Archive for February, 2012

My Hornets Trade Of The Day (2/28/12)
February 28, 2012

4 Team Deal:

NOLA, Orlando, NJ, Golden State

Nets Get:

Dwight Howard

WHY: Is an explanation necessary?????

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Warriors Get:

Brook Lopez

Mehmet Okur

WHY: Warriors open up playing time for Klay Thompson by dealing Ellis and they finally get a young big man to compliment David Lee and anchor their defense. Okur’s expiring deal also gives Warriors financial flexibility.

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Magic Get:

Chris Kaman/Monta Ellis/MarShon Brooks, Both NJ’s 2012 1st Round Draft Picks and NJ’s 2013 1st Round pick

WHY: Brooks is a rising star, Ellis is an elite scorer who needs a fresh start, the two 1st rounders (one which could be the #1 pick) help the Magic moving forward and Kaman’s expiring gives the team cap relief at season’s end.  This deal also keeps the Magic in the hunt in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. 

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Hornets Get:

Ekpe Udoh/Glen Davis

WHY: Hornets get two young big man (one with strong local ties to Louisiana) for Kaman’s expiring contract

 

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The Hornets Will Be Okay If…
February 15, 2012

SIT ERIC GORDON FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SEASON:

Am I suggesting the Hornets tank the rest of the season?  Kind of!

Look, Gordon playing only hurts the Hornets in the NBA draft lottery.  The more he plays the better chance the Hornets have to win, resulting in fewer ping-pong balls in the hopper.

It was announced last night that Gordon will have surgery on his injured right knee and he’ll miss at least 6 more weeks of action.  The only reason for Gordon to get in shape and compete this season with the Hornets is so he’s ready for the Olympic tryouts this summer. 

If Gordon won’t sign a long-term deal with New Orleans I’d tell him he’s a practice only player when he returns in April for the final 2 weeks of the regular season.

What to do with Gordon this spring/summer is a topic we’ll address in an upcoming blog.  Something to think about…If a playoff team blows you away with a trade offer hoping Gordon can help them make a post season run this year than Dell Demps has to consider moving Gordon.

The Future Of Eric Gordon In New Orleans Is Very Uncertain

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MAKE YOUR DRAFT PICKS COUNT:

The Hornets and the Charlotte Bobcats seem destined to finish with the worst record in the NBA.  Because of the NBA draft lottery their are no guarantees that the worst team gets the first pick.  In 2005 the Hornets tied for the worst record in the NBA and got the 4th selection (Chris Paul).  

The consensus #1 overall choice in 2012 is University of Kentucky power forward Anthony Davis. 

After Davis, the rest of the draft is wide open…and deep…so if the Hornets pick anywhere between #2 and #6 they should be able to land a player many consider to be a star. 

The Hornets have to make this pick count.

The pressure is on in a big way to land the next Chris Paul.

The Hornets also have to hit a home run…or at least a double…with their second 1st round draft pick.  This pick comes from the Minnesota Timberwolves.  The T’wolves are much better than anyone expected so this choice is projected to be anywhere between 9-14. 

My 2012 MOCK HORNETS DRAFT (Assuming the Hornets Pick #1 &#12)

1st Overall Pick (1st Round):

Anthony Davis

Power Forward-Center/University Of Kentucky/6’10, 220 lbs.

WHY:  The soon-to-be freshman of the year in the NCAA.  Defensive-minded Coach Monty Williams will be so over-joyed with happiness that he’s getting the best defensive player to enter the draft in nearly a decade he may not be able to control himself.  While Davis’ offensive game is raw he’ll immediately be a force defensively and has the skill set to become a superstar player.  He’s constantly compared to Chris Bosh and Lamarcus Aldridge.  I love Harrison Barnes from UNC but I don’t think any GM will be able to pass on the amazing potential Davis posesses.

ANTHONY DAVIS ANALYSIS: http://swishscout.com/?page_id=1149   

12th Overall Pick (1st Round):

Austin Rivers

Shooting Guard/Duke University/ 6’4, 200 lbs.

WHY:  If the Hornets land the #1 overall pick (Davis) they should use their second overall selection to take a gunner like Rivers.  The guy is an elite scorer with tremendous maturity and great NBA bloodlines.  Landing the best defensive player and the best (or one of the best) offensive players in the same draft would be a major win for this franchise.  Drafting Rivers would also allow GM Dell Demps to work on deals to move Eric Gordon (assuming Gordon is still a Hornet when the draft rolls around).

AUSTIN RIVERS ANALYSIS: http://swishscout.com/?page_id=737

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MY 2012 MOCK HORNETS DRAFT (Assuming the Hornets Pick #2 & #12)

2nd Overall Pick (1st Round):

Harrison Barnes

Small Forward/University of North Carolina /6’8, 220 lbs.

