This year's NBA Draft could be a rarity in that there are several teams within the Top 10 picks that could look to trade down or parlay these picks into veteran players to provide immediate contributions. These teams include the Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, and the Detroit Pistons. However, this will be contingent on whom the Bobcats decide to select with the second overall pick.
If Beal is selected at number 2, the Wizards could then pursue a trade with a team targeting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Harrison Barnes with the third pick.
The other team to watch during this draft is the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have been very active this week; first trading Chase Budinger for the 18th overall pick followed by trading Dalembert and the 14th overall pick for 12th overall along with a package of role players. Rumors have been circulating that the Rockets are making a strong push to acquire center Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic. Other targets could include Atlanta Hawks Josh Smith, Los Angeles Lakers Pau Gasol, Philadelphia 76ers Andre Iguodala, Chicago Bulls Luol Deng, Sacramento Kings Tyreke Evans, and Memphis Grizzlies Rudy Gay.
1. New Orleans Hornets - Anthony Davis, Power Forward
Reason: Best player in this year's draft and is basically guaranteed.
NBA Comparison: Better offensive version of Tyson Chandler
Other Possibilities: None
2. Charlotte Bobcats - Bradley Beal, Shooting Guard
Reason: I personally believe that Beal is the 2nd best player in this draft behind Davis. He has the talent and potential to develop into one of the more prolific scorers at the next level and will provide instant offense for the Bobcats and new head coach Mike Dunlap.
NBA Comparison: Eric Gordon
Other Possibilities: Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
3. Washington Wizards - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Small Forward
Reason: The Wizards select Kidd-Gilchrist because he is clearly the best player available. If the Bobcats pass on Beal, the Wizards would then select him. However, if Beal is taken at No. 2, the Wizards could consider trading out of this pick in order to target Waiters, Rivers, or Lamb.
NBA Comparison: Andre Iguodala
Other Possibilities: Bradley Beal and Harrison Barnes
4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Harrison Barnes, Small Forward
Reason: The Cavs are desperately seeking an upgrade in talent and athleticism at their perimeter positions. Barnes will provide an instant upgrade at the 3 and will be able to develop alongside Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson.
NBA Comparison: Joe Johnson
Other Possibilities: Michael Kidd Gilchrist and Thomas Robinson
5. Sacramento Kings - Thomas Robinson, Power Forward
Reason: The Kings are following the philosophy of best player available with this selection. Robinson does not address an immediate need but with Jason Thompson an impending free agent, the Kings could select a more affordable replacement. Having both Robinson and Cousins would also form a strong and bull-like frontcourt duo for years to come.
NBA Comparison: Carlos Boozer
Other Possibilities: Andre Drummond and Harrison Barnes
6. Portland Trailblazers - Andre Drummond, Center
Reason: The Trailblazers are currently looking to acquire a new starting center and could select one with this pick. Drummond has immense talent and can develop into one of the more explosive big men in the league but also has the makings of a "boom or bust" draft selection.
NBA Comparison: DeAndre Jordan
Other Possibilities: Damian Lillard and Austin Rivers
7. Golden State Warriors - Austin Rivers, Shooting Guard
Reason: The Warriors backcourt scoring has been rather unimpressive since the trade of Monta Ellis to the Bucks. Selecting Rivers will solve that problem. He has the talent to become a first class scorer at the next level because of his ability to create his own shot. This selection will allow the Warriors to slide Klay Thompson to small forward, allowing for more shooting and offense on the floor.
NBA Comparison: A mixture of Stephen Curry and Ben Gordon
Other Possibilities: Jeremy Lamb and Damian Lillard
8. Toronto Raptors - Damian Lillard, Point Guard
Reason: With Jose Calderon on the trade block, the Raptors have a need at point guard. This selection allows the Raptors to build around a young point guard and provide comfort in their desire to trade Calderon for more young building blocks.
NBA Comparison: Tony Parker
Other Possibilities: John Henson and Dion Waiters
9. Detroit Pistons - John Henson, Power Forward
Reason: The Pistons have a significant need in the frontcourt, especially at the 4. They select Henson in the hopes of complimenting him with Greg Monroe inside. Henson will provide athleticism on both ends of the floor and possesses the talent to develop into one of the better shot blockers in the league. His major weakness is his thin frame and will definitely need to bulk up.
