Former Kentucky star Anthony Davis will forever have fond memories of New Orleans. Davis, a recipient of the Naismith Trophy, earned Most Outstanding Player honors in the Final Four—held at the New Orleans Superdome—after leading the Wildcats to the national title
Now, the reigning national player of the year will have the opportunity to make many more lasting memories in The Big Easy.
Despite just 13.7-percent odds of winning the lottery, the New Orleans Hornets, a franchise formerly owned and recently sold by the NBA, landed the first overall pick in June’s draft. That means—barring the collapsing of the franchise over the next month—Davis will be heading to New Orleans to team up with Eric Gordon, Jarrett Jack, Trevor Ariza, Carl Landry, Emeka Okafor and company.
The real suspense and intrigue though comes at No. 2, where lottery-favorite Charlotte sits with the second pick. Bobcats majority owner Michael Jordan has architected his fair share of head-scratchers with past lottery selections. Jordan has preferred former Tar Heels (Raymond Felton, Sean May and Brandan Wright) because of their ability to fill the seats in lieu of other players who can better fill the win column.
Oh, that Carolina connection!
Under Jordan’s reign, the Bobcats have become so preoccupied with appeasing Tar Heel Nation that their own Charlotte tenants have had to suffer as a result.
And this year, Jordan’s Carolina biases may seep through once again.
Ex-Kentucky star Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would be the obvious choice at No. 2 for 29 general managers in the league.
But maybe not for Mike.
Jordan must resist the temptation of reaching for Harrison Barnes, whom Kidd-Gilchrist has had the better of since their days of butting horns on the AAU circuits. Kidd-Gilchrist is a more efficient scorer, better at getting to the rim, has a superior handle and is more polished as a defender. Whereas Barnes is locked into guarding opposing 2s or 3s, M.K.G. is capable of guarding three or four different positions at the next level.
Above all, Kidd-Gilchrist has a nonstop engine. He constantly attacks the teeth of the defense, getting to the free throw line at will. Barnes, all too often, settles. Then disappears for extended stretches at a time.
Barnes does own a better jump shot. Off one dribble. When going to his right. So there’s at least that in his favor.
The Washington Wizards, which sit at No. 3, are praying Kidd-Gilchrist falls into their lap. That would allow the team to pair one Calipari product with another.
Crazy ole M.J. very well may oblige, too.