as i write this fan post, my heart is filled with anger, sadness, and hope.
first, anger against jeff bower and george shinn - this is not being pessimistic, but really, the only way to build a great team nowadays,when money and loyalty is everything, is through the draft.bits and pieces( maybe 1 or 2) should be taken from the free agent pool( and at a modest rate i must add especially for a small market like our very own). Bower never really understood that, he thought that free agents is where amazing happens, but its not, its in the draft.
Look at the spurs who WERE built through the draft. The spurs have great scouts and a great eye for talent and character( Duncan, Ginobili, Parker, Salmons, Scola, Barbosa, Udrih, Splitter, Hill - pls include Josh Howard he was supposed to be a Spur draftee, but they traded the pick to save money for Kidd). Although they did not keep or sign all of their draft picks(Salmons - PHI, Barbosa - PHO, Scola - ??, Splitter - Next season i think, Howard - Kidd), you can't deny it, Spurs Management has an eye for talent.
The bulls of yore( Jordan, Grant, Armstrong, Stacey King, traded for Pippen on Draft night) then added pieces that were right for their price( Paxson, Kerr, Harper, Rodman, Longley etc). The Mavs of yore( Kidd, Mashburn, JJ, Dirk) and i could think of a lot of teams built through the draft.
Looking at the Hornets previous draft picks( after Paul), we were not doing so well. We did not hold on to Bass. 2006 draft - instead of Hilton, Cedric and Haluska( say what?), we could have drafted a number of players right here:
Thabo, Brewer, Balkman, Shannon Brown, MILLSAP, POWE!!
(bold for 12 and 15 pick, while Italicized for our 43 pick)
2007 draft:( although Julian for me is alright but Haluska isn't)
43 pick: MARC GASOL, DOMINIC MCGUIRE( who i really admire), AARON GRAY, and Taurean Green( who could have been a Jannero Pargo for Paul - look at eurobasket.com for stats, he shoots 40% from 3 pt range!! and is a great defender)
2008 draft: I really did not see the Posey signing as needed at that time, but i knew the team needed a leader of the bench now that Pargo left, but a few million wouldnt have hurt. A million?
27:Arthur, Chalmers, Jordan, MBAH A MOUTE, Weaver, Douglas - Roberts( who on draft night, many hornets fans were clamoring if i remember correctly), Mike Taylor.
that was why I was placing great importance in the 2009 draft, i did not have inside look on the scouting reports on each player, and will not have sufficient workout results on draft camp but it is important that the bees start in this year's draft to rebuild.
Looking at the Previous signings( in my recent memory of being a fan of the hornets which is 2004 - 2005 when they drafted paul, and 2005 when katrina struck the big easy)
Peja Stojakovic, Rasual Butler, Peterson, Posey, Peja Stojakovic(oops i said that again).
ranking by worst to best: Peja, Peja, Peterson, Posey, Butler....
looking at that 2006 draft, we could have improved by drafting any of the said players above, or trading our draft picks for future draft picks( like some teams do if the draft is not to deep).
we could have drafted in 2007, where the SF was overflowing with talent( not including Juju):
Rudy Fernandez, Chandler *gulp* Thornton, Splitter( who i really believe is going to be a solid NBA player), Almond, Etc...
we could have done what the Spurs, the Bulls of Yore, the Blazers, the Thunder and Grizzlies( hopefully if they keep drafting wisely) did/do.
instead we are left with this really old, really screwed up team... here is some looks of the Hornets team we could have had if Bower was wiser( starting in 2006, and I still would have gone through with the Tyson Trade)...
Draft Thabo with 12 pick, Draft Millsap with 43 pick( HOME BOY!!). Trade 15 pick to a 20 to 30 pick in 2007.
Starters: Paul, Butler, Mason, West, Chandler
Bench: Pargo, Devin( the good one), Thabo, Bass, Jackson
when West injured, Bass starts( we discover his skills), we use Millsap as bench
prediction: 39 - 43 ( no playoffs)
Draft Juju at 12
Draft Rudy at 22( Bobcats pick, Jordan would accept this and with the 15 pick in 2006, he would draft DAVID NOEL, LOLZ)- > unsigned
Marc Gasol with 43 pick-> unsigned
we let bass go( one of the wiser Bowers plunder), we trade for marks( conditional 20xx pick) haha
sign Kapono to same deal( instead of Mo, who was old)
Starters: Paul,Butler, Kapono, West, Chandler
Bench, Pargo, Thabo, Wright, Millsap, Marks - > what a small front court average of 6'8. haha.
Predictions: 60 - 24. Kapono is an upgrade over Peja at this time( Kapono shooting the same, and can back down somebody, although not as smart defensively as Peja). Lose to Lakers in 7.
27: Draft Chalmers
sign Rudy and Gasol
Pargo walks away to Moscow
Starters: Paul, Butler, Kapono, West, Chandler
Bench: Chalmers, Rudy, Wright, Millsap, Gasol
Predictions: 64 - 18. 2nd best record in west, 3rd in league( behind Cavs, and Lakers). WIN NBA FINALS IN 5 over CAVS.
See the difference? Sorry for this tedious research nonsense( thanks to Basketball-reference.com for the draft pick knowledge on every team, Hoopstats.com for idea on the NOLA roster each year, NBA.com for draft coverage and Google for Free agent list.)
Let Bower read this. Some points may be invalid today( like will Millsap ever develop as a second fiddle here? will Chalmers, Rudy and Gasol like a backup role? will they excel? am I downplaying the effect of Peja( offense, defense). draft day uncertainties, etc..
But if you had a better staff, and keener sense in drafting, we would be in a different situation.
For next season, CHANGE OUR GM or OUR SCOUTS
if only we could....
(sorry specifically to atthehive for this useless fanpost. i think its over the top. but after the denver ownage, i just had to tell some hornets fans how i felt...feel free to kick me out of the community)