Draft Prospects After The Madness

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Published: April 5, 2010

The following is a guest post by Michael McNamara (a.k.a. loveforthehornets).

Last month we took a look at the prospects the Hornets might be interested in with their upcoming first round pick. Now that March Madness is behind us, let’s examine who’s stock went up and who’s went down.

Stock Up

Al- Farouq Aminu 

Last month I gave it a 20 percent chance that Aminu would still be around when the Hornets selected, but we can now safely say that the chances of him being around at 11 or 12 are slim to none. Aminu had a spectacular first round game against fellow first round pick Damion James and Texas, going off for 20 points and 15 rebounds, while playing stellar defense, and passing the all important “eye test”. Aminu will be among the first seven players selected, so unless the Hornets trade up or make a deal to move Collison for another lottery pick, there will be no Aminu in New Orleans.

Ekpe Udoh 

Udoh, perhaps more than any other player this March, helped his draft stock by leading Baylor to the Elite Eight.  His numbers don’t really tell the whole story, as Baylor had huge mismatches at other positions in their second round game, and their third round game against St. Mary’s was a blowout, so Udoh’s stats were fairly mediocre in those two wins. However, he did help Baylor avoid the upset in round one by going for 20 and 13 with 5 assists and 2 blocks, and then almost single handedly kept Baylor in the game against Duke, going for 18 and 10 with 6 assists and 5 blocks.  Udoh solidified himself as a top 15 pick if he decides to come out and has to be a guy the Hornets strongly consider if he is still on the board when they select. 

Stock down 

Cole Aldrich 

Aldrich didn’t have a horrible post season but his top ranked Jayhawks got bounced much earlier than expected, as Aldrich could not play in the deciding minutes due to an injury. His stock is down mainly because he didn’t dominate two undersized teams and the Hornets have to wonder how his game will translate over to the pros. If he is just a serviceable, average center- well the Hornets already have one of those and perhaps this pick would be better served on a guy who can be a standout at his position at some point in the future.

Solomon Alibi 

Alibi entered the tournament as a fringe lottery pick and ended as a guy the Hornets won’t even consider at 11 or 12. He got into foul trouble early and his Seminoles were one and done in the tourney. He did score 13 points, but only grabbed 6 rebounds and had 1 block against Gonzaga. If you are considering drafting a center in the lottery, those numbers just don’t impress you. Alibi is a project that someone will take a chance on in the first round but he won’t be a Hornet.

James Anderson 

Every year the tournament turns little known players into household names and a lot of experts believed Anderson would be one of those guys this year. He was one of the nations top scorers at nearly 23 PPG and he was set to face a Georgia Tech team in the first round that was known for its horrendous perimeter defense.  Everything was set up for him, but Anderson laid an egg, going 3 for 12 from the field, including 0 for 6 from three-point land, and scoring only 11 points. It was a long shot that the Hornets would spend their lottery pick on another guard, and with Anderson’s stock falling, we can safely presume that it will be a frontcourt player that we will be welcoming into our family this June.

Other Notes

I know many of you probably expected to see Greg Monroe in the stock down after Georgetown’s first round upset, but Monroe actually had a pretty solid game- and more importantly the knock on him is that he is not a game changer. At 11 or 12, the Hornets won’t be expecting a game changer and/or franchise guy.  The question is whether Monroe can fit on this team as a complimentary piece, and his performance in the tournament didn’t show anything to say that he can’t.

Patrick Patterson maintained his status as an end of the lottery pick as well with a couple solid, but unspectacular performances during Kentucky’s run. Some will point to his decrease in numbers this season and say it is a bad sign, while others will applaud his ability to mesh with UK’s strong incoming class. Either way, Patterson will be somebody we work out and could be a future Hornet if he can show that he can defend the four position at the pro level.

Stanley Robinson (NIT), Xavier Henry, and Devin Ebanks didn’t show enough in the postseason to warrant passing on the big man that the Hornets so desperately need. While it is true that a team should almost always select the best player available, it would take a miracle for all of the big men who rank higher than these three to be gone when the Hornets select. The Hornets need size, length, and interior defense and should only pass that up if there is a wing player that can be a future star on the board (Aminu). These three did not show any reason to believe they will be on that level.

Teams usually put their draft board into tiers and here is my projected Hornets draft board with relation to that tier system.

Tier 1 
  • John Wall
  • Evan Turner
  • Derrick Favors 
Tier 2 
  • Wesley Johnson
  • Al- Farouq Aminu
  • DeMarcus Cousins 
Tier 3 
  • Ed Davis
  • Greg Monroe
  • Cole Aldrich 
Tier 4 
  • Hassan Whiteside
  • Ekpe Udoh
  • Patrick Patterson
  • Stanley Robinson
  • Xavier Henry 

That’s 14 players and it does not include the two international players that I am sure we will at least take a look at in the next few months. Of those 14, Udoh, Ed Davis, and Greg Monroe are the only three who could possibly choose to return for another season. However, if they all come out, the Hornets should be able to land a quality player at 11 or 12 and would get a stud or a huge trade chip if they landed a top three draft pick.

Lastly, here are some important dates with regard to the draft to put on your calendar:

  • April 25th- Early Entry Deadline
  • May 18th- NBA Draft Lottery (pray for a top 3 pick)
  • May 19-23- NBA Draft Combine in Chicago
  • June 24- NBA Draft
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