What happens after Anthony Davis is selected will be eye-opening.
Draft Night is finally upon us.
Tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET ,the NBA will hold its annual draft.
Due to a number of factors, there are a ton of questions as the draft rapidly approaches.
There is only one sure-fire bona-fide superstar in this draft, that's Anthony Davis, and he's going to go to New Orleans with the first pick.
After that it gets fuzzy, and that's why there will be rumors and question marks right up until the moment a team actually makes a selection.
There is also a new labor agreement in place. That type of certainty regarding contracts, salary cap, and rookie wages allows teams to wheel-and-deal without fear of repercussions from a new collective bargaining agreement, or a lockout or a strike.
There's also no "dynasty" team in the league right now. Sure, the Heat won the NBA title, but there's no team with a star in his prime and more than one ring in his possession.
The Spurs and Lakers, who have accounted for nine of the 14 NBA titles won since Michael Jordan retired, are led by aging superstars. The newer teams such as Miami and Oklahoma City could become dynasties but as of now, they've got one ring among the two of them.
There are probably a lot of teams that feel like they're only a player or two away from a possible trip to the finals.
Tonight's draft promises to be full of surprises. Here's the best bet as to what will happen as of 6:30 p.m. ET.
Looking for surprises tonight? Don't expect one when New Orleans picks first.
The New Orleans Hornets own the least suspense-filled selection of the whole draft. It's also the first one.
Anthony Davis of the National Championship-winning Kentucky Wildcats will be the pick at No. 1, and that's all but a foregone conclusion at this point.
Davis is a gifted and young big man. Expect him to make an immediate impact on defense with his unique shot-blocking ability. Also, expect his offense to develop in the near future.
Davis will be a star. The only question is "how long that will take?"
Charlotte will select Thomas Robinson, and hope his upside offsets missing out on Davis.
This pick could get dealt. As of now, the rumor mill is a flurry with stories about how many offers the Bobcats have for this pick.
If they hold onto it then they'll take Robinson, who at 6'9", 244 pounds, has all the physical tools to become a very good NBA power forward.
Bradley Beal left Florida after just one season, and it looks like he'll cash in quickly.
The 6'5" freshman shooting guard from Florida really can't go much higher than No. 3.
Consider that his ceiling, unless of course a trade happens. After acquiring Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza in a trade earlier in the week, the Wizards need only a shooting guard to round out a starting five for next season.
If all goes as planned, they won't even need that after tonight.
It's tough to not like Kidd-Gilchrist and his desire to win.
In the long run, Kidd-Gilchrist might end up being the better basketball player.
He's got limitless energy, and while he won't immediately put the ball in the basket with the efficiency of Beal, Kidd-Gilchrist will excel at nearly every other measurable, and immeasurable on-court skill.
Harrison Barnes game my be better suited for the NBA than college.
Former first round pick, NBA Rookie of The Year Tyreke Evans doesn't want to play small forward in Sacramento.
That's fine; they'll just draft someone that will want to play the position.
Of course, that player will actually have to be able to play it as well. No problem, Harrison Barnes should be both willing, and able to man the small forward position for the Kings.
Andre Drummond will draw groans from some Blazers' fans, but his upside is too good to resist.
Yes, the Blazers are the franchise that selected Greg Oden instead of Kevin Durant and Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan.
That doesn't mean that Andre Drummond will automatically be a bust.
Drummond has his flaws, a pitiful free-throw shooting percentage, and work ethic that has even been questioned by former college teammates.
He's also an 18-year-old, 7'0", 279-pound athletic specimen, who will be among the league's most athletic big men from the time he first sets foot on an NBA court.
Portland just has to hope they can find a way to harness that talent, and quiet all the naysayers.
Dion Waiters could have an immediate impact in the NBA.
Ideally, Golden State would like a small forward.
Instead they'll have to make do with one of the more gifted shooting guards in a shooting guard-rich draft class.
Dion Waiters never started a game while spending two seasons at Syracuse, then again Tom Brady didn't start much at Michigan.
Waiters has the skills, though. He's a little short, and his presence would probably force Golden State to move Klay Thompson to small forward, but if that allows Waiters to maximize his potential, no one in the Bay Area will be complaining.
Austin Rivers multi-faceted skill set will land him in Toronto.
Maybe Damian Lillard is a better player, but Jose Calderon is a good enough point guard that Lillard can't be the top priority.
Plus, wouldn't Calderon look a lot better with a decent scorer to pass the ball to?
Rivers isn't the greatest athlete in the draft, but he's got fantastic ball-handling ability and is great at getting to the basket.
He's going to need to learn where and when to use those skills, though. Toronto will bet that his NBA pedigree makes that learning curve a short one.
John Henson is one of several Tar Heels expected to go in the first round tonight.
