For the final time, Hornets.com scoured the Internet and publications to see what other websites are projecting New Orleans to do with its first-round pick in the NBA Draft. The Hornets have the No. 21 overall choice in the 2009 draft, but do not have a second-round selection. All quotes are provided by the respective sources. As of this afternoon, here are the players each entity is projecting the Hornets to select at 21:
CBS Sports: Austin Daye, small forward, Gonzaga
The Hornets have to go with the best talent available here, and thats Daye. He has all the skills a team could want but remains a work in progress because of his slight frame and lack of maturity.
Dime magazine: Ty Lawson, point guard, North Carolina
If Ty Lawson drops this low, the Hornets will only have to spend 15 seconds of their allotted time to make a decision. While the Hornets may need other position players that could be available, they couldnt find a better backup for CP3.
ESPN (magazine): Earl Clark, small forward, Louisville
Tyson Chandler, picking for the Hornets in the publications mock draft said: Earls length and energy will help us at both ends of the floor. I think hell fit in, because we lack an explosive wing who can start a fast break. You know, I almost went with B.J. Mullens, the center from Ohio State, but I feel like we can pick up a big in free agency.
ESPN.com: Sam Young, small forward, Pittsburgh
Young is one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft. He has size and strength and was super productive at Pitt the past two years. Most importantly for New Orleans, he can come in and contribute right away. Austin Daye, Darren Collison, Chase Budinger, Taj Gibson and Derrick Brown also are in the mix.
Inside Hoops: Jeff Teague, point guard, Wake Forest
Defenders find it extremely hard to stay in front of him, but still developing NBA-level skills. Must improve ball control. More of a combo guard than a pure point.
Real GM: Omri Casspi, small forward, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Nobody in this draft moves without the ball better than Casspi and he would instantly become a favorite of Chris Paul.
SI.com: DeJuan Blair, power forward, Pittsburgh
Viewed as a lottery pick before teams got wind of his knee issues, Blair has been sliding. He shouldn't get past New Orleans, which is desperate for frontcourt help off the bench and could live with him playing limited minutes in exchange for his production. The Hornets, however, could also package this pick in hopes of cutting payroll for next season.
Sporting News (magazine): Wayne Ellington, shooting guard, North Carolina
He compares himself to sharpshooters Ray Allen and Richard Hamilton.
Yahoo! Sports: James Johnson, small forward/power forward, Wake Forest
A combo forward who is competitive and versatile, Johnson is talented enough that he could probably fit immediately in the Hornets rotation. He can score and rebound but will need work at the defensive end and is a bit of a tweener.