Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom each hope to have their names called on June 28 at the NBA Draft. And while both player’s goal is to be selected, there are certain teams that would be better fits than other for the two Golden Eagles.
At 6-foot-6, Crowder has worked this summer transitioning to more of a perimeter-oriented shooting guard/small forward. He will make his money on the defensive end, with the ability to knock down mid-range and 3-point shots. Size isn’t an issue, and he will be an above average rebounder for his position. Here are the teams best suited for Crowder.
Brooklyn Nets: The mid-season acquisition of Gerald Wallace filled the Nets’ void at small forward, but he has a player option he is considering opting out of in 2012-’13. Past Wallace, Gerald Green was a mid-season call-up from the D-League, who was signed to a season-long contract in March. He played well, but the Nets need depth at small forward, with only Damion Jones behind Green.
With MarShon Brooks and Anthony Morrow signed through next season, the Nets have solid depth at shooting guard. DeShawn Stevenson is a free agent.
Toronto Raptors: Perhaps no team in the NBA needs help at small forward than Toronto. Second year pro Alan Henderson is a free agent this summer, James Johnson is interchangeable on the perimeter, and starter Linas Kleiza has battled injury each of the past two seasons. Crowder could also contend for a reserve role at shooting guard behind DeMar DeRozan. Gary Forbes, DeRozan’s backup, is a free agent after the 2012-’13 season.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Last year’s first overall pick Kyrie Irving has given the city of Cleveland hope post-“The Decision,” and Crowder would be another young player bursting with energy for the up-and-coming Cavaliers, who have just six players under contract for next year. Of those six, Daniel Gibson, Omri Casspi and Luke Walton are the only perimeter players.
Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks have their NBA Title, but really showed their age this year after the Oklahoma City Thunder swept them in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. A major overhaul could be in store for the Mavs, including the statuses of shooting guards Jason Terry and Delonte West. Crowder would be a great fit in Dallas, and could also learn from veteran small forward Shawn Marion. Dallas prides itself on defense and likes to shoot the 3-pointer, Crowder’s two best assets entering the draft.
At 6-foot-2, Johnson-Odom will enter the NBA Draft as a scoring point guard. His ability to get to the basket will serve him well, but he will need to prove he can find open shooters and lock down on the defensive end to find a spot on an NBA roster.
Detroit Pistons:Brandon Knight was selected last year with the eighth overall pick to be the point guard of the future, but the Pistons have little depth behind him. Current backup Will Bynum has one year left on his contract, but the Pistons were 27th in scoring last year and could use Johnson-Odom’s scoring punch off the bench.
New York Knicks: Jeremy Lin will return next year healthy, but a gruesome knee injury to Baron Davis all but ended his career. Mike Bibby is a free agent, and rookie Iman Shumpert can interchange at shooting guard. The Knicks’ isolation-heavy, fast break offense would be perfect for Johnson-Odom to thrive in, and he would be a great change-of-pace with Shumpert off the bench.
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams has a player option next year he is likely to opt out of, leaving a major void at point guard. Backup Jordan Farmar also has a player option he should pick up, and Sundiata Gaines is a free agent this summer. Johnson-Odom would help a Nets team desperate for offense.
Phoenix Suns: The status of Steve Nash’s future in Phoenix hangs in the balance, and both Ronnie Price and Sebastian Telfair are free agents this summer. Johnson-Odom would be a great fit in the Suns’ up-tempo offense, and could see plenty of minutes his rookie year if everything works out.