|By John McMullen, NBA Editor |
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Obviously the New Orleans Hornets need a healthy Chris Paul to get back to the NBA postseason but the team also needs a significant defensive presence inside, something that was lacking last season.
Last summer's trade that sent Tyson Chandler to Charlotte for Emeka Okafor just didn't work out and the Hornets now need to find a legitimate center that can defend the basket, along with being a solid low post scoring threat.
That's a tall task when you are picking 11th overall but Baylor's Ekpe Udoh will at least be able to help at one end of the floor. Udoh has the wingspan of a 7-foot-4 player and should develop into an elite shot-blocker early in his career as well as an exceptional offensive rebounder, two attributes the Hornets desperately need.
Players under contract: G Darren Collison; C Emeka Okafor; G Chris Paul; F Morris Peterson; F James Posey; G Marcus Thornton; F David West; F Julian Wright
Free agents: F: Ike Diogu (Unrestricted); C: Aaron Gray (Restricted); C: Sean Marks (Unrestricted); F: Darius Songaila (Unrestricted - ETO); F: Peja Stojakovic (Unrestricted - ETO)
Draft picks: 1st round (11th overall)