Where will DeMarcus Cousins land? And will one or more trades shake up the top of the order? These are the key questions as one of the deeper drafts of recent years approaches Thursday.
Wall enables the Wizards to embark on a new course based on his speed in the open court, his willingness to share the ball and, above all, his potential to be an elite defender. Gilbert Arenas -- provided he can manage to play a full season for the first time in four years -- will accommodate Wall by moving off the ball to become a finisher.
New coach Doug Collins will hope Turner -- the most mature player at the top of this draft -- becomes the Eastern version of Brandon Roy, settling down the Sixers and providing the leadership and playmaking that were lacking last season. The 76ers may also consider a trade to move back in the draft while picking up a veteran in the package.
Nets president Rod Thorn may receive offers from the Pistons to trade up (so they can pick DeMarcus Cousins) for a package that includes Richard Hamilton, or from a team with multiple first-rounders, like the Grizzlies, who could grab Favors or Wesley Johnson. If nothing else, Thorn can settle for the raw but athletic Favors as an explosive open-floor complement to center Brook Lopez.
David Kahn has admitted that Al Jefferson and Kevin Love are too small to play together. So why not invest this pick in the enormous (and enormously talented) Cousins as a scorer, rebounder and rim-protector whose paint presence will enable Kahn to deal Jefferson for a scorer on the wing?
Having taken themselves out of the running for Cousins by acquiring center Samuel Dalembert, the Kings will settle on Johnson to help replace the lost production of Kevin Martin and serve as a complement to Rookie of the Year point guard Tyreke Evans. Johnson will arrive as a ready-made NBA scorer and rebounder, a long athlete who doesn't mind passing the ball either.
Monroe is the best-passing big man in this draft, though his low-gear motor and poor defense have turned off some teams. But Don Nelson will focus on Monroe's soft hands, high basketball IQ and skills as a shooter to go with his vision of the court.
If the Pistons can't trade up for Cousins, then Udoh will be a good fall-back option. He plays with energy and he's a solid passer and with a mid-range game. He may not be quite the explosive big man the Pistons were hoping to land, but he'll upgrade their frontcourt.
Imagine a healthy Blake Griffin sharing the frontcourt with Aminu, an aggressive young tweener who defends, attacks the basket and gets to the foul line. Aminu could be a steal if he learns to extend his shooting range to the three-point line.
Hayward is a shooter who knows how to play -- two pluses for Jerry Sloan's system -- and his stock has been rising ever since the national championship game. But don't be surprised if the Jazz attempt to trade up as they rarely have a lottery pick and, therefore, will want to make the most of this opportunity.
The Pacers won't find a point guard in this draft, so they'll settle on Davis as the best player of reliable character on the board. He is raw but intelligent, with soft hands and the ambition to defend either of the big positions. A long-term project offensively.
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