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Scott Howard-Cooper

Mock Draft 1.0: Future looking bright for Hornets

Posted May 31 2012 12:02AM

We have a winner: New Orleans. And not just Wednesday night in the lottery. That was a runaway victory for sure, drawing the No. 1 pick in the complicated process and the right to draft Kentucky's Anthony Davis on June 28 in a very uncomplicated decision, but it goes deeper.

Saints owner Tom Benson bought the Hornets, ensuring the team would remain in the Big Easy after years of uncertainty, a major moment for the franchise and the city. Then the Hornets win the lottery for the best prospect in years, and ditto. Just that fast, it must feel like a new day there.

Shrimp etouffee all around, along with the first mock draft that factors in team needs. This will change as top prospects set limited workout schedules and the other draft hopefuls go through larger sessions in Minneapolis, Chicago and Treviso, Italy, for the adidas Eurocamp for international scouting. For now, let the good times roll.

1 New Orleans Hornets | Anthony Davis | PF | Kentucky

Davis is nothing short of the perfect piece for the rebuilding: superstar-level talent, high energy, hard worker, excellent character.

2 Charlotte Bobcats | Thomas Robinson | PF | Kansas

The Bobcats need to get tougher. Robinson is an inside presence who will rebound and defend with strength and athleticism.

3 Washington Wizards | Bradley Beal | SG | Florida

If Robinson is off the board and the best chance to address the need for size is gone, the Wizards fill another hole by adding a dependable shooter.

4 Cleveland Cavaliers | Michael Kidd-Gilchrist | SF | Kentucky

Versatile defender, nonstop worker, athletic and a position need for the Cavs. A very good fit with a point guard, Kyrie Irving, who will deliver the ball.

5 Sacramento Kings | Harrison Barnes | SF | N. Carolina

The Kings need anyone who can hit a shot and a small forward. That's Barnes, who will be able to score from the perimeter but will cost on defense.

6 Portland Trail Blazers | Damian Lillard | PG | Weber State

The Blazers need a center and Andre Drummond is available. But that move is too risky and Lillard is a scoring point who fits.

7 Golden State Warriors | Jared Sullinger | PF | Ohio State

David Lee is locked in at power forward in Oakland, but better rebounding and getting tougher is a Warriors priority. Sullinger checks both boxes.

8 Toronto Raptors | Jeremy Lamb | SG | Connecticut

The Raptors could go point guard, a position need, with Kendall Marshall, but they will have big cap space in the summer and also need scoring.

9 Detroit Pistons | Perry Jones III | SF | Baylor

A risk pick -- very skilled and unselfish but consistently left NBA teams frustrated after scouting missions because he does not play hard all the time.

10 New Orleans Hornets | Andre Drummond | C | Connecticut

The risk pick. Drummond has a package of talent, NBA size after one college season and athleticism that should put him in the top three. But no motor.

11 Portland Trail Blazers | Austin Rivers | SG | Duke

Rivers could become a serious scorer and an ideal backcourt partner because he handles the ball and can play with pressure.

12 Milwaukee Bucks | Meyers Leonard | C | Illinois

The Bucks find Andrew Bogut's successor in an athletic 7-footer who needs to get stronger but has impressed several NBA teams.

13 Phoenix Suns | Kendall Marshall | PG | N. Carolina

Maybe Steve Nash leaves this summer, maybe he leaves in a couple years. Either way, Marshall is a great distributor and defensive liability. Sound like anyone you know?

14 Houston Rockets | Dion Waiters | SG | Syracuse

Waiters is a little small at 6-foot-4, but he is an aggressive scorer who will cause problems for defenses.

15 Philadelphia 76ers | John Henson | PF | N. Carolina

Henson should become a defensive presence, especially if he bulks up. Some executives even see defensive star.

16 Houston Rockets | Tyler Zeller| C | N. Carolina

His lack of strength is a concern, but Zeller has good offensive skills and could be a solid contributor for years.

17 Dallas Mavericks | Arnett Moultrie | PF | Mississippi St.

Not that power forward is a high priority for the Mavericks, but Moultrie scores inside and out and has good mobility for a big man.

18 Minnesota Timberwolves | Terrence Jones | SF | Kentucky

Jones, considered a possibility to go high in the lottery last season, has a lot of talent hidden in there somewhere. It's a reasonable risk this late.

19 Orlando Magic | Tony Wroten | SG | Washington

One of the guys who could really climb during workouts, especially with his potential to be a combo guard.

20 Denver Nuggets | Jeffery Taylor | SF | Vanderbilt

The Nuggets really want to add some muscle. With no real options this late, they go to work on needed improvements for the defense.

21 Boston Celtics | Royce White | SF | Iowa State

It's difficult to know what direction the Celtics will go -? keep the roster together for another year or rebuild. But White's versatility is very attractive.

22 Boston Celtics | Andrew Nicholson | PF | St. Bonaventure

Nicholson is experienced and projects as a dependable player who can score from inside or out.

23 Atlanta Hawks | Moe Harkless | F | St. John's

The Big East Rookie of the Year scores and is a very good rebounder for his position.

24 Cleveland Cavaliers | John Jenkins | SG | Vanderbilt

Jenkins is one of the best shooters available and has three-point range. The Cavaliers need dependability with any range.

25 Memphis Grizzlies | Terrence Ross | SG | Washington

The emerging sophomore can play either wing, versatility that would be a great asset in being able to play behind Rudy Gay or Tony Allen.

26 Indiana Pacers | Quincy Miller | SF | Baylor

Now that the Pacers have developed something that will last, they can afford an investment pick. Miller has serious talent, but is inexperienced and struggled in 2011-12 coming off knee surgery.

27 Miami Heat | Draymond Green | SF | Michigan St.

Versatile and experienced, he probably will not be able to play his college position of power forward.

28 Oklahoma City Thunder | Marquis Teague | PG | Kentucky

Jeff's younger brother is more great athlete than pure point guard, but a lot of scouts see improvement and believe he could learn grow into the job.

29 Chicago Bulls | Doron Lamb | SG | Kentucky

Lamb is a nice scorer who would fit in well in a bench role, perhaps one day as a third guard if he improves as a decision maker.

30 Golden State Warriors | Fab Melo | C | Syracuse

The Warriors, with Bogut starting and Jeremy Tyler a major project heading into his second season, can use a shot blocker and rebounder.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

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