The Case For Damion James (plus a few trades)

I think the first 11 picks of the 2010 NBA Draft this month will go as follows (barring any trades…but expect lots of movement):

1. Washington: John Wall

2. Philly: Evan Turner

3. New Jersey: Derrick Favors

4. Minny: Wesley Johnson

5. Sacramento: Greg Monroe

6. Golden State: DeMarcus Cousins

7. Detroit: Patrick Patterson

8. LA Clippers: Al-Farouq Aminu

9. Utah: Luke Babbitt

10. Indiana: Gordon Hayward

11. New Orleans Hornets: Damion James/SF/University of Texas

Since April I’ve been touting Luke Babbitt as the Hornets pick…but now I just can’t see him slipping to them at #11. 

I also keep thinking about what new Hornets head coach Monty Williams told me at his introductory press conference.

When asked about the teams defense and if the Hornets needed to upgrade in the paint Williams said “I think David West and Emeka Okafor took too much heat for the points in the paint, sure they have to improve but the wing players have to improve on defense as well.  It’s like a football team, if the cornerbacks and safeties are leading the team in tackles than the linebackers and d-line aren’t doing their jobs.”

Translation:  The Hornets need to get some defensive stops from the SG & SF positions!

Look, I love Marcus Thornton as much as anyone but he isn’t a great defender.  Peja and MoPete are older and busted up and far from stoppers.

So that leads me to the selection of Damion James.

(analysis courtesy of:  www.nbadraft.net)

 http://www.nbadraft.net/players/damion-james

  • Plays with an extremely high motor on the defensive end … Averages a steal and block per game for his career … Has the strength and lateral quickness to guard multiple positions.  Well-built forward oozing with athleticism and agility … Exhibits superb fluidity of movement, running the floor like a guard (3.09 sprint at pre-draft combine) and quick to the basketball. Has been a rebounding machine since the moment he took the court for Texas … Possesses a 37 inch vertical leap, 7 foot wingspan and pursues every board relentlessly … Very quick off his feet on multiple jumps … He has taken his ferocious rebounding to another level through sixteen games as a Senior, averaging 11.2 per game … His scoring average has seen significant growth each season, from 8 ppg as a freshman to 17 ppg as a senior … The staple of his offensive game is the mid-range jumper … Takes a few power dribbles to his right or left and gets great lift on his shot … Combined with a high release, his jumper is virtually unblockable … Prefers to face up opponents in the post and elevate over the top … Displays range out to the college three, shooting 41% as a sophomore, 33% as a junior and 36% as a senior … In constant motion on the offensive end looking for openings and easy buckets … Shooting an efficient 48% from the field throughout his four years … Explosive finisher at the rim … Displays a great set of hands, retrieving even errant deliveries … If he gets his hands on the ball, he doesn’t let it go.    

I also have some potential trade scenarios:

TRADE #1

Hornets Receive: Marcin Gortat & Brandon Bass & 2010 2nd Round Draft Pick

Magic Receive: James Posey & Morris Peterson

Why The Deal Works: The Magic are contenders that play four wing players around Dwight Howard.  Orlando does not use Bass or Gortat.  Getting two veteran playoff tested wing players only helps the Magic next season.  Plus, the Magic get salary relief when Peterson’s contract expires in the summer of 2011.  The Hornets get two young front court players they desperately need and a bit of salary relief immediately. 

TRADE #2

Hornets Receive: New York Knicks Two 2nd Round Draft Picks (#38 & #39)

Knicks Receive: Julian Wright

Why The Deal Works: Wright is in need of a fresh start and is the type of super freak athlete who could excel in Mike D’Antoni’s fast paced system.  The Hornets get two picks to help add depth to the roster.     

Fletcher’s 2010-2011 New Orleans Hornets:

*I don’t think the Hornets will have the money to sign any free agent players other than minimum salary guys this summer.

PG: Chris Paul, Darren Collison

SG: Marcus Thornton, Greivis Vasquez (2010 2nd Rd. Pick via NY) 

SF: Damion James (2010 1st Rd. Pick), Peja Stojakovic, Ryan Wittman (2010 2nd Rd. Pick via Orlando)

PF: David West, Brandon Bass, Brain Cusworth (Cusworth is an inexpensive free agent pickup from the Hornets Las Vegas summer league team) 

C: Emeka Okafor, Marcin Gortat, Omar Samhan (2010 2nd Rd. Pick via NY)

*If the Hornets can stay healthy and make a run in the playoff race they can use Peja’s expiring contract at the trade deadline to acquire help (maybe with a team like Golden State.  I keep hoping for a Corey Maggette/Vladimir Radmonovic for Peja trade).   

*I think Darius Songaila will opt out of his contract and sign elsewhere.  I also think that the team will choose not to re-sign Aaron Grey, Sean Marks and Ike Diogu.

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3 Responses

  1. Not a chance Songila opts out of his contract

  2. i agree with songila or peja will not opt out. there is a definite need for a SF but there is a definite need for a big man…West/Okafor is not gonna cut it at PF/C. They’re both undersized for their position.

  3. Songaila will almost certainly exercise his option.

    Posey and Mo-P for Bass and Gortat? Orlando’s GM hasn’t recently had brain damage, has he?

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