Archive for June, 2012

The Choice Is Easy…Austin Rivers At #10
June 25, 2012

I have made no secret….I’M A AUSTIN RIVERS FAN!!!

Scroll down on this blog and you’ll see that back in February I had the former Duke University guard going to the Hornets as a top 10 pick.

I have not moved off my stance…I still think Rivers should be a New Orleans Hornet!

With the 1st overall selection in the 2012 NBA draft the Hornets will of course take Anthony Davis from the University of Kentucky.  The franchise also has the 10th overall selection and in my opinion the choice is very very easy…Austin Rivers.

Rivers reminds me of Steph Curry…and to some degree, Russell Westbrook.

Standing in the way of Rivers coming to New Orleans to join Davis as the foundation of a young team are the NBA franchises picking between #6-#9.

Rives could go 8th overall to Toronto or 9th overall to Detroit….or a team could very easily make a trade and jump up in front of the Hornets to select the 6’4 inch Rivers.

Rivers could start his career as a backup combo guard off the bench behind Jarrett Jack and Eric Gordon.  Hopefully by the end of Rivers rookie season he could emerge as the Hornets starting point guard, forming a lethal back court with Gordon.  If Rivers did in fact emerge as the starting PG than Jack becomes a tradable asset that can bring back value at the deadline next February. 


If Rivers is off the board the choice for the Hornets becomes less obvious.

Lots of experts think Tyler Zeller is the pick for the Hornets.  I disagree.  If Zeller were the pick I’d be okay with that but I think the Hornets can do better. 

I like Zeller…but the former UNC big man is probably a better fit for a team on the cusp of breaking through.  Zeller is a complete player and he’d be a nice fit with the Hornets but I think Monty Williams team already has two good rotational big man who can play next to Anthony Davis (Jason Smith & Gustavo Ayon).  I also believe that the Hornets will make a run at Ryan Anderson & Irsan Illysova in free agency. 


While I would love to see the Hornets trade up in the draft to select a player like former UNC small forward Harrison Barnes I don’t believe the team has the chips to make a play to get up in the draft. 


This is a far more likely scenario for the Hornets if the player they covet is gone at #10.  I keep circling Boston and picks #20 & #21 and Houston and picks #14 and #16.  Those teams could put together a package that might entice the Hornets to make a move.  For example, the Rockets really need a center.  If Houston is in love with Tyler Zeller or Meyers Leonard and fears both will be gone at #14 would they dangle Donatas Motiejunas in a trade to the Hornets?  The Lithuanian big man will reportedly make his highly anticipated NBA debut this season.  Would Boston do a deal that includes young big man JuJuan Johnson and pick #21 for the 10th selection? 


The Hornets could reach for a player they have scouted and believe will be a steal at #10.  One name that pops up is former Iowa State star Royce White.  Based on ability many experts say White is a lottery talent…but due to off the court issues and an anxiety disorder that results in a fear of flying White is projected to be selected between 17-30.  Would the Hornets reach on him?  Would the Hornets reach on French SG/SF Evan Fournier?  Fournier worked out for the Hornets last weekend.  The 19-year-old wing player is projected to go near the bottom of the 1st round. 18-year-old small forward Moe Harkless from St. John’s also falls into the reach category. 


All that being said…here is what I think the Hornets do in the upcoming NBA Draft:

Selection #1 (1st Round): Anthony Davis/PF-C/University of Kentucky

Selection #10 (1st Round): Austin Rivers/PG-SG/Duke University

*If Rivers is gone: Royce White/PF-SF/Iowa St.

Selection #46 (2nd Round): Nihad Djedovic/SF-SG/Bosnia

*I landed on Djedovic because unlike the few other Euros being discussed as 2nd round picks in this draft he can actually come over and play immediately.


2012-2013 Hornets
June 21, 2012

I was working on this when the Hornets/Wizards trade happened.

That deal does not change any of what I was writing since Okafor and Ariza were not in Hornets plans moving forward.


So many possibilities for the Hornets as they rebuild with Anthony Davis.

Below are several versions of possible starting lineups that could become reality.

To read about how and why these starting 5’s could become a reality just keep scrolling down and read some of my previous blogs…or follow my twitter feed @FletcherMackel

#1 Scenario: (my dream starting 5)

Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon, Jeff Green, Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis

How: Davis at #1, Rivers at #10, Ryan Anderson & Jeff Green in free agency


#2 Scenario (The Jeff Duncan Scenario!!!!!)

Goran Dragic, Eric Gordon, Royce White, Anthony Davis, Jason Smith

How: Davis at #1, White at #10, Dragic in free agency

JD loves Royce White at #10!


