Similar to the Cleveland Cavaliers losing LeBron James, the New Orleans Hornets will now embark on a re-building process after trading away Chris Paul. Fortunately for them, they already have some key pieces in place. They were able to get Eric Gordon in the trade from the Clippers and have a good head coach in Monty Williams. This off-season will now be their time to go forward with their roster and rebuilding the team in the post-Chris Paul era.
For a team that struggled on the court this season dealing with the loss of Chris Paul, the front office of the New Orleans Hornets is very strong. They are led by GM Dell Demps and head coach Monty Williams, both of whom are considered to be a strong tandem by their peers. Monty Williams was able to keep the team competitive after Chris Paul left and develop some of the young talent. Dell Demps was able to get a good haul for Chris Paul and now has the task of putting together a roster that is likely to be built around Eric Gordon and this year’s 1st round picks.
The Hornets currently have 8 players under contract going into next season. The two highest paid players on the team, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, could be moved if the team finds the right deal as the team looks to get rid of higher-priced veteran players who no longer fit in with the team’s plan. Otherwise, the team has some interesting young talent in Al-Farouq Aminu, Xavier Henry and Gustavo Ayon. Jason Smith and Greivis Vasquez stepped up with increased playing time and look to be a part of the regular rotation next year. The roster needs to be continued to be developed as they look to add core pieces.
The Hornets finished tied with the 3rd worst record in the NBA but lost the coin flip to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs and Hornets essentially split the odds of the 3rd with Cleveland hold a .1% great chance of winning the lottery, 13.8% to the Hornets 13.7%. The Hornets are assured of drafting no worth than 7th and possess the Minnesota Timberwolves first round pick as well, which has a 1.1% chance of winning the lottery out of the 10th slot.
Right now the Hornets figure to leave the lottery with a pretty good tandem of players to start their re-building process. That could mean that the Hornets re-building process could be a fast one. That is if Dell Demps is able to successfully identify talent in this draft. With their first pick, the Hornets will likely be looking at one of Andre Drummond, Harrison Barnes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Thomas Robinson. With their second pick, the Hornets will likely be looking at players like Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones, Damian Lillard and John Henson. The interesting part for Dell Demps will be what combination of player he tries to come out of the lottery with.
For a team that is not long removed from the playoffs, they could be back in the playoff hunt soon with a good draft. Despite losing Chris Paul, the Hornets have a strong foundation in place and the potential to add a couple of very talented players. Usually the re-building process isn’t a phrase fans like to hear but the Hornets could soon be successful again.