NBA Comparison: JeVale McGee
Other Possibilities: Dion Waiters and Austin Rivers
10. New Orleans Hornets - Meyers Leonard, Center
Reason: The Hornets drafted Davis earlier and the opportunity to pair Davis with Leonard will significantly upgrade the Hornets up front. For a center, Leonard possesses great athleticism and boasts great offensive versatility.
NBA Comparison: Tiago Splitter
Other Possibilities: Dion Waiters and Terrence Ross
11. Portland Trailblazers - Dion Waiters, Shooting Guard
Reason: The Blazers are currently looking to unload Jamal Crawford and are set with their starters. An argument can be made that they could draft a point guard, however, there are none worth considering taking with this pick. Waiters has the ability to score in bunches and would instantly become one of the top sixth men in the NBA in his rookie season.
NBA Comparison: Monta Ellis
Other Possibilities: Tyler Zeller and Jeremy Lamb
12. Houston Rockets - Tyler Zeller, Center
Reason: Since trading Samuel Dalembert away for this pick, the Rockets now have a glaring hole at the center position. They could select Zeller to provide a solid post presence who is capable of playing right away.
NBA Comparison: Brook Lopez
Other Possibilities: Jeremy Lamb and Terrence Ross
13. Phoenix Suns - Jeremy Lamb, Shooting Guard
Reason: They have a need at shooting guard and would hope to pair Lamb with the re-signing of Steve Nash. Lamb has the ability to spread the floor with his shooting.
NBA Comparison: Shorter Kevin Martin
Other Possibilities: Terrence Ross and Kendall Marshall
14. Milwaukee Bucks - Terrence Ross, Shooting Guard
Reason: The Bucks traded back 2 spots while acquiring their new starting center in Dalembert. With a need at small forward, the selection of Ross makes a lot of sense. He is highly underrated but many teams in this range knows what he is capable of.
NBA Comparison: Jason Richardson
Other Possibilities: Moe Harkless and Jared Sullinger
15. Philadelphia 76ers - Jared Sullinger, Power Forward
Reason: The 76ers are able to steal a player that was widely considered a Top 10 pick for much of the season. His stock has slowly been falling because of injury issues but at the 15th pick, he is well worth the selection for 76ers to help provide depth up front. It also helps that he will provide depth behind a player that his game closely resembles in Brand.
NBA Comparison: Elton Brand
Other Possibilities: Arnett Moultrie and Terrence Jones
16. Houston Rockets - Moe Harkless, Small Forward
Reason: The Rockets need depth on the wing since trading Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Harkless has a versatile offensive repertoire but is still raw athletically. He will need a season or two to develop but will pay major dividends in the future.
NBA Comparison: Thaddeus Young
Other Possibilities: Kendall Marshall and Jared Sullinger
17. Dallas Mavericks - Kendall Marshall, Point Guard
Reason: The Mavericks are rumored to be targeting Deron Williams but current reports suggest that Williams is likely to stay with the Brooklyn Nets. The Mavericks will need a new point guard to replace the outgoing Jason Kidd. Plan B for the Mavericks if they lose out on signing Williams is the prospect of signing former Maverick Steve Nash to help tutor Marshall.
NBA Comparison: Jose Calderon
Other Possibilities: Moe Harkless and Terrence Jones
18. Houston Rockets - Arnett Moultrie, Power Forward/Center
Reason: Once again, this pick could go in so many different directions depending on whom the Rockets draft with the first two picks. If it goes the way I am predicting, Moultrie will provide great depth up front.
NBA Comparison: Jason Thompson
Other Possibilities: Terrence Jones and Perry Jones
19. Orlando Magic - Terrence Jones, Forward
Reason: I am a huge Terrence Jones fan but he is the epitome of a 'tweener forward. With no natural position right now, it is difficult to justify taking him earlier in the draft. As a result, the Magic are the beneficiaries of such a predicament.