#3 Scenario

George Hill, Eric Gordon, Luol Deng, Ersan Illysova, Anthony Davis

How: Davis at #1, trade #10 pick (and Xavier Henry) for Deng, Hill & Illysova in free agency

Hornets With Anthony Davis
June 11, 2012

Redesigning the Hornets… with Anthony Davis

By: Lee Rittenberg

Guest Columnist

What a great time to be a Hornets fan! Everything in New Orleans is on the rise – including the number of unibrows. Now that the Hornets have won the lottery and will have draft picks #1 and #10 overall, it’s time to change the team so we can bring a basketball championship to New Orleans in the near future. After selecting Anthony Davis with the 1st pick, here is my plan for the Hornets:


The Hornets will trade the #10 pick and Trevor Ariza to the Golden State Warriors for the #7 pick and Jeremy Tyler.

Why: If Harrison Barnes is sitting around when Golden State’s pick comes up, the Hornets have to make this deal. Barnes is a perfect fit for this team as he is a great shooter and is a high character guy. He is a true professional and I believe his game will translate to the NBA much better than it did to the college game. The Warriors get a quality small forward in Trevor Ariza. With a future star in Klay Thompson at Shooting Guard, the Warriors are able to put Ariza on the floor to guard the opposing team’s best wing player. While there is a very good change Ariza will not be a Hornet next year, he is still only 26 years old. Tyler is a fill in so that the trade works salary-wise, but I believe he has some potential. At #10, GSW can take Perry Jones, Jared Sullinger (if still available), or Terrence Jones, who ESPN’s Chad Ford believes they like and would be a good fit.


I just don’t see Okafor being a good fit next to Anthony Davis. Because Tom Benson is willing to spend, he will Amnesty Okafor and his remaining 2 years and $28 million. With this cap space…

Free Agency:

The Hornets sign JaVale McGee for 4 years and $40 million. Some may argue this is overpaying him. However, he is a legit 7-footer with a 7’6” wingspan. He averaged 11.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, and 2.2 bpg last season. He took 9 shots per game last season and was 5th in the NBA with a 55.5 FG Percentage. He is only 24 years old and is definitely what Charles Barkley would call a “knucklehead,” but this is where you trust Monty Williams to bring the best out of him which I believe he will. The Hornets have plenty of cap room so they can give him $11 million per year or maybe even $12 million if that’s what it would take.

Also, the Hornets re-sign Eric Gordon for 4 years and $56 million. If someone offers Gordon a 4 year, $58 million max then the Hornets will match that.

Next Year’s Dream Scenario:

Say what you want, but I believe Chris Paul will come back to the Hornets after the following season. The Hornets will have enough cap space to offer CP3 the max (4 years, $75.8 million), and why wouldn’t he take it? He may love Los Angeles, but he says he is all about winning a championship and this would be the perfect fit. He loves Monty Williams and Dell Demps who have done a great job creating a winning attitude and brining in character guys. This young team would give Chris his best chance to win a title. He would help out JaVale McGee and McGee is a very similar player to his good old friend, Tyson Chandler. The pick and roll possibilities would be endless with CP3.


NEW 2012-2013 Hornets Roster with current ages and 2012-13 salaries:

PG – Jarrett Jack (28, $5.6 million)/ Greivis Vazquez (25, $1.2 million)/ Jerome Dyson (25, $762,195)

SG – Eric Gordon (23, $14 million)/ Xavier Henry (21, $2.3 million)

SF – Harrison Barnes (20, $2.3 million)/ Al-Farouq Aminu (21, $2.9 million)/ Lance Thomas (24, $762,195)

PF – Anthony Davis (19, $4.3 million)/ Jason Smith (26, $2.5 million)/ Gustavo Ayon (27, $1.5 million)

C –  JaVale McGee (24, $19 million)/ Smith/ Jeremy Tyler (20, $762,195)

This is a 13-man roster with a salary of $57.95 million. This is still below the $58.044 salary cap. Because it is only $48.95 million with McGee making $10 million, the Hornets can frontload McGee’s contract giving him $19 million this year and $7 million the next 3 years when Chris Paul’s max contract will be 30% of the salary cap and about $15.5 million according to Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ ( The Hornets can then sign an undrafted rookie or two to fill the end of the bench. Jack, Dyson, and Thomas would be our only expiring contracts next year and we would let Jack go with CP3 coming in.

The team is young, well-coached, and full of potential and guys who want to win an NBA Championship. When Chris Paul comes, the team becomes an immediate contender and may not win the championship in 2013-14, but it is very close. This team will finally have a great player in Eric Gordon that will allow Chris Paul to play off the ball at times. The frontcourt is freakishly long and athletic with 6’10” Davis and his 7’4” wingspan and 7’0” McGee and his 7’6” wingspan. I also believe Xavier Henry will soon develop into a solid backup guard to Eric Gordon.

There you have it! There will soon be many trophies in the 504.