With the NCAA tournament well underway and the NBA on the cusp of entering the playoffs, it’s only natural that fans of the 26-48 New Orleans Hornets would begin to let their minds wander ahead to June 27th and the possibilities the 2013 draft has to offer.
Obviously the NBA lottery is flawed and anything but an exact science -something which Hornets fans can attest to first hand, as they snagged the first overall selection with a third-best 13.7 percent chance of doing just last season- however, we’re going to ignore that fact because it would completely defeat the point of this article.
That said, nbadraft.net currently has New Orleans selecting eighth overall. Which is relatively realistic with the teams current 6.3 percent chance of selecting first.
Of course if you want try to convince yourself that the team will be selecting higher or just feeling like passing some time, feel free to visit the interactive NBA lottery mock draft by Chad Ford.
With that, let’s look at a few of the “realistic” possibilities for the Hornets this offseason. Should they at least have a pick before or around eighth overall.
If you’ve been watching March Madness at all, you’ll easily recognize the hottest name in college basketball right now. From sinking one-seeded Kansas with a three from the parking lot, to dropping a near triple-double against Florida to take his team to the Final Four.
The 6’0 guard averaged 18.8 points and 6.8 assists per game for the Wolverines in his sophomore season. He’s not the purest distributor you’ll ever see, but he’s an outstanding playmaker and should prove to be a potent scorer at the next level.
Then again, there is that Austin Rivers kid.
From Gucci backpacks to two players outright leaving the program, UCLA was as bipolar as your ex this season and Shabazz Muhammed certainly played a part in that. From his preseason NCAA investigation to a suspect performance (6-18 FG, 0-6 3PM/A) against Minnesota as the team was bounced in the first round of the tournament.
This is, however, coming from someone who watched most of the UCLA season and has high expectations of the guard after seeing glimpses of stellar play.
Muhammed averaged 17.9 points and 5.2 rebounds for the season.
His high motor and natural feel for the game give the 6’6 freshman what may very well be the highest ceiling with star potential in this years draft.
Otto Porter Jr.:
This is obviously ideal. Porter would more than likely be off the board within the first three selections, but we might as well stay optimistic.
As we all know, second-seed Georgetown and Porter were upset by Cinderella team Florida Gulf Coast in the first round of the tournament. But this is where our naturally short memory as sports fans will serve us well, as Porter’s overall body of work is outstanding.
The 6’8 small forward posted 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.9 blocks in his sophomore season. He also shot 42 percent from beyond the arc.
Shades of Carmelo Anthony at times.
C.J. McCollum tallied 30 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in Leligh’s upset of Duke during the 2012 tournament.
He’s essentially this years Damian Lillard and will more than likely shoot up draft boards once teams see his skill set first hand.
The 6’3 senior averaged 23 points, 5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in the 2012-13 season. He also shot a staggering 52 percent from three.
He’s also humble, hardworking and dedicated. Couple that with the fact he can flat out play and McCollum could prove to be something special.
He’s 7’0, got a soft touch from 15 feet in and is an underrated defender. He’s the perfect contrast to everything Anthony Davis has to offer and the two could potentially make one of the leagues most dynamic frontcourts.
Zeller averaged 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and a steal per contest in his sophomore season and will likely be regarded as the most NBA ready big man in the years class.
So now, more importantly, we want to know who you want? Why? Is it someone on this list? Someone we left off?
Sound off in the comments and let us know what face should be the first to represent the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2013-14 season.