NBA Comparison: Al Harrington
Other Possibilities: Perry Jones and Moe Harkless
20. Denver Nuggets - Perry Jones, Forward
Reason: With no immediate needs, the Nuggets decide to draft the best player available. Jones has unlimited potential to develop into a superstar. If he pans out, he easily becomes one of the best steals in this draft, which is what the Nuggets will hope for.
NBA Comparison: Josh Smith
Other Possibilities: Terrence Jones and Kendall Marshall
21. Boston Celtics - John Jenkins, Shooting Guard
Reason: While many have projected Jenkins to be an early second round pick, I see the Celtics drafting someone like Jenkins because of his ability to shoot. With Ray Allen expected to leave, Celtics have an immediate need for a shooter who can stretch the floor. While Jenkins might not be expected to be the next Ray Allen, he still can shoot lights out.
NBA Comparison: Marcus Thornton
Other Possibilities: Royce White and Perry Jones
22. Boston Celtics - Andrew Nicholson, Center
Reason: Nicholson has a very versatile skill set offensively. He still has room to grow defensively and will need to continue getting stronger to become a consistent starter at the next level.
NBA Comparison: Poor man's Pau Gasol
Other Possibilities: Will Barton and Fab Melo
23. Atlanta Hawks - Royce White, Forward
Reason: The Hawks will look to add depth in their frontcourt and White has the versatility to play both forward spots for the Hawks. He slides a bit in the draft because his fear of flying could be considered a distraction for him as a player.
NBA Comparison: Kris Humphries
Other Possibilities: Andrew Nicholson and Fab Melo
24. Cleveland Cavaliers - Will Barton, Shooting Guard
Reason: With the their second selection this round, the Cavs continue to address their wing positions by selecting Barton. Adding Barnes and Barton will provide much needed help for Irving and Thompson. Barton has a very well-rounded game allowing him to be a successful role player for years to come.
NBA Comparison: Poor man's Luol Deng
Other Possibilities: Tony Wroten and Fab Melo
25. Memphis Grizzlies - Marquis Teague, Point Guard
Reason: The Grizzlies are looking to add depth behind Mike Conley. Teague was widely considered a lottery pick for much of the season but his stock has slipped because he still is raw and needs time to develop.
NBA Comparison: Mario Chalmers
Other Possibilities: Will Barton and Jeff Taylor
26. Indiana Pacers - Draymond Green, Forward
Reason: With no major needs, the Pacers choose to select a versatile player to provide depth at multiple positions. Green does not have a "natural" position, he is just a gritty basketball player. Green is the type of role player that helps a team win championships.
NBA Comparison: Jared Dudley
Other Possibilities: Tony Wroten and Jeff Taylor
27. Miami Heat - Festus Ezeli, Center
Reason: Coming off a championship season, the Heat still need to build up their frontcourt. Ezeli is the type of player that can contribute defensively immediately while gradually developing an offensive game at the next level.
NBA Comparison: Brendan Haywood with Roy Hibbert potential
Other Possibilities: Miles Plumlee and Fab Melo
28. Oklahoma City Thunder - Miles Plumlee, Center
Reason: The Thunder need to seriously address their weak post scoring in order to take it to the next level and win a championship. Plumlee will be able to contribute right away with his ability to score multiple ways on offense.
NBA Comparison: Marcin Gortat
Other Possibilities: Tony Wroten and Jeff Taylor
29. Chicago Bulls - Jeff Taylor, Small Forward
Reason: The Bulls love defense and Taylor is one of the better perimeter defenders in this draft. He will be able to step right into this rotation providing stability to the Bulls bench.
NBA Comparison: Tayshaun Prince
Other Possibilities: Tony Wroten and Quincy Miller
30. Golden State Warriors - Fab Melo, Center
Reason: Melo has the potential to be an excellent big man at this level but he is still very raw. With the Warriors already being deep up front they have the luxury to select Melo and allow him to develop for a couple of seasons and could reap rewards down the line as a defensive stopper.
NBA Comparison: Kwame Brown
Other Possibilities: Tony Wroten and Quincy Miller