Last week the NBA Draft process was barely getting underway. Most of the picks in the last Mock Draft were based off of ranking and team need. Now we are down to the final five to six days of workouts and analysis before the draft the real insight is coming out.
Teams are narrowing their searches by bringing in only players at the position they truly want to compete against each other. Ironically there is more talk about teams trading out of Top 10 picks this year than in recent drafts. As many as three Top 10 picks could be moved by draft night.
Things are becoming much clearer as we get closer to the NBA Draft as we sift through the smokescreens and team leaked innuendo:
1. New Orleans - Anthony Davis
Other than visiting (and not working out for) the Hornets this past week there is nothing new here. New Orleans is going to draft Davis and shape the team around their new franchise star.
Other Options: None
We thought the draft would fall off at No. 6 because of the talent drop, but in reality it starts here. After Davis comes off the board the fireworks could shoot out in all directions starting with the Michael Jordan's Bobcats.
2. Charlotte - Thomas Robinson
If the team keeps this pick they are highest on Robinson. They have needs at literally every position and Robinson fits the need at PF for the next ten years. Robinson is NBA Ready right now while still having potential to improve in many aspects of his game.
3. Washington - Bradley Beal
The Wizards has a tough decision here but with the recent acquisition of Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor all signs point to Bradley Beal. With his shooting and scoring ability Beal would be a major upgrade for the Wizards in the backcourt.
Other Options: Dion Waiters, Jeremy Lamb
4. Cleveland - Harrison Barnes
It seems the Cavaliers are down to Beal v. Barnes on their board and with Beal already taken it is an easy decision. Barnes is a perfect complimentary scorer for Kyrie Irving and should thrive in the Cavaliers up-tempo style.
Other Options: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeremy Lamb
5. Sacramento - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
If there was a wildcard in the Top 10 it is the Kings. They could trade up or down, move Tyreke Evans and create a new identity, or keep the pick and go in many directions. Here they take the best player available in MKG and will fit in perfectly as the "glue guy."
6. Portland - Andre Drummond
In past years the Blazers have taken players that were risky or turned out to be risky in the end. They could shy away this year, but Andre Drummand has too high of a ceiling. With LaMarcus Aldridge as the foundation they can bring Drummond along slowly as the potential future franchise center.
Other Options: Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard
7. Golden State - Terrence Jones
This is where the draft drops off and risks will be taken. The Warriors have needs at the wing and potentially at the one with Stephen Curry's recent injuries. They really liked Terrence Jones after his workout and he can play both the three and the four.
Other Options: Jeremy Lamb, Dion Waiters
8. Toronto - Jeremy Lamb
The Raptors need a point guard and want a wing. They are deep in the paint and the best players on the board do not meet their wants, but do fit their needs. Jeremy Lamb is the type of scorer star DeMar DeRozan is not; he can shoot the three and move well off the ball.
Other Options: Damian Lillard, Dion Waiters
9. Detroit - John Henson
With the emergence of Greg Monroe inside the Pistons are looking to add a complimentary piece to their frontcourt. They are only working out big men as of late and John Henson has the defensive tools to be the presence in the paint that has been sorely missing in the Motor City for six years.
Other Options: Arnett Moultrie, Meyers Leonard
10. New Orleans - Damian Lillard
The future is now for the Hornets as they traded both Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor and acquired Rashard Lewis (likely to be bought out) and the No. 46 pick. Looks like they will be keeping this pick now and could go a variety of ways needing help at the point and in the paint.
Other Options: Dion Waiters, Austin Rivers
11. Portland - Dion Waiters
Apparently Dion Waiters could go anywhere from 2-14 with the buzz around his name as a high riser in the draft. The Blazers need help on the perimeter and scorers in a big way, which is exactly what Waiters brings to the table.
Other Options: Kendall Marshall, Austin Rivers
12. Milwaukee - Meyers Leonard
Last season the Bucks traded their franchise center and are in a position to add another one in the draft. In Meyers Leonard the Bucks would get a very athletic and mobile big that is barely scratching the surface of his potential.
Other Options: Arnett Moultrie, Jared Sullinger
13. Phoenix - Austin Rivers
With no identity heading into the 2012-2013 season the Suns need to make a splash in the draft. Austin Rivers has a lot of holes in his game, but is exactly what the Suns have lacked for years - a play-maker who gets his own shot off the dribble. With Rivers the Suns have a building block for the future with or without Steve Nash.
