After posting a 21-45 record in 2011-12, the New Orleans Hornets knew they needed to make huge changes. With the #1 and #10 picks in the 2012 draft, they had the resources to do so…and did.
As everyone suspected, New Orleans took former Kentucky stud Anthony Davis with the first overall pick. Davis clearly exhibited the most star potential after guiding the Wildcats to a National Championship, among many other accomplishments during his freshman year. Although Davis was obviously the top choice, the Hornets' next pick is what makes their lineup interesting.
With the #10 pick, the Hornets selected former Duke star Austin Rivers. Although some were speculative about Rivers, after hitting a game winning 3-pointer in an away game against longtime rival UNC, the 19-year-old proved he could compete on a big stage. Known for his quickness, shooting ability, and athleticism, Rivers will definitely add a new dimension to New Orleans' offense.
The best part about the Hornets' newest players is that they have already become good friends. Prior to the draft, the two expressed interest in playing together and now have the chance to. Team chemistry is necessary for success at any level, and Davis and Rivers cleverly are working towards it.
But can the Hornets be successful putting a majority of the team's weight on two teenagers? Oklahoma City has proven that youth can in fact succeed and give the Hornets an example to follow. After owning the draft in recent years, the Thunder built a powerhouse team with a core that has an average age of 23. Their young talent has matured together and built chemistry that is not seen on many other teams. Although they were defeated by Miami in the NBA Finals, Oklahoma City has many years ahead of them and is hungry to win multiple championships.
The Hornets do not have quite the complete group Oklahoma City does, but they certainly are in a good position to create their own. With 23-year-old Eric Gordon already on the team, the future looks very bright. If he can stay healthy, there is no question Gordon can consistently put up big numbers and work well with Rivers and Davis. The three will have time to mature together and could potentially become a force in the West.
But New Orleans won't be content with their new "big three." After finally getting rid of Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor, the Hornets have given themselves a ton of cap space. If they also buy out Rashard Lewis' $23.7 million contract, they will have over $20 million to work with. With so much flexibility, the Hornets have the ability to make major pickups in the next two years; they are expected to go after one or two second-tier free agents this summer, possibly focusing on Willie Green and Omer Asik.
The Hornets are not expected to immediately win a championship, but the team clearly has all the pieces to for success. With a young core and the most flexibility of any NBA team, it will be very interesting to watch New Orleans develop.
Fan Hub Action
Marcy Kelly June 12th
Wow! I must have listened to a completely differnt press conference. Oh, wait- you convinently left off all of the good things they just got…
Nathan Devine June 5th
The dude is nasty. The fastball is REAL heavy at 97-100. Steady improvement every year.
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
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