Any Detroit Pistons fan that's ever thought to themselves, "If only the Pistons had an athletic big man to complement Greg Monroe's strength," Well, your wish is granted.
Henson is a lanky, 6'10" athlete who will block shots, and be able to quickly help on defense. That will help keep Monroe out of foul trouble, and help keep opposing teams out of the paint as often.
Lightening quick Damian Lillard will be part of a new youth movement in New Orleans.
The New Orleans Hornets are serious about re-signing free agent shooting guard Eric Gordon.
That means they'll probably pass on the tempting supply of shooting guards that remain on the draft board.
Point guard? That's a different story. With Jarrett Jack scheduled for free agency following next season, Lillard will have one year to ease into a job he'll eventually excel at.
Out with the old, and in with the new, in Portland this summer.
The Blazers had former Tar Heel Raymond Felton at point guard last season. That didn't work out so well; then again, nothing seemed to work in Portland last year.
This year, the Blazers want to start fresh. That's why they'll probably allow free agent Felton to walk, and instead start the season with rookie point guard Kendall Marshall guiding the team.
Marshall will have his growing pains, but considering that last year's NBA Rookie of The Year was also a freshman point guard from an ACC powerhouse (Kyrie Irving), the Blazers will have high hopes.
Meyers Leonard may end up starting in Houston next season.
Maybe the Rockets can land Dwight Howard?
Drafts are about building for the future. Meyers Leonard will be able to play next-to, off-the-bench-behind, or without Dwight Howard on the Rockets. He's a raw 7'1" center with all the skills and drive to develop into a very good NBA center.
Jeremy Lamb seems like an ideal NBA shooting guard.
If there was a way to insert the Jeremy Lamb from the summer of 2011 into the 2012 draft, then he might go much higher. Instead, Lamb had an underwhelming season at Connecticut last year.
It won't hurt his draft status too much, but he'll go a little lower than he probably would have one year ago.
He won't get past Phoenix. Regardless of whether Steve Nash returns, this is a team whose leading scorer averaged well under 20 points per game last year.
Plus, Nash might be more tempted to return to a Suns team that had someone he could consistently pass the ball to, with good results.
Terrence Ross could excel at both offense and defense in the NBA.
Now that the Bucks have acquired Samuel Dalembert to help fill the void left by the departed Andrew Bogut, they can turn their focus to finding more guys to score.
That guy will be Terrence Ross. Ross is tall enough to play some small forward, a very good defender, and a very good shooter.
The presence of Ross also gives the Bucks depth in case Monta Ellis, who is a free agent following next season, decides to leave.
76ers fans will really like what Tyler Zeller brings to the table.
Tyler Zeller is not the type of player who will wilt under the pressure of 76ers head coach Doug Collins.
His maturity, combined with the potential departures of both Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes, will make his selection a smart one for the 76ers.
Add Zeller's ability to run the floor, hit mid-range jump shots, and free throws and he will be a welcome addition to the 76ers.
Houston needs youth, size, and athleticism. Moultrie brings all three.
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale is going to love Arnett Moultrie.
He's got long arms, good instincts and is an exceptional athlete.
The Rockets were a team that lacked much in the way of frontcourt depth or skill last season. That's going to change tonight when the team brings both Moultrie and Leonard on board.
Terrence Jones will help strengthen a Mavericks team that had problems in the front court last season.
There's really not much to not like about Terrence Jones.
He's a power forward that possesses all the attributes normally associated with players picked much higher. He's 6'10", 252 pounds, mobile, athletic, and only 20 years old.
What's he doing available this far down in the first round? Jones was overshadowed by teammates like Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at Kentucky last season.
For a team that's really lacked much of an interior presence since losing Tyson Chandler to free agency last year, Jones will be a welcome addition.
Jones' draft stock might be falling, but he'll be high-fiving someone eventually tonight.
Of all the players available in the first round, Perry Jones III may represent the biggest roll of the dice out there.
First there's the recent news about a knee injury.
Then there's his reputation for not always playing as hard as he could, or should. Having already secured two solid big men earlier in the draft, the Rockets are a team that will be able to take a chance on guy like Jones.
In the 1998 NFL draft, Randy Moss had some questions about his work ethic and he fell all the way to No. 21. Jones could end up being that type of steal.
The Magic can't replace Dwight Howard at No.19, but Jameer Nelson is a different story.
Lost in all the hoopla surrounding Dwight Howard is that the Orlando Magic are also in danger of losing their starting point guard.
Jameer Nelson is a free agent, and even though he's not the same type of top-tier player that Howard is, every team does need a point guard.
Maybe Orlando can find one on the free-agent market, or maybe they'll trade for one?
They could also grab Tony Wroten Jr. and see if he's ready for prime-time.
Wroten isn't the best shooter out there, but he's got good size and ball handling ability. He's a guard who may require patience, but if he realizes his potential, he could be a real find this low in the draft.
