My Pick For The Hornets!

For Months I tauted Slovenian guard Goran Dragic as a player the Hornets should draft 27th overall.

Instead the Hornets traded their 1st round pick to Portland for 3 million dollars.

So, where did Dragic end up?  Phoenix.

If he becomes something special I’ll of couse say….I told you so…..to all Hornets people who’ll listen!

(Below article courtesy: The Arizona Republic)

Goran Dragic tried to stay awake throughout Thursday night’s NBA draft. But at 3 a.m., his body gave in to the sleep that a day of basketball had demanded.

At his family home in Slovenia, the 22-year-old heard a phone ring and a voice congratulate him on becoming property of the Suns.

How could he know he was awake at 5 a.m., with reality being the same as his dream? “When I was a kid, it was my dream to play in the NBA, and it’s come true,” Dragic said from national-team workouts in Slovenia. “It was my wish that the Suns pick me.”

Dragic’s dream was bound to come true after a strong showing at a camp in Italy two weeks ago. It was the Suns’ dream to land him that would have shattered without a trade that let them take him with the 45th overall pick.

After No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose, the Suns said there was not a better point guard in the draft. They wrestled with the idea of taking him 15th if first-round choice Robin Lopez had not been available.

The Suns think they have a point guard for years after Steve Nash leaves.

“It’s really unbelievable that we did it, because I know Detroit was going to take him with the next pick,” Suns Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin said.

Dragic cannot be bought out of his contract with Spanish club Tau Ceramica until July 2009. The buyout is $1,550,000, with the Suns able to pay $500,000.

In 2010 he would be free, but he likely will be with the Suns by next summer. Hopes of arranging an exit this summer range from promising to guarded.

The Suns can’t be involved in talks this year but have more hope than the San Antonio Spurs did with Tau regarding 2007 first-round pick Tiago Splitter, who had signed a richer extension with Tau. Splitter is integral to Tau. Dragic is a Tau backup who was loaned to the Slovenian and Adriatic leagues.

Dragic is represented by BDA Sports Management, which also has Suns players Nash, Leandro Barbosa, D.J. Strawberry and Alando Tucker.

The goal is for Dragic to play a low-pressure role as the Suns’ third point guard this season behind a veteran free-agent pickup such as Tyronn Lue, Anthony Johnson or Chris Duhon.

“I’d rather have him here, because I think he can play now,” Suns General Manager Steve Kerr said.

Raves for Dragic are stronger than the most recent Suns European point-guard hope, Milos Vujani who had a serious knee injury and is a backup overseas.

Dragic, a left-hander, has athleticism (37 1/2-inch vertical leap) that Griffin said shows in his play. He must get stronger, but he tested well for quickness. He defends well enough that Tony Parker hit just one shot against him in a 27-point game last year.

He wants to be with the Suns. Dragic made a 20-hour trip to Phoenix for a June 22 workout.

“I can learn a lot from Steve Nash,” Dragic said of his idol, who has two contract years left. “I’m going to practice hard and listen to him and (coach) Terry Porter, a great point guard.”

Dragic, who is 6 feet 4 and 190 pounds, speaks English, Spanish, Slovenian and Serbian and is the son of a driving instructor and book-factory accountant. A soccer injury prompted him to take up basketball at age 12.

A suns.com video shows the draft-night phone scramble to land Dragic. It ends with high fives and jubilation.

The Spurs took Dragic for the Suns at No. 45 in return for the No. 48 pick, a 2009 second-round pick owed to Phoenix by Golden State and $500,000.

“And we didn’t even have to give them 750 ($750,000),” Kerr said in the video to Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver.

“250! Let’s go to Cabo tonight,” Sarver said.

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