Time To Worry Is Over In New Orleans




No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis, the new cornerstone of the team, sprained his ankle during a practice and that could cost him an opportunity to work out against the U.S. Olympic team beginning on Friday.

Restricted free agent and the key piece of the puzzle Eric Gordon has already visited with the Rockets and Pacers and plans to keep himself open to any opportunities that come up around the league.

Suddenly there are new reasons to worry in New Orleans. But they’re nothing at all like the old reasons.

Remember, it was not even 18 months ago when the Hornets had to organize a mid-season ticket drive to fill seats in order to meet an attendance clause that could have triggered an escape clause in their lease.

Remember, it was less than seven months ago when commissioner David Stern shot down the trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers and delivered the Hornets a handful of veteran talent that could have avoided the plummet in the standings.

Those were days to really worry, before the long-term future of the NBA in New Orleans was secured by the purchase of the team by NFL owner Tom Benson and before the Hornets hit the lottery jackpot that delivered them the No. 1 pick and Davis.

Look where the Hornets are now. Has the outlook in any other city changed so dramatically as in the Big Easy?

Nobody should expect Davis to be LeBron James in terms of instant impact. There will be period of adjustment to the pro game. But he has all of the talent and instincts to eventually be an impact player and to lead the team.

There may have been questions in many corners about taking Austin Rivers with the No. 10 pick. But he’s got the potential to be another scorer and solid starter for years. Then toss in what many figured was a bonus bonanza at No. 46 when the Hornets plucked Davis’ old Kentucky teammate, small forward Darius Miller. He could wind up being one of the steals of the draft.

There are always reasons to be edgy when your top pick winds up limping off the floor and when there are teams that want to poach your top young players.

But general manager Dell Demps has said all along that matching any offer to the restricted free agent Gordon is the plan. And the word is that even though the sprain to Davis’ ankle has been described as “slight,” the likelihood is that he will not be pushed to work out against Team USA with the eye more getting him ready for training camp.

Time to fret? Time to worry?

Hardly when the outlook for the Hornets has come so far so fast. Based on this editorial from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, one might think it’s even Mardi Gras in July:

Introducing the newest Hornets players Friday, team owner Tom Benson made comparisons to the 2006 offseason for his other professional franchise. That year, the Saints signed Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and other players who three seasons later brought the city a Lombardi Trophy. Many Hornets fans share Mr. Benson’s excitement and hope the comparisons bear out.

In one heck of a draft, the Hornets used two first-round picks to select Kentucky shot blocker Anthony Davis — the draft’s best player, by far — and Duke guard Austin Rivers. The team added Kentucky’s Darius Miller in the second round.

The new players could represent a giant leap for the franchise for years to come. Some sports analysts even suggested that the Hornets, who already have star guard Eric Gordon, may be on the way to building a nucleus for a championship contender.

Fans celebrated the draft, but they know that it will be the results on the court that will determine how good this class is. And it will likely take a few years for the new players to develop in the NBA and to mesh with existing Hornets players. The team also needs to add a center.

But it’s been a while since New Orleans basketball fans have had so much to be buzzed about, and they are rightfully thrilled.


37 Comments

  1. Basketcase says:

    Why do people come to a site that gives actual informed opinion, and just flood it with entry level idiocy?
    People seriously are comparing an untested college player to Kobe Bryant?
    Austin Rivers has some serious potential, there is no denying that… But seriously, opinions on Kobe aside (I’m not a fan) even Austin Rivers would fall off his chair laughing and tell to GTFO if you compared him to Kobe Bryant.
    And everyone who is predicting the future and not just “I think” but “this is what will happen”
    You obviously haven’t been watching Basketball very long, the number of variables which dictate whether a player will be successful or not make it absolutely impossible to predict. Every year, Top draft picks fade into obscurity, just like low picks blossom and even become top players.
    Same goes for those saying what “would have happened” if the League had let the CP3 trade go through.
    So the Hornets would have gotten a couple of mid level role players, so what? Rags to riches story of 3 hasbeens making a run to the Ship?
    Pssssh nay.

  2. eddie57 says:

    It will be a while before New Orleans is competitive. They will finish last in the division and of course won’t make the playoffs. If they get some more good players in the next draft and add a free agent or two, they might make some noise in 3 or 4 years. maybe.

  3. Bongoman says:

    New Orleans, Please!! Do not start taking sizes for the rings just yet. Go easy with the anointing oil!! You do not know if there is cohesion yet> Good news though is after next season CP3 in free agent and might want to come back with all the new talent antd his charities there. You never know!! But please, don’t crown the Hornets just yet.

