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ESPN TrueHoop Mock Draft: Hornets Pick Cole Aldrich

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Published: June 22, 2010

With the 11th pick in the 2010 ESPN TrueHoop Mock Draft, the New Orleans Hornets select Cole Aldrich out of the University of Kansas.

The TrueHoop Network’s mock draft will be released on our individual sites during the rest of the day, tomorrow and Wednesday. Picks are predictions, not our preferences.

Previous selections:

  1. Washington – John Wall (Kyle Weidie of Truth About It.net)
  2. Philadelphia – Evan Turner (Carey Smith of Philadunkia)
  3. New Jersey – Derrick Favors (Sebastian Pruiti of NetsAreScorching)
  4. Minnesota – Wesley Johnson (Zach Harper of A Wolf Among Wolves)
  5. Sacramento – DeMarcus Cousins (Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom)
  6. Golden State – Greg Monroe (Rasheed Malek of WarriorsWorld.net)
  7. Detroit – Ekpe Udoh (Dan Feldman of PistonPowered.com)
  8. L.A. Clippers – Al-Farouq Aminu (D.J. Foster of ClipperBlog)
  9. Utah – Xavier Henry (Spencer Hall of SaltCityHoops.com)
  10. Indiana – Paul George (Tim Donahue of EightPointsNineSeconds.com)

 

When taking a look at the Hornets it’s clear there are a few areas where easy improvement can be made. One is the small forward position, but realistically there won’t be a player in the draft who will come out and and instantly be an upgrade over Peja, Posey and Julian Wright.

At best a rookie SF would see 10 or 15 minutes a night, mostly with a second unit. At worst he would barely see the floor and act more as a cheerleader. Also many of the players available on the board right now seem to be lacking on the defensive side of the ball. It would be unwise to bring yet another defensive liability on board considering the struggles the team had last year.

They could go after a shooting guard like Xavier Henry as well which would allow the team to move Collison for value/salary relief, then slide Marcus Thornton into the backup PG position for 10 or 12 minutes a night. This however would leave the team remarkably thin at point guard and would require yet another acquisition to solidify the position.

What the team has a desperate need for is a third big man. Picking one up through the draft is ideal because as I talked about a while ago, centers are very expensive otherwise.

I’ll leave the evaluating of Aldrich to Ryan, who wrote about the Hornets big man prospect a while back:

Specific Strengths: Aldrich fits the classic mold of a big man that can defend, rebound and block shots.  Among all the prospects in this draft, he has the best defensive rebound rate, and has the third best rebound rate overall behind DeMarcus Cousins and Brian Zoubek.  Considering the Hornets troubles on the glass last year, this could prove invaluable.  As a shot blocker, Cole also excelled, sending back the 4th most shots per posession (7.88 per 100 posessions) in the draft.  He is also not a lumbering stiff – showing a surprising ability to hedge on the pick and roll – something that was completely lacking from anyone in the Hornets frontcourt last year.  In all, he would provide a complete defensive big man package, something no Hornets big man could claim last year.  Offensively, he’s good in a set offense, setting solid screens, rolling well, and generally being in the right spot.

Specific Weaknesses: Scoring and Playmaking.  Aldrich wasn’t terrible, but among big men prospects in this draft, he was about average at everything offensive.  He was ranked in the middle at field goal percentage, assist rate, free throw percentage, and his ability to draw fouls.  The only offensive thing he was good at was limiting turnovers – though he was VERY good at that, something I’m always happy to see. He’s also not too likely to be a factor in transition or helter-skelter offense.  Not that the Hornets play that way very much.

Summary: Personally, after reviewing some game tape on him and studying his advanced stats, I think he may actually be the best fit for the Hornets out of the list of four.  He adds a capable, tall third big to the rotation, could play equally well with Okafor or West, and does three things the Hornets were absolutely terrible at.  The two things he’s particularly good at – rebounding and limiting turnovers – translate best from college to the pros, so should the Hornets draft him, we can expect a continuation of those skills.  The Hornets are also a fairly conservative team, doing a lot of their damage in the halfcourt.  I think Aldrich could help quite a bit there.

I couldn’t agree more, Ryan. That’s why Aldrich is the 11th pick of the 2010 TrueHoop Mock Draft.

With playmakers like Chris Paul and Darren Collison, the Hornets don’t need a center with tons of post moves. A simple ability to drop the ball in the basket from close range, grab rebounds, and play defense will more than suffice. Not only that, but an Aldrich signing would probably eliminate the possibility of seeing a front court of Darius Songaila and David West in crunch time.

There are a few people who would disagree with this, notably John Hollinger and his draft rater, which predicts that Aldrich will post a 10.83 PER next year, good (or bad) for 36th of all prospects.

The Memphis Grizzlies are on the clock.


Edit- Check out LoveForTheHornet’s recent journal entry regarding CP3 and the Hornets draft

 

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