The drama of who will go first in Thursdays NBA Draft was settled months ago, as Chicago native Anthony Davis took college basketball by storm en route to leading Kentucky to a national championship and sweeping every individual honor he could rack up in the process.
But what apparently still hasnt been decided is which player will hear his name called after the Hornets select Davis.
The seemingly cursed Bobcats reportedly favor Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson, though North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes, Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal and small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Davis Kentucky teammate, are supposedly still in the mix to varying degrees. The odds of Beal going to Charlotte dropped when the Bobcats acquired former Bulls guard Ben Gordon in a trade with the Pistons, while team owner Michael Jordan has to worry about the stigma of picking another player from his alma mater after drafting bust Sean May a few years back and Kidd-Gilchrists raw offensive game might not be a match for the scoring-challenged squad.
However, although it appears Robinson is the obvious choice, Cleveland is reportedly interested in acquiring the second pick from Charlotte - for its own No. 4 pick and either the 24th pick or two early second-rounders - to ensure that Washington, selecting third, doesnt pick the player the Cavaliers want.
In that scenario, Robinson would still be on the board for the Bobcats with the fourth pick, unless the Wizards decided to pick the D.C. native, despite having acquired veteran frontcourt help from New Orleans, in the form of center Emeka Okafor and small forward Trevor Ariza.
When it comes down to it, all of those teams need significant help and while all four candidates for the second pick have their positive qualities, no rookie will be a savior. Whether or not any trades are made, it comes down to whether a physically-mature power forward who should be able to start from Day 1 of his career, but possibly never become a superstar (Robinson), an average-sized shooting guard with a beautiful-looking stroke and a limited sample size of success (Beal), another supposed sharpshooter, this one with size, as well as questions about his upside and ability to get to the rim (Barnes) or a tenacious defender, energy player, open-court athlete and an unpolished offensive game (Kidd-Gilchrist) is the player that can help a terrible team improve to the point where a light can be seen at the end of the tunnel.
On paper, they all seem right and they all seem wrong, but thats the beauty of the NBA Draft, basically a crapshoot with a lot of research done, as theres no way to measure work ethic, heart, off-the-court influences and other intangibles, not to mention the chance that injuries stymie a promising career.
If the Bobcats do keep the pick, Robinson - who looks like a 10-year starter and maybe never develops into an All-Star, but helps Charlotte immediately with his motor and winning mentality - is the safe bet, but this time of year, youre damned if you do and youre relegated back to the lottery to serve your penance if you dont.