If expectations become reality and the Bulls take Derrick Rose first overall, Pat Riley can get Michael Beasley at No. 2 and then begin the real maneuvering.
Riley, the Heat president, has done well to stir the waters, likely drawing trade offers from teams wanting to move into the spot and undoubtedly not minding the rumors that he prefers O.J. Mayo at that spot anyway. Of course he likes all that in the mix. Riles loves feeling like the master psychologist pushing everyone else's buttons.
The tangible impact is that if Miami does take Beasley as the consolation prize, it creates the aftershocks that could result in other meaningful moves before summer is over. Beasley as the new power forward allows Riley to shop Udonis Haslem, no star but good enough to get interest. Or Riley could get more in return for Shawn Marion, who isn't likely to opt out of his contract, by investing much less money to re-sign Dorell Wright as the small forward than it will take to give Marion an extension in a year.
Either way, the Heat has options, and that in itself is an improvement.
Orlando Magic (52-30 in 2007-08)
The Magic finished 22nd in rebounding, no surprise with Rashard Lewis as the flyweight starting forward forward, proving that Dwight Howard can not actually grab every board. Orlando could go for muscle or count on the healthy return of Tony Battie, who missed the entire season with a shoulder injury, and upgrade at shooting guard.
Then again, maybe this isn't the place to go looking for help. The Magic has not had any measurable return from the draft since 2004.
Washington Wizards (43-39)
Picks: 18, 47
In a rare moment of good fortune for a team that has endured major injury setbacks just before or during the playoffs the last two seasons, the Wizards are picking in the middle of what should become Centers Row, with as many as four big men projected to come off the board in the teens. It may not be a major impact, but it should be an upgrade over Brendan Haywood.
Atlanta Hawks (37-45)
The Hawks traded their first-round pick to the Suns to get Joe Johnson and their second-round pick to the Kings to get Mike Bibby.
Charlotte Bobcats (32-50)
Picks: 9, 38.
The certainties are that the Bobcats would love a point guard to either replace Raymond Felton or for now become a trusted backup and that they would like a power forward to play alongside Emeka Okafor. The unknown is what voice new coach Larry Brown will have in the final decision, or if basketball boss Michael Jordan avoids the Christmas rush and starts tuning out Brown now.
Miami Heat (15-67)
Picks: 2, 52.
This is no 15-win team, of course, not if Dwyane Wade is healthy, Marion is back and versatile offensive weapon Beasley arrives or, in Miami's dream outcome that probably won't happen, Rose does instead. If it doesn't get Rose, the Heat will have to address point guard somehow.