Hornets host more draft workouts
New Orleans hosted 6-foot-11 Baylor forward Perry Jones III and 6-9 Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger for predraft workouts on Monday, boosting to seven the number of big men not named Davis who have worked out for Hornets general manager Dell Demps and coach Monty Williams at the club's training center.
The Hornets have the first and 10th overall picks in the June 28 draft, and although Demps won't rule out trading the No. 10 selection, he stressed that New Orleans hasn't hosted a total of 11 prospects just for show.
"We'd keep our options open, obviously, but right now we're looking at guys that we can draft with the 10th pick," Demps said. "Now if someone makes us a deal that's going to make our organization better, we'll definitely take a look at it. But as of today, right now, nothing's happened. ... We plan on using the 10th pick."
Yet Williams hasn't been shy about his desire to have multiple, talented big men on the court together, much like the Los Angeles Lakers have done the past few seasons with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
During earlier workouts, the Hornets looked at 6-9 Kentucky forward Terrence Jones, 7-foot Tyler Zeller, 6-11 John Henson of North Carolina, 7-1 Illinois center Meyers Leonard, and 6-11 Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie.
Williams came away from Monday's workouts impressed by Jones and Sullinger, and described them as "pretty skilled players."
"Perry is a guy who you have to see in person to realize how good of an athlete he is. He can put the ball down and shoot it a little bit. He's really quick," Williams said. "Jared is a guy who can shoot it pretty sound, more deliberate in his approach to posting up the ball."
Multiple league sources, however, told ESPN.com's Chad Ford on Monday that Sullinger has been medically red flagged by NBA doctors. Sullinger underwent a series of medical tests at the NBA draft combine a week ago. According to sources, the doctors who looked at Sullinger were concerned with Sullinger's back.
Jones averaged 13.5 points and 7.6 points last season for Baylor, which advanced to an NCAA regional final before falling to eventual national champion Kentucky. Sullinger averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds for the Buckeyes, who reached the Final Four before losing to Kansas.
Both players have taken a measure of predraft criticism. Some question Jones' intensity, while Sullinger has received lukewarm reviews of his predraft agility tests.
"I'm not a testing type of guy. I'm a basketball player," Sullinger said. "If I'm so robotic in testing or I couldn't do the testing because I wasn't robotic enough, I apologize to everybody that thinks I didn't do well. That's just me. I'm a basketball player. I know how to play with a basketball."
Jones said he has largely ignored his critics, accepting it as part of playing at the highest levels.
"The great players get criticized the most," Jones said, mentioning Miami Heat star LeBron James as a prime example. "So that's just getting me ready for that next level. ... I can't satisfy everybody with the way I play. All I can do is satisfy the coaches in the gyms and the team I play for, work as hard as I can for them."
Williams said he wasn't going to put too much stock in the perceived shortfalls of young prospects with so much development ahead of them.
"A lot of times when guys get to the NBA, and basketball is their only focus and they have nothing else but that, it could change," Williams said. "It's just one of those things where you have to take a chance on a guy."
In regard to Sullinger's supposed lack of raw athleticism, Williams said, "You've seen it done before -- a lot of guys who aren't great athletes that could just get it done. Zach Randolph is somebody I know personally who is a guy who isn't a great athlete. He couldn't jump over a peach seed. But he can get it done on a night in, night out basis."
As for Jones, Williams said he believes "environment and coaching will have a lot more to do with it than just his ability and will. ... Desire is something that can be enhanced or learned, depending on who you get around."
Both Jones and Sullinger worked out for Portland (picking sixth and 11th overall) and Golden State (picking seventh) before they came to New Orleans. Jones also worked out for Phoenix, which has the 13th pick.
The Hornets, who won the NBA's draft lottery in late May, plan to host the 6-11 Davis on Tuesday morning. That visit, however, is expected to be more about getting acquainted with the Kentucky star and marketing his impending addition to the squad than anything else.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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