LSU to Rose Bowl or Fiesta Bowl Makes Perfect Sense

November 12, 2012 - Leave a Response

LSU won’t be playing for a BCS National Championship this season but the Tigers could end up in one of college football’s most coveted bowl games.

Stay with me — With Alabama being upset by Texas A&M the Southeastern Conference needs help to get into the championship game.

Lets work off the assumption the top ranked teams in the country remain ranked #1 and #2.  Kansas State and Oregon are currently in the top spots — both teams have perfect 9-0 records.

This blog is based on K-State and Oregon playing in the BCS National Championship game — if that happens it’s very very possible that LSU slides into the Rose Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl. 

As I write this I think LSU heads to Arizona and the Fiesta Bowl — below is an explanation why:

BCS National Championship Game:

#1 Oregon vs. #2 Kansas State

Right now K-State is the projected #1 team in the BCS Poll — but if #2 Oregon chalks up wins over Stanford and Oregon State to close the regular season and gets another victory over UCLA or USC in the Pac-12 Championship game than the Ducks move to #1. 

If Oregon moves to #1 the Rose Bowl gets 1st pick for a replacement in the BCS pecking order.

With the 1st pick their is no doubt the Rose Bowl would take an undefeated or 1-loss Notre Dame.  The ‘Grand Daddy’ gets a nice match-up with the Fighting Irish taking on the Big Ten Champion (Nebraska or Wisconsin).

Since the Fiesta Bowl loses Big XII Champion Kansas State and because the Wildcats are ranked #2 in the BCS the Fiesta Bowl gets the 2nd pick in the BCS pecking order.

With a projected 10-2 overall record the Texas A&M Aggies become a very strong possibility here, but I think LSU gets the call from the Fiesta Bowl officials.  A&M has electric QB Johnny Manziel and the Aggies travel, but LSU is a proven commodity and the Tigers have one of the best teams in the country.

People may be asking “why wouldn’t the Fiesta Bowl take a Big XII at-large team?”  The reason, the highest ranked Big XII team will be either Oklahoma or Texas.  Both of those teams have played in so many Fiesta Bowls it’s hard to count — so the Sooners and Longhorns fans won’t be excited about a trip to the desert.  Plus, the Big XII just signed a long term deal with the Sugar Bowl so the Fiesta Bowl has no obligation to that conference. 

What about Alabama and Georgia?  Barring any unforeseen bumps in the road, The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs are set to meet in the SEC Championship game the first week of December.  I truly believe that the winner goes to the Sugar Bowl and the loser is out of the BCS.  Big bowl games don’t like to take teams coming off a loss.  

Now, if K-State and Oregon remain unbeaten and K-State manages to retain it’s #1 BCS ranking than the Fiesta Bowl gets the first pick in the BCS pecking order — and they’d take Notre Dame.  That would send LSU to the Rose Bowl against the Nebraska/Wisconsin winner.  Texas A&M would also be in the mix but the Rose Bowl and LSU flirted a few years ago so I think the Tigers would get the nod. 

Some people have asked me “how can LSU go to the Rose Bowl instead of a Pac-12 at-large team?” 

Great question.

Based on projections the Pac-12 won’t have a second team in the BCS.  The Pac-12 will have Oregon in the BCS Championship Game — but because the conference won’t have another team in the BCS top 15 rankings the Rose Bowl would have to select a team from another conference. 

Again, ALL THIS COULD CHANGE based on upsets and such — but using the current standings and projections here is how I see the BCS unfolding:

BCS National Championship Game:

#1 Oregon vs. #2 Kansas State

Fiesta Bowl:

LSU vs. Clemson

Rose Bowl:

Notre Dame vs. Nebraska/Wisconsin winner

Sugar Bowl:

Alabama vs. Oklahoma (or Texas if Sooners get upset by Oklahoma State in Bedlam)

Orange Bowl:

Florida State vs. Rutgers

Some people have projected that the Sugar Bowl will take Clemson as an at-large team — but because the Sugar Bowl just singed a big deal pitting the SEC vs. Big XII — I think the Sugar Bowl does everything possible to match schools from those leagues.  

We’ll see how it all shakes out.  I know SEC fans are pulling hard for two of the three remaining unbeaten (Oregon, K-State, ND) teams to lose.  If things go crazy and teams start losing left and right and a 1-loss team gets into the BCS title game — it’ll be a SEC 1-loss team (Alabama or Georgia).

