With the NBA Draft Combine over and team workouts in progress the path to the draft is in full swing. We are only two full weeks away from each team marching an envelop to the Commissioner and making decisions that will affect their future for many years.
Through talking to agents, team sources, and watching an absurd amount of basketball here is how I see the draft going if it happened today:
1. New Orleans - Anthony Davis
This is not a Hollywood movie, so do not expect a plot twist; Anthony Davis is going No. 1 Overall. He is going to be the foundation New Orleans builds on for the next 10+ years and could have a ceiling of Kevin Garnett.
2. Charlotte - Bradley Beal
This is where the draft begins and, if Charlotte keeps the pick, Bradley Beal makes the most sense. He is somewhere between Eric Gordon and Ray Allen, but tested better than both athletically at the NBA Combine. This could be the franchise player Michael Jordan has been looking for.
3. Washington - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
The Wizards need a player to come in with a hard hat and not worry about being a star on offense, which is exactly what MKG is. His energy and motor will compliment John Wall and Nene as this team continues to improve.
4. Cleveland - Harrison Barnes
Chris Grant really likes Harrison Barnes game. He really, really likes him and rightfully so. He is an elite shot maker and will compliment Kyrie Irving as a secondary scorer.
5. Sacramento - Thomas Robinson
The Kings are in a similar position as the Wizards needing a player to come in and compliment the stars already on the roster. Robinson is an elite athlete and rebounder, which is exactly what they need next to DeMarcus Cousins.
6. Portland - Andre Drummond
The Blazers traded Gerald Wallace for this pick and land the prospect with the second most potential in the draft. Sure, Andre Drummond is a risky pick, but the upside is through the roof.
This is the part of the draft where "potential" and "upside" will repeated at nausium. The 2012 Draft is fairly set from 1-6, but could see any of the players shuffle spots. After six... The trades and surprises will happen.
7. Golden State - Terrence Jones
The Warriors want a wing player and are high on Terrence Jones after a recent workout. He could fall in the draft due to his enigmatic past, but has as much upside as any player in this draft.
8. Toronto - Jeremy Lamb
If the Raptors keep this pick it will be to draft an athletic wing to compliment DeMar DeRozan. Jeremy Lamb provides shooting, length, and as much upside as any wing in the draft.
9. Detroit - Arnett Moultrie
The Pistons need a four man who can compliment Greg Monroe as a shot-blocker and athletic presence. It was debatable that Arnett Moultrie was the best big man in the SEC last year, let that soak in.
10. New Orleans - Damian Lillard
Someone may trade up to grab Damian Lillard who is a fast rising star in this draft. He has the scoring ability to compliment Davis who went No. 1 and has all the tools to be a star in the NBA.
11. Portland - Kendall Marshall
The Blazers are in need of a point guard as they may lose all of theirs free agency. Kendall Marshall is the best pure point guard in the draft.
12. Milwaukee - Meyers Leonard
Meyers Leonard is rising up draft boards faster than anyone right now and could be the replacement for Andrew Bogut in the paint for the Bucks.
13. Phoenix - Austin Rivers
The Suns will have seven players under contract entering the summer and zero that can create offense for themselves or others. Austin Rivers adds a much needed play-making presence.
14. Houston - Dion Waiters
Dion Waiters is a big, strong combo guard that can score from anywhere on the floor. He has star potential for a deep Rockets team without a star.
15. Philadelphia - Jared Sullinger
The 76ers have nobody to throw the ball into to get easy baskets in the halfcourt, which is where Jared Sullinger comes in for this young and talented team.
16. Houston - Tyler Zeller
This one is easy and safe, but ultimately effective for the Rockets getting a legit 7-footer to anchor the paint here in Tyler Zeller.
17. Dallas - John Henson
The Mavericks have five players under contract next year and are hoping to land Deron Williams in free agency. Adding quality role players John Henson will only help.
18. Minnesota - Terrence Ross
In 23 years the Timberwolves have had, well, a lot of nothing at the shooting guard position. Terrence Ross is the perfect athlete and shooter compliment to Rubio and Love.
19. Orlando - Perry Jones III
The second best prospect in the 2011 Draft went back to school and falls to the Magic in the late teens. This is a worthwhile risk taking Perry Jones III as the team begins to rebuild.
20. Denver - Andrew Nicholson
The Nuggets could reach for a point guard here or draft the most undervalued player in the entire draft. Andrew Nicholson has All-Star potential as an inside-outside big man.
21. Boston - Moe Harkless
If the Celtics had a few more younger legs this year they would be playing in the NBA Finals today. Instead they are in a position to draft Moe Harkless who will be a perfect wing compliment for Rondo and the Celtics.
22. Boston - Royce White
Royce White is both a play-maker and a scorer from the power forward position, two desperate needs for the Celtics as they end the Big Three Era.
23. Atlanta - Anthony Wroten
This has been the long rumored landing spot for Anthony Wroten. He is a BIG, athletic point guard like Iman Shumpert for the Knicks, except he can actually play point guard.
24. Cleveland - Fab Melo
This pick will likely go to the highest bidder, but if the Cavaliers keep it adding a center with the size of Fab Melo makes sense to fortify their interior defense.
25. Memphis - Doron Lamb
The Grizzlies are pretty set in the paint and need outside shooting. With the potential departure of O.J. Mayo adding a player like Doron Lamb gives them shooting a replacement combo guard.
26. Indiana - Marquis Teague
On paper the Pacers have one of the best young cores in the NBA, but lack a punch at the point guard position. Marquis Teague has more "upside" than any other point guard in this year's draft, but does not come in ready to contribute.
27. Miami - Festus Ezeli
Watch the NBA Finals and it is clear the Heat need shooting and paint protection. Flip a coin, draft the best available, and you get Festus Ezeli (a Kendrick Perkins clone) as an enforcer.
28. Oklahoma City - Jeffery Taylor
What Thabo Sefalosha is doing defensively has been amazing in the playoffs. Jeffery Taylor is a better, more athletic, more efficient shooting version of Sefalosha.
29. Chicago - John Jenkins
The Bulls need play-makers and shooters. John Jenkins is the best shooter in this draft and may be the answer for the team.
30. Golden State - Evan Fournier
Already drafting in the Top 10 makes this a luxury pick for the Warriors and they can go best available here. Evan Fournier is the best International prospect in the draft able to play both wing positions.
Next Update on June 21st
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