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HORNETS HOME RUN IN DRAFT LIKELY
By: Bob Licht, @hortonhomers
June 7, 2012

This is the most unique Hornets draft ever since its the first time in franchise history theyve had TWO lottery picks in the same year. And, despite what you may have read or heard regarding their success (or lack thereof) with previous lottery picks they have been better than most people give them credit for. (This is significant because they havent been in the lottery very often).

Dont believe me? Consider these facts:

  • This is just the 12th time EVER (out of 24 draftsor 50%) the Hornets have been in the lottery. Considering they were in the lottery for the first 5 seasons of their existence (after entering the NBA as an Expansion Franchise in 1988) that means they have been lottery participants in just 7 of their last 19 seasons (37%).
  • Contrastingly, the Sacramento Kings have now been in 6 consecutive Draft Lotteries (NBAs current longest streak).
  • 5 of the Hornets 11 lottery picks (45%) have become NBA All-Stars.
  • The only other #1 overall pick for the franchise became a 7x All-Star/2x Defensive Player of the Year/NBA Champion.
  • 2 have won an NBA title.

Heres the list of All-Time Hornets Lottery Draft Picks:

YEAR PLAYER DRAFT # ALL STAR NBA TITLE
1988 REX CHAPMAN 8 NO NO
1989 J.R. REID 5 NO NO
1990 KENDALL GILL 5 NO NO
1991 LARRY JOHNSON 1 YES NO
1992 ALONZO MOURNING 2 YES YES
1996 KOBE BRYANT 13 YES YES
1999 BARON DAVIS 3 YES NO
2005 CHRIS PAUL 4 YES NO
2006 HILTON ARMSTRONG 12 NO NO
2007 JULIAN WRIGHT 13 NO NO
2010 COLE ALDRICH 11 NO NO


So, based on the evidence above (45% of their lottery picks have become NBA All-Stars) the Hornets are likely to convert at least one of this years draft picks into a significant contributor (if not a future All Star).

I dont buy the argument that their lack of recent success (Armstrong, Wright, Aldrich) indicates a poor record of selecting talent in the lottery. First, those drafts were not deemed strong. Second, the last three lottery picks were all LATE LOTTERY SELECTIONS. Third, prior to the dry spell the Hornets hit a home run by selecting the best player in the 05 Draft (Chris Paul) with the Fourth Overall Pick. My guess is that most NBA executives would sacrifice three low lottery picks for one future Hall of Famer!

But, even if you dont agree with ANY of my above analysis lets just look at one part of the Draft Lottery: Top 5 Picks. The Hornets have had a total of SIX (6) top five picks throughout their history. Four of the six became NBA All-Stars (67%).

1991 - Johnson 1992 - Mourning 1999 - Davis 2005 - Paul

Its possible that at least 2 of the 4 will enter the Hall of Fame (Mourning and Paul).

In addition, the Hornets other two TOP 5 PICKS were not busts. J.R. Reid played 11 seasons in the NBA averaging 8.5 ppg/5.0 rpg and participated in the playoffs six seasons. He averaged over 11 ppg in each of his first three NBA seasons and was named to the leagues All-Rookie Second Team (1989). Kendall Gill made the NBA All-Rookie First Team after being drafted out of Illinois in 1990. He led the NBA in steals in 1998-99 and played 15 seasons (Career averages: 13.4 ppg/4.1 rpg/3.0 apg).

Theres plenty of evidence here that leads us to believe Dell Demps and Co. are primed to continue a solid draft history for this franchise. Combine that with what has been called a deep draft and June 28th could well be the start of something very special for this Hornets franchise.

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