Although we are still in January, we have a pretty fair idea who will be competing to bring home the NBA crown this Spring. The East will come down to Orlando and Chicago. Philadelphia is off to a tremendous start, but can't compete with the Magic or Bulls in a seven game series. In the West, Oklahoma City, defending champion Dallas and the two terrors in Los Angeles appear to be the favorites. Like the Sixers in the East, Denver is off to a terrific start, but cannot expect to outlast the Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks or Thunder in an extended series.
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How do the have nots build towards being competitive in the post season? Through the draft. Each year, there are a handful of sure things, game changers in the NBA draft, and they all come in the lottery. Too many teams are on the edge, losing year in and year out in the first round of the playoffs. In order to get good, you must first be bad, real bad. Big market teams can get it done through free agency, but most teams do not have that luxury. Many of the same big market teams can also sell good weather, the teams in Texas and Southern California and Florida. Philadelphia has done a nice job through the draft as have the Clippers, which enabled them to package prospects for Chris Paul.
Which NBA teams have already made strides to improve their position for the 2012 draft? Lets take a look.
Chicago has the option for Charlotte's first round pick- The rich get richer. (From Tyrus Thomas deal)
Cleveland has the option for Sacramento's first round pick- Could be nice addition to Kyrie Irving.
Boston receives the second of the Clippers two first round picks. By the draft, Celtics could be in total rebuild.
Lakers receives Dallas first round pick- (Lamar Odom deal)
Minnesota receives Utah's first round pick (Al Jefferson deal)
New Jersey receives Houston's first round pick. (Terrence Williams deal)
Charlotte receives Minnesota's first round pick. (Chris Paul deal)
Rockets receive New York's first round pick. (Tracy McGrady deal)
Utah receives Golden State's first round pick (via New Jersey)- (Deron Williams deal)
Some of the picks are protected, so they may be parlayed into future drafts.
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Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletic s.
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