Now that our franchise savior has arrived, we can finally say goodbye to the future.
In part, this series was started because I knew that the present would just be too difficult to bear as a Hornets fan. After trading Chris Paul in mid-December, the Hornets had transformed overnight from a relevant franchise to an after thought, and the only way back would be to hit a home run in the 2012 NBA draft. So this series became therapy for me in a lot of ways, and most of you seemed to respond to it as well, as LTTF pieces were our most read pieces week after week.
But now it is time to say good-bye.
After suffering through a painful season, that was mercifully cut short due to the NBA lockout, Hornets fans can now start to focus on the present after winning Wednesday’s draft lottery. The cornerstone of our franchise is now in place, so there is no need to pine for Nelens Noel in a running column next year (though a guy with that name would be a pretty nice fit for the Big Easy, wouldn’t it?). Next year I can actually watch Hornets games with hope for the future, instead of staying up until 2 am watching Washington play Cal and wondering how Terrence Ross would look in a Hornets uniform.
Don’t get me wrong, over the next few weeks I will still give you tons of draft coverage, analysis, and scouting reports, but it will not be in this format. It is time to move on, but it is not without a heavy heart. Looking to the Future was exactly what I needed to get through this year, and I will always recall these pieces with fondness. But now that the man they call Unibrow is coming, I no longer need an escape from my present day reality.
- My favorite piece to write was the one on White American-Born centers because I always felt like there was a high bust factor there, but was surprised at just how much the data backed that generalization up. I still don’t know exactly why it is that these guys, who are often dominant in college, have such a hard time transitioning to the pros, but I am open to any and all theories.
- When I think of your comments, the first thing that comes to mind is how starved Hornets fans are for offense, and I understand that. Even when this team was successful with CP3, there weren’t always fun to watch, and they have been in the bottom ten in the NBA in pace for the last ten years. Knowing that, I am going to predict that guys like Damian Lillard and Terrance Ross will start to get a lot of support from Hornets fans as the draft gets closer and closer.
- I always considered myself somewhat of a college basketball expert, but this year (and because of these pieces) I fell back in love with the game. It is a different game than NBA basketball, but the chess match is fun nevertheless. I agree that it would be an even better game if guys were forced to stay two or three years, but I believe that a person’s right to make a living trumps the ability to make a game better- and to make a lot of old, white men (who do little to nothing) richer off their backs. In fact, I would support the right for player’s to come to the NBA out of high school, even though I think it risks making the NBA and NCAA inferior products.
- If you have been reading these pieces, and listening to our podcasts, you probably know that I would target Austin Rivers, Jared Sullinger, or Kendall Marshall with the tenth pick. I also believe in grabbing the guy highest on your board, regardless of position- and to take it a step further, I really don’t believe positions exist anymore. Because of that, I would not be surprised if the Hornets took Jared Sullinger at ten, even though both he and Davis are listed as “power forwards.”
Offensively, could they work together? Of course. Either guy is more than capable on the low block and both can step out and hit a jumper out to 20 feet. Defensively, could they work together? I don’t see a ton of 4/5 combo’s in the league that would absolutely dominate them, save for maybe the Lakers, but Kobe won’t give his bigs the ball anyway. Bottom line, it is not about the positions they play, but how they fit together and those two have games that compliment each other fairly well.
But even with all of that, my gut just says Kendall Marshall. All of these guys will come in and work out, but on the conference call I asked Demps what he wants to see in those workouts and he kept referencing “mental makeup.” According to nearly everyone who covered UNC, Marshall was one of the best leaders that team has had in the last 20 years, and the guy has all the intangibles to go with a very good skill set. Guys will come in and jump higher, run faster, shoot better, etc. – but at the end of the day I think the Hornets take Marshall to run this team for the next 10+ years.
- Lastly, thank you all for supporting these pieces and for commenting. Your comments often helped me write the following weeks column, or gave me something new to watch for when evaluating these college players. You all were my muse. I hope I did a good job coming at this from different angles, and I hope I educated, frustrated, and entertained you with my analysis and insight. And lastly, thank you Anthony Davis for giving me the gift of the present.
To read all of the Looking to the Future pieces, click here.