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2012 NBA Mock Draft V2.5: Picks 16-23

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the 2012 NBA Draft is ridiculously deep. In years past, if you were stuck with a selection outside the top 15 you were basically scraping the bottom of the barrel, hoping and praying that you would be able to find a diamond in the rough somewhere. That’s definitely not the case on this go-around.

Thanks in large part to how loaded Kentucky and North Carolina were this year, there are plenty of difference-makers to be had throughout the entire first round of the draft. Legitimately, whether you’re in the market for defensively-oriented bigs, offensively-oriented bigs, pass-first guards, shoot-first guards and so on and so forth – there are quality options out there for everyone.

Here are a few interesting team-related storylines to watch for in this portion of the proceedings: since they’ll probably take a big with their earlier pick, will the Houston Rockets aim to get a two-guard here? The Dallas Mavericks have a lot of positions where they need youth, which one do they target in this portion of the draft? Given the Dwight Howard situation, what direction do the Orlando Magic go in? The Boston Celtics have two picks, how do they end up playing that?

And the player-related storylines: the top two point guards off the board -- Kendall Marshall and Damian Lillard -- are set, but who’ll go after that? Will Doron Lamb, coming off his fantastic showing in the NCAA Tournament Championship Game, go in early or late 20s? Will someone like Fab Melo, whose skills clearly need refinement, get scooped up early by a team with picks to spare?

We analyze all that and more in our projections for picks Nos. 16-23.

[You can check out Picks 1-7 here]

[You can check out Picks 8-15 here]

[You can check out Picks 24-30 here]

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