  4. Hornets For Howard says:

    I think Howard is going to the Hornets!

    • chris says:

      Hmm, yeah never thought about Howard going to New Orleans but you may have a point. He may be encouraged to go there. He is from the Southeast anyway(Atlanta) and has played in Orlando for awhile now. He may see a team on the rise there. Thats a great sleeper pick in NO to see if Howard goes there. I think that scenario only happens though if Orlando lets him play him out his contract and Howard just leaves on his own. I don’t know if Benson would want to part with the money to sign Howard though. The guy didn’t want to pay Drew Brees of all people.

  5. Billb Bo says:

    No worry? How about Eric Gordon going to the Suns? LOL David Stern’s meddling in NO trade for Chris Paul not leaving them with much is it.

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  7. Jovany says:

    i mean HORNETS can always match the offer too. so who knows. it should be an interesting offseason.

  8. Jovany says:

    TIME TO WORRY IS OVER IN NEW ORLEANS, false.

    i mean, Anthony Davis is a great pick, but you don’t know what’s he going to bring to this team. Austin Rivers too. I think they are a good combo considering Davis’s lack of offensive skills, but who else do Hornets have, they got rid of their half decent players, in Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor. Kaman is most likely not coming back, and as ill as it would’ve been to have Eric Gordon around to make this legit, EG goes and agrees to a max deal with SUNS. so all the hype, might be for nothing.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/8128612/2012-nba-free-agency-eric-gordon-phoenix-suns-agree-max-salary-deal

  9. CManley says:

    Well good thing that the “league” blocked that trade. Funny how they allowed max contracts in NYK (Amare, Anthony) all three of the most magnificent three ever to ever pick up a basketball in Miami, the original big three in Boston, and pretty much all other major moves except letting Kobe have one current all-star (other than Bynum who has payed his dues and been procured by the team that drafted him, kind of old-school in stead of leaving to create faux-teams) on the roster. This either shows just how good Kobe is, how much the “league” wanted the Heat to win, or both.

    They should have allowed it because the Hornets would be adding talented draft picks like Davis and Rivers to a roster with dudes like Gasol, who may be slightly over the hill but reliable and proven champions. Good job Stern!

    BTW Rivers cannot be mentioned with Kobe. Kobe has more athleticism in his old man legs than Rivers has in his entire body. Dunk contest winner anyone? So he played one season, hit one meaningless out side of Durham gamewinner, and now he’s better than or close to the 9-time defensive player, 5 ring beast that is the closest you are going to see to Jordan in this lifetime. You can’t be serious. Ask the Nuggets and Thunder if Mike Jr. has any gas left in that tank.

  10. spurFAN says:

    The Hornets are going to look like what the T-Wolves did when Rubio came in before the ACL tear maybe a 6th seed at the most people think that just because there Rookies doesnt mean Austin Rivers or Anthony Davis can’t be good. Maybe even Darius Miller could be a 10-12 point scorer in this League. The only way the Hornets don’t contend for that 8th or 7th spot is if they can’t get a good supporting cast on the bench or if Anthony Davis get hurt(Sever Ankle Sprain) but it won’t likely happen.

  11. Ben H. says:

    For right now, the Hornets have such great potential that they will sell tickets on that alone. I think they will struggle through the first half of the season, but will show good improvement the second half. They need adjustment time for the rookies, and just with each other as teammates. If they can hold onto their current pieces and add a couple more bench players, they will do just fine.

  12. Bill says:

    Laissez les bon temps rouleau!

  13. derrick says:

    WE are not getting Steve Nash or Deron Williams,it’s not possible.We need cheap veteran players that won’t ask for superstar type money.We can always go the d-league route and bring in centers and subs.Demps could also go international for centers.Why doesn’t anyone talk about darius Miller,he could be great for us.

    • spurFAN says:

      Maybe Not Great but a solid peace off the bench and if they don’t get the right peaces he could be a sixth man or a starter with as much upside as a Wilson Chandler.

  14. Jayjoe14 says:

    Davis and Rivers won’t be teammate rivals because they both have to work extra hard and take their on the next level if they really want to win. This gonna be like the story in OKC although it would be a little different because Davis and Rivers can co-exist.

  15. rdeano7 says:

    i like the rivers pick, he seems like he could be a big time scorer in this league. however, i feel he is a very similar palyer to gordon and they could end up stepping on each others toes! i know rivers will play at the point, but is that really his best position long term? i hope they can make it work cause this could be a feel good story and an interesting one to see develop!

