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Countdown to the draft lottery, question #5: T minus 18 days

This year's draft is crucial to the rebuild, but with uncertainty plaguing a watered-down draft class, a few have begun casting their eye towards next year's crop. With the new CBA possibly introducing a two-year college requirement to help drive down team sponsored player development costs, the 2012 group may not be as strong as some are projecting.

John Wall has set the bar for next year at making the playoffs and that isn't outside the realm of possibility, though strong playoff performances from the young Pacers and Sixers indicate it won't be an easy road. It's been said we need a running mate/All-Star/MVP/HOF'er to play next to John, and finishing out of the lottery as a non-contender isn't likely to help in that department. Ending up where we've started, we must get serious mileage out of this year's selections.

Unless things go very well, we'll find ourselves with another project, perhaps even two. Once again, the spotlight will be on our team culture. There has been definite improvement, much of it by subtraction. If those projects come on board, the culture must be ferociously committed to getting our youth to put in the extra hours needed to become great. Will it?