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Old 02-23-2010, 03:14 PM   #1
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Default New Orleans Hornets strike it rich in draft with Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton

James Lang. J.R. Smith. Tim Pickett. Brandon Bass.

Hilton Armstrong. Cedric Simmons. Marcus Vinicius.

Julian Wright. Adam Haluska. Darrell Arthur.

The reason so much time and so many words have been spent bashing the Hornets over the team's draft picks since the team relocated to New Orleans in 2003 is because the franchise consistently has been so abysmal at the art form.

Re-read the list. That roll call isn't an ode to precision or a flattering testament to player evaluation. Among that crew only Wright remains with New Orleans and if he and the franchise had their druthers, he'd be gone; he all but requested a move this season as the trade deadline neared and, undoubtedly, the Hornets gleefully would've shipped him if they could've found a sucker . . . er, taker.

But that batting average of 2 for 12 -- the two hits being a couple of homers in David West (2003) and Chris Paul (2005) -- significantly jumped this season. If we're going to call the team's evaluators everything including the devil for the pool of rookie selections from 2003 to '08, then the devils have to be given their due for what happened on June 25, 2009.

That night, New Orleans took point guard Darren Collison with its first-round pick, No. 21 overall. And in the second round it swung a trade with Miami -- shooting guard Marcus Thornton, the No. 43 overall pick, came to New Orleans in exchange for a couple of future second-round picks.

So far, so good.

Very, very good.
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