Other Options: Terrence Ross, Kendall Marshall
14. Houston - Tyler Zeller
Many will view this as a "safe pick," but it is ultimately a smart pick for the Rockets. They are on the fringe of the playoffs and adding Tyler Zeller is one of the few players ready to come in and contribute right away.
Other Options: Perry Jones III, Fab Melo
15. Philadelphia - Jared Sullinger
Call it a risk if you want, but Jared Sullinger is the best big man with his back to the basket in the draft. His back problems are not new and should not cause him to fall much further than he has been expected to go since declaring for the draft. This surge in Sullinger being the next DeJuan Blair will be short lived.
Other Options: Arnett Moultrie, Perry Jones III
16. Houston - Arnett Moultrie
The Rockets are good at adding valuable assets to the roster and Arnett Moultrie may be the steal of the draft even at this spot. Moultrie can play both the four and the five positions showing he is as versatile as they come.
Other Options: Kendall Marshall, Moe Harkless
17. Dallas - Kendall Marshall
The Mavericks are in a transition phase that may or may not include Deron Williams. Adding a player like Kendall Marshall is more than insurance, he is the best passing guard in the class.
Other Options: Perry Jones III, Terrence Ross
18. Minnesota - Terrence Ross
With Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love on board the Timberwolves need a floor spacer and versatility at the two. Terrence Ross is a big two guard with unlimited shooting range.
Other Options: Fab Melo, Moe Harkless
19. Orlando - Perry Jones III
The Magic luck out with Perry Jones III who was regarded as the No. 2 Overall prospect in 2011, oh what a year can do. PJ3 is a forward with perimeter skills and has the tools to be a very productive NBA player.
Other Options: Moe Harkless, Fab Melo
20. Denver - Andrew Nicholson
The Nuggets are basically two-deep at every position on the court, but lack that "go to player" in the post. Andrew Nicholson is as skilled and polished as any big man to come out of the draft in years.
21. Boston - Moe Harkless
Somehow the Celtics were a game away from the NBA Finals with five NBA players and a patchwork roster of basically who was available. As they gear towards the future led by Rajon Rondo adding quality pieces is important. Moe Harkless is a skilled wing that can learn a lot from Paul Pierce before taking his place.
Other Options: Quincy Miller, Royce White
22. Boston - Fab Melo
Another part of the rebuilding process will be filling the paint in Boston. Fab Melo is a big, wide defensive presence in the paint that can block and alter shots. They could also package these picks and move up in the draft.
Other Options: Festus Ezeli, Kyle O'Quinn
23. Atlanta - Anthony Wroten
Question marks all-around for the Hawks this off-season. Do they trade Josh Smith? Can they trade Joe Johnson? Who is the teams' best player? Is Jeff Teague the answer at point guard? They may not be able to answer any of those questions at No. 24, but they are big on Anthony Wroten at this point.
Other Options: Royce White, Quincy Miller
24. Cleveland - Royce White
The Cavs are openly shopping this pick (and potentially one or both of their second round picks) for a veteran. Here they take the "best available" for either themselves or a trade partner.
Other Options: Quincy Miller, Jeffery Taylor
25. Memphis - Doron Lamb
Shooting and a potential replacement for OJ Mayo have to be on the forefront of the Grizzlies in the draft, Doron Lamb potentially provides both.
Other Options: Evan Fournier, Will Barton
26. Indiana - Marquis Teague
The Pacers have choices to make on whether to pay Darren Collison or George Hill, adding Marquis Teague makes that situation a bit easier.
Other Options: Tyshawn Taylor, Festus Ezeli
27. Miami - Tyshawn Taylor
Despite one solid game the Heat need an upgrade at point guard going forward. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole are a quality duo, but Tyshawn Taylor may be the whole package.
Other Options: Festus Ezeli, Henry Sims
28. Oklahoma City - Quincy Miller
The Thunder consistently add quality pieces to the puzzle in the draft and this year Quincy Miller falls in their lap. Miller is still recovering from an ACL injury that if he gets back to full strength from can be an All-Star caliber player.
Other Options: Jeffery Taylor, John Jenkins
29. Chicago - Will Barton
The Bulls need someone on offense to create shots outside of Derrick Rose. In Will Barton they get a talented, efficient scorer from the two.
Other Options: John Jenkins, Evan Fournier
30. Golden State - Jeffery Taylor
Jeffery Taylor is a more athletic version of Thabo Sefalosha (Thunder) and has a higher ceiling as well. The Warriors need to continue adding basketball players to their roster as they build an identity around defense.
Other Options: Draymond Green, Jared Cunningham