With the 2012 NBA Draft set to take place on June 28, teams who aren’t in the postseason are now busy looking forward – hoping to find that one diamond in the rough who will guide them to a championship in the years ahead. Or, if they’re not especially ambitious, the one impactful difference-maker who will at least garner them a bit of respect from rival teams.
From top to bottom, this draft is going to be stacked. Everyone knows the big names who will go within the first few picks; however, the players who will go after the 10th pick -- Jeremy Lamb, Austin Rivers, John Henson, Meyer Leonard, etc -- may end up being just as, if not moreso effective than the guys selected above them. Obviously everything is largely contingent on what sort of situation each player finds himself in, but the framework is there for this draft to produce a lot of names that we’ll be able to talk about in the years ahead.
As is the case with every draft, it's fun to note the relevant storylines worth watching coming into this process. These storylines can be related to both teams and players, and their significance will obviously vary from person to person. If you’re a North Carolina fan, it’s unlikely that you will care too deeply about whether or not Austin Rivers ends up in a situation where he can be the face of a franchise. Others find the prospect of that intriguing, though.
Here are some appealing team-related storylines to watch out of the corner of your eye as we approach the draft, and then when the big shindig actually takes place: do the Washington Wizards opt to address size, or do they get a solid, well-balanced swingman? Do the Cleveland Cavaliers look to bolster the backcourt and give Kyrie Irving a partner in crime, or do they attempt to add some depth to the frontcourt? Will the New Orleans Hornets use one of their picks on a shooting guard? How will the uncertainty surrounding the Portland Trail Blazers’ front office impact the team’s drafting thought process? Will the Dallas Mavericks be able to infuse their ancient roster with some youth? How will the Boston Celtics utilize their two picks? Can the Miami Heat finally nab a legit big? What sort of player will a team with as much depth as the Chicago Bulls aim to pick up at the end of the proceedings?
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And when it comes to player-related storylines: which team will fall in love with Andre Drummond’s potential and opt to draft based on that despite his less-than-stellar college record? Who will the first point guard off the board be, Kendall Marshall or Damian Lillard? Did Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger significantly hurt themselves with not-so-impressive showings in the NCAA Tournament? Where will Rivers land? Tyler Zeller? Will a team really ignore the fact that Fab Melo doesn’t have first round talent and select him in the early 20s based on size alone? Can Draymond Green sneak into the top 30?
We analyze all that and more in the picks below.