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Hornets poor drafts contribute to lack of depth, cap space

Published: February 14, 2011

Okay.  We all know that the Hornets have had some poor drafts in the past.  Names such as Hilton Armstrong, Cedric Simmons, and Marcus Vinicius come to mind.  Oh, I almost forgot Julian Wright.  However, there are other ramifications of these picks than just a wasted roster spot.  There are the good NBA players that the Hornets could have picked instead. 

Instead of Armstrong, how would Thabo Sefolosha or Ronnie Brewer look?

Instead of Simmons, how would Rajon Rondo sound?

Heard of Paul Millsap?  He was taken four spots AFTER the Hornets drafted Vinicius. 

I thought that the Hornets would draft Nick Young in 2007.  Instead, it was Julian Wright, who thankfully is no longer on the team.  Young, on the other hand, is developing into an effective scorer for the Wizards. 


Missing on your draft picks affects depth, but it also provides a missed opportunity to develop young talent with cheap labor. 

Take Darrell Arthur for instance, who the Hornets actually drafted in 2008….

*Arthur had 24 points (8-11 FG, 8-10 FT), six rebounds, two blocks and a steal off the bench in the Grizzlies’ win over the Nuggets on Sunday (31 minutes played.

Darrell is averaging 8.6 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game.  He is only 22 years old.  How much is he making in salary?  $1,123,680, which is chump change in the NBA.  Do you think the Hornets could have used him this year?  Instead, he was sold for cash which created the flexibility to sign James Posey and his $6,000,000/year contract which strangled the Hornets front office until he was a salary cap throw-in to the Ariza-Darren Collison deal.  Whew!  Who knows what the Hornets could have done if Arthur was a Hornet.  Maybe the Hornets could have offered Ariza a free-agent contract before last season with that savings and then wouldn’t have had to trade Collison, one of the Hornets’ draft hits which would have saved the draft pick that was used to acquire Bayless earlier this season. Unlikely, but maybe. 

And finally … J.R. Smith. 

Geaux Hornets!






  1. Hornet

    February 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I think we’ve got Byron Scott to thank for all the failed draft picks. The one draft Bower did was the 09 draft which might be the best in “New Orleans” Hornets history. Honestly when I look back on things I blame Scott a lot more for moves than Bower. Scott was the one that wanted Posey, the one that never played Bass, or develop JuJu (who I think could’ve been good), draft Hilton, etc.

    • Monty'sDoghouse

      February 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Who “Thumbs Downed” this post? I demand you show yourself. To say Scott’s ability to draft and develop players was anything short of “craptastic” is loony. Man. Imagine if we had just drafted an “All-LSU Team” over the span of 4-5 years. Bass/Davis/Thornton is a pretty badass bench.

  2. Monty'sDoghouse

    February 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Lord, this journal is depressing. So many missed opportunities. Thank god the ’09 draft class was so strong or we’d be in a hole right now. Imagine our record without Ariza and MT5.

    I still remember how disappointed I was when the Magic grabbed Redick right before we picked. I was sure the Hornets brass couldn’t pass him up. Imagine JJ on this team. He is literally everything we want Marco to be. Monty could have taught him how to D up.

  3. Sincerely Yours96

    February 14, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Looking back i have no idea wat we saw in those draft picks. I wud love for us to pick Perry Jones from Baylor but that aint gonna happen. Realistically i wud like for us to pick Josh Selby from Kansas. A pesky defender, great shooter and is crazy athletic. Can play both Point and the 2. I know our need for a big man but I wud like us to pursue a point guard in the case Paul leaves and even besides that Jack jus doesnt cut it. I also like travis leslie outta Georgia. Depends on our draft postiton though

    • Sincerely Yours96

      February 14, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      Jus remeberd we dont have a draft pick lol but i wud still like us to somehow get these player via trade or along those lines

  4. David

    February 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Very Very depressing. I remember all the way back to when they first came here and dealt a #1 for Courtney Alexander was it? The SG? Just bust after bust after bust. Imagine if we would have had kept DC and Bass and Arthur to go along with Ariza as a free agent in Posey’s place. ahh!! Honestly, between the awful drafts (Simmons, Armstrong, Brackins, etc.), Free agency decisions (Peja for the max? Posey? MoPete? Let Bass walk?), and trades it is amazing that they have been as competitive as they have been for the past decade.

  5. David

    February 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    2002 – Pick traded for SG Courtney Alexander
    2003 David West
    2003 James Lang – bust
    2004 .J. R. Smith – best thing about him is we were able to include him in TC trade
    2004 Tim Pickett – bust
    2005 Chris Paul
    2005 Brandon Bass – Should be part of our core. BS should have been fired solely on that decision
    2006 Hilton Armstrong – bust
    2006 Cedric Simmons – super bust
    2006 Marcus Vinicius – who?
    2007 Julian Wright – entertaining bust
    2007 Adam Haluska – who?
    2008 Darrell Arthur – sold off for 3 million to give to James F’n Posey
    2009 Darren Collison – Still sad we couldn’t keep him around.
    2009 Marcus Thorton – in the doghouse
    2010 Craig Brackens – In the d-league. Bust
    2010 Quincy Pondexter – Too early to tell, but looks promising

  6. Oc

    February 15, 2011 at 12:47 am

    I approve of west n Paul obviously, bass, vinicius (43rd pick n Havin followed him he’s matured and could be serviceable if he was still here) I went nuts when I heard we picked n trade Darrel and kbv mt5 n dc are good picks

  7. nikkoewan

    February 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    off course scott played a role in the unbecoming of our rookies, but in my opinion, the draft is a hit or miss business. off course you can improve your hits by scouting properly and such but ultimately, drafting is an inexact science. even top picks are not afforded the assurance of a impact player. now, remember those times when we drafted those players. everything was full of excitement. judging drafts in hind sight is useless because of its hit or miss nature. We were all touting Wright to be our SF of the future, and now we’re saying his bust of the century? off course, but remember most of us were giddy with that pick. same goes with the hilton armstrong pick, most were giddy because we were getting a potential impact player. that is why i’d rather have an established player than a pick(not unless of course the draft contains SURE FIRE FRANCHISE IMPACT PLAYERS such as Dwight, Paul, Williams, Lebron, etc etc). off course we could have had Millsap, or Thabo, or Brewer. But all of them had red flags as well. Millsap was undersized, and was coming off a surgery(if i was not mistaken, or was that Powe?). Thabo played in a meritless league in Switzerland, that is why his scouting report was vague. Brewer, although athletic, did not possess a jumpshot whatsoever. Now those teams took the risk and it paid off. We took the risk and it didn’t. Pretty sure that had Wright been drafted by the Philadelphia or anywhere where he could have found a niche immediately, he would be a very different player right now. Drafting is just as important as developing talent. So its not just a question of drafting, but also of player development. so to discuss the merits/demerits of drafting, accompanies itself the question of player development. and in my opinion, Monty Williams deserves praise for his continued development on both our youngsters namely Q and MT5. 🙂

    • nikkoewan

      February 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      that is why the San Antonio program is such a great program to be. Not only is the scouting top of the line, but their player development is as well. They draft players who possess the skills to succeed then develop them(either through exposure in Europe or through their own microscope i.e. NBA DLeague). See Parker(CLEARLY developed by Popovich to be the player he is today), Ginobili(born and bred European player including the flops), Neal(gem from Europe as well), Blair(gave him proper instruction – that is let him loose on rebounds), Splitter(developed in the Euroleague). That is why i am in full support of demps plan of deploying a scouting team in europe. 🙂

  8. David

    February 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Yes, but I think the point you missed is HOW they drafted. Look at all the successful picks the Hornets had in that timeframe: CP3, West, Collison, Thorton, Bass. See any kind of pattern: All had extremely productive college careers. CP3 only played 2 years, but the others played a full four and were extremely productive! If you draft for potential after the top 5 or 6, chances are you will get burned, because if their potential was that good they’d be a top pick. Examples 1, 2, and 3: Cedric Simmons, Julian Wright, and JR Smith. All lots of potential, no production on the college level. If you draft guys who are productive college players, chances are they can fit into a rotation and help your team. You put your team at a tremendous disadvantage when you completely whiff on a first round pick, esp. multiple first round picks. At best, they develop into All-Stars, at worst, they develop into rotation guys (Thorton, Bass, JJ Redick, etc.)

    • nikkoewan

      February 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      their have been lots of seniors who couldn’t produce. so really, at worst, they would be just as worse as drafting for potential. again i stick by my idea that the draft is an inexact science, and until someone can truly quantify the change in production from the college level to the NBA level(only rebounding numbers have had a good correlation), then it will always remain as an inexact science. off the top of my head, joey graham? julius hodge? luther head? wayne simien? demarre carroll? danny green? paul davis? all of them productive senior students, all are not good rotation players.

      but if you were going to get my opinion on the draft, i’d draft productive sophomores, and then productive juniors, then seniors, then freshman. this is assuming there are no transcendental players like James CP3 Howard etc…

      so if we were to look at this year’s draft and assume that the Hornets, using their exemption, get a pick around the 15 to 30 range, i’d go with someone like the Morris brothers from Kansas, or Nolan smith.

  9. chung

    February 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm


    young talent can be used as trade assets if you are trying to contend now. Al Jefferson was traded for Garnett; Ray Allen for Jeff Green;
    Pau Gasol for Kwame….ok bad example there.

    If only the Hornets had more young talent to make more trades such as Collison for Ariza, then things would have gotten interesting.

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