New Orleans Hornets Would Be Wise to Nab Vandy's Shan Foster With 27th Pick

James ReesAnalyst IJune 12, 2008

The Hornets worked out a local talent this week as they continue preparations for the upcoming NBA Draft on June 26.

Shan Foster, a home-grown Bonnabel High alum, put his 2007 SEC Player of the Year talents on display for Byron Scott and Co. on Tuesday.

Scott had nothing but good things to say about Foster, according to The Times-Picayune, which is encouraging.  Several mock drafts have Foster as a late first—early second round pick.  I think he’s being undervalued.

Foster is a rangy type of player with long arms and boatloads of athleticism.  He has nice touch on his jump shot and fairly good range.  In his senior season he became Vanderbilt’s all-time leading scorer, so the man knows how to put the ball in the hoop. 

When I was in high school we played Bonnable my junior and senior year. Foster was a year under me and was clearly the best player in the gym both times we played them.  He had the size advantage, (I played on a team made up entirely of 6”1 white guys) the athletic advantage, (he threw down monster dunks at least two times each game) and the better team (Bonnable made a deep run in the playoffs both years).

But what impressed me most about Foster, even as a 17 and 18 year old, was his ability to let the game come to him. 

See most young talents these days feel the need to make themselves stand out in the crowd, even more than they do already. When a big-time college prospect walks into the gym, you can usually tell he’s a player, even before he laces up his sneakers. 

Despite that, today’s blue-chippers feel the need to shoot 26 foot jumpers and slam home thunderous dunks every time down the court—just so they can make sure you know they’re good.

Foster was never like that.  He played the game within the limits of his offense and let his points and rebounds accumulate naturally.  At the end of the day he’d have 24 points, 10 boards and three blocks and you’d scratch your head wondering how he dominated the game so thoroughly without you noticing. He was the same way at Vanderbilt, too.

I like the fact that the Hornets are looking at a guy like Foster.  With shooting guard being their most pressing need, New Orleans could use a guy with Foster’s scoring ability.  He’s NBA ready after spending four years in college and would fit nicely into Scott offense as an athletic scorer.  He would also run the floor tirelessly with Chris Paul.

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that Chris Douglas-Roberts would be a great pick up for the Hornets with the 27th overall pick.  If he’s there, I still think CDR would be a valuable addition to the roster. 

But after having thought about it for a while, I’ve talked myself into Foster as the better selection.  He’s a better shooter and defender than CDR, plus he’s a hometown product.  If the Hornets snagged him with the 27th pick, it would mean a lot more seats sold in the Arena.

Both guys are talented swingmen who would improve the Hornets two-guard position immediately.  But ultimately I think Foster has a higher ceiling in terms of potential.  And you can’t discount the impact he could have on the local fan base.