|The Charlotte Horents select at 21. Their GM is Don Hardin and he selects:|
I. TEAM NEEDS/HISTORY
The Hornets are once again at a crossroads this off-season. They have several key free-agents as well as a star player they want to trade and another star player that wants a big contract extension. The Hornets are one of those teams that are good enough to make the playoffs every year but don't seem to be able to take it to the next level. Over their 10 year history the Hornets have made it to the second round of the playoffs twice. After the first time, the Hornets had major injuries the following season and failed to make the playoffs. Over the next couple of years, mediocre performances in the playoffs combined with players unhappy with their contracts forced the Hornets to make major trades. These forced trades, which brought in Glen Rice, Anthony Mason, and Matt Geiger actually turned out to improve the team's performance over the last couple of years. The only problem is that all three of these players could be gone before or during next season.
Anthony Mason has worn out his welcome at the Hive. There is no question that he is a talented, hard-working player, but his sometimes selfish attitude and constant complaining have worn down the morale of the team. Coach Dave Cowens finally had enough of Mason's bitching and after the Hornets were eliminated from the playoffs he more or less told Mason to either shut up or do something about it. Mase backed down which says either he finally started to respect one of the toughest players the NBA has ever seen or that he doesn't want to be looked at as another Sprewell. The Hornets have to decide whether or keep their talented power forward against the wishes of the coach and some of the players or to trade him for someone of lesser talent. The biggest rumor is that Mase will go to Dallas for Shawn Bradley. Not exactly an even swap but at least the Stormin' Morman probably wouldn't cause a stink every time something didn't go his way. Maybe a better offer will come along but I doubt it.
Matt Geiger and Vlade Divac, one of the best center combinations in the league are both free agents. Geiger will most likely not be offered a contract by the Bugs because of his refusal to play with an injured hamstring during the playoffs. Geiger even left the team at halftime during one of the playoff games against Atlanta to have a beer with his agent. The discussion probably went something like this...Agent: "So Matt, do you think you can sit out a few more games until you're totally healed? You know, you ARE a free agent after this year and you need to make sure you don't get hurt and lose out on all that money." Matt: "Yeah...I mean you know it's cool and stuff that my team is in the playoffs, but I gotta think about me." It's too bad that Geiger turned out like that because he WAS one of my favorite players on the team. He always hustled on the court and always seemed to make good things happen when he was out there. Oh well...see ya, Matt. Divac has pretty much said that he will go to the highest bidder. The Clippers and the Kings are interested and have the cash. It's up to George "I'm so broke I can't pay attention" Shinn to cough up the cash to keep Vlade. Odds: 50/50.
Glen Rice, by far the best offensive player in Charlotte, is unhappy with his contract and wants it reworked. I believe he is represented by that bastard David Falk and Falk always gets what he wants or makes you miserable. If the Hornets don't re-do Rice's contract it could turn out to be a long year with their star player unhappy. Rice has also been mentioned in a few trade rumors but none of them seem feasible.
II. Position Analysis
No sense talking about Geiger because he's gone. Divac is decent in all facets of the game. He has a good jump shot, has a few decent moves around the basket, passes very well for a big man, rebounds well, and blocks a few shots. Charlotte would do well to keep him. Write the check, George!
B. Power Forward
Mason probably won't be back. That leaves us with J.R. Reid. J.R. is your average backup power forward. Doesn't really do anything great, doesn't really do anything terrible either. However, if Mason doesn't come back, he would have to play the bulk of the minutes at PF. Not a good thing. He's much better suited to come off the bench.
C. Small Forward
<Glen Rice when he is hot is unstoppable. He can light you up for 40 points before you even know what hit you. This year he started driving to the basket more often instead of settling for 3-pointers. At least until the playoffs anyway. He needs to continue to take it to the hole more often as it makes him an incredibly scary inside-outside threat. If the Hornets make him happy with a new contract he could have his best year ever next year. Dell Curry can still light it up as long as he's healthy. He is getting up in years, but he still has the quickest release in the league. He seems to already be in shooting form before he even receives the pass. Dell is a free agent as well but the Hornets are expected to re-sign him.
D. Shooting Guard
Bobby Phills will be the starter. He missed a good portion of last year with injuries. He has good size and is an adequate defender. The Hornets hoped for better than adequate after what they paid him. Maybe a healthy season will show that he is a top-notch defender. He's not really an offensive threat, but can make the occasional open jumpshot. Corey Beck is the backup. He is undersized for SG, but what he lacks in talent he makes up for in hustle. Again, no offensive threat here, but he is a decent ballhandler and a scrappy defender. He's also a free agent and the Hornets may look for someone with a little more offensive punch to back up Phills.
E. Point Guard
David Wesley had an up and down season. At times he looked like he was worth the big bucks the Hornets shelled out for him. At other times he looked lost. He can score pretty well at the PG position, but tended to sometimes make bad decisions with the ball. His defense was inconsistent and shaky at best. Opposing point guards would often light him up. Maybe with Mase gone it will give him the opportunity to handle the ball more and get used to the Charlotte offense. As far as defense...well, that's something he will need to work on, but I think he can be a pretty productive player overall. Veteran B.J. Armstrong didn't see much playing time during the regular season, but got a look in the playoffs when he performed pretty well. He's not a great passer for a PG, but he doesn't hurt you either. Armstrong doesn't shoot alot of 3-pointers but when he does he's pretty accurate. Solid guy and solid player when given the minutes. Won't necessarily win a game for you, but won't lose one either.
III. My Selection
The Charlotte Hornets select Brian Skinner of Baylor University. Skinner is a 6'10" 245 pound senior PF/C who has performed consistently well throughout his college career. He averaged 18 points, 9.5 rebounds and over 3 blocks his senior year. Needs to work on extending his shooting range if he's going to be a PF in the pros, but he will be a good rebounder and shotblocker. Also needs to work on his passing, but that will come in time. He fills an immediate need as a big man with rebounding and defensive skills. If he gets an intense attitude I think he can be a similar player to Alonzo Mourning. I'm not saying as good, I'm just saying similar. He should help the Hornets nearly right away.
V. Others Considered
Lee Nailon 6-9, 230 PF from TCU: I feel that Nailon is the most talented player left at this stage of the draft. He can score in bunches and would probably be a good replacement for Mason if he goes. It is thought, however that he may withdraw his name from the draft. Also he is not an intimidating defender and it is suspected that he is shorter than his listed height.
Ansu Sesay 6-9, 220 SF from Ole Miss: Talented player, wrong position for Hornets. Unless the Hornets are actually trying to trade Rice they should probably pass on Sesay.
Miles Simon 6-4, 202 S/PG from Arizona: Good combination guard, who will be a great 3rd guard in a rotation. Came from winning program. Good athlete.
Bryce Drew 6-3, 185 P/SG from Valparaiso: Another good combination guard probably more suited for the point due to his height. Gutsy, clutch player. Good shooter.
Charles Jones 6-3, 185 PG from Long Island: Good scoring PG who will flourish in an up-tempo offense.
Brad Miller 6-11, 240 PF/C from Purdue: This one was a tough call. I cannot understand why he is not rated higher. I feel he is a legitimate 1st round pick. Led his team in rebounds, blocks , steals, assists, FG% and FT% his junior year. Was also 2nd in scoring. Alot of people are comparing him to Divac. If I felt the Hornets weren't going to re-sign Divac, I probably would have taken Miller. I just didn't think the Hornets needed two high-post big men. Something tells me I might regret not taking him though.
|Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner|