Even though the 2012 NBA Draft is slightly over a week away, most teams aren’t anywhere close to finalizing who they want to select. There is going to be plenty of trade talk and misinformation floating around over the next few days, but it'll all be just as much a byproduct of the GMs’ uncertainties as it will be out of a genuine desire to mess with peoples’ heads.
Here is what we know for certain right now: Kentucky forward Anthony Davis will be nabbed by the New Orleans Hornets with the No. 1 overall pick. That’s it. Everything beyond that, including whether or not the Charlotte Bobcats will even keep their current positioning, is up in the air.
The consensus top five at this point in time appears to be: Davis, Thomas Robinson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal and Harrison Barnes/Andre Drummond. Some (read: us) are speculating that maybe the talk of Barnes going top five (presumably to the Cleveland Cavaliers) is a bluff, but that’s just a personal theory.
Jared Sullinger was once thought of as a top six pick, but his back problems coupled with his lack of athleticism will likely ensure that he falls out of the top 10 by draft night.
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The trade talk (surrounding specific selections, not players) has been hot and heavy over the last few days, but basically all of it breaks down into two categories – teams looking to trade away their picks and teams looking to acquire a higher pick. These are the teams looking to trade away their draft picks before the big night: Bobcats, Portland Trail Blazers, Hornets, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics (one of their picks) and Golden State Warriors (at least one of their picks). Meanwhile, the teams reportedly looking to trade up are: Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.
Beyond that, before their ownership situation got all muddled up, there were rumors floating around tying the Grizzlies to the Bobcats’ No. 2 overall pick. There have also been some murmurs regarding the Raptors peddling their pick (and maybe Jose Calderon) for an athletic wing. Outside of those two things, however, nothing believable has come across the newswire as far as potential transactions. (Sorry, there’s no way the Thunder trades James Harden for a high pick. No way.)
Heading into draft night, there are a lot of interesting player-related storylines to keep an eye on. Here are just a few of them: who goes at No. 2, Robinson or Kidd-Gilchrist? Which point guard goes first, Damian Lillard or Kendall Marshall? Will the Cavs really take Barnes, or has this all just been one massive bluff? Who gave Dion Waiters a guarantee? (Note: we predicted it was the Phoenix Suns before anyone else did. Just saying.) Did Austin Rivers get a guarantee? (Note: we also predicted that the Hornets gave him one, promising to use their 10th pick on him. So far that appears to be wrong.) Where will Sullinger ultimately land?
There is also a fair share of interesting team-related storylines: will Charlotte actually move the No. 2 pick? Will the Raptors be able to peddle their selection for the wing player that they’re reportedly searching for? What will New Orleans do with the No. 10 pick, especially seeing as teams will probably be reluctant to absorb the bad contracts that Hornets brass is tying to that selection? What will the Orlando Magic do? Will the Chicago Bulls pick up a point guard? Does Golden State actually end up holding on to and, ultimately, using all their first round picks?
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We analyze all that more below in our breakdown of the entire first round.