NBA PM: Dell Demps Excited for Hornets’ Future
Dell Demps watched as the ping-pong balls were selected. He didn’t bring any good luck charms to the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery, just hope that the basketball gods would reward the New Orleans Hornets after a chaotic year that included a voided trade, departed superstar and ownership change. Demps watched in suspense as the first three balls were chosen: 4-9-6.
Now, all the Hornets needed was a 7 and the number one overall pick would belong to them. They would be able to draft Anthony Davis, who has been considered the consensus top pick for several months due to his monster freshman season at Kentucky and superstar potential.
When the final ball was picked, Demps couldn’t see the number very clearly. He thought it was a 1, and he was understandably disappointed. The Hornets had come so close, but now some other team would hold the top pick. Or so he thought.
Lou DiSabatino, NBA vice president of events and attractions, turned the ball and revealed that it was a 7.
“When the first three came out, I knew we needed that last number, which was a 7,” Demps said. “When it first came up, it looked like a 1. I was like, ‘Ahh.’ Then, when it turned, it was a 7 and they announced it. I was like, ‘Whoa!’ I made a little fist pump in the room. When our combination came up, it was an exciting feeling. I got an incredible rush.”
Demps couldn’t contain his excitement. Less than one year after losing Chris Paul, he’ll be able to draft another stud to become the face of the franchise. This time last year, the Hornets were on the verge of losing their star player and there was fear that the team would be relocated. After a dark year, the future is bright in New Orleans. Demps, along with owner Tom Benson and head coach Monty Williams, couldn’t be happier.
“Obviously, we’re very excited,” Demps said. “This is a great day for the city of New Orleans, our fans, coaches and staff. We’re just really excited right now. This is the beginning. This is the start of a new beginning. We’re hoping to add some pieces that can help us become a good team for a long time. This is an exciting day for the city of New Orleans. I just finished speaking with Mr. Benson and his wife and they’re pretty fired up. Coach Williams is fired up. We’re ready to go.”
While Davis is the obvious choice for the Hornets, Demps wouldn’t make a commitment just yet. In fact, on Wednesday night, Demps wouldn’t even comment on Davis’ game and what he saw from the big man at Kentucky.
“I really don’t want to get into that right now,” Demps said. “We’re just excited about winning the lottery. We’re sitting down with our group and we’re just excited about the process moving forward. We’re just happy right now. We’re going to sit down with our group and we’ll make that decision in the upcoming days.”
The Hornets also landed the tenth overall pick, which means they’ll be able to add a second lottery player on June 28.
In HOOPSWORLD’s post-lottery mock draft, the team is projected to take Davis with the top pick and Terrence Ross from the University of Washington with #10. New Orleans will start scheduling workouts after the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago wraps up.
“I think we can go any way,” Demps said. “I think with where our roster is set up right now, we can add a player to any position. We’re bringing guys in. We’ll have some workouts over the next couple weeks. We’re hoping for the best. I think we have a good core right now. We’re looking forward to just building for the future and being competitive for a long time.”
After winning just 21 games last season and finishing with the worst record in the Western Conference, the Hornets will now be considered one of the best up-and-coming teams in the league. They can thank the basketball gods and the numbers 4-9-6-7.
Bosh Working Toward Return: Chris Bosh completed his second workout since going down with an abdominal strain, but there’s still no timetable for his return. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra watched the workout, but he isn’t sure when the power forward will play again.
“I actually just watched his workout about an hour ago,” Spoelstra said before Game 2. “It’s the same workout as before. I didn’t need to watch it. It hasn’t got to that point. I just wanted to show him some support and see how much he’s progressing. It’s the same thing as before. It’s more rehab oriented.”
Bosh will continue to work out to see how his body is responding to treatment. Sources close to the situation believe that Bosh will be available for the NBA Finals, if Miami advances. However, the team hopes that Bosh will be able to return even sooner, possibly for the final game or two of the Eastern Conference Finals, so that the power forward can get his legs under him and get back into a rhythm.
Prior to Game 2, Bosh worked out and spent time in the trainer’s room. Miami continues to keep his availability a mystery, simply saying that he’s out “indefinitely.”
Inside Game 2: Here are news and notes from last night’s Heat-Celtics game.
• Rajon Rondo scored 44 points, handed out 10 assists and grabbed eight rebounds in the Boston Celtics’ Game 2 overtime loss to the Miami Heat. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rondo is the first player in NBA history with that many points, assists and rebounds in a playoff game.
• Prior to last night, Rajon Rondo had never played every minute of a game in the regular season or the playoffs. However, Rondo didn’t leave the court in Game 2, playing all 53 minutes in the overtime loss. After the game, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said it wasn’t something he planned to do, it just happened because Rondo was playing so well.
• Dwyane Wade has scored at least 20 points in each of his last 12 playoff games against the Celtics. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last player with 12 straight 20-point performances versus the Celtics in the playoffs was Jerry West, who did so in 18 straight games from 1966 to 1969, all in the NBA Finals.
• The Celtics weren’t too happy about the free throw discrepancy in last night’s game. Miami shot 47 free throws to Boston’s 29. LeBron James nearly shot more free throws than the entire Celtics’ roster, going to the line 24 times. While players were careful not to criticize the refs on the record, they had plenty to say when recorders were turned off.
• Even though Boston gave up their 15-point lead and lost a very winnable Game 2, they are feeling very confident heading back home. “They did what they were supposed to do,” Brandon Bass said. “They defended their home court, now it’s time for us to defend ours.”