 

 

 

 

The Eric Gordon Disaster

November 8, 2012 - 2 Responses

In my opinion, Saints/Hornets Executive General Manager Mickey Loomis is one of the best (if not the best) capologists in NFL history.

No one knows the salary cap system better than Loomis and no one makes deals work in that system better than Loomis.

The Saints are never handcuffed salary-wise and the team never has to make questionable decisions based on salary.

That’s why I’m so perplexed as to why someone like Loomis would sign off on the Hornets 4-year, 58 million dollar deal to Eric Gordon.

Loomis is an NBA novice but he’s a smart enough executive to know the risk of such a questionable contract — especially in the NBA — where unlike the NFL, all of the money is fully guaranteed to the player.

As I write this column, the Gordon deal is one that could hurt the Hornets organization for years to come.

Since last spring I’ve written countless blogs about Eric Gordon.

Like most, I started out as a champion of the dynamic 23 yard old — but my tune quickly changed.

My reason for jumping off the EG10 band wagon before anyone else was two-fold.

First, once Gordon made unsavory comments regarding the New Orleans Hornets organization during free agency it became crystal clear that he did not want to help this organization move forward in it’s rebuilding effort.

(Side bar: I lobbied non-stop for the Hornets to work with Gordon and his agent (Rob Pelinka) on a sign-and-trade — but the Hornets stood firm on their belief that Gordon was the future of the franchise.) 

Second, Gordon’s injury issues were a major red-flag for me.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, both concerns regarding Gordon have come to fruition.

The franchise announced Wednesday night that Gordon will spend the next 4-6 weeks in Los Angeles rehabbing his sore knee.  Why LA?  No One knows, but instead of forcing the player you’re paying $14.8 million annually to stay in New Orleans, rehab with the team and stay connected — the Hornets have cowered to Gordon once again.

Gordon missed all but 9 games last year due to minor knee issues.  Gordon has missed all of training camp, preseason and the first 4 games of the regular season due to knee soreness.

My prediction is that Gordon returns to the court sometime in December — plays a few games — then once again experiences knee soreness.  At that point, Gordon will decide to try microfracture surgery to alleviate the constant pain he feels.  If Gordon goes this route he won’t play again until the end of the 2014 season — if ever again.

Of course, that’s a doomsday scenario — but it’s realistic.

So, what kind of situation are the Hornets in now that they’ve seemingly purchased damaged good?

First off, a trade is out of the question.  Gordon can be traded to any NBA team (except Phoenix) on January 15th — but no one will trade for Gordon.

In today’s NBA — with stiffer luxury-tax penalties and franchises leery of taking on a bad deal — their is no market for Gordon.  An oft-injured SG with bad knees who’ll never play up to his contract — IMMOVABLE!

I can’t even find a team with enough bad, expiring contracts to make a trade work.

For better or worse, The Hornets are stuck with EG10.

The good news is — looking at the numbers, Gordon’s absurd contract is not as horrible as you’d imagine

Because of shrewd moves by Loomis and GM Dell Demps the Hornets have only $34 million committed to salaries next season.

Gordon’s extension also expires the same time Anthony Davis is due for a contract extension — so EG10’s contract will not keep the team from offering Davis a max-deal.

The problems with Gordon’s deal are as follows:

Player Development: The Hornets envisioned a backcourt of Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon.  If Gordon can’t be counted on does the team develop Rivers as a shooting guard?  Does the team try to sign a free agent point guard?  If the Hornets have a top-5 draft pick do they select a talented SG like Shabazz Muhammad from UCLA?  Picking Muhammad seems foolish if Gordon is healthy but smart if he’s not.  The uncertain Gordon situation throws the entire rebuilding effort off course.

Free Agency: The Hornets have money to spend but they have to be careful.  They can’t over-extend themselves in the summer of 2013 or 2014 because they have to make sure they have enough money for Davis (and possibly Rivers).  Not being able to add the right pieces to help Anthony Davis could cost the team in the long run.  Not being able to add pieces around Chris Paul is what soured CP3 on NOLA.  Also, had the Hornets showed restraint and held onto their money — they could have better assessed what type of player Anthony Davis is and used money to build around his strengths in 2013 and 2014.

