Just six months ago, things did not look so bright for the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets' best player, All-Star guard Chris Paul, was traded to the Clippers. The team's second-best player decided to play for the Pacers, and the NBA franchise was still without an owner...And, Commissioner David Stern had basically vetoed what looked to be the best trade for the Hornets in exchange for CP3.
But now, things could not be brighter! The Hornets now have the #1 and #10 overall picks in the NBA Draft, a solid owner in Tom Benson, and the franchise overall is more healthy than they have been in quite some time.
Bobby and I were able to visit with Hornets GM Dell Demps, who talked with us about the NBA Draft Lottery, as well as everything that was going on in New York prior to the lottery being held.
''What they do is actually hold the lottery in a room with just the GM's and security personal," Demps told us. "Everyone had to put all their phones and I-Pads and communication devices in a bag.''
Demps said he found out that his team would pick first in this year’s NBA Draft about an hour before anyone else, but he was not allowed to communicate with anyone until the lottery results were made public.
Yes, we are all excited about the Hornets landing the number pick in the draft, and that #1 pick is expected to be Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. But what does the #1 pick mean to the Hornets?
''It revitalizes the franchise. Not every year there is a player that becomes available like Anthony Davis. He is a franchise player. He’s a freak athlete. He’s going to get stronger, he’s going to get better," according to Chad Ford, NBA analyst for ESPN. "Anthony Davis is someone you can build your franchise around."
Many NBA experts say the Hornets, who were a twenty-one win team last season, could now become a playoff contender beginning next year. But as far as what’s going on down in the Big Easy right now, Dell Demps is all smiles.
''I was really happy for our fans,'' Demps said when asked what was going through his mind when he found out the Hornets would be picking first in the 2012 NBA Draft. ''I kind of did a little fist pump. I was excited.''
Dell Demps also talked with us about his days in San Antonio as a player and a member of the Spurs front office, as well as his relationship with Spurs Coach Greg Popovich.