Consider it a success. Here is hoping that it is a smashing success.
Regardless of what the New Orleans Hornets did after selecting Anthony Davis first overall in Thursday night's NBA Draft, it was going to be considered a successful night, thanks to the imposing presence of Davis, a player considered to be a "can't miss" star for years to come.
New Orleans made a pair of imposing moves to seal what could be a transcendent evening which could mark the genesis of special things for years to come.
With the 10th overall pick, the Hornets got the man they wanted in Austin Rivers.
What you have to love about Rivers is obvious.
He wants to be in New Orleans. He made it crystal clear prior to the draft. He has a relationship with Davis, a friendship which should extend to the hardwood. He has a close personal relationship with Monty Williams, providing a harmonious front to begin from. He is good off the bounce, able to generate his own shot, something sorely lacking in last season's edition of the Hornets, where only Eric Gordon and Jarrett Jack could do so and both missed significant time. He is very confident, very competitive and comes from great bloodlines with Doc Rivers as his father, his mentor.
The questions are obvious.
Can he play point guard? Does he have the mentality to distribute the basketball, to set others up, to make teammates better? Is he a shoot first, selfish, ask questions later guard? How well can he shoot the basketball? Will he have chemistry with Gordon? If he cannot play the point, was he worth the investment as a moderate minute caddy for Gordon?
The opinions on Rivers vary wildly. Some love him, some do not like him at all. Some "experts" had him going late in the first round or even in the second round. Others considered him a surefire lottery pick.
The Hornets are banking on his competitive fire and ability to get his own shot winning out.
With the 46th overall pick, Darius Miller, an experienced, physically mature forward got the call.
The positives are obvious once more.
Miller was the SEC's Sixth Man of the Year in a very good league on the nation's best team, a group that had six players drafted (among 60 overall picks). He played with Davis at Kentucky. He set the Kentucky record for games played in a career with 152. He was considered to be a value pick, better than where he ended up, by most observers.
Second round picks typically are projects, D-League guys, European players who are stashed for a couple of years with the hope that they will mature, develop and then contribute to the cause. In the case of Miller, he is in a position to truly compete for a roster spot and compete for playing time with Al-Farouq Aminu at small forward with a big body. Marcus Thornton was a second-round pick and he is an NBA starter who averaged 14.5 points per game as a rookie in New Orleans and 18.7 points per game as a starter in Sacramento last season.
One aspect of the Hornets' night which was a bit disappointing was the inability to draft a center. With Chris Kaman expected to depart via free agency, New Orleans does not have a true center on its roster. Jason Smith can fill some minutes in reserve at the "five" spot, but he is best suited as a power forward and played well there last season.
LSU's Justin Hamilton went one pick before the Hornets selection in the second round, tabbed by Philadelphia at No. 45. Would the Hornets have chosen Hamilton? He worked out for them. There is a good chance this would have occurred. The Hornets will have to be active in free agency to sign a center with some league experience, someone who will have to fill a significant role for the 2012-2013 season.
Entrusting the future to a pair of promising 19-year-olds (Davis and Rivers) and a 23-year old (Gordon) provides promise for the future, a reason for a fan base and prospective fan base to say "I'm In." Thursday night was a good, hopefully very good start to building a strong foundation. With Tom Benson and Davis, a new day has dawned in New Orleans for a team that will soon be the artist formerly known as the Hornets. The artists known as Dell Demps and Williams painted a prized picture which they hope becomes a masterpiece.
2012 NBA Draft
1. New Orleans, Anthony Davis (PF) Kentucky
2. Charlotte, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF) Kentucky
3. Washington, Bradley Beal (SG) Florida
4. Cleveland, Dion Waiters (SG) Syracuse
5. Sacramento, Thomas Robinson (PF) Kansas
6. Portland, Damian Lillard (PG) Weber St
7. Golden State, Harrison Barnes (SF) UNC
8. Toronto, Terrence Ross (SG) Washington
9. Detroit Andre, Drummond (C) UConn
10. New Orleans, Austin Rivers (SG) Duke
11. Portland, Meyers Leonard (C) Illinois
12. Houston, Jeremy Lamb (SG) UConn
13. Phoenix, Kendall Marshall (PG) UNC
14. Milwaukee, John Henson (PF) UNC
15. Philadelphia, Maurice Harkless (SF) St John's
16. Houston, Royce White (SF) Iowa St
17. Dallas (trade to CLE) Tyler Zeller (C) UNC
18. Houston, Terrence Jones (PF) Kentucky
19. Orlando, Andrew Nicholson (PF) St B'nvntre
20. Denver, Evan Fournier (SG) France
21. Boston, Jared Sullinger (PF) Ohio St
22. Boston, Fab Melo (C) Syracuse
23. Atlanta, John Jenkins (SG) Vanderbilt
24. Cleveland (trade to DAL) Jared Cunningham (SG) Oregon St
25. Memphis, Tony Wroten Jr. (PG) Washington
26. Indiana, Miles Plumlee (PF) Duke
27. Miami (trade to PHI) Arnett Moultrie (PF) Mississippi St
28. Oklahoma City, Perry Jones (PF) Baylor
29. Chicago, Marquis Teague (PG) Kentucky
30. Golden State, Festus Ezeli (C) Vanderbilt
1. Charlotte, Jeff Taylor (SF) Vanderbilt
2. Washington, Tomas Satoransky (SG) Czech Rep.
3. Cleveland (trade tod DAL) Bernard James (C) Florida St.
4. Cleveland (trade to DAL) Jae Crowder (SF) Marquette
5. Golden State, Draymond Green (SF) Mich St
6. Sacramento (trade to IND) Orlando Johnson (SG) UCSB
7. Toronto, Quincy Acy (SF) Baylor
8. Denver, Quincy Miller (SF) Baylor
9. Detroit, Khris Middleton (SF) Texas A&M
10. Portland, Will Barton (SG) Memphis
11. Portland (trade to BKN) Tyshawn Taylor (PG) Kansas
12. Milwaukee, Doron Lamb (SG) Kentucky
13. Atlanta, Mike Scott (PF) Virginia
14. Detroit, Kim English (SG) Missouri
15. Philadelphia (trade to MIA) Justin Hamilton (C) LSU
16. New Orleans, Darius Miller (SF) Kentucky
17. Utah, Kevin Murphy (SF) Tenn Tech
18. New York, Kostas Papanikolaou (SF) Greece
19. Orlando, Kyle O'Quinn (C) Norfolk St
20. Denver, Izzet Turkyilmaz (SF) Turkey
21. Boston, Kris Joseph (SF) Syracuse
22. Golden State, Ognjen Kuzmic (SF) Bosnia
23. LA Clippers, Furkan Aldemir (PF) Turkey
24. Philadelphia (trade to BKN via MEM) Tornike Shengelia (SF) Georgia
25. Dallas (trade to LAL) Darius Johnson-Odom (SF) Marquette
26. Toronto, Tomislav Zubcic (SF) Croatia
27. Brooklyn, Ilkan Karaman (PF) Turkey
28. Minnesota, Robbie Hummel (SF) Purdue
29. San Antonio, Marcus Denmon (G) Missouri
30. LA Lakers, Robert Sacre (C) Gonzaga
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