By Jon Rothstein
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1. BIGGEST WINNER
The New Orleans Hornets. In addition to landing the top overall selection that will wind up being Kentucky big man Anthony Davis, the Hornets also have the tenth overall pick to select another player that should be able to have an impact at some point over the next few seasons. With those two players and a healthy Eric Gordon back in the fold, New Orleans is starting to resemble a team that’s in pretty good shape after they dealt Chris Paul to the Clippers.
2. BIGGEST LOSER
The Brooklyn Nets. It’s tough to think of a team starting a new era in a more difficult way. The Nets didn’t earn a selection in the top three meaning their pick went to Portland by virtue of the Gerald Wallace trade that occurred in the middle of last season. That coupled with the fact that Deron Williams’ future with the franchise is beyond uncertain means the early years in Brooklyn could resemble some of the darkest ones the franchise saw in New Jersey.
3. CLEVELAND GAINING STEAM
LeBron James’ stunning decision to bolt his hometown may have been devastating two years ago but the Cavaliers are starting to build their way back with a solid core of young talent. Cleveland solidified their point guard and center position in last year’s draft with Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson —-and they’re in perfect position to add another solid piece with the fourth overall pick. Look for North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes to be a target if he’s on the board as a solid option to give Irving someone to pass the ball to on the wing.
4. DION’S CLIMB
I’ve made no secrets about the fact that Syracuse’s Dion Waiters was the elite guard in college basketball last season and now it looks like the talented combo guard is starting to rise up the big board. Waiters has reportedly been terrific in pre draft workouts and is quickly climbing into the lottery. Look for the broad shouldered Waiters to continue to raise his status as we get closer and closer to June 28th.
5. WHEEL AND DEAL
There is a general consensus that after Davis, there is a major drop off in the talent level of this draft. With that said, you get the feeling, trade possibilities could be circulating more regularly than usual in the weeks and days leading up to the moment where NBA Commissioner David Stern takes the podium on the last Thursday in June. Keep an eye on Portland, who has two lottery picks and six and 11 to be a major candidate to make a deal.
Who should go No. 2 in the draft? Make your pick in the comments below…