With Tuesday night's NBA draft lottery in the books, the draft order is now officially set. The Cleveland Cavaliers will pick first, but that may be a curse more than a blessing this year as the class lacks an elite-level prospect without big question marks.
At the same time, there are a number of intriguing prospects to be had in the top 10, so it wouldn't be surprising to see a significant amount of movement on draft night. Some teams would benefit from moving up in the draft more than others, though, so there are definitely a few teams worth keeping an eye on.
Here are three teams that would be wise to do anything within reason to move up in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft in order to nab a desired player.
Complete Draft Order
|6.||New Orleans Pelicans|
|10.||Portland Trail Blazers|
|12.||Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors)|
|18.||Atlanta Hawks (from Rockets via Nets)|
|19.||Cleveland Cavaliers (from Lakers)|
|21.||Utah Jazz (from Warriors via Nets)|
|24.||New York Knicks|
|25.||Los Angeles Clippers|
|26.||Minnesota Timberwolves (from Grizzlies via Rockets)|
|28.||San Antonio Spurs|
|29.||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|30.||Phoenix Suns (from Heat via Lakers and Cavs)|
*Draft order courtesy of NBA.com
Oklahoma City Thunder
Despite the fact that they had the second-best record in the league during the regular season, the Oklahoma City Thunder have a chance to select an impact player in this year's draft. OKC owns the Toronto Raptors' No. 12 selection in addition to their own No. 29 pick, so they have the ammo necessary to move up if they so choose. It's far from a guarantee, but the Thunder are in a very advantageous position.
In addition to those two picks, they have promising young players like Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb on their team as well. If OKC management feels as though there is a player that will get taken somewhere in the top seven picks or so who can help them immediately, they have the pieces to make a trade happen. One player who should be of particular interest is Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo.
The Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets prior to the season and it is no secret that he has gone on to become a superstar. Perhaps Oladipo won't reach that same level, but he is extremely athletic and can play a role similar to Harden's with the Thunder. Oklahoma City may have to move up as high as the third or fourth pick in order to take him, but as long as the deal wouldn't mortgage their present or future, they should jump at it.
The Detroit Pistons are a team with a good deal of young talent such as Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Brandon Knight, but they appear to be a few players short of fielding a truly competitive team. They have a chance to take a big step forward in this year's draft as they select No. 8. Despite that, general manager Joe Dumars seems to be happy with where they'll be picking, according to David Mayo of MLive.com.
I'd be telling you how happy I was if we'd have gotten one (the first overall pick), so I'm not going to completely lie to you, Dumars said. But ... I'm good with it. I just talked to Tom Gores about five minutes (ago) and I basically said the same thing ... there are no franchise changers, there's no franchise guy, really, that you're looking at in this particular draft.
It's possible that Dumars could really feel that way, but it may also be one of the many smokescreens that GM's throw out there this time of year. Detroit desperately needs some help on the wing and could really use a small forward or guard who can score the basketball. Either Indiana's Victor Oladipo or Georgetown's Otto Porter would be a fantastic fit. Neither is likely to be there at No. 8, but Detroit may only have to move up a couple spots to secure one of them. For a team that so desperately needs an impact player, it would be silly to stand pat.
The Utah Jazz barely missed out on the playoffs this season as they were edged out by the Los Angeles Lakers, but they'll need to make a big addition in order to make noise next season. The Jazz are an interesting team because they have plenty of talent in the frontcourt with players like Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. However, they have very little at guard and desperately need to improve.
Utah will have an opportunity to do precisely that as it owns the No. 14 and No. 21 selections. It's hard to imagine that the Jazz will find an instant contributor with either of those picks, so packaging them and moving up is the best course of action. According to Bill Oram of The Salt Lake Tribune, Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey is exploring all options and could do essentially anything on draft night.
It would probably take a big jump to get someone like Indiana's Victor Oladipo or Michigan's Trey Burke, but perhaps Utah can get into a position to draft Lehigh's C.J. McCollum or Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams. McCollum is especially intriguing due to the fact that a fellow small-school guard in Damian Lillard had a huge rookie season this year. Whatever the case, Utah should go up and find a player it likes.
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