National Basketball Association
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New Orleans Hornets 2012 Draft Preview
By John McMullen, NBA Editor

There are tiers in every draft and Anthony Davis is at the top of this year's class with no one in the rear-view mirror.

The New Orleans Hornets were this year's big winners at the lottery, having a 13.7 percent of landing the top spot and beating the odds. The team will pounce on Davis, the 6-foot-10 Kentucky product with the 7-foot-5 wingspan, who figures to be a difference maker at the defensive end in the NBA from Day 1. He also has the pure athleticism to put up significant numbers offensively but is raw and needs to develop his low-post game.

The Hornets also own the 10th pick and could be looking point guard with Weber State's Damian Lillard and North Carolina's Kendall Marshall as the possibilities.

As for its own players New Orleans reportedly has no interest in bringing back underrated but injury prone center Chris Kaman, who could be a hot commodity on the free agent market. Conversely the team will do everything it takes to bring back restricted free agent shooting guard Eric Gordon, the key piece coming back to NOLA in the Chris Paul trade.

The Hornets and Wizards also already made the first significant trade of the summer, with center Emeka Okafor and forward Trevor Ariza are heading to the nation's capital for the albatross contract of Rashard Lewis.

The Hornets also received the 46th overall pick in the upcoming draft.

"First, we want to thank Emeka and Trevor for their service on and off the court for our organization. Both of those gentlemen are good players and better people that will be missed." Hornets general manager Dell Demps said. "We are rebuilding our team and this is one step in our new direction. This trade will provide an opportunity for our young players to develop and create flexibility to add to our core group moving forward."

Players under contract: G: Jarrett Jack; G: Xavier Henry; G: Greivis Vasquez; F: Al-Farouq Aminu; F: Jason Smith; F: Gustavo Ayon; F Rashard Lewis

Free agents: Eric Gordon (restricted); Chris Kaman; Carl Landry; Marco Belinelli; DeJuan Summers

Recent Draft History: 2011: Josh Harrellson (45) 2010: Cole Aldrich (11) 2009: Darren Collison (21) 2008: Darrell Arthur (27) 2007: Julian Wright (13), Adam Haluska (43)

Draft picks: 1st round (1st overall, 10th overall)

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