We've got an internet chock full of Hornets opinion, knowledge, and rumor in the aftermath of the draft, so let's get right down to it.
We'll start with the Hornets' first draft pick, Craig Brackins. The Ames (IA) Tribune reports on Skates' reaction after he was selected:
"I was shocked," Brackins said. "I didn’t think I would go that high."
Join the club, Craig. Though that was the headline-grabbing quote in the article, there was some other strange tidbits in the article.
First, the Iowa State coach, Fred Hoiberg, knew that Brackins was going to be the pick at number 21 as soon as the OKC-New Orleans trade was announced, at 8:04pm. That means that the Hornets must have had their eye on Brackins as the draft started. As soon as Patterson was off the board, the Hornets immediately knew they wanted Brackins at 21. Apparently the Hornets really wanted him.
Second, Fred Hoiberg thinks that Brackins will fit in perfectly with the Hornets, for what it's worth:
"I’ve been talking to a lot of people, and I knew they were very intrigued by his ability to space the floor and his ability to shoot the three," Hoiberg said. I think he’s a great fit for that team with Chris Paul’s ability to get into the paint."
Hoiberg calls Paul the best point guard in the NBA and thinks he’ll do wonders for Brackins’ NBA career.
"It’s a perfect scenario," Hoiberg said. "New Orleans runs a ton of pick and rolls. He’ll be able to pick and pop all the way up to the 3-point line and having that big that can space the floor like that is such an asset in the NBA."
Take this with a grain of salt – college coaches always predict greatness for their former players.
Sticking with Brackins, the Times-Pic takes a look at the workout that made him a first round pick:
Six days before Thursday night’s NBA draft, Brackins was at the Alario Center undergoing a rigorous session with New Orleans Coach Monty Williams putting forearms into his chest and back, shoving Brackins, 6 feet 10 and 235 pounds, around the floor in an attempt to simulate the physicality of the pro game.
"It was crazy; I’d never seen that before, " Brackins said Friday from Ames, Iowa, where he watched the draft near the Iowa State campus. "Everybody started laughing. We started looking at each other like, ’Oh.’ Because some of the coaches you go to, they’re sitting on the sidelines, evaluating, looking at your footwork, trying to see you from a coach’s point of view from the sidelines. He was hands-on with us, hitting us. He’s young. He can move a little bit. He used to play, was a good player. He might try to come out there and play you one-on-one. You never know."
Clearly Monty Williams is a different kind of coach. And that's pretty awesome. I had read some other accounts of Monty physically mixing it up with prospects in workouts, and it seems that he's going to be a very hands-on coach. Brackins then goes on and says all the right things in the rest of the interview, saying that he's excited to be in New Orleans, he thinks he's a great fit, and he's here to learn.
This draft has made me wonder about our draft strategy – are we looking for polished, hard-working, high-motor guys, or are we pulling a Billy Beane and looking for guys who have played several years in college? The answer, according to the Times-Pic,
is not particularly:
On the surface, this would appearto be something of a shift in strategic philosophy. Could the Hornets, thrice burned in recent years by first-round picks who, save Armstrong, might have been less-than-seasoned heading into the pros, be shying away from gems less polished to more finished products?
Not so, said General Manager Jeff Bower.
"It’s more to do with the area of the draft that we’re picking and the area specifically of the first round, " said Bower. "I think it has more to do with that. And essentially the talents of the players and the fit for our team."
So Bower doesn't really want to say anything about his draft strategy more than vague generalizations. That's fair, but it seems abundantly clear that the Hornets are looking for polished, low-risk players in the draft.
No matter what Bower's strategy is, Austin Burton at Dime Magazine thought
that the Hornets were the big winners on draft day. His analysis is great – make sure you click through to read the full thing. Here's the conclusion:
Jeff Bower could be quietly building a resume that earns him respect as one of the League’s top GM’s in a few years. He killed last year’s Draft by landing Collison (late-first round) and Marcus Thornton (second round) before they developed into an explosive backcourt tandem — one of his underrated quality moves was not trading Collison just to move up in the Lottery — I think he killed this year’s draft with Pondexter and Brackins, and by unloading Mo Pete’s $6.2 million salary on the Thunder, Bower may have saved New Orleans from having to trade Chris Paul.
Finally, Dime got Chris Paul to agree write dispatches for them during his trip to London, where he's acting as a kind of basketball ambassador. Check out the first edition
, it's pretty cool.