Random thoughts on this whole draft dealio

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Published: June 30, 2007

So the draft is done and we ended up with a pair of dudes nobody expected us to end up with. Julian Wright and Adam Haluska. Were these two players the best we could do? Will either of them contribute significantly next year? Do the picks leave the Hornets with some work to do in free agency?

The answers to all these questions and more may or may not be found below. There's nothing like a good old-fashioned mystery. Here's what my brain thinks…

  • Julian Wright is not a shooter. He's not going to give the Hornets a lot in the half court offense. But then I was wondering, do we really need a shooter? Given a healthy Peja (a stretch, I know) and a streakless Rasual Butler (ditto), I don't think we really need a shooter. It would be nice to have one, sure, but I'm kinda glad the Hornets picked the best player available at 13, rather than the best shooter. I can't see a guy like Nick Young ever averaging more than a dozen a game.
  • As well as not being able to shoot, Wright doesn't look to have much of a post-up game, either. In fact, he doesn't appear to be a guy Byron Scott can ever run a set play for. However, that doesn't mean dude can't score. Check out these YouTube highlights and you'll notice that pretty much every play has Wright finishing a fastbreak, slashing to the basket, or scoring off put-backs. With Chris Paul on the floor, Wright should get plenty of buckets if he can continue to do those things in the NBA.
  • After watching all those highlights, I was thinking Wright could rep the Hornets at the dunk contest next year. Then I saw this.
  • I'm reading lots and lots of good things about Adam Haluska. For example, the guy works real hard, fights through screens, and can shoot the NBA three. Fact is though, he's a second round pick, and history tells us that our second round pick usually sucks. If he sees more than garbage minutes in a dozen games next season, I'll be shocked. Delighted, but shocked.
  • I really like that Wright is known for his defense. He'll probably end up getting a lot of Desmond Mason's minutes from last year, which means he'll often be expected to guard the Tracy McGradys and Kobe Bryants out there. It's comforting to know that he won't get slaughtered.
  • When asked which NBA player, past or present, Julian Wright reminded him of, Byron Scott said a "poor man’s Magic Johnson." Let's not get carried away now, Byron.

    More realistic comparisons I've heard for Wright include Lamar Odom, Boris Diaw and Richard Jefferson.

  • A few notable guys that the Hornets could have taken with their second round pick: Spanish pivot Marc Gasol (brother of Pau, 48th pick by LAL), Oklahoma State combo guard JamesOn Curry (51st pick by CHI), two-time NCAA champion point guard Taurean Green (52nd pick by POR), 6-6 DePaul guard Sammy Mejia, who the Hornets worked out three weeks ago (57th pick by DET).
  • So will our top pick suffer the same fate as Cedric Simmons and Hilton Armstrong last year, and spend more time on the bench than on the court? Byron doesn't think so: "I think he's farther along than Hilton and Cedric were at this particular time last year." Good to know. I also think it will be easier for Wright to get some PT because he won't be stuck behind proven starters, like last year's rooks. That's assuming Mason walks, of course.
  • Remember how I was talking about Thaddeus Young as a good character guy? Judging from this glowing report, Wright seems to fit the same mold…

    "Probably the most promising thing to come out of here is the way Wright conducts himself on the floor. He is an extremely smart, extremely coachable young man, always encouraging his teammates on during the drills and being very appreciative and responsive towards the coaching he’s receiving here… It’s not hard to tell why people see the upside they do in him."

  • Post-draft, every so-called expert has their opinion on how the Hornets did with their picks. The HR faithful have tracked down a nice sampling here, and the consensus seems to be that we landed a stud in Wright.
  • I'm resisting the temptation to say the Hornets did well in the draft. All indications are that we did, but there's no way to know for sure until these kids get some games under their belts. Hell, even then we might not know. Do we even have a solid verdict on Simmons and Armstrong yet? Methinks not.

Now, about my experience at the Hornets draft party yesterday. I met up with my main man Toney Blare at about 5ish and we headed over to the Arena. It was my first time ever in the place, and I was on some kind of natural high. I imagine it was how The Dude felt during that dream sequence. Them Honeybees looked supernova hot in real life, and I was seeing Bob Licht and Gil McGregor as we queued for a $1 beer. For some reason, I had doubted that those two guys really existed. Part of me always thought they were computer generated or something.

Yeah, you couldn't wipe that stupid smile off my face. That is, until we found out the $1 beers cost $6 each. I'm no accountant, but that shit didn't add up. Eventually we asked a few important looking people what the deal was and they got it straightened out, thus saving us from sobriety.

Before the draft got underway, me and TB got a tour of the locker rooms and offices and stuff. The locker rooms were a little smaller than I expected, and I found it interesting that Peja's locker was in a corner by itself. Poor guy, must get lonely.

Coming out of there we passed by Chris Paul and an entourage in the hallway. That was some kind of surreal moment. I was going to run over to him but then I remembered that guy who tried to jump on the Popemobile and thought better of it. I want to at least get a few games in before I get banned from the Arena.

It was all pretty tame after that. We sat in the stands, drank a few more dollars, and watched the draft unfold on the big screen. Not many fans were in the Arena, really. I was expecting more, but everyone there seemed to be enjoying it. Most of the people I spoke to were thinking Nick Young would be the pick.

After Philly took young Thaddeus at 12, we knew the Hornets would be taking one of three guys: Al Thornton, Nick Young, or Julian Wright. I presumed Wright would be our guy because he was expected to go much higher. We were told Chris Paul would come out and announce the pick before David Stern told the world, but that didn't happen. We found out just like everyone else. Confetti and streamers fell from the rafters, because… uh, well I'm not quite sure why they did that. Did we win something?

Then there were the interviews. Byron Scott, Jeff Bower, Chad Shinn and Chris Paul were all interviewed at mid-court. With all these guys in the building, I was busy wondering who the hell was in New Jersey to shake Wright's hand and welcome him to the team? Brandon Bass, maybe?

Overall though, it was a good evening. The place was pretty much empty by the end of the first round, so we left for a real bar and chicks with small dogs. Fun times in New Orleans.

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