This NBA Offseason has been one to remember for fans. The rookies have arrived, free agents have been signed, and the Dwight Howard drama has finally come to an end. But what teams have benefited from all the commotion and which teams have been left out of all the fun? Well, in this series of articles, I will be breaking down each team’s offseason moves and giving my take on the winners and losers. It’s too hard to stray away from the New Orleans Hornets after the draft and trades they have made, so I am putting them on the clock first.
The Hornets went into this Offseason as a struggling team with which the future of Eric Gordon, the only star left after the departure of Chris Paul, was in question. This storyline was one that the Hornets knew was extremely important, but was overshadowed by the media’s coverage of their No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis. So, just like the media did, I will discuss the Hornets’ draft first.
Selecting Anthony Davis as the No. 1 draft pick was an obvious and inevitable choice for the Hornets. His talent level is not in question and he will make an immediate impact as a starter for New Orleans. However, I really like what they did with the No. 10 pick in selecting Duke guard Austin Rivers. Rivers played at both the one and two guard in college, but the Hornets will try to convert him to primarily a point guard since Eric Gordon will be at shooting guard. Getting Darius Miller in the second round was also a good move. With work, I think he can develop into a solid backup.
Rivers was an exceptional ball handler and shooter and I think if the Hornets can coach him into becoming a pass-first guard, or at least more prone to pass than he was at Duke, he can be a solid player in the NBA. Combining Rivers with Eric Gordon at the shooting guard makes for an excellent back court.
Although Eric Gordon openly expressed his desire to go to Phoenix, the Hornets matched their offer sheet and kept their young star. This was a wise move not only because he is talented, but because after a year of playing with this new solid team, I feel he will want to stay in New Orleans. With the combination of the rookies added, the addition of Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez will make the Hornets a contender for one of the lower seeds for the Playoffs.
Now let’s discuss the moves for Ryan Anderson, Hakeem Warrick and Robin Lopez. After trading Emeka Okafor to the Wizards and letting Chris Kaman leave for Dallas in free agency, they needed to bolster their front court and provide help for Anthony Davis. For this reason, they made the move and added a center which will allow Davis to play the power forward position, as many feel he will due to his size. Ryan Anderson provides an outside threat while Hakeem Warrick brings an edgy and physical style of play to contribute to the team.
With all of these moves, I feel the Hornets have bolstered their roster as much as they possibly could with what they had to work with. I fully expect them to contend for a playoff spot. Considering the roster they had going in to the offseason and what they have now, I will give the New Orleans Hornets an A for their performance. I don’t like handing out grades because only time can tell how any of these offseason moves play out. However, for the sake of rating my performances, I will go out on a limb in this series and rate each team accordingly. Congratulations to the Hornets for their offseason success and starting out this series with one of the best grades I will hand out.