Looking to the Future: Looking to the Past

Published: April 14, 2012

Looking back at the past of those predicting the future.

Everyone is a draft expert. We all know how good a guy is going to be, why guy X is better than guy Z, and we think anybody who disagrees with us is an idiot that doesn’t deserve our precious time. I am as guilty of this as anyone, as I come on here every week and tell you who the Hornets should pick and who they should stay away from. Occassionally, I am merely a reporter who discloses the facts about the prospects weeks, but I often fall victim to some subjectivity. I have never like Perry Jones III, so I have spent more article space pointing out his bad weeks than highlighting his good ones. I am not proud of this fact, but subconsciously I did it.

Have I been right more than I have been wrong? C’mon, you know how the memory works. We tend to remember what we want to remember, and because of that, I can vividly recall that I knew Samaki Walker was going to be a bust when I saw his draft day suit. But if I am honest with myself, I can also vaguely recall the fact that I thought it was a travesty that John Wallace fell so far in the draft and that he was going to make teams pay for their stupidity. I mean, how could the Hornets (Back then they were in Charlotte, ESPN) pass on him twice for Tony Delk and some kid named Kobe Bryant?

Luckily (and sometimes unluckily, if that’s a word) I get to write for this great site and do podcasts on a weekly basis where my predictions are recorded. I have been dubbed by some as Mikestradamus because I predicted way back in April that CP3 would be traded to the Clippers and that David West would go to Indiana. I also predicted Carl Landry would be traded to the Hornets by the deadline in November of 2010 and in that same CP3 podcast I predicted the Hornets would sell their 2011 draft pick. I also saw something in Norris Cole, Ian Mahinmi, Kenneth Fariad and Brandan Wright when few did.

But I have been wrong many times as well- boy have I been wrong. I loved the Craig Brackins pick and saw him as our stretch four of the future. Now, we did turn him into J-Smitty, so all is well that ends well, but still. I also keep a draft day journal that I exchange with a scouting friend of mine who works for an Eastern Conference team. I have often joked that I could do his job better than he can, so we keep a journal that we write in real time as the draft goes on and exchange them the next day, then grade each other on their predictions after Year Three. Here are some gems from my 2010 journal:

On Wes Johnson

“I see Shawn Marion in his future. I’ll go ahead and say he’ll never be an all-star but will be a guy that scores in the teens, rebounds up to 9 a game but averages 6.5 for his career and will be a solid defender. Nothing wrong with that.”

On Paul George:

….. I hope this is for somebody else or that the NJ trade is happening.  If he stays in Indiana, I see nothing for him with Granger, Jones, Rush and Dunleavy there

You get the point. So to humble myself, and truly understand how fickle this whole process could be, I have gone back and read every article or podcast I could find leading up to the 2009 draft. These guys are finishing up their third year in the league and are getting to that point where their GM’s have to think about paying them soon. They have to answer the question: Are they a part of the future? The Hornets will be in this position in three years with their two picks, and I know everybody here thinks they know the two guys they should take- two guys that can’t fail- you are more than likely wrong on at least one of those guys.

The Knicks had such big plans for Jordan Hill, but he is now on his third team already with no contract guaranteed for next year, getting spot minutes. Hasheem Thabeet would at worst (according to experts) be a guy who gives Memphis defense and rebounding, “any offense will be a bonus” one guy on a DraftExpress podcast claimed. He is also on his third team, riding the bench. Johnny Flynn has one foot out of the league (3rd team), while other lottery picks like Terrance Williams and Earl Clark have bounced around as well. Steph Curry and Brandon Jennings were both the subject of trade rumors this year, and Gerald Henderson and Tyler Hansborough are backups with no real upside. Go ahead and listen to a podcast, read pre-draft or post-draft articles- ALL of these guys are the second coming of player X or will be a foundation piece who will start for 10 years at Y position.

So what’s the point of this article? There’s no gossip or speculation, no rumor, no outrageous statement that is going to get you so fired up that you will have to comment. Isn’t that what blogs are supposed to be about? Well, for one week at least, I am going to break the mold and eat a little humble pie while gaining a little perspective. The Hornets will have two of the top 10 picks in this draft, and the past says that we are not Dennis Green. In three years, we will not be able to look back and claim that, “These Guys are who we thought they were!” 

So I put the challenge to all of the self-righteous right here and right now. Put your predictions in print on this page and forever be held accountable. Or wait a little longer until we know who has what picks. My predictions will be right here on this artificial reality Al Gore created called the Internet until the end of time, so if you are so smart, stand with me and let’s reveal our warts for all to see. In addition, I would advise to keep an open mind, listen to your fellow Hornet fan or blogger, and don’t be so quick to dismiss, because an honest look back at the past will likely show that you probably only truly know that you do not know.

Looking to the Future is a weekly column that runs every Saturday only on Hornets247.com. For past articles, click here.