With any draft and trying to predict it, the unknown factor is always last minute trades which can sometimes even occur as the draft is under way. Especially when a player who is well rated could start to fall for whatever reason and suddenly comes onto the radar of teams further down the draft. A prime example of this could well be Khawi Leonard who was seen as a likely top 10 pick last year but fell just outside the lottery and was suddenly snapped up by the Spurs who did a trade with Indiana to get him. None of us really know if it was a last minute move or if the Spurs hugely efficient front office got word that Leonard may fall and thus put a deal to the Pacers earlier in the day.
With all the good will in the world media pundits and certainly fans can only second guess a mock so far, we all know the prospects form, demeanour, measurements, upside etc we even get feedback from the workouts but we don’t know how well they interview when they meet a potential team’s hierarchy or what any team may think of the said player.
Front Offices will of course play their cards close to their chests but any trade will need a partner team and that team could then look for better deals from other teams so I would guess on draft night a lot of draft war rooms would have a fair idea of the likely moves to go down. And teams would be concentrating on their own draft rather than trying to scupper other team’s plans by taking a player who could be part of a deal. The only time this could happen might be if you had two fairly well matched players often in the same position near to one another in the draft lets say MKG and Barnes. If for example Cleveland had a deal on the table with lets say Philly that was built around in return for 4th pick they would get Iggy but in order for the deal to go through Philly wanted the 4th pick player to be MKG. Washington with 3rd pick decided to draft MKG over Barnes as a basketball decision and thus Philly once they knew MKG wasn’t available pulled the plug on the deal.
Likely trade ups this year could well revolve around teams outside the top 5 or 6 in the draft as we know NOH will take Barnes. Charlotte were looking for an established player in return for the 2nd pick, Washington will likely straight draft after the recent Okafor and Ariza trade, Cleveland will get a quality player at 4 and would not want to give up other picks to move to maybe 2. Sacramento will probably take BPA to fill a need at 5 and Portland with 6 and 11 would be reluctant to give up both to maybe move to 2 via Charlotte or 4 and 23 via Cleveland. Especially with Drummond now perhaps falling to 6, Portland now have one of their main needs within range.
GSW could maybe look to do a deal with 7th and 30th but that would only get them to maybe 5th with Sacramento likely to want to try and get Barnes or MKG if they are available. I could see Toronto maybe looking at offers so if a team does a big trade up they could be the likely suitors. Detroit want a big most likely at 9 but might consider something from Houston for 14th and 16th if they were sure they could get Moultie or Henson with one of those picks.
NOH with 10th pick and now with Rashard Lewis’s expiring deal could well look to maybe move up with GSW or Detroit being suitors. If Eric Gordon was likely to move then maybe a trade to get Ben Gordon could help NOH out, they would add a proven scorer who has a couple of years left on his deal whilst Detroit merely buy Lewis out and save a year on Gordon’s money. GSW have both Biedrins and Jefferson on big deals and factoring in Lewis’s buyout could save them aprox $4 to $6 million depending on who they traded. With GSW unlikely to want say Myers Leonard then a backcourt or swingman option would be almost as readily available at 10 as it would at 7. NOH take on extra salary but maybe get in a position to make Ross or Lamb and they could use Jefferson to help mentor one of them and fill minutes that Ariza vacated or Biedrins gives them a big body to replace Okafor and an experienced running mate for Anthony Davis.
With Boston owning 21st and 22nd picks, they could have a trade up option if not as far as NOH at 10 to maybe Milwaukee at 12 who seem to have trouble recruiting players but often unearth unsung players further down the draft. For as team like Boston perhaps looking for one more run or for a more proven player then the 12th pick or so could appeal to them especially if they could unite Coach Rivers with his son who is in that draft range. The Bucks could take a couple of decent prospects at 21 and 22 and if one comes off then they are onto a winner.
We could perhaps see the likes of Brooklyn ( New Jersey) and the Knicks trying to buy into the draft if there is someone they like the look of, Miami and Oklahoma’s picks could be available as both may favour recruiting a quality FA instead of drafting someone who could be left at the end of the bench. GSW’s 30th pick is another one which could get offers as are Cleveland’s pair of early 2nd rounders. Another team to perhaps watch are the Spurs who although they have traded their own first rounder away have a knack of spotting hidden talent so could swoop for an early 2nd rounder.