Team Morale: Demps & head coach Monty Williams said over and over last summer that Gordon is the player they’d build around — that Gordon would embrace a leadership role and help develop young stars Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers.  If Gordon is teaching them how to dress like an NBA millionaire — they’re in luck — EG10 is a sharp dresser — but he ain’t teaching them anything else.  Have the young stars seen EG10 grind? Nope!  Have they seen him emerge as a leader on the court? Nope!  Do they see him on the bench at games supporting them and the coaching staff while the franchise rebuilds?  Nope!  All the young players see is a soft-as-cotton player who seems completely disconnected.

Fans:  I’ve always believed that max-contract players have to do three things: 1. Be the best player on the roster. 2. Play every night (or in 90% of the games). 3. Put butts in seats!  Gordon does none of the three.  On Wednesday night the Hornets set a franchise record for fewest points scored in a regular season game.  Having Gordon on the court would keep things like that from happening.  That said, fans in New Orleans already look at the Hornets as the second-tier team.  The Hornets need positive news, strong leadership and competitive play to remain relevant.  The Gordon deal prevents any of those things from happening until Anthony Davis possibly emerges as a legitimate force in his 2nd or 3rd season.

The sad part about the Eric Gordon deal is that the Hornets could have taken a different path.  With new owner Tom Benson and #1 pick Anthony Davis the Hornets didn’t have to handle their business the typical NBA way — they could have been a visionary franchise like San Antonio or Oklahoma City — they could have charted a new path — unfortunately the Hornets committed the worst small market sin — they gave a mediocre player a bad contract.  For small market teams to win in the NBA they’ve got to have good players on good contracts.

Look, in closing, I truly hope I’m wrong — I hope the Hornets patience and support of Gordon pays off and he emerges as an all-star and team leader.  But until that happens — the Hornets brain trust deserves to be on the hottest of hot seats and team owner Tom Benson should be fuming for listening to the men who told him to pay a guy 14.8 million annually.  Benson should be even more upset that Gordon is chilling out in in LA — far from the La where he should be.

Projections For November 6th, 2012

November 7, 2012 - Leave a Response

BCS National Championship Game:

Alabama vs. Oregon

The two bets teams in college football. No argument in my mind — the computers can’t mess this up.

——————————————————–

Rose Bowl:

Nebraska vs. Oregon State

Tradition Pac-12 versus Big Ten match-up keep the powers that be happy.

———————————————————

Fiesta Bowl:

Notre Dame vs. Kansas State

Amazing game.  Alabama and Oregon are the two best teams but ND and K-State could also be undefeated.  Major win for the Fiesta Bowl. 

———————————————————

Orange Bowl:

Florida State vs. Rutgers

ACC vs. Big East — the throw-away game of the BCS. 

———————————————————-

Sugar Bowl:

Oklahoma vs. South Carolina

WHAT??? Hear me out. 2-loss LSU won’t be in the game.The Tigers played in New Orleans last year and the Sugar Bowl can’t look like homers. UGA will be coming off a beat down in the SEC Championship game against Alabama so I think the Sugar passes on them.  I hope Florida State beats Florida and knocks the Gators out the the BCS — Gators fans have historically snubbed New Orleans so the Sugar is not excited about them. So, if all that happens — and if South Carolina beats Clemson I think the Gamecocks get into the Sugar Bowl.  All big “if’s” — but South Carolina has passionate fans who travel and they’ve never played in the Sugar Bowl or a BCS game.     

 

Super Bowl XLVII

Houston Texans vs. San Francisco 49ers

My original prediction prior to the start of the NFL season was the Texans vs. the Chicago Bears.  I still like the Bears but can’t stand Jay Cutler.  His punkish antics make me believe that the Bears will implode before getting to New Orleans.

2013 Saints Mock Draft:

Damontre Moore/DE/Texas A&M

6’4, 250 lbs.

http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=110646&draftyear=2014&genpos=DE

 

2013 Hornets Mock Draft:

Steven Adams/C/Pitt (Originally from New Zealand)

7′ 250 lbs.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/pitt-big-east/pitt-big-man-steven-adams-backstory-is-as-interesting-as-his-future-is-intriguing-656568/

 

Hornets Bad Investment:

October 30, 2012 - 2 Responses

Hornets Bad  Investment:
The Hornets season starts tomorrow in the NOLA Arena against the always powerful San Antinio Spurs.

Rookies Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers are picking things  up quickly and the team is (not surprisingly) playing hard for coach Monty  Williams.

