NBA Draft Lottery 2012: Anthony Davis Is a Must If New Orleans Hornets Pick 1st

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIMay 28, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats drives on Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks in the second half in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The New Orleans Hornets are in a good position in the draft lottery. With its first pick ranked fourth, New Orleans is positioned to get a difference maker with that pick. How good of a player the Hornets will get will be determined in the May 30 draft lottery. If, by chance, the Hornets get the No. 1 pick, there’s no reason not to get Anthony Davis.

As Jimmy Smith and John Reid of the Times-Picayune discussed in a Q&A analysis, the No. 1 pick is a real possibility for the Hornets. Smith said that the Hornets not only could, but also should come out with the first pick.

He said, “Look at it this way: maybe the basketball gods owe the Hornets some good fortune after the disastrous season that just ended with injuries on top of injuries.”

While also saying that the Hornets deserve good fortune, Reid said that the Hornets have a small chance of getting the No. 1 pick. Reid noted that no team has jumped from the No. 4 position in the draft lottery to No. 1 in the draft since the San Antonio Spurs in 1987.

Still, he said, Hornets fans have reason to believe. He proclaimed, “Why not think big and believe the impossible can happen [?]”

The simple course of action once they get there is to draft Anthony Davis. Davis is by far the best prospect in the NBA draft. He’s a terrific scorer, a terror on the boards and an aggressive player. Davis brings the energy that every coach wants to see in a rookie. He's as explosive as anyone could hope a post player to be.

Monty Williams would be proud to have Davis playing for him, and as good of a motivator as Williams is, he’d get a great return on the team’s draft pick.

Reid made a bold statement by saying, “The Hornets need Kentucky forward Anthony Davis on their roster.”

One can excuse the hometown beat man for using such flowery language. Besides, the Hornets truly need a player of Davis’ caliber, and no other player in this draft is at his level. His former teammate, Marcus Kidd-Gilchrist, is a tenacious all-around player, but he isn’t the scorer that Davis is.

Andre Drummond has nice qualities, like his shot-blocking and rebounding abilities, but his lack of physicality is cause for skepticism.

The Hornets lacked a true presence at power forward who was reliable the whole year. Chris Kaman was good in the first half of the season, but he shot worse than ever in the first half of the season. Carl Landry could rebound, but he was only a marginal contributor.

Neither Landry nor Kaman seems likely to return. After being jerked around by management this season (being placed on and then off the trading block and being inactive while on it), Kaman will likely find somewhere else to play.

Landry is simply an expendable part. He can score and rebound a fair amount, but can’t make a team a playoff contender.

Thus, Davis is a must-have for the Hornets if they land the first pick in the draft. Their chances aren’t great, since their odds of getting the No.1 pick are set at 13.7 percent. Nevertheless, as Smith and Reid noted, the Hornets do have a chance.

New Orleans worked hard just to be competitive enough to win 21 games. That hard work might bring the luck necessary to win the No. 1 pick. If they get the No. 1 pick, they must reward themselves by picking the best player in Davis who would work hard to change them into a playoff team.