WHY: I love this guy and feel that he should be #1 on everyone’s board. To me, Barnes will be the next Kevin Durant.  He’s an elite scorer with a smooth shot who’s big enough and athletic enough to become a solid defender.  He’s also an amazingly smart, classy kid who could easily become the face of the franchise.  Pair Barnes and Eric Gordon on the wing and the Hornets scoring woes disappear immediately.     

HARRISON BARNES ANALYSIS: http://swishscout.com/?page_id=429

12th Overall Pick (1st Round):

Tomas Satoransky

Point Guard/Czech Republic/6’6, 210 lbs.

WHY:  Most people tell me this is a crazy pick and that Satoransky is going in the late 1st round…I disagree.  The Hornets need a young floor leader and mark my words right now, this guy is gonna fly up boards as the draft approaches.  I’ve watched every youtube clip I could find of Satoransky and I love the way he plays.  I’ve also read as many articles as I could find on him and listened to some interviews he’s done.  He consideres himself a point guard (some feel he’s an off-the-bench combo guard) and I think he could be the future floor general of the Hornets.  The editor of hoopshype.com tells me he believes Satoransky will be a solid NBA point guard.  I really like Greivis Vasquez but I think his future role is as an off the bench scorer/combo guard (back-up point guard).   

TOMAS SATORANSKY ANALYSIS: http://hoopprospect.com/tomas-satoransky/

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TURN KAMAN, ARIZA, LANDRY AND JACK INTO DRAFT PICKS/YOUNG PLAYERS:

March 15th should be an interesting day for the Hornets.  At the close of business on that day the Hornets should have picked-up 1-3 future draft picks (preferably in the 2012 draft)…if Hornets general manager Dell Demps cannot turn his coveted veteran players into picks and young players than he’s failed.

Dell Demps Needs To Work Some Magic At The NBA Trade Deadline

One trade that seems to work perfectly is Chris Kaman to Indiana for the Pacers 2012 1st round draft pick.   

I’ve of course come up with a few more trades that actually work, to view them click link below:

4-Team Trade: NOLA, San Antonio, Philly, Utah

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=7hxotgv   (add into this deal Philly’s 2012 1st round draft pick coming to NOLA…the Hornets would also immediately buyout Nocioni)

Eric Gordon Trade #1:

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=86lfqsk (add in a 2012 2nd round draft pick from Portland)

Eric Gordon Trade #2:

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=84xgdjx (add in Davis Bertans, a Euro the Spurs have stashed over seas)

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NEW OWNER OF THE NEW ORLEANS HORNETS: TOM BENSON

I believe that Saints owner Tom Benson has to become the next owner of the New Orleans Hornets. 

According to Joe Gerrity of the website hornets247.com Benson is one of the potential buyers working to acquire the NBA-owned franchise. 

Their is a provision prohibiting NFL owners from owning NBA teams in the same market…so to buy the Hornets Benson would have to petition the NFL for a special waiver (which he’d probably get)…or perhaps the team could be bought by a group led by Benson but with Rita Benson LeBlanc as the majority owner.  For the sake of this blog, let’s just work under the assumption that Benson can in some form or fashion purchase the Hornets.

One long-time, well respected sports journalist told me I was crazy for suggesting Benson buy the Hornets.  His reason…and it’s hard for me to argue with him: Before Sean Payton and Drew Brees arrived the Saints were looked at as a struggling, small market, dysfunctional mess.  Pre-Katrina (Payton/Brees) season ticket sales were at and all time low and fan apathy at an all-time high.  From ’03-’05 it seemed like every month we led a newscast with reports of the Saints moving to Los Angeles, San Antonio or Albuquerque.  My journalist friend joked with me that unless Sean Payton can coach/operate an NBA franchise than my idea of Benson owning the Hornets was borderline foolish.

While I see the logic of that arguement I disagree.

Tom Benson: The new owner of the New Orleans Hornets? I hope so.

I think Tom Benson owning the Hornets will provide tremendous stability to one of the NBA’s nomadic franchises.  Benson owning the Hornets also allows our cities NBA team to ride the wave of success the Saints have created.

Remember when Benson owned the Voodoo of the Arena Football League?  The Saints pushed tickets and suites for the Voodoo onto Saints fans and led the AFL in season ticket sales.  Benson also worked to bring two Arena Bowl games to New Orleans.

Since Hurricane Katrina Benson has worked hard to invest in New Orleans…buying and operating a local TV station, a production company and bringing Mercedes-Benz in as a sponsor for the Superdome.  He’s also agreed on a new long-term deal to keep the Saints in New Olreans which allowed the city to become the host of Super Bowl XLVII (New Orleans will also reportedly be bidding on Super Bowl L {50}).     

If Benson bought the Hornets he could work with the state of Louisiana on a new lease agreement, naming rights for the New Orleans Arena and he could move the Hornets headquarters into Benson Tower.  Benson may even be able to get funding from the state to turn the old Voodoo practice facility (located on the current Saints complex on Airline Drive) into a training complex for the Hornets.

