The 2012 NBA Draft is right around the corner and, with all but six teams now officially out of championship contention, most of the league’s GMs are currently far more concerned with watching old college tapes than watching who will ultimately win a chip.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – the underrated depth of this year’s draft is ridiculous. Yes, you have the talents at the top of the board -- Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, etc. -- who are shoe-ins as top five picks; however, there is a legitimate case to be made that the players who will go between the eighth pick and 15th pick may ultimately end up having better careers when it’s all said and done.
Why? Well, think about it. Your Milwaukee Bucks, your Houston Rockets, your Philadelphia 76ers, your Utah Jazz – all of these teams were either close to making the playoffs or actually did make the playoffs. Yeah, Thomas Robinson may change the Hornets’ fortunes in the long-term, but there is no way he’ll make them a playoff team in the short-term. A big to the Rockets and, boom, legitimate No. 8 seed.
Here are some interesting player-related storylines to keep an eye on come the eve of June 28: do the Raptors aim to shore up the point guard position for the future, even if there are more pressing current needs? Do the Detroit Pistons add a big to compliment Greg Monroe or do they get an ultra-athletic wing who infuse their lineup with some instant scoring? Do the Hornets get their next franchise player at this point? Are the Phoenix Suns looking to nab a player to ball alongside Steve Nash, or in his place? Will the Sixers be able to get a big who will put Elton Brand out of his misery this late in the proceedings?
And in terms of player-related storylines: who goes first, Kendall Marshall or Damian Lillard? Does Austin Rivers’ skills set justify a top 10 pick? Will Perry Jones’ attitude cost him a selection here?
We analyze all that and more in our projections for picks Nos. 8-15.