The 2012 NBA Draft isn’t going to turn anyone into instant championship contenders, but it will make a whole lot of squads better than they currently are. Even though analysts have been harping on how deep this class is for what feels like months now, it seems like only over the last few weeks that folks have finally noticed just how much quality talent is available from top to bottom.
Once you get past the guys who are guaranteed to go top six -- Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, Thomas Robinson, Andre Drummond and Harrison Barnes -- you still have a bevy of skilled prospects who can make immediate impacts next season. Mind you, guys like Terrence Jones, Damian Lillard, Perry Jones III and Austin Rivers – these players have all been raved about at one point or another, and most likely only one of them will even go in the top seven. That’s depth.
Already there have tons of rumors regarding teams selecting in this eight to fifteen range. The Toronto Raptors are reportedly looking to move out of their pick, and they’re apparently looking to get a Rudy Gay-esque athletic small forward in return. A lottery team supposedly promised Rivers that they would take him, but nobody actually knows who that team is. Similar whispers have been made in regards to Dion Waiters; however, once again, it’s unsubstantiated gossip at this point. The Philadelphia 76ers are in the middle of some front office transitions, too, and each of the rumored new hires would likely differ in drafting philosophy.
So there’s plenty of buzz as it pertains to the draft, and personal workouts haven’t even gone into full swing yet.
Here are a few of the interesting player-related storylines to keep an eye on heading into this thing: Which point guard will go off the board first: Lillard or Kendall Marshall? Will Jones’ attitude problems at Baylor hurt his draft stock? How far will Jared Sullinger’s unimpressive workouts (coupled with his equally lackluster final NCAA Tournament showing) cause him to drop? Will Meyer Leonard’s stock continue to rise as we get closer and closer to the big day?
And from a team perspective: will the Raptors actually find a buyer for that eighth pick, and will they need to give up Jose Calderon to make it more attractive? Who will the New Orleans Hornets aim to pair Anthony Davis up with? Given the move they made at last year’s trade deadline, will the Milwaukee Bucks look to shore up their frontcourt? Who really did hand out the rumored promises to Rivers and maybe Waiters?
We analyze all those questions and more in our projections for picks Nos. 8-15.