Personally, I think the Hornets drafted the right guys when  they selected Davis and Rivers and added the best young veteran possible when  they acquired Ryan Anderson.

The move I’ve  questioned all along — re-signing Eric Gordon.

Gordon came over in the  Chris Paul/Los Angeles Clippers trade last season.

A 23-year-old shooting  guard, Gordon missed all but nine games last season after having arthroscopic  knee surgery.

Despite his limited contribution, the Hornets made the  decision to give the restricted free agent a fully guaranteed 4-year, $58  million dollar contract.

I said all along the Hornets should have aggressively explored all sign-and-trade options for Gordon.

I won’t even get into the details  surrounding Gordon and his desire to leave New Orleans for Phoenix (or anywhere else)– what’s done is done,  new owner Tom Benson made the decision to retain Gordon.

When the Hornets opened training camp, many were surprised to hear Gordon would be limited in  practice and would not be playing in games due to knee soreness — yes, the same  knee that bothered him last season.

So, my question is: Did the Hornets  buy damaged goods?

Every time I see Eric Gordon I can’t help but think of  Brandon Roy.  This was a point I brought up numerous times when the Hornets talked about how great Gordon could become.  Roy was of course the Portland Trailblazers star player who had to  retire due to chronic knee issues (Roy is now attempting a comeback with  Minnesota).

Gordon has played in fewer and fewer NBA games since being  drafted in 2008 and many have questioned if he can truly be a gritty, gutty  leader.  I’m of the opinion that Gordon is a super talented player, but a  guy who’s as soft as cotton.

I think Gordon will miss 30-50 games  this year with various nagging injuries and that his bloated, ridiculous  contract will eventually become a burden to the team.

I said over the  summer the Hornets should have worked with Gordon and his agent (Rob Pelinka) to  find the best trade — no one listened.  Now, if the Hornets have to  eventually trade Gordon they won’t be getting good young players and draft picks  back — they’ll be taking back bad, expiring contracts in a salary dump and will  have nothing to show for the Chris Paul trade.

I hope I’m wrong.  I  hope Gordon plays in all 82 games, becomes an all-star and helps the Hornets  rebuild into a championship contender — but I won’t believe it until it  happens.

The facts are the facts — Gordon is an over-paid, injury-plaqued player who’s never made an all-star team and never lead a team to the playoffs.

When a guy is a max-contract player (like Gordon is) you’ve got to do three things:

1. Be your teams best player

2. Play through minor injuries

3. Put butts in seats

In my opinion, Gordon is/does none of the above.

 

Read more: http://www.wdsu.com/sports/Offsides-Blog-Did-Hornets-make-a-bad-investment-Tulane-s-dilemma/-/9853524/16966240/-/xqouniz/-/index.html#ixzz2AoQYOe7j

NCAA Men’s College Basketball Preseason Top 25

October 19, 2012 - 3 Responses

I’m once again an Associated Press Men’s College Basketball Voter.  Below is my Preseason top 25 and All-American 1st team. 

1. Louisville
2. Indiana
3. Ohio State
4. Kentucky
5. Michigan
6. N.C. State
7. Florida
8. Arizona
9. Duke
10. Kansas
11. Syracuse
12. North Carolina
13. UNLV
14. UCLA
15. Cincinnati
16. Creighton
17. Memphis
18. Missouri
19. Michigan State
20. San Diego State
21. Gonzaga
22. Baylor
23. Notre Dame
24. Wisconsin
25. St. Mary’s

Preseason All-American Team:
Isaiah Cannan – Murray State
C.J. McCollum – Lehigh
Doug McDermott – Creighton
Mike Moser – UNLV
Cody Zeller – Indiana

The Right Decision? Is Tyrann Mathieu Getting Bad Advice?

September 8, 2012 - One Response

Let me start this by saying that I like Tyrann Mathieu.

I’ve enjoyed watching him as a player and interviewing him after games.

The “Honey Badger” is a likable guy and almost everyone wants to see him get his life in order and once again find success on the football field.

I truly hope #7 is back on the field in Tiger Stadium for the 2013 season. But, my gut tells me Tyrann will never play another game in Baton Rouge.  The next time Tyrann straps on pads he’ll be doing so at an NFL rookie camp.

Last month, Mathieu was dismissed from the football program for reportedly failing multiple drug tests.

After his shocking dismissal the former St. Augustine High School star entered a rehab center in Houston, Texas and is being mentored by former NBA player and coach John Lucas.

