A little pre-draft look at how things might play out...
It's hardly news that after the first two picks play out the draft could devolve into utter chaos. As I type this there are three hours left before the first pick is announced. This is prime time behind the scenes. Final decisions are starting to crystallize, contingencies are being made, and we should start hearing about potential trades soon.
The first and biggest question is what Atlanta will do with their picks. Their ownership is so fractured that you don't know what they're capable of. The most likely route is they'll play it safe and use the picks themselves. It's cheaper that way. But if they want to be a cog in a major deal it's sitting right there for them.
Assuming they use the picks whoever they take at #3 will start a domino chain. You know they want a point guard but it's hard to see them taking one of the three available that high. Al Horford seems to be the main consolation prize in this draft after the obvious two picks. If they take him picks 4-10 should be a free-for-all.
After that you have to start asking questions about the Celtics (5), Bucks (6), Bobcats (8), and Bulls (9). All have been rumored to be willing to move their pick. With the Celtics and Bucks it's probably a matter of how much raw talent they can get in return. Charlotte's main question is how much salary they're willing to take on. There are some obnoxiously big names out there but they're very expensive. The Bulls need certain skills, making a trade less likely, but they're also the most willing of the group to make a move. Any or all of those picks could be in other teams' hands before the draft starts. Or even more likely (because of that rule about not leaving yourself without first round picks in consecutive years) any of the players picked there could be wearing different caps before the night is through.
As far as individual players, with the Oden/Durant controversy prematurely resolved, the big questions in my mind are where Yi Jianlian, Joakim Noah, and Nick Young will go. All three are wildcards. They could go pretty high or they could slip.
One team that hasn't been mentioned much in trade rumors is the Golden State Warriors. All three of those wildcard players would suit them pretty well. They also have some talent to dump and probably need to shuffle the roster a little. If I had to pick one team you haven't heard about yet that was poised to make a move, they would be my pick.
The major questions for Blazer fans, of course, are whether Portland will be able to move up, how far, and what will it cost them? There's no way on God's green earth that the Blazers could use all five of their picks. Unless there's a trade be prepared to stumble over a ton of name pronunciations when the second round rolls around. This is a seller's draft for sure. I'm not sure the price will be right for Portland to move up very high. Whether we move will probably depend who slips to the 20's. If they can't get into the first round look for them to package a ton of later picks to get higher into the 30's.
I know it's a stupid exercise to put probabilities on things you have so little idea about, but from my perspective here are the chances I see of various things happening:
Portland takes Greg Oden-- 99.99999%
One of the top 9 picks is traded-- 85%
Two of the top 9 picks are traded-- 50%
More than two of the top 9 picks are traded-- 20%
Kevin Garnett is involved in any of these deals--10%
Kobe Bryant is involved in any of these deals--1%
Zach Randolph gets traded today-- 5%
Zach Randolph gets traded this summer-- 50%
Zach Randolph gets traded before training camp in '08-'09-- 95%
Any blockbuster, big-name deal is done today-- 12%
Portland moves up into the top 10-- 5.3%
Portland moves up into the 11-20 range-- 15%
Portland moves up into the 20-30 range-- 55%
Portland makes a trade of some sort-- 99%
We'll see how it goes.