Sunday, June 24, 2012

NBA Offseason Checklist - Part 1

In the days leading up to the draft, I'm going to give every NBA team a checklist of things to do to get better. Because every team can get better - even the champs. In fact, let's start with the champs and work our way down from there.

Miami Heat
The Heat are in a position that they can just sit on their heels and basically bring back their entire championship roster (minus Juwan Howard, Eddy Curry, and Terrel Harris - combined 2.1 points per game) without even having to re-sign anybody.

They could possibly trade some of their shooters/useless big men for other shooters/useless big men. If they do, the goal should be youth so they can sustain this run of winning. I could see a young team on the verge (maybe a Utah or a Minnesota) trading some young legs for a veteran like Shane Battier. No idea if Miami would say yes or if Battier would like it.

As far as the draft goes, the obvious hole they need to plug is the mess of Anthony/Turiaf/Curry/Pittman at center. But if you listen to the Bullets Blog Podcast (link here) you know that Chris and I think the Heat are better when they don't even play a center. The downside of playing LeBron/Bosh/three guards is the lack of rebounding. Which is why I think the Heat should pick...

  • Jae Crowder, F, Marquette
Crowder is young, active, and can rebound like nobody else. He can also shoot to spread the floor and can run (although admittedly not on James' level). And it appears that he will for sure be around when Miami is on the clock at #27. 

Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder, like the Heat, are going to retain most of their team without having to make any moves (minus Derek Fisher, Nazr Mohammed, and Royal Ivey). Unlike the Heat, the Thunder cannot get better just by adding in new pieces. They don't really need shooters, because Durant/Westbrook/Harden took 63% of their shots this season. It's hard to say that they need rebounders, because their starting five all averaged more than five rebounds per game over the course of the season. 

They really just need to grow together and have a serious "We Need To Figure Out Who We Are" moment like LeBron and Wade did. Stupid people will say that Durant needs to be taking 5-8 more shots than Westbrook. That's not how they operate. Westbrook's aggressive play (aka taking a lot of shots) opens the floor for the smoothest shooter on the planet. 

But I guess I have to make a draft prediction, so here it is:
  • Draymond Green, F, Michigan State
He would bring a new dimension to the Thunder on offense. Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka are decent in the post but Draymond put Michigan State on his back in the paint this season. He averaged 16 and 10 (and in the Big Ten, which is like averaging 40-20 in a normal basketball league).  

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