Tom Planchet / WWLTV.com
NEW ORLEANS - The reaction around New Orleans was one of joy. Really, only the pick of Anthony Davis - the consensus top player in the draft - could have put an immediate positive light on a tough season for the Hornets.
It didn't hurt that he had two "previews" for local hoops fans this year in the SEC and NCAA tournaments held here.
*Note, ignore the conspiracy theorists saying that the lottery was rigged by the NBA to award Tom Benson for taking the Hornets off their hands, you're going to hear them and they'll just make you angry*
Davis' acquisition (assuming the Hornets are of the same mind as everyone else), should go a long way into convincing star shooting, but oft-injured, guard Eric Gordon into staying and helping build a nucleus that can compete, perhaps, eventually, for the big NBA prize.
Even though the league has implemented a restrictive salary cap, small markets are still at a long-term disadvantage over larger markets in getting quick fixes. You might ask how that can be since Oklahoma City and San Antonio are currently competing for the Western Conference berth in the NBA Finals.
The reason is simple - the draft and the acquisition of key complimentary pieces is the only way a small market team can get near the top.
When is the last time you saw a really big-time free agent player sign with Cleveland or Sacramento or New Orleans? Chris Paul wanted LA or New York. Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando. Carmelo Anthony went to New York, so too, sort of, did Deron Williams. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce in Boston and LeBron James and Chris Bosh flew the coop to Miami.
The main chance of success for small market teams is to draft wisely, add complimentary parts - and win. LeBron probably would have stayed in Cleveland if he thought he could win a title. Chris Paul may have stayed in New Orleans if he was confident of the same fate. Oklahoma City has a good chance to keep Kevin Durant, just as San Antonio kept Tim Duncan - why? Because it's unlikely they'll find a better club, even in a large market.
Davis and Gordon will be a great pairing, and their presence may make the Hornets attractive for some good players who want to relocate.
At least one other web site said that the key for the Hornets won't be taking Davis. That was the luck of the draw and is a no-brainer. The key will be who they get at number 10 and who they get next year, because, if you want Gordon and Davis to be long-term players, you need to win, and it's unlikely a big-time star will relocate here.