The 2012 NBA Draft is still some ways away, but the tanking and preparation for the big event is already in full effect. The Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors have been most blatant in their effort to secure huge amounts of lottery ping pong balls, but in fairness to the Bobcats – maybe they’re just that awful. And while the first few picks that teams are busy jockeying for are no doubt important, this draft is deep enough to reward all of the teams that are picking in the first half of the first round.
Cody Zeller deciding to stay at Indiana and James McAdoo opting to stay at North Carolina definitely threw a lot of people for a loop. Both players (particularly Zeller, though) were pro-ready at this point, no doubt about it. Couple that with the fact that, these days, it seems like nobody stays in school when they have option of entering the NBA, and you see why so many people’s draft projections got turned upside down when those announcements were made.
Nevertheless, general managers typically have backup plans, backup plans for their backup plans and backup plans for their backup plans’ back up plans. Even as word was coming down that those guys were staying in school, teams were likely reconfiguring their draft boards without pause – not at all worried about what this meant for their prospects.
A few interesting storylines to keep an eye on in this segment of the draft: the Utah Jazz need both size and a point guard, what order will those holes get filled in? Does Tyler Zeller go in this portion of the proceedings, or does fall into the 20s? Will Perry Jones’ attitude give teams pause? Do the Houston Rockets finally find the big man they’ve desperately been looking for ever since Yao Ming’s health became a problem?
We analyze all that and more in our projections for picks Nos. 8-15.
Note: Tune in on Tuesday to the Bottom Line Sports Show as they talk all things hoops, pro and college.
*All standings as of April 18