The Case For Luke Babbitt

I keep reading mock drafts and columns from NBA writers and seeing that they believe the Hornets will take a big man in this June’s NBA draft.

I completely disagree!

As I’ve stated before on this blog the best big men will be long gone by the time the Hornets pick 11th overall in the 1st round.

So why take a project player like Marshall University center Hassan Whiteside?

Whiteside may or may not develop and if he does develop it won’t be for a few years (plus every time I hear about ‘developmental’ big men I cringe and think about busts like Cedric Simmons and Hilton Armstrong).

The Hornets have to be in ‘WIN NOW’ mode in an effort to ensure that Chris Paul stays happy and does not bolt when he becomes a free agent in 2012. 

In my opinion the Hornets most glaring need is at small forward…not center or power forward.

I love Peja Stojakovic but injuries and inconsistent play have ravaged the sharp shooter.  Julian Wright has not emerged and is looking like a draft bust.  Last season the team was so thin at SF they started Morris Peterson at that position. 

So I say draft a really good wing player!

The last time I wrote a blog about the Hornets draft I said that I would love to see the team draft Butler University small forward Gordon Hayward.  If Hayward is available I’d love for the Hornets to select him…but the darling of the final four seems to be quickly moving up draft boards.  In his mock draft ESPN insider Chad Ford has Hayward going to the Los Angeles Clippers with the 9th overall selection in the 1st round.

So, lets assume Hayward is taken before the Hornets can grab him at #11.

The Hornets should select University of Nevada (Reno) small forward Luke Babbitt.

After reading up on Babbitt and watching several interviews he’s conducted I’ve come to the conclusion that I really like this guy.

Here is analysis from about Babbitt:

  • On the offensive end, Babbitt possesses an extremely high skill level to go along with an outstanding feel for the game, assets which allow him to score easily and efficiently from all over the floor. The smooth left-handed shooter is hitting with deadeye accuracy from the free-throw (89%) and three-point lines (41%), while also showing strong ability off the dribble, namely with his mid-range jumper.Using a combination of ball fakes and jab steps along with rangy strides with the ball and excellent footwork, Babbitt does a very good job getting separation for his jumper in spite of his limited athletic ability. Getting open inside the arc, he shows very good ability to hit jumpers on the move, going left and right, with a hand in his face, and fading away from the basket.

    Babbitt’s shot has consistent mechanics and a high release point, while he also has NBA three-point range. His ability to hit shots in a variety of situations if very impressive for a player his age, though there are concerns about how his off-the-dribble shots will translate to the next level against longer, more athletic defenders.

Here is another link to a great break-down of Babbitt’s skills:

As for the Hornets big man situation.  David West is obviously still a tremendous offensive power forward and a strong team leader.  As inconsistent and ineffective as Emeka Okafor was at times last season he also showed signs of being the rebounder and shot blocker that the team envisioned getting when they traded him straight-up for Tyson Chandler.  Darius Songaila is a very very solid backup…..and in limited action after being acquired in a trade Aaron Grey looked like a player that can be effecitve. 

As I’ve stated before I think the Hornets also should sign soon-to-be free agent big man Ian Mahinmi and then trade for another big man.

The Hornets could perhaps trade Julian Wright for a low 1st round or high 2nd round pick.

If the Hornets acquire another pick I think they should draft St. Mary’s College center Omar Samhan. 

The Hornets could also try to pry British big man Joel Freeland away from Portland via a trade.  Freeland is often compared to New York Knicks center David Lee.  Freeland is currently playing in Spain but reportedly has a very managable buyout. 

Click Link Below To Watch Joel Freeland Play:


One Response

  1. the hornets need wing players period. West and Okafor are undersized for PF and C. A big man would be suitable but if no one is available then i say trade. First things first..we need a COACH!

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