The decision has been made — by Tyrann, his parents and Lucas — that the Honey Badger will return to LSU as a student.  His family will pay his tution since he’s lost his scholarship.  Mathieu is no longer part of the Tigers football team in any way shape or form.

The general consensus is that the Mathieu family is hoping that if Tyrann shows the LSU coaches and administrators he’s a changed person they’ll reinstate him to the LSU football team for the 2013 season.

I think the Mathieu family has been given bad advice.

Numerous sources at LSU (that are rock solid) say coach Les Miles has not given any indication that Mathieu will ever be reinstated.

The source I spoke with told me that If Mathieu is reinststed — which is a very big if —  it will be on LSU’s terms, not the terms Tyrann and John Lucas come up with.

My LSU source says Lucas is guiding the Mathieu family down a difficult road and putting LSU in a difficult situation.

If LSU does not reinstate Mathieu the spin will be that the school turned it’s back on a kid who turned his life around.  If LSU takes Tyrann back they risk compromising the integrity of the program.

Mathieu and his family will need assurances from LSU sooner rather than later.  NCAA undergraduate players have to declare for the NFL draft by the second week of January.  If LSU will not give Tyrann an answer about rejoining the team for the 2013 season, Mathieu will more than likely have to declare for the NFL draft.

Tyrann will be drafted but experts disagree on which round he’ll be selected in.  Some say he could go as high as the 2nd — others believe he could fall all the way to the 6th or 7th.  I personally believe he’ll land in the 5th round and will carve out a nice NFL career as a special teams ace and nickel/dime cornerback/safety.

That said, I also belive that Tyrann should play at least another season of college football.  I’m also sure NFL coaches and executives want to see Tyrann back on the field before drafting him.  I’m sure they want to see he can handle playing football while controlling the outside adversity which dragging him down.  If Tyrann returned to college football in 2013 and entered the 2014 draft I think he could move back into the 2nd round.

LSU tried to help Tyrann find a new place to play.  The school all but begged him to transfer — yet he chose to return.

I hate to sound mean, but the harsh reality is that as a mentor John Lucas is failing.  Lucas should have helped Tyrann cope with the fact that LSU told him he’d never play for the Tigers again.  Creating false hope could lead to another hard fall.  LSU told Tyrann to leave.  He should have left.

When Zach Mettenberger got into trouble at the University of Georgia he had to transfer to a junior college.  After leaving JUCO did Mettenberger say he wanted to return to UGA?  No.  He had to move on and start a new chapter somewhere else.

Mathieu should have moved on.  Tyrann needs to get away from the so-called friends who dragged him down.  Get away from the limelight of being a big star in Baton Rouge.  Tyrann should be starting fresh at a division I program outside of the SEC.

LSU would have blocked Mathieu from transferring to an SEC program, but athletic department officials more than likely would have allowed him to transfer to a program in another conference — and as the reigning Bednarik Award winner — dozens of programs would have lined up to offer scholarships.  I could have easily seen Tyrann playing for Charlie Strong at Louisville or RichRod at Arizona.

Imagine this:  Tyrann transfers to the University of Houston.  Per NCAA rules, he sits out the 2012 season (using a redshirt).  Tyrann can still be around the Cougars football program — he can wokout with the team, use study-hall/academic resources and have coaches and players keep an eye on him.  In Houston, Mathieu is also close to John Lucas in case he needs to be mentored.  The Honey Badger gets to start fresh in a new city away from the bad influences that dragged him down in Baton Rouge/NOLA.  Tyrann still gets to be around football and can return to the field to start the 2013 season.

Instead, Tyrann will be on his own (his parent work in New Orleans and Lucas is based in Houston)  in the place where he got into trouble with no football in his life.  Hope is not a plan — Hoping Tyrann walks a straight path and hoping that LSU takes him back is not a plan.

My points is, I just don’t agree with the path the Mathieus’ are heading down.  The road to recovery is a personal journey and we all hope Tyrann comes out okay — I just believe Tyrann would have been better served going another route.

