As the Hornets get ready for the NBA draft later this month on June 28th, head coach Monty Williams and staff have been checking out prospects.
Restricted free agent Eric Gordon has been on hand observing the action. That is definitely a great sign that he does in fact WANT to remain a Hornet and be a part of the franchise moving forward.
It appears certain the Hornets will take forward Anthony Davis with the first pick in the draft. The National Player of the Year and Final Four Most Outstanding Player seems the consensus selection. Who will the Hornets take with the #10 pick though?
The team has held one workout with Tyler Zeller and John Henson of UNC, Meyers Leonard out of Illinois, Mississippi State's Arnett Moultrie, and Kentucky's Terrence Jones.
Zeller is a 250 pound 7 foot center who is coming off a solid final season with the Tar Heels, averaging 16.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game. He averaged a little over a block a game for North Carolina and could fit in nicely in Coach Williams 'defense first philosophy.'
Tarheel teammate John Henson's game is very similar to Anthony Davis', and he says if New Orleans picks him along with AD, we would certainly be in store for a lot of blocked shots. The power forward is 6 ft 11 with a 7 foot 4 wingspan and averaged 12 points, 10 boards and an ACC leading 3 blocks per game last season.
Another player that has a similar skill set is center Meyers Leonard out of Illinois. Another big kid standing 7 foot tall, very athletic and he has shown some raw promise, especially on the defensive end. He's pretty raw offensively though and at times, he loses focus.
Mississippi State's Arnett Moultrie is long and athletic, rebounds and can stretch the floor with his jumper. The power forward could be one of the real sleepers in the draft averaging 16.4 ppg and 10.5 rpg. Moultrie admits that getting picked by the Hornets would be great since Mississippi is nearby, and it would be easy for family to come see him play.
Coming off a National Title win at Kentucky, forward Terrance Jones could join Anthony Davis in New Orleans. He was surrounded by a lot of talent at UK, so many will not realize how special of a player his is. No one really doubts his talent though; they're just not sure which position he would play in the pros, and whether he'll be willing to put in the work to be great.
The second group of potential draft picks working out for the Hornets consisted of Duke Blue Devil Austin Rivers, Jeremy Lamb out of UConn, Washington's Terrence Ross and Terrell Stoglin out of Maryland.
Rivers definitely stood out as the most confident kid in this group, but what would you expect growing up in a house where Celtics head coach Doc Rivers was your pops. He was one of the best freshman scorers in the country, averaging 15.5 ppg, but struggled to get teammates involved, play defense or get Duke past the first round of the NCAA tournament. That being said though, Rivers has a ton of NBA moves in his arsenal and the swagger.
Jeremy Lamb is a lanky wing player who can score from just about anywhere on the floor. He's mastered the art of the midrange game and is equally adept at putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket. He did struggle with the role of alpha dog in the absence of Kemba Walker though. Occasionally he shows the ability to take over games, but he can also just disappear.
Shooting guard Terrence Ross definitely has potential star power. He has good size and can really stroke the basketball, averaging 16.4 ppg along with 6.4 boards. Continuing to improve his ball-handling and adding strength to his frame (6' 7" 197 pounds) would help his game.
And Terrell Stoglin could really use another year at Maryland to prove he's ready to be an NBA point guard. He was forced to enter the draft after being suspended for his junior season for violations to the school's code of conduct. The top scorer in the ACC will have a tough time convincing decision makers that his off court transgressions and reputation for selfish play don't overshadow his offensive talent. He will most likely end up in the NBA developmental league where he can rebuild his image.
The Saints linebacking corps looks a lot different this year, and one of the new faces that was signed in free agency was David Hawthorne.
He was an undrafted free agent out of TCU in 2008, and became a starter for the Seahawks in '09. Hawthorne had been an integral part of Seattle's defense, starting 41 games over the last three seasons and finishing with more than 100 tackles in every one of those years. He is 27 years old and coming off a season in which he notched a career-high three interceptions.
Hawthorne played primarily middle linebacker for Seattle but can play all three spots. He says he feels that is his greatest asset to the team.
How does he feel about joining this group that's trying to change people's opinions about theirs play?
"I feel good about us, I feel like we're gelling well. It's probably the most talented group I've been a part of. The competition level is ridiculous. I think everybody we got could be a starter in this league, and we take the field like that. Everybody is trying to make each other better."
Playing for the Seahawks, Hawthorne faced the St. Louis Rams twice a season where Saints Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was head coach from 2009-2011. He is thrilled to now be getting a chance to work with Coach Spags.
"He's a heck of a coach. He really gets you physically ready and mentally ready. We'll be on a level that's going to be hard to match once we get it all soaked in."
If you read what the Seattle media had to say about him during his time there, Hawthorne definitely gained a reputation for his versatility, hitting power and ability to stop the run.
We'll find out more about his abilities as Mini-Camp continues and ultimately during training camp.
Here are a few of his off the field stats.
Twitter handle: @D_Hawthorne57
What you do with time away from football? : Golfing, chilling on the couch watching T.V., relaxing and enjoying family time
Favorite movie & quote: "Tombstone" - "I'm your Huckleberry."
Songs he's listening to right now: "Cashin' Out" and "Work Hard"
If you had to choose a profession other than football...? : Basket weaving