We’re officially less than two weeks away from the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery and about five weeks away from the actual draft itself. With all but seven teams officially out of the running for a championship, most of the league is already looking ahead, trying to determine if there is a young talent in this year’s batch of prospects who can turn their fortunes around.
Before proceeding, it’s important to note that many of the squads who will likely hold top 10 selections come draft night are facing a ton of uncertainty. That uncertainty, in turn, can seriously alter their drafting philosophy between now and June 28. Who will the Charlotte Bobcats’ next coach be? What’s going to happen with the Sacramento Kings? Who’s going to lay out a plan of attack for the Portland Trail Blazers’ front office?
And then, once you get the answers to all those questions, there is the matter of what each of those teams (plus all the other ones selecting at the top of the first round) actually want to gain from this year’s proceedings. Presuming Charlotte lands the No. 1 overall pick and nabs Anthony Davis, where do the Washington Wizards go? Do they want unproven size or a talented, experienced wing? Will the Cleveland Cavaliers add some depth to the backcourt or try to pick up a big? The New Orleans Hornets need to add a forward and a shooting guard, which one will they get first? Which hole will the Sacramento Kings aim to patch up?
In terms of interesting player-related storylines to watch for: we know Davis is going first, but who goes next – Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson or Andre Drummond? Will a point guard, namely Kendall Marshall or Damian Lillard, sneak into this portion of the draft? Will not-so-great NCAA Tournament showings cost Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes their once seemingly guaranteed top 10 status, or has everyone forgotten about them now?
We answer all those questions and more in our projections for picks nos. 1-7.