The first half of the 2012 NBA Draft will be interesting because the first half of every NBA Draft is interesting. That’s where the big name college stars go, and that’s where the teams that most desperately need someone to sell to their fanbases are usually selecting. Obviously, when the entire process is only two rounds long, the first fourth of it inevitably ends up being really consequential.
What sets this year’s draft apart, though, is that the second 15 picks might be just as, if not moreso intriguing than the first 15. Keep in mind, this is the part of the proceedings where teams like the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks will all be doing their thing. Is seeing what those squads decide to do really any less entertaining than seeing the New Orleans Hornets use their No. 10 overall selection? Of course not.
While player-related storylines dominate the first half of the draft, the second 15 picks is where the team storylines really start jumping off the page.
Will the Mavericks put all their chips on bringing in Deron Williams, or will they aim to add a point guard with the 17th pick? With the Timberwolves finally nab the starting two-guard that was so clearly missing last year? The Celtics have two back-to-back picks; given the precarious status of the Big 3, what direction will they go in? Do the Magic put the Dwight Howard Era behind them and pick a center?
And while the player storylines are admittedly not as interesting in this portion of the draft, there are still a few to keep an eye on. Tyler Zeller was once projected to be a top 10 pick, how far does he fall? Does Marquis Teague go in this segment of the proceedings? Guys like Royce White, Moe Harkless and Arnett Moultrie have bounced in and out of people’s top 25s, where will they ultimately land?
We analyze all those questions and more in our projections for picks 16-23.