More about the Hornets and Drafting

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Published: May 23, 2008

Following up on my previous draft post, I wanted to address how the Hornets, as an organization, have done with the draft, and what we can hope from our pick. This year, we only hold the 27th selection of the draft, since our second round pick will be going to Seattle.

In general, the Hornets have done fairly well in the draft. Here are their drafts for the last 15 years, minus the last two, since it's still not entirely clear what's going to happen with Hilton Armstrong and Julian Wright.(though I am worried due to Cedric Simmons and Hilton not showing much yet)

Hornets Pick Player Selected Player Rating Average Rating for Pick
3rd Baron Davis A- C+
4th Chris Paul A C+
13th Kobe Bryant A C-
16th Tony Delk C D
16th Kirk Haston F D
17th Greg Graham F D

18th

David West B D+
18th JR Smith C- D+
19th Jamaal Magloire B- D
21st Ricky Davis C+ D+
22nd George Zidek F D-
38th Darin Hancock D- F
40th Brandon Bass D+ F
43rd Lee Nailon D D-
44th Malik Rose D+ N/A
44th Tim Pickett N/A N/A
48th James Lang N/A N/A

As you can see, the Hornets have consistenly done better than Average in the draft. Their three misses were on Kirk Haston, Greg Graham, and George Zidek. So we can rely on a pretty solid scouting effort by the Hornets staff. Of course, the scouting staff may identify talent, but it has to be on the board in order for the Hornets to take advantage of it, and we are picking 27th. Here are the historical stats for the 27th pick:

Since 1984, there has been only one great player selected at this position, though that one player should be a Hall of Famer: Dennis Rodman, selected in 1986. A few other servicable players were also selected at this position – former Hornet Elden Campbell, Pacer guard Jamaal Tinsley, Spur guard Jacque Vaughn, Denver forward Linas Kleiza, and Laker guard Sasha Vujacic. Outside of those players, the 27th picks have generally lasted about 3 seasons and then quietly left the NBA.

As you can see, our odds of selecting someone who can contribute are mediocre at best. For the last 21 years, 29% of the players picked 27th were contributers to a team, and the other 71% did nothing of note.

For me, the Hornets are right at the edge of being a real Contender for the title. Even with a solid Hornets scouting crew, I'm not sure I'd want to take a 1 in 3 gamble in the draft that I'd get someone useful. I'd rather use the pick as a sweetener to enable us to shed one of our two bad contracts(James, Butler) and get something useful back to strengthen the bench.

With that said, I'll continue to evaluate the prospects that seem likely to fall to us 27th in future posts. And who knows, maybe twenty+ teams will forget about Jerryd Bayless or OJ Mayo and they'll land in our laps.

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