Sullinger's fall down draft board may give him added motivation next season.
Jared Sullinger is definitely one of the guys who is appearing on lists of players with draft stocks dropping.
Maybe he was overrated from the get-go?
Either way, it's a little early to declare him a "bust."
The Denver Nuggets will take a chance on Sullinger. They've got enough depth to allow him time to develop, and it's hard to pass up a player who could end up becoming a physically bruising power forward in the NBA.
Andrew Nicholson's experience will go over well with Doc Rivers.
The Boston Celtics were the NBA's worst rebounding team last year, yet somehow they managed to come within one game of making the NBA Finals.
In other words, "they're close."
The Celtics want to get younger, but they also don't want guys that have to learn on the job. That's why a four-year college player like power forward Andrew Nicholson, who is 6'10" and 22 years old will be as welcome for his skills as his maturity.
Add in that he may get to hone his skills by playing alongside Kevin Garnett, and this pick seems logical.
Royce White is big for a small forward, and that will be perfect for the Celtics.
At 6'8", 261 pounds, Royce White sort of takes the "small" out of small forward.
The skills? Yes, he's got those.
Just like Andrew Nicholson, White fits the mold of a player who should be able to learn the Celtics system, and excel within it without a lot of on-the-job training needed.
White has some off-court issues, which explain why a player with physical gifts and refined skills is still around at No. 22 in the first place. That fall down the draft board ends here.
The physically imposing Festus Ezeli will be a welcome addition in Atlanta.
The Atlanta Hawks suffered after losing Al Horford last season. Zaza Pachulia and Jason Collins both tried to make up the difference, but they were overwhelmed by the time the playoffs arrived.
At 7'0" and 270 pounds, Festus Ezeli won't be overwhelmed by too many opponents. Ezeli will give the Hawks needed front court depth.
Will Fab Melo be a slam-dunk in the NBA?
Much like the Hawks, the Cleveland Cavaliers could use some added depth at the center position.
Anderson Varejao is not even a true center, but he plays the position out of need. Fab Melo presents the opportunity to eliminate that need.
There are certainly no assurances, as Fab Melo will come with a reputation for not being the most passionate basketball player to ever lace up a pair on high-tops.
When you stand 7'0" tall, and have athletic ability, NBA teams are usually wiling to take on some risk.
Jeff Taylor may be a future Rudy Gay replacement.
On the off chance that the Memphis Grizzlies were to trade Rudy Gay, it would make sense to bring in a guy like Jeff Taylor.
Since there is some discussion of dealing Gay, it makes even more sense to bring in Taylor, who like Gay is a lanky, small forward with a nose for the basket.
Taylor isn't a lock to become an NBA star, but he's got enough raw ability and physical skills to be selected in the first round.
Moe Harkless has "star" potential, but will it emerge?
The Indiana Pacers are a basketball team desperate for a "star" type of player.
Selecting this low in the first round means they've got little chance of finding one, unless of course they select a very young, very raw, talented player, and allow him to mature, and hopefully blossom in Indiana.
That's what Moe Harkless, a 19 year-old 6'9" super-athlete represents.
Draymond Green is experienced, mature, and ready to win.
Draymond Green is the type of player who won't mind a limited role on a talented team. He wants to win, and having spent four years playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State, he knows what it takes.
Green won't be an NBA star; that's okay, he's being selected by a team that already has plenty of stars. Green will make for a solid backup, and he'll do what's asked of him. Sometimes, that's more valuable than raw talent.
Both physical and mature, Mike Scott will make the transition to the NBA with ease.
Adding another physical presence, especially one who is mature, will give the Thunder an additional option off the bench.
Mike Scott is 6'9", 241 pounds; he's not huge, but he plays big, and he's 24 years old. so he should be able to adjust to the rigors of the NBA without a lot of problems.
The Bulls have been searching for a solution at shooting guard. Is Will Barton the man?
Perhaps while the Bulls await the return of MVP point guard Derrick Rose, they can solve a problem they've had for years?
The Bulls have tried Kyle Korver, Richard Hamilton, none of it has ever really worked. Will Barton will try to change that.
A lanky athlete with a great outside shot, Barton has the potential to really excel once Rose returns from his knee injury.
In the meantime, he'll get the chance to learn on the job, with a great coach in Tom Thibodeau guiding him.
Scott Machado will provide solid insurance for injury-prone Stephen Curry.
Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson knows the value of a point guard. He was one himself.
Jackson's point guard is Stephen Curry. Curry's job is secure, but he's often injured, and Jackson can't afford to have his team's offense grind to a halt every time Curry's ankle's flares up.
Adding Scott Machado will provide Jackson with peace of mind, and the Warriors with a backup point guard who has the potential to be a real sleeper in this year's draft.