Sunday Discussion: Positions of Need

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 18: Emeka Okafor #50 of the New Orleans Hornsets shoots the ball over Quincy Pondexter #20 of the Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Arena on January 18, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

For all the uncertainty that surrounds the 10th overall pick (as well as the fact that the franchise underwent a complete roster overhaul just a few months ago), the Hornets have reasonable roster clarity in the short term.

Jarrett Jack is signed through next summer and is unlikely to be immediately supplanted by either Marshall or Lillard. Eric Gordon will be eligible to explore the market and have an offer matched on July 1st; Will estimated that there's something like a 90% chance Gordon returns. Trevor Ariza is signed through summer 2014, as is Emeka Okafor, and Anthony Davis' rookie deal will take him through 2017. And Gustavo Ayon, Jason Smith, Al-Farouq Aminu, Greivis Vasquez, and Xavier Henry are all currently under contract and will likely be Hornets as long as the team wants them.

Barring trades (more coming potential trades on Tuesday), here's what the roster should look like in the short term:

PG: Jarrett Jack (Greivis Vasquez)
SG: Eric Gordon (Xavier Henry)
SF: Trevor Ariza (Al-Farouq Aminu)
PF: Anthony Davis (Gustavo Ayon)
C: Emeka Okafor (Jason Smith)

Okafor, especially, is a player I hope the front office opts to keep around next year. He'd be the perfect defensive complement for the rookie Davis; he can stick with the stronger, more capable post matchups (that Davis will almost assuredly struggle with early) and allow Davis to roam the floor, guard stretch 4s, and approximate his old role at Kentucky. We can debate here about which player is strictly the "center," but it really doesn't matter.

So question #1 for today's Sunday Discussion is then: in the short term, what's the biggest hole? Is it the Ariza/AFA small forward position? Lack of depth behind the recently surgically repaired Eric Gordon?

And longer term: heading into the theoretical 2014-2015 season, here's what our depth chart would look like. I'm assuming Jack, at 29, hasn't re-signed (but still could). Ariza's and Okafor's deals will have expired.

PG: ??? (Greivis Vasquez)
SG: Eric Gordon (Xavier Henry?)
SF: ??? (Al-Farouq Aminu?)
PF: Anthony Davis (Gustavo Ayon)
C: ??? (Jason Smith)

Which brings up the second question - which of the three clear potential holes in our impending future is most crucial to fill around a Gordon/Davis core? Does it perhaps not matter, and the Best Player Available should be plugged into whichever slot works? Do you see longer New Orleans futures for Jack, Ariza, or Okafor?

And finally the most important question - how do the short/long term needs affect who you want with the 10th pick?

Lots of questions for this Sunday.. take your time and fire away. (Also stop by this evening; we'll have a Game 3 Finals discussion thread up and running).

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