2012 NBA Draft: Five Teams That Could Trade Down in First Round

Steven Goldstein@@GoldsteinNUContributor IJune 20, 2012

2012 NBA Draft: Five Teams That Could Trade Down in First Round

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    As the basketball world gears up for this year's edition of the NBA draft, a handful of certainties remain. Kentucky big-man Anthony Davis is all but locked in as the first pick, with forwards Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Thomas Robinson likely rounding out the top three.

    What's far from certain, however, is the order in which teams will draft.

    Last year, a three-team trade between Milwaukee, Charlotte and Sacramento adjusted the picking order. With such a deep draft class this time around, the possibilities for shuffles and shake ups are endless.

    Let's take a look at five teams who could be vying to trade down come draft night.

Portland Trailblazers

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    One of two teams with multiple lottery picks, Portland is in prime position to grab a touted talent and still trade for an established starter to aid LaMarcus Aldridge (pictured) and J.J. Hickson.

    Having acquired the sixth overall pick from the Nets, the Trail Blazers have serious issues at the center position, which can be immediately addressed by selecting promising Connecticut freshman Andre Drummond. Incumbent centers Joel Pryzbilla and Kurt Thomas offer no upside, and Drummond's 2.7 blocks per contest are tough to pass up.

    However, Portland also sits on the eleventh spot, which becomes prime trade bait for teams vying for the likes of Syracuse's Dion Waiters or Duke's Austin Rivers. The Blazers could use a stronger forward presence, but can certainly afford to trade down and target Draymond Green, Jeff Taylor, Moe Harkless or even Terrance Ross, should his stock fall.

    With a throng of talented mid-range players in this year's Draft, trading down at eleven makes sense.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    The Sixers were just a game away from the Eastern Conference Finals, and boast a well-balanced starting five headed by small forward Andre Iguodala (pictured).

    As Iguodala's status as a Sixer still hangs in the mix, Philly could afford to improve their front court. Sitting at 15th, Baylor's Perry Jones III or North Carolina's Tyler Zeller are seamless fits.

    However, the 76ers might be wise to cash in on this year's stacked class of big men and trade down a few spots, where Syracuse's Fab Melo, Iowa State's Royce White, Michigan State's Draymond Green and Vanderbilt's Festus Ezeli should all be waiting.

    Plenty of playoff teams will be eyeing mid-level picks, and don't be surprised if Philadelphia gets involved in trade talks. 

Toronto Raptors

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    Unlike the previous two teams on this list, Toronto has already advertised their desire to trade down come draft time.

    According to an ESPN report earlier this month, the Raptors are eager to raffle off the number eight spot in exchange for an offensively-focused wing man. Murmurs of interest in Memphis' Rudy Gay and Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala have circulated around the league.

    Toronto may try to package the pick with point guard Jose Calderon (pictured), but there's always a chance of trading down or swapping the pick for a spot in the second round. Regardless, the Raptors sputtered down the stretch without big-man Andrea Bargnani, averaging a paltry 90.7 points per game on the season. They need all the help they can get.

    Perhaps a viable suitor lies in Chicago, where the Bulls are shopping forward Luol Deng in pursuit of a lottery pick.

Charlotte Bobcats

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    Like the Raptors, the Bobcats appear eager to ship their pick elsewhere in exchange for an established talent.

    Slated at the second pick, Charlotte needs to make improvements just about everywhere on the court, and if neither Thomas Robinson nor Michael Kidd-Gilchrist can make an immediate impact at the pro level, trading the pick might make sense.

    Michael Jordan's squad could look to trade the selection altogether for a high-end talent, but if nobody bites on the trading block, the Bobcats could end up trading down and acquiring a lesser player, while still clinging to a first-round pick.

    In 2011, the Bobcats shook up the lottery picks and ended up with guard Kemba Walker (pictured). This year, a trade could be in the works yet again.

New Orleans Hornets

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    The Big Easy has a pretty easy decision to make with the draft's top pick. Kentucky's Anthony Davis boasts an imposing interior presence, and looks to be ready to make a difference for Tom Benson's franchise.

    However, the Hornets also have the draft's tenth selection via Minnesota. New Orleans will be looking for a guard to compliment Davis and boost the backcourt, but with a flock of promising NBA newcomers, they can afford to trade down and still pick up another solid player.

    Kentucky's Marquis Teague and Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor are just two of the many guards that are expected to fall to the tail-end of the first round. "Nawleans" may opt to trade down to stockpile second-rounders or add a proven player to aid shooting guard Eric Gordon (pictured), should he return next season.