There's a great piece up at ESPN by Chad Ford (insider only, unfortunately) in which he simply reports on the various "tiers" of this draft, based on his polling of GMs around the league. (Here's the link: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/blog/_/name/nba_draft/id/9406175/2013-nba-draft-ranking-prospects-draft-tier)
In some ways, it's pretty bracing: according to most GMs, there are no players in tier one *or* tier two in this draft. (Tier one meaning "sure-fire" all-star and possible franchise player -- like Blake Griffin, John Wall, or Anthony Davis, the three tier one guys since 2009 -- and tier two meaning potential all-star (like Beal, MKG, and Barnes last year).
But there are six guys in tier three, who would usually be the guys getting picked from, say, the 3rd or 4th pick through the 10th (you know who they are). This affirms my general sense of the draft: moving up from 8 to 3 seems like a really big deal to me, because I'm fairly confident that we're going to get a very solid player -- and really, a player who's not a significantly worse prospect than most #3 or #4 picks -- whereas I think the 8th pick is a really dismal place to be.
Anyway, the GMs, in aggregate, do have a 4th tier of like 6 more guys -- guys who would normally go like 10-20 in a better draft.
The second piece of good news, though, is that tier 5 is enormous -- Ford says he's never seen it so large. And what that means is that with a high second round pick (thanks again, ping pong balls!) we should have a choice of guys who are more or less equivalent as prospects to the guys normally chosen in the early 20s. Not to make too big a deal of that, but we shouldn't undersell it, either. I know Ernie doesn't inspire any confidence at all. But I think we have a much better than usual chance to get a good rotational player out of our first second-round pick. And that's what Ford's poll of GMs suggests as well.
So: better-than-average starter and solid rotation player from this draft? It's much better than I would have hoped for just a couple of weeks ago, and pretty damn good (if we execute) given where this team is at right now.
At the risk of repeating several earlier posts I've made, I think our lottery luck this year changes the likely trajectory of the team over the next 5 years or so -- maybe not massively, but pretty significantly. I'm feeling good about the draft.