Call it a conspiracy, call it karma for a team that didn’t tank, either way it doesn’t matter. The New Orleans Hornets won the NBA Draft Lottery and will soon have a new cornerstone to their franchise. For a franchise that’s been in flux for the last three years or so, it was a great night. Davis should also view it as a great night. He’s going to a team that is defensive minded and a coach who played with David Robinson and Tim Duncan and helped developed LaMarcus Aldridge in to one of the the premiere big man scorers in the league. If there’s another coach in the lottery that is better suited to help Davis develop, I can’t think of him. Most importantly, he’s not being called upon to single handedly save the Charlotte Bobcats.
Drafting Davis is just the beginning of what will be a busy summer for the Hornets. They also have the tenth pick in the draft thanks to the Chris Paul trade. Will they draft another big guy? A scorer like Jared Sullinger perhaps? Or will they look for a point guard like Kendall Marshall to get the ball to both Davis and Eric Gordon. Speaking of Gordon, the Hornets still need to re-sign him, figure out whether they’re bringing back Carl Landry and Chris Kaman. Still, there’s no better way to begin the offseason by getting the best big man prospect since Tim Duncan.
A couple of other draft thoughts:
– North Carolina Forward Harrison Barnes was projected to be the number one pick in the draft last season before deciding to return to UNC. After a season where he didn’t improve, some are acting like he’ll be a bust no matter what. As ESPN’s Chad Ford has said in numerous chats, podcasts, etc., Barnes might be the safest pick in the draft assuming you don’t think you’re getting Kobe Bryant. I love him for Cleveland at number four. He’s the perfect compliment on the wing for Kyrie Irving.
– I’m with CBS Sports’ Matt Moore, the Bobcats should try to trade the number two pick for pieces and if they don’t they should draft Florida guard Bradley Beal. They need a lot of things, scoring above all else and Beal is one of the few in this draft that can produce like a number one guy.
– If I’m a Warriors fan, I’m thrilled if Harrison Barnes drops to seven. If not UNC’s other forward, John Henson would be a great fit for a Warriors team lacking any sort of interior athleticism. He’d look great playing next to Andrew Bogut or David Lee.
– There are a few things all teams could use. Shooters and athletic bigs that can shot block and rebound. It’s also a bonus if they can stretch the floor. There are three guys that I think are potential sleepers because they’re big, can shoot (to varying degrees) and range from very to pretty athletic. There’s so much Josh Smith in Kentucky’s Terrence Jones it’s just silly. A team like Philadelphia could use a guy to defend the paint and run with their guards. Jones would be an excellent choice. Two guys I think will really fly under the radar are Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie and St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson. Moutrie’s is 6’11”, can rebound and really flew under the radar because Mississippi St. wasn’t very good this season. Nicholson isn’t as athletic as Jones or Moultrie, but his game is much more polished and he can score both on the block and from outside.