Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Writer
WESTWEGO, La. ― Hornets General Manager Dell Demps wasn’t in the mood to give away any of his draft secrets the day before the NBA was to host its annual player drawing.
But in a year when many experts believe the draft is as thin as it ever has been, there are likely few secrets for Demps to divulge.
Demps has been to Europe several times, looking for the diamond-in-the-rough player in the mold of Manu Ginobili or J.J. Barea.
He has been to Minnesota and New Jersey and Kentucky and seemingly half of the states in the continental United States looking for a player to grab at No. 45, the Hornets only pick in the draft.
Demps, though, isn’t blind to the fact that a mid-second round selection is less than guaranteed to be an impact.
“The car is going to have a couple of dents in it at that pick,” Demps said. “But you still look to see if that guy can fit in. And you’re still taking a chance and even in the first round you’re taking a chance unless the guy is a can’t miss. All of it is a little bit of a risk.”
And yet, Demps also understand he has options.
Since Day 1, Demps has been a wheeler and a dealer, trading the Hornets first-round pick to get Jerryd Bayless, who was then traded to eventually grab Jarrett Jack.
On Wednesday, Demps said Jack was better than any first-round pick the Hornets could have grabbed this year and it’s hard to argue with him.
He traded a second-round pick to get Willie Green and again, what Green delivered this season was far greater than what this year’s 50th pick would have given New Orleans.
So just because New Orleans has the 45th pick doesn’t mean that that’s where the Hornets will stay.
The best option might just be to rid themselves of pick 45 in the long run, even if, as Demps says, there’s a list of about five players the Hornets would be willing to take at that spot.
“We're going to look at all options,” Demps said. “There's a possibility of trading the pick. There's a possibility of selling the pick. There's a possibility of moving up. We're going to look at everything. Whatever presents itself that we think is in the best interest of the team, we'll do it.”
Don’t expect New Orleans to trade into the first round; Demps all but shot that down Wednesday and it’s unlikely that was a decoy move by the now second-year GM.
Also unlikely, the Hornets getting into the top half of the second round. Demps explained that because of contract situations, it’s often more expensive to get somewhere between pick 30 and 37 than it is to get into the first round.
That leaves another option – sell the pick.
Why would they do that, you ask?
Because it gives them extra money to throw at free agents, someone they believe can help them immediately instead of a guy at No. 45, who may or may not make the roster.
All of this is to say that while in most years, it’s easy to figure out what a team is going to do, this isn’t one of them, especially for New Orleans.
So put on a pot of coffee and get ready for a long night.
Anything can happen for the Hornets.