With the NBA Draft lottery selection show rapidly approaching (the draft lottery will be televised May 30), numerous NBA draft "experts" are compiling their mock drafts, including ESPN's resident NBA draft specialist Chad Ford.
There really is no direct science for predicting a draft, since a number of variables will be in play once the actual event gets underway. There are always tons of trade scenarios, potential free agency pick ups and coaching changes that can all swing the direction and motives behind draft selections.
Let's take a look at Ford's NBA draft predictions from his latest mock draft and point out the best picks and biggest fails of his predictions...
If the lowly Bobcats land the No. 1 pick that they so poorly played their way into deserving, selecting Anthony Davis out of Kentucky would be as close to a no-brainer pick as you can have in the 2012 NBA Draft.
The Bobcats are lacking in a number of areas, most notably shooting guard and frontcourt depth. As there are no wing prospects worthy of the No. 1 overall selection this year, Charlotte selecting Davis would give their franchise a post presence to complement Kemba Walker as well as a defensive anchor to play alongside promising shot blocker Bismack Biyombo.
Davis' offensive post game is still be developing and he lacks strength, but Davis' ability to dominate a game without scoring in bunches would be a welcomed addition to the Bobcats. Selecting Davis would also instill hope in the Charlotte fanbase, who have already struggled through losing to the Hornets in the past and now suffer from watching an uninspired NBA team on a nightly basis.
The Sacramento Kings do need a power forward to do the dirty work alongside the talented yet troubled young center DeMarcus Cousins, but Andre Drummond is not that player.
Drummond has the tools to be one of the top three prospects in the entire 2012 draft, but the question is, does he have the drive to be that player on a nightly basis? There were games during his freshman year at UConn where Drummond absolutely dominated; then there were the games where Drummond was nonexistent.
A young player with that type of questionable motor is not an ideal complement for another young player with a questionable motor and maturity issues. If the Kings land the No. 5 pick, look for them to try to move up for a more mature option in Thomas Robinson or take a serious look at Tyler Zeller in this scenario.
No player in college basketball played with as much passion last season as Thomas Robinson. The 6'9", 237 ls uber-athletic power forward got his opportunity to play major minutes his junior season and did not disappoint. Robinson led the Jayhawks to the title game while carrying the team on his back at times.
The New Orleans Hornets lacked emotion after their prized possession Chris Paul was dealt away to the Clippers for Eric Gordon (who is a risk to bolt in free agency) and Chris Kaman's expiring contract. Robinson's inspired play would be a great centerpiece for the Hornets under new owner Tom Benson.
The city of New Orleans would immediately welcome a player of Thomas Robinson's ability and passion with open arms. The Hornets should jump at the opportunity to draft Robinson in this scenario if he falls to them at No. 4.
One thing that Harrison Barnes and Jeremy Lamb can both do very well is score on the perimeter, something that the Portland Trail Blazers have been lacking since Brandon Roy was forced to retire prior to the 2011-2012 season.
One key area where Harrison Barnes and Jeremy Lamb struggle is creating their own shot. The Trail Blazers will most likely be looking for the point guard with Raymond Felton hitting free agency, drafting a couple of wing scorers that struggle to create their own offense and lack aggressiveness may not be the best option without also addressing their need at the point.
In Ford's scenario, the Blazers have both sixth and 11th picks. If the Blazers do elect to select Barnes at six, look for the Blazers to lean towards selecting a point guard such as Kendall Marshall at number 11.
Another wild card for the Blazers at six could be point guard Damian Lillard out of Weber State with the Blazers looking at a wing scorer at 11.
Bradley Beal has the makings of a future All-Star for years to come. Beal has a smooth, textbook shooting stroke, rebounds extremely well for a backcourt player and can get the the basket off the dribble better than some point guards.
Beal would be an excellent complement to Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving in the Cavs backcourt. Some scouts will list Beal's lack of ideal shooting guard height as a negative, but height was a non-issue for Beal during his solid freshman season at Florida, so it's doubtful that it will be an issue for Beal as a pro.
Beal resembles a slightly taller, better rebounding version of Eric Gordon. Any team in the NBA would be ecstatic to land a player of Beal's caliber, and if the Cavs can land Beal at No. 3 overall as Ford has in his mock, Beal to Cleveland could turn out to be the best pick in the draft lottery.