If the Hornets don’t land the #1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft this summer…if the franchise is picking 2nd-4th…they should select Duke University guard Austin Rivers!!!!!
We all know the #1 overall pick is going to be University of Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis. Davis was AWESOME this season leading the Wildcats to a national championship and he is the clear-cut top pick.
While the 2012 draft is a deep draft…it’s hard to slot guys. I know many experts like Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 2nd overall…others Like Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson with the number-two choice.
I like Austin Rivers!
To me, Kidd-Gilchrist is a nice player but not good enough to go 2nd overall and be the face of the Hornets franchise. MKG is a glue guy…not a franchise savior. Same goes for Robinson (who’s nowhere near his measurables of 6’9, 235). I look at Kidd-Gilchrist and see Trevor Ariza and I look at Robinson and see the Morris twins or Brandon Bass. All nice players…but not players who should be under consideration as the 2nd overall pick in the draft.
I look at Austin Rivers and see Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry!
When I look at Austin Rivers…I see a Star!
Some say Rivers is too selfish and not a true point guard…I disagree. I want a confident leader like Rivers handling the ball and leading the team.
When it comes to scoring the Hornets are ranked 29th in the NBA. Is it me or would a backcourt of Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon alleviate a lot of those offensive issues?
Rivers has a ton of swagger, would embrace being the centerpiece of a rebuild and he probably has a relationship with Monty Williams. As an NBA player Monty played for Doc Rivers when Doc was coaching the Magic. I bet Monty has a story or two of a young Austin Rivers being a gym rat kid that had talent even at a very young age.
So remember this blog…and remember that I am on record as saying that if the Hornets have the opportunity to draft Austin Rivers 2nd, 3rd or 4th overall and don’t…then the organization is making a mistake!
With their second pick in the 1st round (via Minnesota) of the 2012 NBA Draft (pick is projected to be between 9th-12th) the Hornets should select University of Illinois center Meyers Leonard. I’ve been on Leonard all season and think he’s going to be a hot commodity for teams picking between 7th-14th.
2012/2013 New Orleans Hornets
1. Austin Rivers (backup: Jarrett Jack)
2. Eric Gordon (backup: Xavier Henry)
3. Trevor Ariza (backup: Al-Farouq Aminu, Jae Crowder*)
4. Jason Smith (backup: Gustavo Ayon)
5. Meyers Leonard (backup: Gustavo Ayon & Free Agent X)
I know Smith and Leonard lack bulk but in my mind they can be a solid frontcourt due to the fact that together their athleticism would be better than most post players they face. They are both super-athletic, can alter shots, can play up-tempo and would be fantastic in the pick-and-roll with Austin Rivers.
Also, as much as I love Greivis Vasquez…if the Hornets pickup Austin Rivers and keep Jarrett Jack as a backup than perhaps Vasquez could be moved draft night for a 2nd round pick…and with a 2nd round pick the Hornets should select Big East player of the year Jae Crowder from Marquette. Crowder is a grinder, a glue-guy type.
You also may notice that Emeka Okafor is not on my roster, he’ll receive amnesty and I believe that both Chris Kaman and Carl Landry will bolt via free agency for greener pastures.