Chad Ford has been using a "tier system," which he says several teams also use, to breakdown each draft for several years now. Here's a discussion with his article from last year with a good explanation of what it means: http://bbs.clutchfans.com/showthread.php?t=205746&highlight=tier. Basically, a drafter would look at where the "clear breaks" in perceived talent level is among the draft prospects and group similar level players into each tier. Picking among several players within the same tier, a team would consider team needs/fit. However, a team would not reach down a tier (or two) just to fill a need. Of course, this is based on pre-draft perceptions and actual outcome would differ. For example, in 2010, the consensus seems to be that Wall is clearly #1, and the next tier would be Turner/Favors/Johnson/Cousin. Looking back at it, Greg Monroe (#7 pick) is far better than Wesley Johnson (and probably better than Evan Turner, though it's still early). So, where do you think this year's tiers are? Here's my rough estimate: Tier 1 (#1). Anthony Davis: Consensus #1. The team that wins the lotto is unlikely to want to trade down even a spot or 2 without considerable incentive. Tier 2 (##2-5). MKG, Drummond, Thomas Robinson, Bradley Beal Tier 3 (## 6-9). Sullinger, Barnes, Perry Jones, Zeller Tier 4 (##10-16). Henson, Terrence Jones, J. Lamb, Rivers, Marshall, Leonard, Lillard Tier 5 (##17-20):. Q. Miller, T. Ross, Moultrie, Royce White [Edited: Forgot Lillard initially] Of course, this is just a guess. Other people will have different opinions and I'm sure thing will change over the course of the draft combine, workouts, etc. Anyhow, I am thinking that, to the extent that the Rockets want to move up , they'll move up either within their same tier (up to 10th) or up by one tier (6th-9th, which has some of the more highly-touted college players). The availability of the picks of course depens on lotto results, but if things stay where they are, I am thinking Raptors at 8th, Detroit at 9th, Portland at 6th and 11th, Hornets at 10th are some of the possibilities. I am also thinking that, to the extent that the Rockets want to move back from either 14th or 16th, the Celtics are a possible trade partner. They own the 21st and 22nd picks and I am thinking they might have a desire to draft a certain Duke guard currently projected at 16th by Draftexpress' mock draft. The Rockets probably doesn't need extra rookie bodies, but might think these two picks are a better asset than, say, the 16th alone. For what it's worth, Draftexpress has guys like Teague, Evan Fournier, Royce White and Moultrie listed as being possibly available in the 21st-22nd range.