June 8, 2012
By Lia Crawford
After losing Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers a few weeks before the NBA season began, the New Orleans Hornets faced a roller coaster of a season. The loss of their star player along with an injury-ridden bench led them to the worst Western Conference record of 7-23. However, after the recent NBA Draft Lottery, the franchise’s luck seems to have turned around.
Scoring the number one draft pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Hornets will presumably gain the talent of lanky power forward Anthony Davis. The National Champion will likely be headed back to the city of New Orleans where he earned the title this past season with the Kentucky Wildcats.
Many already predict that Davis is a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year; his game has the future potential to be compared to the great big men of the NBA such as Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett. It has been speculated that any team that scores Anthony Davis is guaranteed 50+ wins because of his ability to impact games without scoring high numbers. His defensive and selfless offensive work on the court makes him an asset to an NBA team looking for a skilled big man. The Hornets, who are already a strong defensive team, can only be improved with Davis.
Davis’s strong rebounding and shot blocking skills and his unselfish talent may also help turn free agent, Eric Gordon’s attention back to the Hornets. As a restricted free agent, the Hornets have the ability to match any team’s offer for Gordon and with the addition of Davis; the Hornets will likely seize the opportunity to resign the young two-guard.
Though many have overlooked Gordon, he is arguably one of the best two-guards in the league. Despite his knee injury during the season, this penetrating shooting guard still averaged 20.6 PPG in just nine games played with the Hornets. Davis’s unreal athleticism and Gordon’s speed would make an unbelievable pick and roll and fast break duo and would make the New Orleans Hornets a team to be reckoned with.
As Davis joins the Hornets, he will not be the only person getting used to a new team. New owner, Tom Benson, is another step in the rebuilding process of the team. Benson is looking to turn the Hornets around starting with the fresh 2012-2013 roster.
With the addition of Davis, New Orleans is expected to release Emeka Okafor and possibly Chris Kaman to open up a large part of their salary cap for the free agency. Davis would be rounding out a very strong starting line-up with the likes of Jarrett Jack, Trevor Ariza, Al Farouq Aminu, potentially Eric Gordon, and possibly another future starter with the 10th pick, courtesy of the Chris Paul deal.
Landing Davis and the 10th pick in the NBA Draft will help revitalize the Hornets from their very transitional year. The possibility of adding Damien Lilliard with the 10th pick or another strong guard puts New Orleans back on the map. Though they may not immediately rise to the top next season, this team should be on every NBA team’s radar because of their future potential.
The many doubters of the New Orleans Hornets, post Chris Paul era, are likely retracting their doubts about the team in the upcoming 2012-2013 season after the Draft Lottery. This young team is predicted to build a squad similar to the Thunder and will definitely see the playoffs in the next couple of seasons and become a top franchise in the future.
Long story short, fans, don’t take your eye off of the New Orleans Hornets.