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Thursday, May 31, 2012
Anthony Davis will reshape Hornets

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

Fans in the Big Easy must have been jumping for joy when the Hornets won the NBA draft lottery Wednesday night. Soon-to-be-owner Tom Benson got an early Christmas present, landing numero uno. There is no doubt the top pick will translate to Kentucky's Anthony Davis, the kind of player you can build a franchise around.

There would be a major investigation if the Hornets did not take Davis in the first slot. That's how clear-cut the choice is.

I love Davis' shot-blocking ability and natural instincts. Let's remember, he played only one season of college basketball, so his potential is off the charts. He will get better on offense, improving his moves, as he learns the professional game. For a big man, he has great length and quickness moving up and down the court.

It is a great start for New Orleans to get a player of his ability. He was a sensational diaper dandy during the 2012 national championship in NOLA. Hornets coach Monty Williams and staff must be thrilled to get him at No. 1, but they need to add more talent to the roster. It helps that the Hornets will also pick at No. 10.

Last season, shooting guard Eric Gordon played in just nine games before being sidelined due to a right knee injury. Having a healthy Gordon to team with Davis is a 1-2 punch that will excite fans.

Starting point guard Jarrett Jack is also scheduled to return after missing the end of the regular season due to a stress fracture in his right foot. With a strong backcourt and big man down low, New Orleans will need to find help at the forward positions.

Now the big question is whom will the Charlotte Bobcats draft at No. 2? It's a bit of a dilemma for Michael Jordan because it's a tough choice. It would have been easy to get Davis with the first pick, but that second slot is wide open.

Could the Bobcats go for Thomas Robinson of Kansas, who would provide strength and physical play on the baseline? Or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a kid who plays extremely hard and has a lot of potential? Kidd-Gilchrist has that winner's mentality that is needed after a seven-win season in Charlotte. He makes big play after big play and knows how to win.

Another possibility is the North Carolina super sophomore Harrison Barnes. We know Jordan has a love for Tar Heel blue. Though Barnes did not have a great season, he was better than most, and he has good offensive skills and the ability to make jump shots. He would be a good fit in Charlotte.

There's also guard Bradley Beal of Florida. He has scoring mentality, long-range shooting ability and great rebounding prowess for a guard. Beal will get better on the perimeter as he develops in the league.

I think you get the picture. This will not be an easy call for Mr. Jordan and staff. They'd better be right because they need a lot of help. After going 7-59, they have a long, long way to go. Losing out on Davis did not help. Congrats to the Hornets, the big winners of draft lottery night.