The New Orleans Hornets aren't playing for much these days except for a better draft position. At 27-50 (as of April 7), the team is tied with the Sacramento Kings for the sixth-worst record in the NBA.
According to ESPN's NBA draft lottery machine, the Hornets have a 5.3 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick for the second year in a row. Last year, New Orleans won the lottery with a 13.8 percent chance at landing the top spot.
The team's biggest hole is at small forward, where current starter and pending free agent Al-Farouq Aminu hasn't proven himself to be the long-term answer. Xavier Henry, Darius Miller and Lance Thomas are the other options at the 3 spot, but are all free agents this summer as well.
If the Hornets can't get their hands on a starter-quality small forward, they could look to upgrade at point guard or center.
Greivis Vasquez has had a breakout season for the Hornets. The former Maryland Terrapin is averaging 14.1 points and 9.2 assists per game in his first full year as starter. However, his lack of ideal speed makes him a liability on defense.
At center, Robin Lopez has put together a decent first season with New Orleans. He's contributing 11.4 points a night while adding a little over a block per game. From a rebounding standpoint, though, Lopez's 5.4 boards per game leave much to be desired.
It is in the Hornets' best interest to tank the last few games and increase their lottery odds. At this point, a spot in the top six is likely but not guaranteed. With the NCAA tournament coming to a close, New Orleans can make some final adjustments to its draft board before pre-draft workouts.
Since the Hornets probably won't be picking outside the top eight, I narrowed their options to eight players. As a heads-up, Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel (the presumed No. 1 overall pick) is not on the board.
Even if the Hornets are somehow picking first again, it's hard to see them taking a player with a similar build and skill set as last year's top pick, Anthony Davis.