment he walks onto an NBA floor.
Picks: 2, 37
Needs: High-ceiling talent, frontcourt help
There's an argument that the Kings should just take a big guy again. De'Aaron Fox is supposed to be their future point guard, and they have Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield and Justin Jackson on the wing. It is not clear if they are committed to Skal Labissiere or Willie Cauley-Stein long-term. I say no: Just take Doncic. He can complement their other guards because he doesn't need the ball, plus, uh, he's better than them. (It feels like they are going to take Marvin Bagley Jr. instead, though.)
San Antonio Spurs
Picks: 18, 49
Needs: Scoring, athleticism, rim protection
This is the highest the Spurs have picked since taking Tim Duncan first overall. Crazy. (In 2011, Kawhi Leonard was drafted No. 15 by the Indiana Pacers, then traded to San Antonio.) Anyway, this means the front office can draft someone with more pedigree than usual. Wings Troy Brown, Huerter and Hutchinson all seem somewhat Spursy. I wonder if they'd gamble on Smith's upside if he falls to them.
Needs: Passing bigs, shooting
Toronto has a bench full of young players, but it still hurts that it had to give up a first-round pick to clear DeMarre Carroll's salary last summer.
Picks: 21, 52
Needs: Playmaking, frontcourt help (if Derrick Favors leaves)
Huerter would be awesome in Quin Snyder's system, and Mitchell Robinson could be an option if the front office wants to get another big man into the development program. I wonder what the front office thinks of guard Elie Okobo, who has all sorts of tools but lacks polish on defense.
Picks: 15, 44
Needs: Athletic bigs, wings
If Williams is available and the Wizards pass on him, John Wall has a right to be angry. He said the team needed more athletic bigs at the end of the season, and Williams seems ideal in that respect. If he isn't there, Smith and Troy Brown have plenty of potential on the wing.