NBA Also-Rans Look to Lottery for Next Big Thing

Five cities should be big winners in the NBA lottery draft Tuesday, as each will be able to choose from the top five players on the Big Board at Draft Tek, all of whom project as NBA stars.

The actual mock draft will be updated here soon and a few more times between now and the June 26 draft. We have Marcus Smart shooting up to No. 1 on the list of the players most likely to succeed in the NBA, but he will still be unlikely to go No. 1, particularly if Milwaukee draws the first pick. They need explosiveness at shooting guard and small forward--making Andrew Wiggins the logical pick.

The Big Board calculated how good each player projects to be in the NBA based on the following factors:

  1. The player's Value Add Ranking at www.valueaddbasketball.com multiplied by 3.12 for freshman, 1.55 for sophomores, and 1.18 for juniors to measure how good the player would have been in college if he stayed to his senior season (Senior Value Add). During the process, a player is never projected to improve by more than 3.0 between any two given seasons.

  1. The player's stats on www.kenpom.com that are the most reliable predictors of NBA success (focus defensive rebounding, steals, lower possessions).

  1. A calculation of each player's combine results, as reported by Draft Express with a focus on how many inches above the rim he can reach from a standing vertical, wingspan, sprint, and agility.

These three calculations are then weighted with subjective observation to create the Top 100 list, and that list is run against the Draft Tek program utilizing the position needs of each team to create the mock draft. The same program has become one of the most reliable predictors of NFL drafts.

I have listed the position-by-position needs at this link on Draft Tek, and have provided a narrative of each 30 teams needs below.

Team Draft Picks 2014 Wins Playoff wins Top needs by position (PG, SG, SF, PF, C)
Atlanta 15, 43 38   Solid all-around, but could upgrade a little at SG to complement PG Jeff Teague. No need at C with Al Horford back.
Boston 5, 17 25   Could upgrade at SG and PF, but with PG Rajon Rondo back and C Jared Sullinger looking great for 74 games, no need at 2 key spots.
Brooklyn None 44 5 If SF Paul Pierce goes free agent, then that is the biggest need because Andrei Kirilenko now a solid backup.
Charlotte 24, 45 43 0 PG Kemba Walker and C Al Jefferson took them all the way to playoff, but they need all spos in between - SG, SF, PG.
Chicago 16, 19, 49 48 1 Solid at all five positions, but only have dept at PF (Taj Gibson) so need offensive firepower at any of the other four spots.
Cleveland 9, 33 33   Desperate for help for PG Kyrie Irving, with biggest need at SF and LeBron is not available yet.
Dallas 34, 51 49 3 Solid all around, but could use firepower everywhere except SG (Monta Ellis) and of course PF (Dirk Nowitzki) - particularly with SG Vince Carter and SF Shawn Marion free agents.
Denver 11, 41, 56 36   Need help at first three spots - with only PF (Kenneth Faried) and center (combo of JJ Hickson and Timofey Mozgov) really nailed down.
Detroit 8, 38 29   Solid at all five posiitions with maybe SG (rodney Stuckey decent) the best spot to add a part.
Golden State None 51 3 Strong 5 - perhaps a strong backup guard for Klay Thompson and superstar Stephen Curry.
Houston 25, 42 54 2 While they invested in PG Jeremy Lin - really that is the one spot that could use an upgrade to team up with SG James Hardin - front court is solid.
Indiana 57 56 9+ IF Lance Stephenson leaves for free agency, then SG becomes by far the most pressing need.
LA Clippers 28, 58 57 6 Could upgrade at SF and add another backup forward for Blake Griffin, but otherwise solid.
LA Lakers 6 27   Desperate for a PG - don't elieive Jordan Farmar or Kendall Marshall are the answer to team up with SG Kobe Bryant.
Memphis 22 50   Need to get stronger at SG and SF to complement dominant inside (PF Zach Randolph and C Marc Gasol) and PG (Mike Conley).
Miami 26, 55 54 8+ PG becomes big need if Mario Chalmers goes free agency, and still need a backup center with more size than Chris Bosh.
Milwaukee 1, 31, 36, 48 15   Desperate for help at all three positoins in between the solid play at PG (Brandon Knight and Ramon Sessions) as well as C John Henson.
Minnesota 13, 40, 44. 53 40   A solid player at all five positions - but really need guards and a small forward off the bench to back-up Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer.
New Orleans None 34   With one of the best forward combos in the game in SF Tyreke Evans and PF Anthony Davis, desperatedly need a center and/or strong shooting guard.
New York None 37   In addition to a coach, they have to get guards with SG JR Smith being the only passable one. If the front court of Amar's S
Oklahoma City 21, 29 59 8+ Only real need is a C and a backup PF to Serge Ibaka, the lack of which could hurt them in the playoffs. However, with the emergence of PG Reggie Jackson letting Russell Westbrook move over to SG when he wants, he and Kevin Durant don't need a lot of help.
Orlando 3, 12 23   They need another PG and PF - though other three spots are solid for a 23-win team.
Philadelphia 2, 10, 32, 39, 47, 52, 54 19   SF the most pressing need, but outside of decent play at PG (Michael Carter-Williams) and PF Thaddeus Young, they need help everywhere.
Phoenix 14, 18, 27, 50 48   Could upgrade a bit at C for Miles Plumlee, and maybe a backup true PG for Eric Bledsoe, who forms one of the best backcourts with SGs Groan Dragic and Gerald Green. No big needs - a strong team.
Portland None 54 5 One of the best and balanced starting five - just need to get the strongest player they can find at any position to help a weak bench.
Sacramento 7 28   Desperate for SG and PF to help what would really be one of the best three-men team in the league in PG Isaiah Thomas (assuming he skips free agency), SF Rudy Gay and C DeMarcus Cousins.
San Antonio 30, 60 62 8+ Really need a PF to backup Tim Duncan with Boris Diaw going free agency, and could go C though Tiago Splitter looking good in playoffs.
Toronto 20, 37, 59 48 3 Kyle Lowry leaving for free agency would make them desperate for a PG. Other than that, a chacne to add a strong player at either forward position would help.
Utah 4, 23, 35 25   PF is their biggest need, though their only stong positions are SG (Gordon Hayward) and C (Derrick Favors)
Washington 46 44 6 A great run with a team strong at all five positions, but losing C Marcin Gortat and SF Trevor Ariza to free agency would create huge needs at both positions.

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