The only sure things in this world are death, taxes and the NBA draft.
As of this moment, we are firmly positioned in the 12th slot of the upcoming draft, 4.5 games behind #11 Portland and 3.5 games ahead of Indiana and Philadelphia. Barring some sort of ping pong ball miracle we will probably be selecting somewhere between 11 and 14.
So, let's bid a fond farewell to Michal Beasley, Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo and DeAndre Jordan. Gone too will probably be the two guards and small forwards that we don't really covet, specifically Nicolas Batum, Danilo Gallinari, Eric Gordon and Donte Green.
So, if those elite eight are gone, who is left for us? It seems that there may be plenty. The following is a list of three players at each of three positions that we want to fill most - center, power forward and point guard. Sorry Chase Budinger, you will have to take your swing man abilities somewhere else. Yes, a few of these guys may be gone by our pick, and there is no guarantee that all of these guys will enter the draft this year. But at least one of these guys has to - has to be there for us.
Starting with the centers -
Roy Hibbert, 7-2, 280 lbs., Georgetown, Senior Yes, the same Roy Hibbert that either would be a King right now or would have been drafted before #10 last year, likely dropping Joakim Noah into our lap, for better or worse. Hibbert is a good rebounder and shot blocker. He has a relatively good shooting touch (including from the line) and is known as a smart player. He's not real fast (think Miller and Hawes) but with the growing number of bigs in the west (Shaq, Bynum, Oden, etc.) his size would be welcome.
Brook Lopez, 7-0, 250 lbs., Stanford, Sophomore See Roy Hibbert and subtract 2 inches and 30 pounds and you have Brook Lopez.
Kosta Kofous, 7-1, 250 lbs., Ohio State, Freshman Good shooter out to 20 feet and plays down low, too, but he has virtually no left hand. Effective defensively though not in the class of Hibbert or Lopez (yet he is younger). The Ilgauskas comparison is probably too easy, but I'll go with it anyway.
On to the power forwards -
Darrell Arthur, 6-9, 230 lbs., Kansas, Sophomore He has mad, mad hops, a tremendous finisher and shot blocker. A decent shooter but he could improve his range. He is a so-so rebounder and is a little foul proned at times, though these items may improve with discipline and maturity.
Kevin Love, 6-9, 260 lbs., UCLA, Freshman Think of a college level Tim Duncan on the offensive end, he has the complete package. Love is not a high flyer and there are questions as to whether or not his defensive game (he is currently a very good rebounder) can translate to the NBA level.
Serge Ibaka, 6-10, 220 lbs., Spain (via the Congo), 19 Tremendous athlete can jump out of the gym. A longer Gerald Wallace type. Raw but slightly more refined than other current Congo products Saer Sene and Desagna Diop. Probably the biggest project on this list.
And the point guards -
Jerryd Bayless, 6-3, 185 lbs., Arizona, Freshman He is lightning fast and does a pretty good job of controlling a game. A smart player and a pretty decent defender. A very good shooter but not selfish. More of a point guard than Douby but not as much as Udrih. You could most easily envision him in a Bobby Jackson or Monta Ellis role at this point in time.
D.J. Augustin, 5-11, 180 lbs., Texas, Sophomore A true point guard. Very quick. Decent from 3 point range and improving his mid-range game. If he were 6-3 or taller he would probably go much higher in the draft.
Darren Collison, 6-1, 170 lbs., UCLA, Sophomore "Oh My God!" fast. A big time competitor and a very good defender. Long arms for his size (Douby) allows him to play taller than he is. Needs to bulk up and become a more consistent shooter.
Of course there are others and those yet to make a name for themselves at this year's NCAA tourney. The list will expand and contract a few dozen times between now and late June. But for now, here are a few guys to keep an eye on for the next few months. And for grins, a little "eh, why not?" poll below -