NBA New Orleans Pelicans

Small Forward Should Be New Orleans Hornets Focus in NBA Draft Lottery

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Hornets hit the jackpot when they landed the first overall pick and the opportunity to draft Anthony Davis. Although he has been injured for stretches here and there in his rookie season Davis has proven to be a solid pro with a bright future ahead of him.

With the Hornets again headed for the NBA Draft lottery they should focus their attention on putting more top-notch young talent around Davis. Grevis Vasquez has emerged as a more than capable option at point guard. Eric Gordon — if/when he plays — can hold down the shooting guard position. Despite his struggles Austin Rivers has the skills to develop into a nice combo guard off the bench for the Hornets. Robin Lopez has been steady as a starting center. The only area where the Hornets are lacking is on the wing, and they should focus on drafting a small forward to fill the void.

While many would say this draft class is lacking many stars, there will be some intriguing wing options available to the Hornets in the lottery. Anthony Bennett from UNLV can score from anywhere on the court and can play some power forward at times. Indiana Hoosiers junior Victor Oladipo has emerged as the type of prospect that every team would love to have on their roster. Otto Porter from Georgetown and Kentucky Wilcats forward Alex Poythress are both rated highly on and might be available later int he lottery if the Hornets don’t land a top-5 pick.

The Hornets should be praying for a top-5 pick so they can select UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad. Muhammad has the look of a wing that should be able to start from day one. Muhammad’s ability to play both the small forward and shooting guard positions would be ideal for the Hornets especially if they decide to part ways with Gordon, who has only played in 32 of a possible 126 games since being acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers.

Muhammad does have his deficiencies — specifically his utilization of his right hand needs work and he struggles shooting off the dribble — but throwing Muhammad in the mix with Vazguez and Davis would be a great fit for the young Hornets as they continue their rebuilding process.