  16. kapoople says:

    howard will go to lakers! it will be amazing!

  17. Drew says:

    New Orleans need a new team name and logo to put an end to the stigma of the ‘Hornets who came from Charlott’. Can you imagine if the Utah gave back the Jazz name to New Orleans? That would be awesome and very fitting. But a new team name that truly represents New Orleans is needed.

    New Orleans Big Easy
    New Orleans Tempo
    New Orleans Jazz

  18. clips58 says:

    Before, i am a fan of Hornets, last season, clippers, and now, this upcoming season, clippers and again, hornets.. Hornets two rookies needed time improvement to be an MVP candidate but i bet they will play like star this upcoming season. They only need veteran starters maybe including SF, PG, and Center. Maybe J. Kidd or Steve Nash or Deron Williams will fit on PG, and they will become one of the best team to watch..

  19. Chris says:

    Also think the Draft was great for the Hornets.

    But please….CHANGE THE LOOK OF THESE JERSEYS!!!! They’re as ugly as it gets!

  20. Choker says:

    nothing to worry about. Just a sprained ankle. Making a fuss about a sprained ankle. Kobe can play through it. Wade played through it. Bosh played through an abdominal strain. Miller played in a sore back. Man…. people are crazy

  21. Bob says:

    I would temper the enthusiasm just a little bit. Eric Gordon is a baller, but played only 19 games last year. Davis and Rivers are rookies and will need time to develop. The cupboard is pretty bare after that strong nucleus. It will be fun to watch a young up and coming team, but they are in a tough division, too

  22. armin halvadzic says:

    14 ppg. 12-13 rpg. 2. bpg 1.stlpg I think these are gonna be Anthony Davis stats-

  23. Barron says:

    Geaux Hornets!

  24. BBALLSWAGG says:

    This team in about 3 years will be monsteress! Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers, Anthony Davis and Chris Kaman! This franchise may have lost CP3, but they are getting to where they need to be!

  25. herrick8 says:

    Losing Eric Gordon would be a huge blow for the Hornets. Austin Rivers may grow into a featured scorer in the NBA, but he is by no means ready yet. He showed his immaturity at Duke. Anthony Davis will almost certainly turn out to be an all-star; if Rivers can too, then at some point this team could make serious playoff noise.

  26. JustABBallFan says:

    NO needs to make sure they get some proven vets into their roster or their looking at a potential bust like WA. Right now they have Kamen, who might be gone this summer and their only other “vet” is Rashard Lewis… Not exactly an ideal NBA role model. Maybe try and bring in a old timer vet this summer like Kidd or Hill?

    • JustABBallFan says:

      *they’re looking at a potential bust…

    • Lol says:

      If you haven’t heard yet… Hornets just dropped Rashard Lewis right after he was acquired from the trade to leave a cap space for the team.

    • eddie57 says:

      Rashard lewis was already bought out by NO. He is currently without work. Ever since they busted him for using PED’s he hasn’t been worth a dam.

  27. Lakersfan says:

    Good for the Franchise, the fans and the city, they will improove 20% to 30% the 1st season.

  28. Amitpal says:

    If only chris Paul would have had one more injured season. But u never would have known. Anyways I think hornets future is brighter then people think. Call me crazy but I think Austin river is a lot similar to Kobe Bryant. He’s not as athletic Kobe was but has a better jump shot and dribbling skills. He still has room to grow but I really think he’s a superstar type of player. The confidence level and clutch genes are same if not better then Kobes. I though behind Davis Austin had the most potential and was going to have the second best career in the draft behind only Davis.

    • throllingthunder says:

      if not better than kobes??, man u cant get more clutch than kobe, its like sayin tom brady cant throw

      • Amitpal says:

        Kobes confident not really to clutch. He takes and misses a lot of shots in clutch moments. KD is more clutch then Kobe. Paul pierce chris Paul are more clutch then Kobe. These guys don’t take bad shots like Kobe. They don’t miss as much as Kobe so Austin river could become more clutch then Kobe.

    • shink213 says:

      first of all, rivers is crazy athletic, maybe even more athletic than kobe was/is but just because rivers made one game winner against unc doesn’t make him more clutch than one of the greatest players of all time, you’re an idiot.

      • Myles says:

        First go back and look at kobes rookie highlights there isnt even a comparison. Kobe was more of a natural athlete then Austin. But, yes austin is more athletic then the current Kobe