A Tom Benson owned Hornets team could be re-branded with new colors (black and gold…just like all teams in Pittsburgh are black and yellow) allowing for cross-over marketing that would seem to work well in small market New Orleans.   

Imagine if you will a Hornets practice/scrimmage in Champions Square before a Saints home game.  Fans could meet the Hornets players at Saints training camp workouts.  Saints autograph sessions, charity events and free agent signings could be set-up at the New Orleans Arena to coincide with Hornets games in the spring. 

Owning both teams and having them work hand-in-hand to achieve individual success would be a story celebrated world wide and might lead to copy-cat endeavours from billionaire owners far and wide. 

WDSU Saints Mock Draft (Version 2.0)
February 8, 2012

This is version 2.0 of the WSDU Mock Saints Draft: 2-9-12

1st Round: NO 1ST ROUND PICK.  TRADED TO NEW ENGLAND FOR A 2011 1ST ROUND SELECTION (Mark Ingram)

My original pick for the Saints in the 2nd round of the NFL draft was defensive end Shea McClellin from Boise State.  I interviewed McClellin at the Senior Bowl and really liked him.  The only problem is…McClellin weighed-in at only 248 pounds.  So as much as I liked this guy he seems destined to be strictly a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. 

With new Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo keeping the Saints 4-3 scheme intact McClellin seems like a longshot pick for the Saints.

Reading up on ‘Spags’ it seems he’ll use less exotic blitzes than Gregg Williams did.  Reports say Spagnuolo relies on getting pressure on the quarterback from his front 4 and dropping back in coverage. (think San Fran in the playoff game against the Saints).

To me, what this means is that Roman Harper will not lead the Saints in sacks like he did on 2011…and if he does the defense is in trouble!

Looking at the Saints defensive line I keep asking myself…do they have the guys to get the pressure Sapgnuolo wants?  Can they line up with Will Smith, Sedrick Ellis, Cam Jordan and either Junior Galette or Greg Romeus and get to the QB?  Will Mitch King emerge as a guy who can play significant snaps?

Basically, do the Saints need to add a DT or a DE in the draft?  The simple asnwer is, yes! 

2nd Round (59th Overall Pick): 

Billy Winn/Defensive Tackle-Defensive End/Boise State

6’3, 295 lbs.

Version 1.0 Selection: Shea McClellin

WHY:  I have no ties to Boise State but both of my picks for the Saints in version 1.0 and 2.0 are Broncos.  Winn is a versitile, super productive college player who can play both DT and DE.   

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3rd Round (90th Overall Pick):  

Sean Spence/Outside Linebacker/Miami

5’11, 225 lbs.

Version 1.0 Selection: Brian Quick/WR/Appalachian St.

WHY: A guy who did it all at Miami.  Spence leaves “The U” with a stellar resume and reputation.  Spence is another guy I interviewed at the Senior Bowl and was really impressed with.  After one of the practices I had a chance to interview Redskins Head Coach Mike Shannahan (Washington’s staff was coaching the South team) and he said “the guy from Miami is all over the place.”  I’ve already nicknamed Spence…”the defensive Darren Sproles”

Like the defensive line the Saints linebacking corps could also see some changes.  Will Jonathan Vilma be released?  Can Jo-Lonn Dunbar be re-signed as a starter?  Is Martez Wilson ready to step-up and start?  Is Will Herring just a special teams player?  Spence could help solidify the weak-side for years to come.    

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4th Round (123rd Overall Pick): 

Ladarius Green, Tight End, Louisiana-Lafayette

WHY: With Dave Thomas’ future uncertain due to multiple concussions it would not hurt the Saints to draft another tight end.  Green can create mismatches and would add yet another weapon to the Payton/Brees arsenal.  The only problem, Green may not make it to the 4th round of this year’s draft.

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5th Round (156th Overall Pick):

Isaiah Frey/Cornerback/Nevada

WHY: Frey has been super productive at Nevada and would add depth to a position group that may lose Tracy Porter to free agency.

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6th Round (166th Overall Pick):

Tom Compton, OT, South Dakota

Version 1.0 Selection: Hebron Fangupo/DT/BYU

WHY: Compton is a a small school diamond-in-the-rough lineman who could eventually follow in the footsteps of other small-school finds like Jermon Bushrod and Jahri Evans. 

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6th Round 187 th Overall (From Redskins, part of Jammal Brown deal)

Janzen Jackson/Safety/McNeese State

WHY: A Lake Charles resident (and former Tennessee Volunteer) who a year ago was a can’t miss 2nd-3rd round talent is worth the risk in the 6th round.  If Jackson has dealt with all his off-the-field issues the Saints are getting a steal.

    

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7th Round (219th Overall Pick)  

Derek Moye/Wide Receiver/Penn State

6’4, 205 lbs.

Version 1.o Selection: Patrick Witt/QB/Yale

WHY: Why not?  Another developmental wide receiver (who never got to use his skill set because of such poor QB play at Penn State) for offensive genius Sean Payton to work with.