NBA Lottery 2012: What Every Team Should Do with 3rd Pick
This year's draft lottery takes place tonight. It's the beginning of the future for the 14 teams involved, as they await to discover what position they will be drafting in.
This year's consensus first pick is Kentucky big man Anthony Davis. Davis does everything. Scoring, rebounding, blocking, defending, running the court and controlling the ball. Behind him, his Kentucky teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is likeliest to go second.
After that, the third pick is where things get a little interesting with maybe four or five legitimate candidates to choose among.
#14: Houston Rockets
Should the Houston Rockets pull off the improbable and move into the top three, they'll be feeling like kings.
The Rockets risk losing Luis Scola in a trade this summer, as Houston looks for that superstar to finally come to the team and take them back to the playoffs.
In order to cover that loss, the Rockets will most likely take Thomas Robinson from Kansas.
Robinson is a fantastic talent and the best big man left after Anthony Davis.
There is, of course, the chance that the Rockets make the risky pick and go after Andre Drummond, a similar player to Robinson but very raw and inconsistent, with the bigger potential.
#13: Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns are facing the loss of Steve Nash this summer as he looks to add a championship ring to his already Hall of Fame-worthy portfolio.
Should the Suns land in the top three (third in this instance), they'll snap up Bradley Beal immediately.
There are no great point guards in this draft, but there are phenomenal scorers like Beal. Pairing him with Marcin Gortat could be the beginnings of a new core in Phoenix.
#12: Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks' pick will tell you how confident they are about retaining the services of breakthrough forward Ersan Ilyasova.
Ilyasova is a terrific talent, but a free agent this season. He'll make a killing, and Milwaukee will do all it can to keep him on their roster.
Should the Bucks be really worried, they'll take a big man in the draft. They might take one anyway because they aren't particularly deep in the frontcourt.
Andre Drummond is the risky pick this year. He's inconsistent but with the physique to become a dominating force. If Ilyasova sticks around, that gives Drummond plenty of time to grow his skills to an NBA level.
If he leaves, Drummond gets his big break pretty early, and we find out who he really is.
#11: Brookyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets would be jumping for joy if their pick lands in the top three.
Because if it's outside the top three, the Nets lose their pick to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the Gerald Wallace trade.
However landing in the top three would guarantee the Nets get to keep their pick.
Deron Williams is still around, and the Nets have a shot at landing Dwight Howard at the end of next season.
They need to start creating a supporting cast, and pairing Deron Williams with someone like Beal, who can score, get to the rim and handle the ball. It could be a decent plan even if Dwight doesn't arrive next summer.
#10: New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets are in a tough spot this summer because both Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman could be on their way to new teams.
New Orleans is in need of something to turn the team's fortunes around, and taking Thomas Robinson is the way to do it.
Robinson's proven track record at college makes him the safe pick this year for a team that, if it can keep Gordon, has a decent young core to move forward with.
#9: Detroit Pistons
If you haven't guessed, I quite like Thomas Robinson at number three.
The Detroit Pistons are still trying to get back to the playoffs and Robinson can help them move closer to that goal.
The Pistons need to avoid a repeat of the locker-room drama of 18 months ago that saw players effectively suspended and the team play with just seven players.
Andre Drummond is, as I mentioned, the sexy pick, but the risk is that he doesn't work out and the Pistons are no better.
Robinson's proven abilities give the Pistons piece of mind that they can improve with him on the court.
#8: Toronto Raptors
Beal and Toronto would be a good fit for one another.
Jose Calderon has one year left on his contract, so he is likely out the door, promoting Jerryd Bayless and leaving a gap in the backcourt rotation.
Beal would slot in nicely to create a dynamic backcourt in Toronto.
#7: Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors can't even tank right.
They gave up Monta Ellis for an injured Andrew Bogut and not much else in return.
Bogut will return from injury next season to team up with Stephen Curry, creating a nice duo in Golden State.
So with good pieces in the backcourt and at center, the Warriors will need someone to man the small forward spot. Harrison Barnes has the size and abilities to run the court and score well from that position in the NBA.
#6: Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers finally admitted defeat with Greg Oden, releasing him and entering rebuilding after the retirement of Brandon Roy before the start of the season.
Harrison Barnes would fit in well. Any of the picks left on the board would fit in well because the Blazers are going to be looking for any scorers to keep the team's head above the water.
#5: Sacramento Kings
The Kings have a history of making the risky pick and making it work. They made Tyreke Evans a stand-out player, and new head coach Keith Smart has finally begun turning DeMarcus Cousins into a great player on both sides of the ball.
That is why Andre Drummond would work. If Smart can get Drummond to play consistently well, something he never managed in college, he and Cousins would create a terrifyingly physical frontcourt.
#4: New Orleans Hornets
I already talked about what the Hornets would do with their third pick, does it warrant repeating?
Thomas Robinson! Make it happen, ping pong balls!
#3: Cleveland Cavaliers
If the lottery odds hold true, the Cavaliers should end up with the third pick.
Bradley Beal would be the perfect complement to the Cavs' Rookie of the Year and 2011 first overall pick Kyrie Irving in the backcourt.
Making this pick really sets the Cavaliers on track to make it back into the playoffs this year with a core of Irving, Beal, Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson.
#2: Washington Wizards
If Washington moves down to the third pick, they would also take on Bradley Beal to pair with electric young point guard John Wall.
The Wizards desperately need to start piling significant talent around Wall before he starts being labelled a wasted talent (although that moment is still a few years away).
#1: Charlotte Bobcats
The Bobcats would be seething if they fall as far as the third pick, after a mammoth 23-game losing streak and an NBA record-worst 7-59 record.
Should the unfortunate happen, the Bobcats would take Thomas Robinson to complete a nice frontcourt of Robinson and last year's eighth overall pick Bismack Biyombo.
Biyombo is still very raw but began to play well in the latter part of last season. Robinson's maturity and proven talent would give Biyombo more time to develop while Robinson generates scoring.
In a few years, the Bobcats could have a great young defensive duo at power forward and center.