The 2011 NBA Draft kicks off live from Newark, New Jersey Thursday June 23 at 4:00pm pacific on ESPN. Although the league faces a looming labor dispute, the NBA Draft will go on as planned. As is always the case with the NBA Draft, rumors have been swirling about trades ranging from reserves to super stars. One minute the Warriors might trade Ekpe Udoh and a pick for Robin Lopez, the next minute the Kings are snooping around Raymond Felton. Throw in your basic Dwight Howard rumor and it's been a wild few weeks.
The Golden State Warriors enter the draft with two picks. They will select No. 11 in the first round and No. 44 in the second round. They originally held the No. 41 pick in the second round but that passed through the New Jersey Nets to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Warriors acquired No. 44 from Phoenix.
The Sacramento Kings enter the draft with three picks. They will select No. 7 in the first round and No. 35 and No. 60 in the second round. The Kings acquired No. 60 from Chicago via Milwaukee.
There are question marks about the quality of the lottery talent in this draft so it will be interesting to see if there are many big trades on draft night. It seems like every year there's at least one big trade involving a relatively high pick. However, if the demand is not there for the talent at the top, we might not see much. Of course, that won't stop the rumors from circulating.
Over the course of the next few days we'll keep you up to date with the trade rumors, the picks and the analysis of the Warriors and Kings various picks on Thursday. In the meantime, you can check out the many NBA mock drafts that have been circulating in recent weeks to get an idea of where players are being projected. One could argue throwing darts while blindfolded can be just as accurate a predictor of draft results, but they at least provide us with an interpretation of team needs.