WAY-Too-Early Projections For Saints, LSU, Tulane & Hornets

August 20, 2012 - Leave a Response

***Saints:   

Overall Record: 10-6 (losses to Packers, Bucs, Broncos, Eagles, Falcons & Raiders)

Playoffs: Yes (Wildcard)

How Far Will Saints Advance in Playoffs? NFC Championship game

2013 Super Bowl In New Orleans: Chicago Bears vs. Houston Texans

***LSU:

Overall Record (Regular Season): 12-0

SEC Championship Game: LSU vs. South Carolina

(I have LSU beating South Carolina in the regular season but the Gamecocks beating LSU in the SEC Championship game)

LSU Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. TCU (Big XII at-large selection)

BCS National Championship Game:University of Southern California vs. University of South Carolina

***Tulane

Overall Record (Regular Season): 5-7 (wins vs. Ole Miss, ULM, UAB, Rice & Memphis) 

***Hornets

Overall Record (Regular Season): 36-46 (12th in Western Conference)

Individual Awards: Anthony Davis (Rookie of the Year)

                                        Ryan Anderson (2013 NBA Western Conf. All-Star)

2013 1st Round Draft Pick (10th Overall): Doug McDermott/SF/Creighton

10th overall pick too early for McDermott??? Nah! I love McDermott! I’m not sure how his game would translate to the NBA but he’s a winner.  Coaches kid, elite scorer who knows how to play the game — a Monty Williams type of player!

Another options: Alex Len/C/Maryland

                                 Dario Saric/SF/Croatia

                                 Wang Zhelin/C/China

My Hornets!

July 8, 2012 - 7 Responses

It’s pretty clear after Monty Williams’ comments to beat reporter Jimmy Smith of the Times Picayune Newspaper that the Hornets will match the Suns deal for Eric Gordon.

I won’t go into why I think this is such a disastrous undertaking for the Hornets…If you want to read more on my thoughts on Gordon and the Hornets matching just go to my twitter handle @FletcherMackel and you’ll get all the opinion you need.

This blog is what I would do if I were Hornets GM:

First, I love what Dell Demps did in the draft, Davis and Rivers were the guys I was touting before either even declared for the draft (scroll down to read past blogs for those who doubt my predictions).

I also love the Ryan Anderson for Gustavo Ayon deal.  Anderson (along with Ersan Ilyasova) was one of the free agents I hoped the Hornets would pursue.

Now…as for the Eric Gordon fiasco.

I’m on record as saying that I would never bring Gordon back to New Orleans. He and his agent Rob Pelinka have poisoned the waters in NOLA.

If I’m Dell Demps and Mickey Loomis I’m calling Phoenix and working on a deal. 

If Gordon signs with the Hornets on July 11th and not the Suns the Hornets could then trade him to Phoenix.  If Gordon signs with the Suns on July 11th and the Hornets match the Hornets are stuck with Gordon for at least a year!      

If I’m the Hornets GM I’m taking Markieff Morris, two 2013 1st round draft picks and a large trade exception from the Suns for Gordon.  The two first round picks are the Suns and the one the Suns acquired from the Lakers for Steve Nash. The trade exception keeps the Hornets from having to take back any bloated salary.

I’m then using the money I had earmarked for Eric Gordon on two unrestricted free agent players.  O.J. Mayo and Jordan Hill.

Mayo is 24 years old, much bigger and far more durable than Gordon having played in 97% of his professional games.  Mayo’s number’s mirrored Gordon’s when the two entered the league and both were starters.  Sure, Mayo’s numbers dipped the past two seasons when he was used as a 6th man but I’m signing him to make him a starter again.  Hill is a 24 year old former lottery pick who played well for the Lakers in the post season behind Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. 

My Hornets lineup would look as follows:

Austin Rivers, O.J. Mayo, Al-Farouq Aminu, Ryan Anderson & Anthony Davis

Or

Austin Rivers, O.J. Mayo, Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis & Jordan Hill

Bench: Jarrett Jack (who becomes a trade asset at the 2013 trade deadline), Greivis Vasquez, Xavier Henry, Darius Miller, Markieff Morris, Lance Thomas & Jason Smith.

Will this happen…only in fantasy land!

What will happen?

More than likely Eric Gordon will be a malcontent in New Orleans and the team will be foreced to trade him in a bad deal (a la Baron Davis in 2005)….but I hope I’m wrong!

 

 

 

The Choice Is Easy…Austin Rivers At #10

June 25, 2012 - One Response

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. 

NOT TYLER ZELLER

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. 

TRADING UP

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. 

TRADING DOWN

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? 

REACHING

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. 

MOCK DRAFT:

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 - Leave a Response

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.

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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

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#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!

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#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