There are two things NBA fans should know heading into tonight's draft.
First, outside of the top four picks, the rest of the draft is a crap shoot. We could look back five years from now and say it was one of the deepest drafts of all time, or say it was one of the most mediocre ones.
It all depends on which player lands in which system. That will determine a lot.
Secondly, expect a lot of trades tonight. There will be teams looking to clear some extra cap space before the start of free agency next week.
While Chicago was rumored to be interested in swapping picks with the Clippers with Luol Deng thrown in, Oklahoma City and Indiana have been talking about switching spots. I'm sure there will be much more gossip as we approach tonight's event, so keep an eye out for that.
That being said, here's how I see things shaking out tonight:
1. Washington Wizards — John Wall, PG, Kentucky
He's as big of a lock as they come. The Wizards will look to add another young megastar to the Washington DC area (Nationals with Stephen Strasburg and Capitals with Ovechkin). Wall will instantly become the face of the franchise as well as the leader for ushering in a new era.
2. Philadelphia 76ers — Evan Turner, SG, Ohio State
Turner may be the best all-around player in the draft and has drawn many comparisons to Brandon Roy. However, in days leading up to the draft, there has been word the Sixers might pass on him to grab Derrick Favors. I wouldn't be surprised if this were to happen, but I think Turner is the best bet at two.
3. New Jersey Nets — Derrick Favors, PF, Georgia Tech
Favors' stock has shot through the roof over the past couple of weeks, and the Nets will pair the young forward with Brook Lopez and, as Nets' fans hope, a marquee free agent (or two).
4. Minnesota Timberwolves — Wesley Johnson, F, Syracuse
Johnson busted onto the scene last season at Syracuse and will be a solid pick at four. The problem is, we don't know if Minnesota will keep this pick or not. There has been a lot of chatter about teams trying to make a move for the Wolves' pick.
5. Sacramento Kings — DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kentucky
Cousins is everything you would want in a player, physically. If he didn't come off as a bit of a headcase, he'd be a lock to be a top-three pick. Will he turn into a 10-time All-Star or the next Eddy Curry and eat himself out of the league? The Kings will be the team to the roll the dice on that scenario.
6. Golden State Warriors — Al-Farouq Aminu, F, Wake Forest
Perfect addition to the Warriors' uptempo system, especially with the recent departure (via trade) of Corey Maggette.
7. Detroit Pistons — Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown
I don't think the Pistons will pass on Monroe here, but I don't like the fit for the Georgetown forward. He's a great player in space and would've excelled with Golden State. As we've seen in previous years, a player's career can be vastly affected by the system in which he's drafted.
8. Los Angeles Clippers — Luke Babbitt, F, Nevada
Babbitt gives the Clippers some scoring options on the perimeter, but his game has holes—specifically on the rebounding and defensive end of the floor. He will have to improve on those areas if he plans to be a starter.
9. Utah Jazz — Udoh, PF, Baylor
The Jazz picking Udoh at the nine spot all but assures the fact that Carlos Boozer will not re-sign with the team.
10. Indiana Pacers — Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina
This is another pick in the draft with a lot of trade chatter surrounding it. The Oklahoma City Thunder are trying to package their two first-round picks to move up to 10. If the Pacers stay at this spot, Ed Davis would be a solid addition.
11. New Orleans Hornets — Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas
The Hornets likely will try to add depth at center and do everything possible to trade Emeka Okafor. They are in cost-cutting mode and his fat contract ($11 million next season) is a thorn in their side.
12. Memphis Grizzlies — Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas
With Rudy Gay likely gone and OJ Mayo being shopped, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Grizzlies add another guard.
13. Toronto Raptors — Paul George, F, Fresno State
This is somewhat of an attempt to replace Chris Bosh.
14. Houston Rockets — Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler
Houston will trade their pick either before the draft or pick a player and then trade him. I think there's only a 10 percent chance they sign their pick.
15. Milwaukee Bucks — Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky
Another Wildcat going high in the draft. Patterson may not have gotten the hype of Wall and Cousins, but he has a ton of potential and a general manager's favorite word, "upside."
16. Minnesota Timberwolves — Daniel Orton, PF, Kentucky
17. Chicago Bulls — James Anderson, G, Oklahoma State
18. Oklahoma City Thunder — Elliot Williams, G, Memphis
19. Boston Celtics — Larry Sanders, C, VCU
20. San Antonio Spurs — Avery Bradley, SG, Texas
21. Oklahoma City Thunder — Devin Ebanks, SF, WVU
22. Portland Trail Blazers — Whiteside, C, Marshall
23. Minnesota Timberwolves — Kevin Seraphin, C, France
24. Atlanta Hawks — Armon Johnson, PG, Nevada
25. Memphis Grizzlies — Eric Bledsoe, PG, Kentucky
26. Oklahoma City Thunder — Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech
27. New Jersey Nets — Damion James, SF, Texas
28. Memphis Grizzlies — Solomon Alabi, C, Florida State
29. Orlando Magic — Dominique Jones, G, South Florida
30. Washington Wizards — Greivis Vasquez, SF, Maryland
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