With so much uncertainty in the NBA it’s impossible to talk about the future of the Hornets…on and off the court.
The only thing that is certain is that the annual NBA draft will be held on June 23rd.
Last season the Hornets traded away their 1st round pick in the 2011 draft to obtain Jerryd Bayless from Portland. Bayless was then traded to Toronto for Jarrett Jack.
In essence, Jack is the Hornets 2011 1st round pick…which is great…because the Hornets would probably not be able to find a player of his caliber in what is considered a very weak 2011 draft class.
Because of Dell Demps wheeling and dealing the Hornets have only one selection, a 2nd round pick (#45 Overall), in the upcoming draft.
I am very confident that Demps and head coach Monty Williams will find a player at #45 that can eventually help the Hornets.
The track record of these two proves they’ll discover and develop someone.
Demps comes from San Antonio…and no organization is better at unearthing gems than the Spurs. From Tony Parker (28th overall pick) to Manu Ginobili (57th overall) to Tiago Splitter (29th overall), George Hill (26th overall) and DeJuan Blair (37th overall)…the Spurs are the best when it comes to player evaluation and development.
Monty Williams comes from Portland where he developed young players like Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez, Wesley Matthews…as well as stars like Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge.
So which direction will the Hornets go at #45?
Look, defensively the Hornets are good…CP3, Ariza, Okafor, Landry, Jack…even Gray and Pondexter…are all excellent to above average defenders.
That said, the Hornets lacked serious offensive punch all season long…so I think the team will invest in a guy who can put the ball in the basket.
(Sidebar Comment: I think Marco Belinelli is a good player who gained tremendous playing experience last season and who will return to the Hornets and have a solid year next season…but both he and Trevor Ariza were horribly inconsistent scoring so getting a wing who can score is nesessary)
So, which player could be looking for a home in New Orleans this summer?
I’ve got four guys to keep an eye on.
All of my picks are european players who seem like they’d fit with the Hornets. European players have until the second week of June to remove their name from the 2011 NBA draft but as of right now all of these guys are still in. The reason I go with 4 euros is because the Spurs and Blazers have tendencies to draft foreign players late and develop them.
And if their is a lockout (which seems like a given) the player the Hornets select could stay overseas and continue to improve. Even if the NBA avoids a lenghty lockout (which seems unlikely) the Hornets could still stash their newest player overseas for another year or so in an effort to allow him to play and mature.
#1: Robin Benzing/SF/Germany/6’10, 210 lbs./22 Years Old
#2: Tomislav Zubcic/SF/Croatia/6’10, 210 lbs./21 Years Old
#3: Nihad Djedovic/SG/Bosnia & Herzegovina/6’6, 195 lbs./21 years Old
#4: Xavi Rabaseda/SG/Spain/6’7, 205 lbs./22 Years Old
- Robin Benzing is one of the fast-emerging young stars of Germany’s much-improving youth system. He is an excellent shooter from the wing with good height and some driving ability and fine ball handling skills for his size. Though nearly a 7-footer, Benzing does not posses the power and body strength to take defenders into the blocks.
Right now Robin is too skinny but reminds some of Dirk Nowitzki at the same age, but a better defensive player. He lacks Dirk’s frame however, with thin shoulders. He takes pride in good defense and taking charges. Besides that, he has quite good ball handling and can shoot threes pretty well. Competes hard, strong motor. Has a long ways to go, but decent talent and size.
- Player with great size and wingspan, his game shows great versatility and mobility.
Dribbling used correctly for his height and always dangerous behind the arc.
He is very thin and needs to bulk up to really take advantage of his size.
Tomislav shows some driving ability and ball handling skills for his size.
One of the players with the most potential to be seen.Has phisycal talent and ability to play like 3 or 4. http://www.eurohopes.com/player/477/tomislav-zubcic/
- The main virtue of Nihad is, no doubt, his scoring ability and his ability to create playing one on one.
His versatility, power and speed in the first step its a nice tool to go to the basket, scoring many of his points.
Djedovic has a good shooting mechanics, shooting beyond from the 6.25, although their percentages against senior competitors are not being very good.
Excellent body control around the rim, a solid frame, and the hunger to put the ball in the rim that most great scorers have.
He needs to show more leadership and not just simply rely on his scorer power. http://www.eurohopes.com/player/1312/nihad-djedovic/
- Xavi Rabaseda (’89) is one of the big surprises in spanish ACB this season. The 1.98 forward arrived this summer to Fuenlabrada loaned by Regal FC Barcelona. Last season he played in LEB Gold with Cornellà (14.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists) and some months later can be choosen in next NBA Draft. He is currently averaging 9.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 22 minutes. Eurohopes staff contacted him. http://www.eurohopes.com/news/1222/rabaseda-to-eh-the-draft-could-be-a-good-prize-after-the-work-ive-been-doing-but-thats-not-enough-with-video/