Commentary

NBA draft: What do teams need?

Updated: June 19, 2009, 3:50 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com

Should teams draft to fill their needs, or should they take the best player available?

Most teams will tell you they choose the latter, but history shows that more often than not teams use their picks to fill existing holes on their rosters. So, essentially, front offices tend to convince themselves that the need and the talent align.

The Raptors' drafting of Rafael Araujo four years ago is great evidence. Several prospects were much better than Araujo, but GM Rob Babcock reached for Araujo because they were desperate for a center.

But cases like that are rare. More often it's a team drafting a player who can't break into the rotation that ends up regretting its pick.

Only when a team is very deep or has multiple picks -- or when the best player on the board is head and shoulders above the player who fits a need -- does it really have the luxury of drafting the best player available.

With the draft six days away and the NBA free-agent season just around the corner, Insider breaks down the needs of every team with a first-round pick.

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider