Looking to the Future: 2012 Draft Updates

Published: January 14, 2012

This week we look at how the projected lottery picks fared and give you some lottery sleepers that could be Hornets come June.

Last week we took a quick peak at some of the players projected to be taken early in the 2012 draft, along with a few games to watch if you felt like playing the role of scout yourself (I hope you caught that Illinois/Ohio State game we recommended. It was FAN-tastic!) This week, we will focus on what stood out over these past seven days while also shinning the spotlight on a couple of players we overlooked in our last edition.

The Week That Was

Clear cut #1 pick Anthony Davis had a relatively quiet week, averaging just 13 and 8 in two games. He did average 5.5 blocks, however, and on the year Davis is averaging 4.6 blocks while only being called for 2.2 fouls a game. A 2:1 block to foul ratio is almost unheard of, especially for a Freshman. Just for comparison’s sake, the last guy people touted as a defensive game changer, Greg Oden, averaged 3.3 blocks per game while getting whistled for 2.72 fouls.

Some might argue that Andre Drummond has a chance to be the #1 pick in 2012, but Drummond himself disagrees. You see, this week Drummond announced that he intends to come back next year. I will believe it when the early entry deadline has passed and Drummond is not on the list. Not to harp on Greg Oden, but I remember him once claiming that he intended to stay at OSU all four years. When the NBA comes calling, you pick up the phone.

Indiana freshman center Cody Zeller has stepped out of the shadow of his older brother Tyler and has established himself as a big man who could be drafted in the lottery this June. In the past two weeks he has led the surprising Hoosiers to wins over Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State and had the best game of his career in a close loss to Minnesota. If Drummond does not declare, Zeller could easily position himself as the #1 center in this class.

Perry Jones III ended his recent mini-slump by helping Baylor defeat #18 Kansas State (in another game we advised you to watch). Jones went for 17 points on 8-12 shooting and pulled down 8 boards against a veteran squad in a conference game. My only concern is the five turnovers.

Harrison Barnes was awful in North Carolina’s most recent game, going 2-12 from the field. Now, you are going to have games where you miss shots, but the problem with Barnes is that he doesn’t really help you in other ways. Nobody will accuse him of being a shutdown defender, and he is pulling down less than 5 boards a game and only averaging one assist.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has followed up his breakout performance of 24 points and 19 rebounds against #4 Louisville by averaging just 8 points and 6 rebounds over the last three games, while shooting just 36%. He has 4.3 turnovers per game during that stretch as well. Just goes to show the inconsistency of youth.

The Other Guys

In addition to Cody Zeller, there are a handful of other prospects that could easily find themselves as lottery picks next June. One of those players is Tony Wroten, Jr. , a freshman point guard at Washington who David Thorpe believes would make a great fit for the Hornets. Wroten is a phoenomenial prospect who has tremendous size for the point guard position, along with the ability to finish at the basket. The knock on him is that he may be more of a combo guard, but with Eric Gordon having the ball in his hands so much due to his elite ability to run the pick and roll, perhaps the Hornets don’t need a true PG.

Patric Young and Myers Leonard are two guys that the Hornets could target in the late lottery if they focus on team need over best player available. Young is a poor man’s Al Horford, undersized for the center position, but powerful enough to hold his own, while Leonard has the height (a legit 7-footer), he just needs to add the bulk. With Gordon, Aminu, Henry, and even Vasquez all able to play on the wing, Demps might feel that it is worth the risk to draft a less talented big rather than a guy like Bradley Beal simply because of need.

3 Games to Watch This Week

1. Indiana at Ohio State Sunday at 4:30 on CBS

The “safe pick” Jared Sullinger goes up against “the project” Cody Zeller in this battle of top ten teams. Sullinger played well last week against Myers Leonard, scoring 21 points in a close loss, but he only grabbed two defensive rebounders against a player that had the size Sullinger will be going up against every night in the pros.

2. Baylor at Kansas Monday at 9:30 on ESPN

Two likely top-five picks go at it as Perry Jones and Thomas Robinson square off. Robinson has been on a tear of late and has seen his stock rise as a result. If he can win the battle against Jones in this game, it could go a long way in determining who is chosen first come June.

3. North Carolina at Virginia Tech Thursday at 9PM on ESPN

Just watch this game without any preconceived ideas of who is an elite prospect and is destined for greatness according to draft “experts.” Tell me who stands out to you, and which guy(s) you would like to go to battle with on your team.

Looking to the Future is a weekly piece that you can find only on Hornets247.com every Saturday. For prior articles, click here.


  1. 504ever

    January 14, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I’ve been trying to tell everyone Harrison Barnes is somewhere between ‘fool’s gold’ and ‘not the answer’. I am glad some else noticed all he is in college is a 6′ 8″ perimeter shooter. His game has no driving to the basket, no offensive or defensive rebounding, and he is nothing special as a college defender. So when his shot is off, especially when he is defended by a college player with his length, he has nothing else going for him.

    What do you think will happen to him when he gets to the NBA and everyone guarding him has his length? Unless he can develop his game, it won’t be pretty.

    • 504ever

      January 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      Well after my post above, Barnes ‘led’ Carolina losses by 33 at Florida State today. Not sure I want anyone off of that team; they were dull and lifeless the entire game. It was pitifull.

  2. NOS-3RD Gen

    January 14, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Is it me or do it look like the hornets are losing on purpose or tanking this season? Well if that’s what they planning This whole “Looking to the Future” method. its a bad business strategy. WHY? 3 reasons Players, future Owner, and Fans.

    PLAYERS: No multi-player now-a-days want to be on a team thats not going anywhere! so hornets won’t attract any good free agents unless they are the type want money over a ring, but overall with a team w/o the best PG in the league that made player attracted to the hornets less. Only way players are gonna want to do business with the hornets is if Eric Gordon stay and don’t want to get traded along with Kaman and Landry!

    F.OWNER: WE still don’t have an Owner on the team Why? B/C owners don’t want to waste time on a team whose over-priced and not going any where anytime soon.

    THE FANS:the fans get hurt the most maybe not the Die Hard fans whose always looking at the bright side and saying maybe next year, but not the “Fickle Fans,” and the fickle fans are real ones who pack the arena! For those of who don’t know what “Fickle Fans” are, its Fans who only root for you or on your “band wagon” when you win!! So if the hornets aren’t winning they lost interest in the fans especially this year where they gathered up to 10,000 tickets and they’re not going anywhere especially when your losing at “HOME.”

    focus on the future while still marching forward in the Present. Remember! there’s no time like the present time, so make some adjustments to the rosters. trade Okafor for a 1st round draft pick or a young high potential Center, and anything to do when the time is right, sign big time free agents when March rolls around and make a total turn around for this team! pick up Aaron Brooks and Wilson Chandler,but before the trade deadline trade more players to teams for better players and dft picks, but until then the hornets are gonna have keep themselves “IN” instead of asking people “Are You IN.” People aren’t gonna be “IN” if the Hornets are not “IN,” so get it together and Fight to WIN! WIN! WIN!

  3. 504ever

    January 14, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Oh yeah, if “safe pick” Jared Sullinger ends up being an NBA PF anything like, say, “safe pick” Shane Batier was/is an NBA SF, I’ll take him. Sometimes those polished players who star at very high level college programs for very strong college teams really do have the all around game and basketball savy to be long term quality starters in the NBA.

    If my choice is Sullinger or Barnes, I take Sullinger every time and end up with a team of quality starters who can help out in different ways each night.

  4. NOS-3RD Gen

    January 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I Know this article is about getting the best draft picks for next year, and an update on the draft, but I just had to get that off my chest!!!!

  5. babyboi5

    January 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Really? Really?? Can we give up on all the upcoming draft news? I mean, goodness gracious, the season is only 3 weeks old and we’re talking about the draft.

    If we’re in late March/early April, then the conversation is fine. But to talk about this now so early in the season, knowing that the team isn’t doing so well, isn’t helping.

    We need to focus on how to make this team better and find ways to improve. I’ll deal with the future when it gets here. I want this team to win.

    • BigEasyBaller

      January 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      This is just a segment Hornets247 is doing every Saturday something to keep people updated on how one of the new hornets is playing!

    • JT's Hoops Blog

      January 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      No offense there, but the only way to get that team better is through either the draft or trades and New Orleans has so far done done a good job in adding solid players in the wake of losing Chris Paul. They’ll certainly need help on the wing. Al_Farouq Aminu has so far been garbage and Trevor Ariza is not getting any better either.

      • NOS-3RD Gen

        January 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm

        answer to that will come in march two words Wilson Chandler!!

      • Ryan

        January 15, 2012 at 11:00 pm

        aminu reminds me of julian wright a player with a lot of talent that doesn’t know how to use it willson chandler is a good idea but they would bring the home town boy danny granger and let him run on the wing

  6. J

    January 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Kidd-Gilchrist and Damian Lilliard are my two choices so far.

  7. chiefyoungblood

    January 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    saturday games include Kentucky vs Tennessee and North Carolina vs Florida St. on espn , think they started at 11 maybe

    i dig cody zeller more than the ugly zeller

  8. Tim

    January 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I don’t like Wroten Jr. He dominates possession of the ball. He has amazing physical talent and ability, but he is far from a point guard. I think his ceiling is something around Rodney Stuckey.

  9. Jacob

    January 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    yea i think anthony davis has the potential to be the next dwight howard if he can bulk up and doesnt seem like a great point guard class this year? what are the chanes austin rivers comes out this year?

  10. Trey Alexander

    January 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    If we’re talking point guards, you guys should check out Myck Kabongo. Reminds me a lot of Chris Paul….
    Freshmen at UT…will likely be a one and done.


  11. Trey Alexander

    January 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    One of the quickest guys in college basketball….has mad handles, a pass-first point guard, doesn’t turn the ball over, has crazy good vision, and has the ability to make the type of plays that make you go “how in the world did he see/do that?”

    In a perfect world, assuming we trade one of our current assets for another late round first rounder and get two first round picks, I’d like the Hornets to get:

    1) Anthony Davis or Perry Jones
    2) Harrison Barnes or MKG
    3) Myck Kabongo

  12. Ryan

    January 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Drummond seems like a good pick if he delcairs for the draft but i would try to draft a solid nba guard and also take a look at kansas’s thomas robinson a 6-9 F avg 17pts and close to 13 rebounds a game seems like a solid forward that can make the jump to the pros quickly, but before the draft hornets should try to shop around kaman and ariza and bring in a small forward that has an offensive game but also a good defensive player.

  13. David

    January 17, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Just saw Anthony Davis from Kentucky on four of five possessions take a charge, block a shot, change a shot and force a miss while getting back off the floor to get the rebound, and then get a steal poking the ball away, and then nail two free throws for good measure. This guy needs to add some strength, but he is such a polished defender that he would start as a rookie. Okafor, Davis, and Ariza could be the best defensive frontcourt in the entire league. I always said if you paired Okafor with a PF like Davis he would be great. Oh he just blocked another shot. The feel for the game this dude’s got is ridiculous. He just set the KENTUCKY record for most blocks in a season – in 18 1/2 games – and has not recorded more than 3 fouls in a game this season. That is just stupid.

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